Cable Bills Have Risen Again

You can almost set your watch by it these days. Every year, there seems to be a new announcement regarding cable and internet bills, and every year there’s some reason why it can’t be helped. Not that any of that matters to you, of course. All you know is that for some reason your bill this month is higher than it was two months ago.

This year, evidently, is no different.

The 2016 Rate Hikes

Roughly a year ago, Consumer Reports reported substantial rate hikes for 2016, with an average monthly increase of $3-$4 regardless of provider. According to Consumer Reports, the cable TV and satellite companies blamed the increased cost of programming. This may have been true, given how many providers raised rates at the time.

Want to know how you may have been affected?

  • AT&T increased between $2 and $4 a month for the average customer.

  • DirecTV rose about $2-$8 a month per customer. Although they attempted to offset this somewhat by charging less for HBO.

  • Dish also rose roughly $2-$8 per month.

  • Time Warner Cable raised rates about $1-$4 per month.

  • Comcast raised monthly rates by a reported 4%, resulting in significant increases to their popular double play package.

The increases were reportedly 4 times the rate of inflation. It may not seem like much, but these small increases add up at the end of a year, and it’s happening again.

What We’re Facing This Year

This year’s increases are less dramatic than last’s, but they are still happening. According to reporting by Multichannel.com this past December, Dish was set to raise rates by $5 a month. Even DirecTV and Cox Communications were facing hikes.

However, the biggest increase is credited to Comcast. Comcast raised video service prices by 3.8% at the start of this year. They also raised broadcast fees by 40% and regional sports network fees by a whopping 66%.

Do the Math

If you’re wondering why you should get frustrated over a few dollars, remember that a few dollars taken over several months or years is much more than that. As Comcast and other service providers have crept their prices up, you’ve been paying way more than you need to and you’ve been doing it for a while.

Let’s assume that your monthly Comcast cable bill was $100 in 2015. The 2016 increase would have added about $4. Taken over a year, that’s a $48 increase. Now factor in the 2017 increase. That’s about $4 again. Only now, you’ve increased your bill twice. You are paying $96 more total than you would have had your rate never changed.

The Solution

You could be like the 1 in 7 Americans mentioned in this Pew Research report who have decided to turn their back on cable altogether. However, doing that means missing out on your favorite TV shows, sports channels, and specialty programming.

If you watch a lot of TV, streaming networks might not have enough content for you as they only have a set amount of content and only update monthly. Not to mention, sometimes it’s nice to just turn on the television and channel surf. Cutting the cable means always deliberately choosing what you watch all the time.

The cost benefit of cutting the cable is not always there. You still need an internet connection to stream content. Introductory bundled packages of cable, internet, and telephone are typically cheaper than internet alone. Even if the internet is a few dollars cheaper, once you factor in the price of a few streaming networks, the end result can be higher bills than having cable tv and internet through a single provider.

Instead, consider negotiating a better rate. Better yet, let Shrinkabill do it for you. We are skilled in knowing how and how far to push companies for the lowest possible rates. We can’t promise to find you the $96 you’ve been missing over the past several years, but we can promise that if there’s a lower rate to be had, we’ll get it for you.