Comcast Jacks Up Cable Bills For Atlanta Customers With Second Price Increase In Year

If you have Comcast and live in the Atlanta area, expect to be paying more after Oct. 1, as the cable company is increasing rates — for the second time this year — on customers in the region by anywhere from 3% to 17%.

Most customers will see a flat increase of $3/month on their bill though the poorly named Digital Economy package will go up $5/month.

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, after this latest increase the price of Comcast’s bottom-dollar service, Limited Basic, will have nearly tripled — from $10.83/month to $29.95/month since 2007.

The company says that customer who are currently paying promotional prices will not see a price increase until after their promotion is over. But judging by the mountain of complaints we’ve received over the years, we wouldn’t be shocked if some glitch accidentally jacks up the bills of these customers. So if you’re still paying a promo rate, pay close attention to your bill in the next few months to make sure you’re not overpaying.

“By and large, our customers remain loyal and continue to see incremental value in our service,” a Comcast rep explains, presumably while struggling to maintain a straight face. “We work hard to hold down the cost.”

The Kabletown rep says that customers in Atlanta got access to 15 new channels — like Disney Junior, ShopNBC and ESPN Goal Line — this year.

The question is, were customers really clamoring for these channels when they have hundreds of others they already don’t watch?

The AJC reports that DirecTV prices went up about 4% earlier this year, while AT&T U-Verse rates increased between 1.7% and 3.5%. Dish prices remain frozen into 2013. None of these providers say they have plans on another price increase in the Atlanta area this year.

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  1. Emerson says:

    x + 15 channels and still nothing on.

  2. Quirk Sugarplum says:

    To be fair, some of the outlying areas of Atlanta are in the 1980’s. It’s expensive to pump cable that far.

    • ZachPA says:

      Not really. Pumping out cable any distance over 500 feet requires nothing more than a single strand of fiber. That’s how most CATV operators do it nowadays. If your cable operator offers two-way cable modem and/or digital cable, their network is already a hybrid fiber/coax network.

      From the plant, CableCo runs a fiber optic line to a town. That line terminates in a switch, which you could think of as a splitter, except that it’s much more like a network switch in that it routes packets where they need to go. From the town’s switch, fiber optic lines travel to each of many individual nodes that correspond to neighborhoods or smaller areas of coverage. The node terminates the fiber optic line, converts the signal and transmits it over a copper coaxial cable down to the street level to a master junction that controls up to 20 homes. From that junction, copper coaxial cable feeds into your home and provides the 100s of megabits of internet and gigabits of video.

      For the most part, if a home and neighborhood has been wired for coaxial cable at any point during the last 35 years, the cable should be in good enough shape and high enough quality to transmit all the signal a cable modem and digital cable box (really nothing more than a cable modem with video-out ports) could ever need. My own home and neighborhood wiring is over 25 years old, and my cable modem sustains 138 Mbps download (4x bonded DOCSIS 3.0 channels!).

      So, cable infrastructure of the 80s being what it was, all Comcast would have to do is deploy (or lease, but most likely deploy) fiber optic cable strung from an upstream switch or the distribution plant itself to an outlying distribution network, where they can then further distribute fiber and copper until they reach the last mile which is already in place.

      That said, up until this century, there wasn’t any real need for cable, because the Braves games were mostly on the local TBS OTA feed. That changed after Turner sold out to Time Warner and the Braves began airing on regional sports networks. Shame.

    • Bob A Dobalina says:

      Do you know what it costs to provide cable once the infrastructure is built? very little. it is basically maintenance. and every Comcrap customer knows how much value the company places on that.

      all of the complex and expensive stuff is at the “head end”- a centralized location where are the satellite dishes, distribution equipment, etc is located.in many cases these are regional and cover a huge service area.

  3. Kahlidan says:

    Comcast just bought NBC Universal for billions-somehow the constant rate increases seem a bit excessive, not to mention their already ridiculous rates for TV.

  4. Goatweed says:

    are customers staying out of loyalty or because they have no one else to turn to outside of a satellite dish?

    • ThinkingBrian says:

      I can’t be 100% sure, but I would have to imagine that many of them only have one cable company that services there area. It’s the same way in most areas of the country (out of major cities) including mine up here in Massachusetts.

      • Bob A Dobalina says:

        ATL is very hilly so satellite does not work well in many areas.most decent apartments won’t allow dishes to be installed

        u-verse is making inroads but most of the city does not have it yet

        so, yeah, Comcast pretty much has a gun to their throat

    • frank64 says:

      RTFA, Comcast said LOYALTY. Why would they lie? This is backed up by their fine reputation too, they are even contenders for awards on this site, and I think won once.

  5. bnceo says:

    No ESPN Goal Line in my market (Baltimore/North MD). But we did get beIN Sport for my soccer craving. It’s owned by Al-Jazeera

  6. Torchwood says:

    Where is the obligatory Consumerist article on how to build your own cable TV channel with nothing interesting on?

  7. dolemite says:

    Yeah, my Comcast bills goes up every year too. They attempt to say they are offering more, by adding in a few channels no one watches.

