If you have your cable TV through Charter Communications, you can expect to pay a little more thanks to a new “local broadcast TV” surcharge set to begin showing up on statements this month.
The company sent a notice to Spectrum (that’s the name for their phone, cable, and Internet service) customers in January about the new $4.47 monthly fee. The fee, Charter said, is simply because TV stations are charging Charter more to carry their broadcasts.
Local TV stations are a necessity for cable companies, and federal law states that local broadcast TV stations can charge cable companies for carrying their stations if they want. Many local broadcasters have been pushing for higher fees, and Charter says things eventually got to the point where some of the fees had to be passed on to the customer.
To make sure the customer knows this, Charter, along with many other cable companies, have started itemizing bills. On the bill each month, an item will now read “Local broadcast TV.”
“We’ve begun breaking out the broadcast TV surcharge as a specific line on customer statements, as we do in other Charter systems,” said Heidi Vandenbrouck, a senior communication manager with Charter, “to reflect the cost of local broadcast TV stations.” That was the extent of their statement on the issue, Charter said.
Charter isn’t the first cable company to go this route. Comcast, which serves much of the same area, started passing their broadcast fees to the customer back in 2014, and Time Warner Cable does the same presently.
Charter is the USA’s second largest cable operator by subscribers, just behind Comcast, with an estimated 30 million customers in 2014. The company is in the news right now because of an active lawsuit alleging Charter didn’t deliver promised Internet speeds to customers in New York State.