Connect the dots: rate increases, competition and DirecTV

Sometimes it's important to connect the dots. A story from Parma, Ohio says the city is ready to file a formal complaint about rate increases planned by Cox Communications. In Auburn, Ala., it's front page news when Knology breaks ground to start service and "put an end to the 50-year reign of a market monopolized by Charter Communications." And a story in Multichannel News says that DirecTV keeps gaining customers as other multichannel TV providers lose them.

What's the common thread? Cable's not as popular as some in the industry would like to think. In Parma, for instance, city officials are using terms like "excessive" and "egregious" to describe rate increases from 3 percent for high-speed data to 38 percent for high definition TV. "It's hard to support a company that will not only communicate but will pass along such large increases during a recession," said Mayor Dean DePiero.

In Auburn, city officials were on hand for the Knology groundbreaking where city manager Charlie Duggan said that the hopes are that "everyone's service is going to improve and rates will go down" thanks to the introduction of a competitive provider.

Finally, DirecTV, according to the MCN story, brought in 224,000 new customers during a traditionally slow second quarter period and could be ripe for an acquisition by a telco like Verizon because, according to Craig Moffett, senior cable and satellite analyst for Sanford Bernstein, it is "simply the best operator in the industry."

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