Report: Suddenlink customers see big rate hikes for video and broadband services

Suddenlink is the latest pay-TV operator to raise consumer prices, notifying customers last week that they'll pay additional fees for sports programming, broadcast retransmission and broadband service.

"A $3.00 sports programming surcharge will be added to the bills of customers subscribing to this service to cover a portion of the skyrocketing cost of dedicated sports channels and general entertainment networks with sports programming," read a note sent to Suddenlink customers in St. Augustine, Texas, and obtained by StopTheCap.com.

"The broadcast station surcharge will increase $2.88 per month to cover the escalating fees charged by broadcast TV station owners," the note added. "Optional tiers of digital TV channels will increase $1.25 per month per tier. High-speed Internet services will increase $3.00 per month."

As StopTheCap noted, the rate increases were not uniform. The blog says that in Chandler, Texas, for example, the retrans surcharge now exceeds $8. However, a Suddenlink spokesman said that estimate is too high. 

On the subject of rising video prices, Suddenlink responded with the following statement: "We strive to keep prices as low as possible, although the underlying cost of our services continues to rise, led by the cost of TV programming, which has been increasing at more than three times the annual rate of inflation for several years now--driven largely by the escalating cost of sports programming; dramatic increases to the fees TV station owners are allowed to charge by federal law; and programming contract renewals. As a result, in 2015, the combined cost of basic and retransmission programming costs per TV customer will increase (over 2014) approximately 8 percent. We are absorbing a portion of these rising costs, with the average adjustment to standard residential customer rates held to approximately 5.5 percent."

For more:
- read this DSL Reports story
- read this StopTheCap story

Related links:
Viacom lobby efforts fall flat in sixth-month battle to restore channels to Suddenlink
Suddenlink video sub losses quadruple to nearly 35K, says it's still not going back to Viacom
Suddenlink (finally) signs deal for Showtime Anytime platform

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