Consumer Reports: Cable bill price hike

Consumer Reports

CONSUMER REPORTS — The holidays have come and gone, but there’s often a new year’s tradition you might not know about: an annual price hike on TV and internet fees from some of the biggest cable and satellite companies.

Consumer Reports explains what you can expect.

You may be seeing a higher cable or internet bill if you subscribe to AT&T’s DirecTV or U-verse, Charter’s Spectrum internet or Comcast’s Xfinity cable or internet and you’re not in a promotional or introductory offer contract.

It’s becoming an annual thing for companies to raise prices on TV and internet service. They blame rising programming costs and faster broadband speed for the increases.

AT&T customers who have DirecTV and U-verse TV service will be seeing price hikes this month. An increase for some Charter customers with Spectrum internet already went into effect.

Comcast internet and cable customers will also be paying more. Comcast is boosting add-on fees as well. Broadcast TV fees are going up by as much as $4.50 per month. And there’s a $2 bump if you want to get regional sports networks.

Several companies are also reinstate data caps that were suspended during the early days of the pandemic lockdown, when so many people started working and going to school from home.

With data caps, you get a certain amount with your monthly plan. If you exceed that amount, you could get hit with overage charges or you might fund that your download speeds are slowing down.

But there’s one bright spot for consumers. A new law now in effect requires cable and satellite TV companies to disclose the total monthly price of your bill when you sign up. That includes all charges, fees and estimated taxes.

The law also bans those companies from charging you rental fees for routers and other equipment you provide yourself.

For those who are frustrated by these price hikes, you can always contact your internet or cable provider to see if there’s a way to lower your bill.

If you’re considering cutting cable and switching to streaming, check out Consumer Reports’ streaming service guide by clicking here.

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