I have been a cable television customer in Hillsborough for almost fifteen years now. I have generally been pleased with the service. In fact I would say service has improved markedly since 1993. Outages are almost unheard of, and the cable modem service has been getting more reliable and faster year by year. I really can't live without it.
So I guess I shouldn't complain about the notice that arrived with today's mail. Yes, Patriot Media will be raising the rates for almost all of their services in 2008. Most items will be going up a dollar or two, with many increasing by six or seven dollars a month. My bill, for Full Basic Cable (not digital) and Internet service (including modem rental) will go up $3.25, or about 3%. Not too bad.
What is lousy, however, is the justification for some of the increases. In their letter to customers, Patriot Media touts the addition of four new channels in 2007. Fox Business Network was added to Digital Basic - and that service is increasing by a dollar a month. TBS HD was added to HD Basic - and that service is increasing by a dollar a month. The NBA Network and the NHL Network were added to Digital Sports Arena - and that service has no increase.
So what do I get for the $2.25 increase for Full Basic? Nothing - the same old lineup of channels that they have offered for a few years now. And that other dollar? That's the 50% increase in the cable modem rental! Even at the former $2.00 a month rate, I've probably paid for that modem many times over already - do I really need to throw away $36 this year? Seeing as how the modem has worked flawlessly these many years, and the fact that I need it to post these blogs, that answer is probably yes - I hate to change something that I depend on when it's working.
And anyway, when factored into the total entertainment budget for our family, this 3% rate increase turns out to be less than 1% - and I can live with that!