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Comcast Again Weighs in with Another Rate Hike

Comcast plans to raise rates for its expanded basic services by 6 percent in 2006. The rate hike for expanded basic will pretty much equal Comcast's hike of 5.9 percent hike in 2005, according to published reports. Despite good overall economic numbers in the United States and very low inflation, the cable industry has had regular annual rate hikes that it usually attributes to its expansion of services into VOD, HD, new program acquisition, and other factors. (Comcast, in fact, cites HD as a major factor in its new rate jump, but doesn't exactly say why.)

However, apart from TV services, Comcast reportedly is not planning to increase rates for its broadband Internet service or digital telephony in the new calendar year. (Therefore, Comcast points out in company statements, customers who buy its bundled services are likely to see smaller increases to their monthly bills, overall.)

Currently, well over half of the MSO's subs get at least two of its services. Those Comcast customers likely will see their bills increase, on average, about 3.5 percent in 2006. One big reason cited for the annual rate hike this time around, the company reported, is "expanded HD services," although details were few. Comcast, like other major MSOs, refuses to say how many HD subs it enjoys, citing proprietary reasons.