Comcast will reportedly raise broadcast and sports surcharges for Oregon customers from $11 to $14.50 a month starting Oct. 1.
According to the Oregonian, local customers have been informed that the broadcast TV surcharge is increasing by $1.50, while the sports fee is going up by $2. Comcast is also raising the monthly lease costs of its modems by $1.
Amy Keiter, a regional spokeswoman for Comcast, didn’t immediately respond to FierceCable’s inquires as to whether the fee increases were local or national.
She did provide this statement to the Oregonian: "We continue to make investments in our network and technology to give customers more for their money - like faster Internet service and more WiFi hotspots, more video across viewing screens, better technology like X1 and a better customer experience.”
In April, FierceCable reported that regulators from four Oregon communities were asking the state attorney general to look into whether surcharges charged by Comcast for such items as regional sports networks and broadcast retransmission licensing violated state consumer protection laws.
As the Oregonian noted, Comcast is advertising a $90 TV and internet bundle that shoots to well over $100 once surcharges and modem lease costs are factored in.
"That's a little bait-and-switchy," said Fred Christ, administrator of the Metropolitan Area Communications Commission, which regulates cable TV service in much of Washington County, to the Oregonian in April.
According to the paper, regulators in Multnomah and Washington counties, along with the cities of Milwaukie and Eugene, have written the Oregon Department of Justice, requesting an investigation of the surcharges.
"We would like to discuss whether you or your staff might see any paths forward under the Oregon Unlawful Trade Practices Act or other regulations," the regulators wrote.
"The cost of retransmission imposed by broadcasters continues to increase significantly as do the costs charged by regional sports programmers, and while these fees are increasing they only defray a portion of what we are being charged to be able to carry these channels,” Comcast responded in a statement.