Comcast Set to Jack Up Broadcast TV Surcharges By as Much as $7

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The number of U.S. consumers subscribing to pay TV and watching broadcast TV continues to decline, but that isn't keeping the No. 1 American cable operator from once again jacking up its broadcast TV surcharge.

Comcast last week began giving its remaining 16.6 million video customers a heads-up that the fee they pay to receive local broadcast channels via their Xfinity TV subscription is going up as much as $7 a month.

Also read: Cord-Cutting Alarm Sounds Anew as Comcast's Q3 Video Losses Exceed the 10% YoY Mark For the First Time

As blogger Phil Swann noted, users in Taunton, Massachusetts, will see their broadcast TV surcharge spike from $18.65 to $26 a month, effective December 20. (Yup, 26 bucks a month for content you can get for free over the airwaves.)

Comcast, of course, is blaming the increase on ever-climbing broadcast retransmission fees it has to pay to local stations. The cable operator said that, on average, its customers will experience broadcast fee increases in the 3.8% range. (These fees vary from region to region.)

"TV networks and other video programmers continue to raise their prices, with broadcast television and sports being the biggest drivers of increases in customers’ bills," Comcast said in a statement. 

Surcharges for regional sports networks are also going up for Comcast pay TV customers (by less than a dollar a month in most cases). And lease fees for set-tops are also increasing by about $1.50 a month. 

Notably, these fees aren't included in the advertised price for pay TV service. So a customer agreeing to pay $60 a month for Comcast's 125+ channel "Popular TV" tier will end up shelling out well over $100 a month, once surcharges, CPE fees and taxes are factored in the bill. 

Comcast already announced earlier that its broadband service tiers will increase in prices anywhere from $2 to $7 a month. 

Comcast lost 562,000 pay TV customers in the third quarter, with its year-over-year cord-cutting pacing at 10.6%. ■

Daniel Frankel is the managing editor of Next TV, an internet publishing vertical focused on the business of video streaming. A Los Angeles-based writer and editor who has covered the media and technology industries for more than two decades, Daniel has worked on staff for publications including E! Online, Electronic Media, Mediaweek, Variety, paidContent and GigaOm. You can start living a healthier life with greater wealth and prosperity by following Daniel on Twitter today!