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Cable rates up overall, per-channel rate is down

On a per-channel basis, cable rates increased 1.5 percent for the 12-month
period ending July 1, 2001, according to the Federal Communications Commission's
just-released cable industry price report.

Against an inflation rate of 2.7 percent for that period, the price of cable
actually decreased, however.

Without the value added of extra channels factored in, prices charged by
cable systems increased 7.5 percent, from $34.42 to $36.99.

The study also found that the number of cable systems offering digital tiers
had increased to 77.6 percent from the 57.8 percent.

Rates of cable systems classified as having no effective competition, which
is most systems, averaged $37.13, while those with competition averaged $34.93.

Both categories attributed the majority of that increase
to higher programming costs.