Cable Rates Continue to Outpace Inflation

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As required by law, the FCC’s Media Bureau conducted its annual cable rate survey for the calendar year ending January 1, 2014.  The Report found that the average monthly price of expanded basic service (the combined price of basic service and the most subscribed cable programming service tier excluding taxes, fees and equipment charges) for all communities surveyed increased by 3.1 percent over the 12 months ending January 1, 2014, to $66.61, compared to an annual increase of 1.6 percent in the Consumer Price Index (CPI). In communities where there is no effective competition, the average price of expanded basic service increased by 3.2 percent, to $65.32 while in effective competition communities, the average price of expanded basic increased by 2.9 percent, to $68.16.  On a per channel basis, the price per channel (price divided by number of channels) for subscribers purchasing expanded basic service increased overall by 0.9 percent over the 12 months ending January 1, 2014, to 50 cents per channel.  In communities without a finding of effective competition, the price per channel increased by 1.6 percent to 53 cents per channel, but actually decreased by 0.1 percent in effective competition communities, to 45 cents per channel. The Report notes that the price per channel is 14.7 percent lower in effective competition communities than in communities without a finding of effective competition, which reflects that operators in effective competition communities carry, on average, more channels on expanded basic service than operators carry in communities without this finding.

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