- Customers of cable TV and internet service providers are, unfortunately, going to see 2021 greet them with companies like Comcast raising prices.
- Comcast raising prices this month also comes at the same time that it’s bringing back data caps for all customers — though it won’t start levying fees in response to customers going over the data cap until March.
- The cable TV industry lost several million subscribers over the last 12 months.
There’s a reason big cable TV and Internet service providers are some of the most despised elements of Corporate America — and just in case you’ve forgotten why that’s the case, they’re about to offer you plenty of fresh reminders.
Thursday marked the last day of the dumpster fire that was 2020, but by way of wishing us all a Happy New Year, several companies are about to make good on what’s become something of an annual tradition round about this time each year. That’s right, get ready to see companies like Comcast raising prices anew, hitting you with higher monthly cable and Internet bills, because who doesn’t like forking over more money for little to no improvement in the quality of your service?
For good measure, Comcast — which announced that prices for cable TV and internet service were set to be hiked on January 1 — is also reinstating data caps that the company paused earlier this year. That pause was part of the FCC’s Keep America Connected Pledge, meant to ensure that Americans hunkering down at home because of the coronavirus pandemic had sufficient access to Internet connectivity.
According to information from Consumer Reports, Comcast’s price hikes won’t be uniform across markets, but the company’s Choice TV plan is being raised from $25 to $30. A number of add-on charges like the broadcast TV fee is going up by as much as $4.50/month, along with a $2 increase in the regional sports networks fee.
Additionally, the fee for customers’ main TV boxes is being raised from $5 to $7.50.
“Rising programming costs — most notably for broadcast TV and sports — continue to be the biggest factors driving price increases for all content distributors and their customers, not just Comcast,” the company said in a statement provided to Consumer Reports. “We’re continuing to work hard to manage these costs for our customers while investing in our network to provide the best, most reliable broadband service in the country.”
Comcast Xfinity raising prices during a #pandemic when unemployment is at an all time high & Kids need internet for home school
— Marilyn (@mdemaria2017) December 30, 2020
Xfinity/Comcast is raising prices for 2021. Taking a bite out of those new stimulus checks. They referred to this message as informing us that they are "updating" their prices. Updating? Really? pic.twitter.com/lWWjELqp7R
— Paul Creeden (@CreedenPaul) December 28, 2020
Additionally, Comcast’s internet service cost per month will go up now, too, with all plans being raised by $3/month. Likewise, the cost of in-home service as well as professional installations is getting hiked from $70 to $100.
Let’s take a look at who else is or has recently raised prices:
AT&T, which owns DirecTV, had announced a price hike to take effect this month, and Spectrum parent company Charter just recently raised its TV and internet prices, as well. As always, in press statements, DirecTV blames the price hikes (which it calls “adjustments”) on “increased programming costs.”
It’s tempting to attribute these increases, in part, to so many people cutting the cord — ditching these companies’ TV services, in other words, while leaning heavily on broadband service. Indeed, according to data from research firm Moffett Nathanson, around 6.3 million people “cut the cord” and ditched their pay TV package over the past 12 months, many of whom replaced it with a streaming alternative.
January is also bringing higher bills for AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse TV customers, with most customers of both services paying between $5 and $9 more each month (with the exception of customers on the basic U-verse plan, which is staying the same). Charter, in December, also raised prices on Internet service by $5/month for customers with internet only, as well as for those who bundle broadband with a streaming video package — but customers with broadband and pay TV service aren’t seeing a price increase just yet.
As noted earlier, Comcast is also bringing back data caps, something it already has in 27 of its 39-state. footprint. The cap will be for 1.2TB of monthly data, and it won’t apply to some customers — those with Xfinity Gigabit Pro, as well as business customers, prepaid internet customers, and those with bulk internet agreements, according to Consumer Reports.
The data caps take effect this month, but Comcast said it will wait until March to actually start levying fees for customers who go over the cap. For every 50GB of extra data you use, Comcast will tack on $10 to your bill, up to a maximum of $100 per month.