For the last two years, big cable TV companies have been charging a “Broadcast TV Fee” which, in every way, is already a bunch of bullshit. It’s not a regulatory fee: it’s just the cable companies charging extra for the cost of delivering channels to your TV, which is exactly what you’re paying for with your monthly fees anyway.
Anyway, in case that didn’t already hurt enough, Spectrum (which is also Charter, Time Warner Cable and Bright House) has raised its bullshit fee that little bit more.
Users on the DSL Reports forum have posted copies of July bills that show the price increase. It’s currently at $6.05, and that’s creeping up to $7.50.
That might not sound like a lot, but Charter serves around 25 million customers across the US. Even if only half of those (a low-ball estimate) subscribe to cable, a $1.50 increase is still around $17 million. That’s not much compared to the billions in revenue Charter pulls down, but it’s also pure unadulterated profit.
It’s also not the kind of thing that gets people to quit cable, sadly. Pay TV has proven itself to be a highly inelastic product, and with the average pay TV bill over $100 a month, a $1.50 increase just isn’t going to force people off.
But there is some good news. Arguably the only reason that cable companies can get away with barefaced crap like this is the lack of competition. In the majority of the regions that Charter offers service, Charter is the only company offering cable TV. But a wealth of new pay TV streaming services, which only need an internet connection, finally offers some competition to Charter’s regional monopolies.
Fed up with a broadcast TV fee? Try paying $35 to Fubo, a streaming service that offers sports and all major broadcast channels. The broadcast TV fee you’ll save is nearly enough to add Netflix and be happier than you already were.