Suddenlink raising rates about $3 in December

System manager cites rapid rise in fees paid to networks

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK | News-Telegram Managing Editor

Oct 28, 2007 - Corporate greed may be the reason Suddenlink Communications will implement a rate increase of about $3 for a typical cable subscriber come December, but it's not necessarily the cable company that's the problem.

In a letter sent to the city of Sulphur Springs this week, Joe Suggs, manager of the Suddenlink office in Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro, explained that the fees paid to networks like ESPN, Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, Disney, USA and others are growing at a rate of approximately 9 percent each year — twice the growth rate of Suddenlink’s other operating expenses combined.

The letter also forecast increasing pressure for networks, with Fox News submitting a proposal for a 170 percent increase in fees. A battle between the National Football League and cable companies nationwide over the charges to carry the NFL Network on expanded basic packages continues, as well.

�Despite these cost pressures, we will continue to negotiate diligently with TV network and station owners to help mitigate their demands,� the letter stated. �Our cost-control efforts to date are reflected in the modest rate adjustments that will take place throughout the remainder of this year.�

Suddenlink’s standard monthly rate for Limited, Expanded Basic and Premium services will increase with the December bills. The monthly rate for Limited Basic service will rise $2, from $18.99 to $20.99. The cost for Expanded Basic will rise from $26 to $26.96.

Also, the monthly rate for Premium channels — i.e., HBO, Showtime, etc. — will rise $1 per month for one Premium, $2 for two, and $3 for all four premium channels.

The rate for the Suddenlink Wire Maintenance Plan will increase from $2.99 to $4.50, as well.

Also, this month Suddenlink raised the administrative fee for late payments by $1, from $5 to $6.

There are also some channel changes that will add more value to the cable companies lineup. In mid December, Lifetime Movie Network will move from the Digital Movie Tier to the Expanded Basic package. For those with high definition TVs, ESPN HD will become part of the free HD Basic Tier.

Suddenlink has made several moves in recent months to improve its product offerings to area subscribers. Earlier this month, the company  the cable television company launched telephone service in both Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro. Suddenlink’s phone service offer unlimited local and domestic long distance calling as a standard feature. Optional features include caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, anonymous call rejection and call forwarding. Voice mail and international calls are also available.

Basic cost for Suddenlink phone service is $39.95 per month when bundled with Suddenlink cable TV and broadband Internet service. When bundled with one other Suddenlink product, the price rises to $44.95. Stand-alone phone service starts at $49.95.

In August, Suddenlink increased speeds on its most popular residential high-speed Internet packages in Sulphur Springs and Como at no added charge to its customers.

Suddenlink's Premier Internet doubled its download speed to a maximum of up to 10 megabits per second. Preferred Internet service doubled from 4 megabits per second to 8 megabits. The Value Internet service speed remained at 1 megabit per second.

System manager

cites rapid rise

in fees paid to networks

By BRUCE ALSOBROOK

News-Telegram Managing Editor

Corporate greed may be the reason Suddenlink Communications will implement a rate increase of about $3 for a typical cable subscriber come December, but it's not necessarily the cable company that's the problem.

In a letter sent to the city of Sulphur Springs this week, Joe Suggs, manager of the Suddenlink office in Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro, explained that the fees paid to networks like ESPN, Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, Disney, USA and others are growing at a rate of approximately 9 percent each year — twice the growth rate of Suddenlink’s other operating expenses combined.

The letter also forecast increasing pressure for networks, with Fox News submitting a proposal for a 170 percent increase in fees. A battle between the National Football League and cable companies nationwide over the charges to carry the NFL Network on expanded basic packages continues, as well.

�Despite these cost pressures, we will continue to negotiate diligently with TV network and station owners to help mitigate their demands,� the letter stated. �Our cost-control efforts to date are reflected in the modest rate adjustments that will take place throughout the remainder of this year.�

Suddenlink’s standard monthly rate for Limited, Expanded Basic and Premium services will increase with the December bills. The monthly rate for Limited Basic service will rise $2, from $18.99 to $20.99. The cost for Expanded Basic will rise from $26 to $26.96.

Also, the monthly rate for Premium channels — i.e., HBO, Showtime, etc. — will rise $1 per month for one Premium, $2 for two, and $3 for all four premium channels.

The rate for the Suddenlink Wire Maintenance Plan will increase from $2.99 to $4.50, as well.

Also, this month Suddenlink raised the administrative fee for late payments by $1, from $5 to $6.

There are also some channel changes that will add more value to the cable companies lineup. In mid December, Lifetime Movie Network will move from the Digital Movie Tier to the Expanded Basic package. For those with high definition TVs, ESPN HD will become part of the free HD Basic Tier.

Suddenlink has made several moves in recent months to improve its product offerings to area subscribers. Earlier this month, the company  the cable television company launched telephone service in both Sulphur Springs and Winnsboro. Suddenlink’s phone service offer unlimited local and domestic long distance calling as a standard feature. Optional features include caller ID, call waiting, three-way calling, anonymous call rejection and call forwarding. Voice mail and international calls are also available.

Basic cost for Suddenlink phone service is $39.95 per month when bundled with Suddenlink cable TV and broadband Internet service. When bundled with one other Suddenlink product, the price rises to $44.95. Stand-alone phone service starts at $49.95.

In August, Suddenlink increased speeds on its most popular residential high-speed Internet packages in Sulphur Springs and Como at no added charge to its customers.

Suddenlink's Premier Internet doubled its download speed to a maximum of up to 10 megabits per second. Preferred Internet service doubled from 4 megabits per second to 8 megabits. The Value Internet service speed remained at 1 megabit per second.

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