The overall average monthly rate for cable programming services and equipment increased 8.2 percent over a 12-month period ending July 1, 2002, according to a report issued by the FCC.
The annual FCC report on cable rates showed that for the period the average monthly charge for cable programming and equipment increased from $37.06 to $40.11. The five-year annual rate of increase was 7.1 percent from July 1997 to July 2002.
The increase over the past 12 months reflects an increase in the monthly charge for basic cable service of 3.7 percent from $13.93 to $14.45, a 10 percent increase for expanded basic service from $19.88 to $22.02 and 12 percent for equipment from $3.25 to $3.64, the report said.
The study also found the average number of channels available to cable subscribers increased from 59 to 62.7, or an increase of 6.3 percent over the period. Based on this increase in channels and the increase in cable prices over the period, the FCC calculated that the average price per cable channel grew from 65.6 cents to 66.4 cents a month. The report points out that the consumer price index increased 1.5 percent during the same period and concludes that in real terms the rate cable channels charge per channel dropped about 0.2 percent.
The Commission’s report also compares the average monthly rate charged by cable companies that compete with other cable providers in their area to those that have a local cable monopoly. The findings show that cable operators with competition charged an average of $37.84 per month compared to those with no competition which charged an average of $40.26 monthly. The difference between the groups amounted to 6.4 percent, which is in line with the historical figure of 6.5 percent difference. A full copy of the report is available at www.fcc.gov/mb.