Cable TV rates rose last month

A Suddenlink work truck spotted in Kingman Thursday.

Photo by JC Amberlyn.

A Suddenlink work truck spotted in Kingman Thursday.

KINGMAN – In case you missed the fine print on your monthly bill, Suddenlink raised its rates in December for cable and internet service, tacking on additional fees and surcharges of a dollar here and a few dollars there.

Suddenlink, which charges a base bundle price of about $90 a month, is adding $1 more for its DVR equipment, $1.61 more for its “broadcast station surcharge” and $4 more for some customers who subscribe to the basic or expanded cable package.

There was also a $3.50 increase for internet service starting Dec. 1.

The broadcast station surcharge has increased to $8.39 a month, which is on top of a $5.15 sports programming surcharge. If you need a modem for your internet connection, that’s another $10 a month.

Other taxes and fees for cable, internet and telephone service add up to about $4.50 a month.

The internet provider notified Mohave County that more fees are coming in the new year, according to Supervisor Buster Johnson.

Janet Meahan, spokeswoman for Suddenlink, points out that pricing adjustments represent a fraction of the rising cost of sports and broadcast content imposed on cable companies by programming and broadcast stations.

The broadcast surcharge, which has been included on customers’ bills for several years, covers the cost of escalating fees charged by broadcast TV owners. Federal law allows station owners to charge cable companies for signals broadcast freely over the air, and those fees have increased dramatically in the last year, Meahan said.

Average customer bills have increased 3.4 percent, while Suddenlink is seeing high single-digit increases in broadcast fees, she added.

“We provide Suddenlink customers with superior products and services at a great value, continually introducing faster internet speeds and with plans to roll out an enhanced video experience in the coming months,” Meahan said. “Our pricing remains extremely competitive in the face of rapidly rising programming costs.”

She also noted that Suddenlink introduced 1 gigabit internet service in Kingman in October, and provided “complimentary” speed upgrades for residential customers at no extra charge.

Supervisor Johnson said customers of DISH and Direct TV can expect cost increases as well.

Mohave County Public Works Department maintains license agreements with all telecommunications companies that have infrastructure within public rights-of-way and easements in unincorporated areas of Mohave County.

If you’re feeling the pinch on your monthly bill, you might try calling your provider, Johnson suggested.

“If your contract has expired or is near expiration, these companies are known to offer you new discounts to keep you from terminating and moving to another service,” he said. “It’s worth the effort.”