Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas! Comcast raises rates after FCC loosens video rules

Comcast unveils higher rates after FCC eases rules

by Corilyn Shropshire, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Just days after federal regulators softened rules making it easier for Verizon Communications Inc. and other phone companies to go head-to-head with cable firms for a place in America's living rooms, Comcast said the average local monthly bill will rise 2.7 percent.

Comcast said yesterday it was raising the monthly rate for its cable TV service beginning Feb. 1 but that other services, such as high-speed Internet and landline phone service, would remain as is. Spokeswoman Jody W. Doherty couldn't say exactly how much Comcast cable rates would rise because the prices vary based on level of service.

The going rate in the city of Pittsburgh for Comcast's standard cable package with up to 70 channels is currently $49.02 but will jump to $51.34 -- a 4.7 percent increase -- in February, she said. The price "adjustments reflect the increased value of our services," Ms. Doherty said, as well as the more than $200 million Comcast has spent improving service offerings.

She added that Philadelphia-based Comcast is hiring more than 150 call center and field service representatives across the region "to meet increased demand for their products."

In a split 3-2 vote Wednesday, the five-member Federal Communications Commission voted to support new rules that would prevent municipalities from "unreasonably refusing" to award franchise agreements to cable providers. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said the change was needed because "competition is desperately needed in the video market."

article originally published at http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/06357/748446-96.stm.

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