FCC: Expanded Basic Cable Price Increased 3.4% in 2015

The FCC reported that prices for expanded basic cable were up 3.4% in 2015 (the most recent figures available) to $71.37 per month, but the percentage increase over 2014 was down from an average annual increase of 4.4% over the previous five years.

The average price of basic service was up 4.4% to $25.40 in 2015 over 2014, the FCC said.

The price for basic service in communities with effective competition was 3.1% lower than in those without it. For expanded basic, the price was actually 4.7% higher in effective competition communities than ones without it. The FCC said that was because the former communities were usually served by larger suites of channels. The per-channel price was 28.8% lower in effective competition communities, for example.

Equipment leasing costs were up 1.2%, year-over-year, but that was compared with a 1.4% increase in general inflation over that time, so subscribers were getting more equipment bang for their bucks.

The FCC figures preceded the agency’s decision to presume all communities have effective competition—thanks to satellite services—so that change will not be reflected until the FCC’s next cable pricing report.

Basic cable comprises “local broadcast stations; public, educational, and governmental access channels; and typically, a few additional channels that may be of local, regional, national or international origin.” The FCC defines expanded basic as “the most popular level of service.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.