FCC: Cable Prices Continue To Climb, Even In Competitive Areas

Pay TV bills keep climbing -- faster than the rate of inflation.

A recent Federal Communications Commission study says the average expanded basic TV package grew 5.1% to $64.41 for the 12 months ending January 1, 2013. This compares to a 1.6% annual increase in the consumer price index for the same period.

The average expanded basic TV package averages 160 channels -- up 2.4% from the previous year. These packages were priced at $22.35 in 1995. Since then, it has grown at a compounded rate of 6.1%. The price per channel for expanded basic service has risen 2.1% to 48 cents.
                                
But one unique bit of information is that over the last 18 years -- 1995 through 2013 -- the average price per channel is actually down 0.3%. The FCC report says the price per channel for expanded basic service is significantly lower -- 13.5% -- in areas where there is competition.

Interestingly, the FCC’s findings say that in markets where there was no competition -- cable, satellite and/or telcos -- the average price of expanded basic service was up 4.6% to $63.03. But those markets with competition were even higher -- 5.8%, to $66.14.

The survey found that the average expanded basic cable price ($64.41) was higher than both DirecTV ($63.99) and Dish Network ($59.99).

"Watching TV" photo from Shutterstock.
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