Comcast Details Cable Rate Increase, Other Changes

OCEAN CITY – Comcast cable subscribers will be seeing a rate increase in their cable bills starting June 1. The upcoming rate changes on basic cable were presented and discussed at the City Council work session on Tuesday.

Tom Worley, area director of government relations for Comcast, came before the City Council Tuesday to discuss rate changes and any other pertinent Comcast information. The first order of business, of course, was the increase in the price of cable.

Effective June 1, there will be a price increase of $1.75 in the limited basic service, increasing from $15.45 to $17.20. There will also be a $3.50 increase in the full standard service, increasing from $42.90 to $46.40.

The packages being affected are the limited basic service and the full standard service. Worley emphasized that the digital packages would not be affected. The limited basic service and the full standard service are basic cable plans. The digital services, such as the high speed Internet, digital voice and digital cable, will not be affected by the rate increases.

A rate change will also be seen in the remote control price included in the Comcast bill. This will affect standard and digital cable users. The price of remote controls will be raised from 9 cents per month to 20 cents per month.

Worley attributes the increase in rate changes to the increased investment in technology and operation costs.

Other issues regarding Comcast were also addressed at the meeting.

Councilman James Hancock addressed a previous issue regarding the proposal to organize your own package or selecting your own channels. The example Hancock provided was the option of excluding specific programs such as violent programs from your cable package.

This idea has been proposed to the FCC before and Comcast was opposed to the issue.

“There is not a business model that supports it,” said Worley in response. He feels that the plan simply would not fit any current business model that Comcast maintains. He also said that a major concern would be niche channels, which are smaller channels such as TLC or the History Channel that usually attract a smaller and more specific audience. Worley fears those types of channels would not survive a system in which channels are selected and excluded.

Worley also announced to the council that Comcast is “encouraging people to swap out their analog boxes for digital”. This is part of a plan to have digital boxes in subscribers’ homes. Worley said that there would be no fee for trading in your box.