Pole rent fees on the way up in Kentucky; cable subscribers to feel the pain

Consumers will be double losers in Kentucky if public utilities LG&E and Kentucky Utilities get rate increases they are seeking for their services and how much they charge cable companies to attach to their poles. In the case of Kentucky Utilities, the pole attachment fee could jump from $2.71 to $8.93 a year for each cable attachment. LG&E is more moderate; it only wants a 73 percent increase.

KU said it deserves more money since it hasn't raised its rates since the early 1980s while LG&E did hike prices in 1990. The increases are expected to cost cable subscribers 75 cents or less per month, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal. Small cable operators, squeezing pennies hard enough to make the copper melt, say that's too much.

Any increase "would be a big deal for my subscribers," said Jack Hale, general manager of Harlan Community Television who said that programming increases already cause annual hikes and "this is going to be another increase on top of (that) increase."

Perhaps in a backhanded blessing, Insight Communications, the biggest of the local providers, would get the smallest increase because its service is in the Louisville area and that's served by LG&E.

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