FCC Reports on 2001 Cable Industry Prices and Growth

The FCC recently released its annual report on cable industry prices and expansion, showing that the average monthly rate for cable programming services and equipment increased by 7.5 percent from $34.42 to $36.99 for the 12-month period ending July 1, 2001.

The report covers information about monthly charges for the basic service tier (BST) and cable programming service tier (CPST, or "expanded basic"), monthly charges for equipment, installation fees, reconnect fees and fees for tier changes. The average monthly charge for equipment increased by 9.1 percent, from $2.97 to $3.24, and the charge for BST and CPST programming services increased by 7.3 percent, from $31.45 to $33.75, over the same period.

The report also compared prices charged by cable operators facing effective competition with those of operators not facing competition. Both groups increased their monthly rate for programming and equipment by 7.5 percent. Cable operators facing competition charged an average of $34.93, while operators not facing competition charged $37.13. The report also covered the differences in what competitive and noncompetitive cable operators charged per channel and the number of channels offered.

Roughly two-thirds of all cable systems have achieved a capacity of 750 MHz and above. The number of noncompetitive cable systems deploying digital video services increased from 57.8 percent to 77.6 percent. The percentage of those systems deploying Internet access rose from 51.4 percent to 70.8 percent.