    I just read some kind of study/survey stating that loyal customers to any service (specifically mentioned were cable, insurance) pay much higher rates than customers that shop around.

    Each year my Comcast “deal” ends, and I look at the deals for new customers for Dish Network or Direct TV. I call up Comcast to see if they have any deals for loyal customers. Each time they have something that makes me stick around another year.

    • kanenas says:

      “I call up Comcast to see if they have any deals for loyal customers. Each time they have something that makes me stick around another year.”

      I did that the last time my promotional deal with Comcast was in effect. I asked them to make me a better deal and they told me to go pound sand.

      I dumped their TV service, retained their Internet service, put up an antenna, and I really don’t feel like I am missing anything.

      • redskull says:

        Sounds exactly like my story. Except I didn’t put up an antenna, I just stopped watching TV altogether.

      • NotEd says:

        But you kept their Internet service.
        Now not to split hairs, but to me that still seems like a minor improvement at best.

      • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

        Comcast, along with many other companies, has caught onto the fact that existing customers call and want deals, and just do it every 6 months or so to keep lower rates. I just talked to the lady in the office next door, and she said the same thing as you – she called and wanted to keep her current payment (she’s at the end of the promo period, again), and they said no.

        I asked – at the office and on the phone. Answer, no programs for existing customers.

        So – while I’ll still keep them for phone and internet, no more cable.

  8. PoderOmega says:

    Claiming ShopNBC is adding value is a bit disingenuous for two reasons. Number 1, Comcast owns NBC so the cost of this channel would be very low to deliver to the cable box. Number 2, this is a home shopping network. Home shopping channels traditionally pay to be on the cable company’s lineup.

  9. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    I just visited my Comcast office this afternoon. Noticed they got rid of the bullet proof glass, but added more cameras and there’s a height measurement guide affixed to the door!

    Anyway, I asked if they had any promotional deals for existing customers. She simply said “no”. I asked if I canceled the cable portion of my service, downgraded the phone to the Xfinity Local and More service, if I could keep the same cable modem and wireless router, since it works and I didn’t want to mess with it. She simply said “yes”.

    No – “let’s see what other packages are available” or “are you unhappy with the service”. Nothing.

  10. NorthAlabama says:

    they charge what the market will bear.

    i seem to remember another company that used to do the same…who was it? oh, yes, the landline phone and long distance companies! we see how well that worked out for them. i wish the same for comcast.

  11. Bodger says:

    I got a nice scary ad from Comcast in the mail today warning me: “Important Notice: Knology has been sold and is passing your business off to an unknown company.” Having been a Comcast customer in the past (and a current DirecTV user) I say “better some unknown company than Comcast which I know all too well.” I KNOW that Comcast will raise my rates at every opportunity and will give shoddy service when I ask for it so give me that unknown company and be quick about it!

  12. dush says:

    So they openly admit only incremental value as they massively jack up prices. Smart.

  13. who? says:

    I just love the false economy that the cable providers try to sell. When I last had cable, I had 280 channels. Looking at the season pass list on my Tivo, however, I only watched 12 channels, 6 of which were available with an antenna. So I was paying $100+ per month for 6 channels, or $15 per channel.

    I don’t miss it at all, frankly. It’s cheaper just to buy the individual shows from Amazon.

  14. Jawaka says:

    “The Comcast rep says that customers in Atlanta got access to 15 new channels — like Disney Junior, ShopNBC and ESPN Goal Line — this year. ”

    These people were essentially forced to purchase additional channels that they weren’t even asked if they wanted

    • scoosdad says:

      No, worse than that, customers are paying for extra channels that Disney forced Comcast to add to their system, or else risk losing more popular Disney/ABC/ESPN channels. Bundling in force, further weakening any chance of cable going a la carte.

      And claiming to have added an NBC shopping channel (which Comcast directly profits from) as a customer benefit worthy of a price increase is simply obscene. Comcast owns NBC, don’t forget. What sane customer demands shopping channels to be added to a system?

  15. AngryK9 says:

    Oh? Insight Cable has jacked my bill up every month by a few dollars for the last year or so now. Two increases per year? Must be nice.

  16. ancientone567 says:

    Just disconnect every year and come back as a new customer with the promo rates. That is what I do every year and never have to worry about inflation lol.

  17. frank64 says:

    Haven’t they already hit a price ceiling for many people. Couldn’t be this be the straw?

    I thought one reason cable cos were fighting carry fees was because they were seeing customers start to drop cable due to the price, what is happening? I dropped cable a long time ago, but if I hadn’t, I would be doing it now. I am lucky though, I get many stations with an antenna and cheap Verizon DSL that allows for good streaming.

    • Bob A Dobalina says:

      the last straw has apparently been placed. more people are “cord cutting.” the cable companies have actually started losing customers

      • NeverLetMeDown2 says:

        Cable’s losing customers, but satellite and telco video are gaining customers. Total “cable TV” customers are still rising.

      • frank64 says:

        They don’t seem to be responding like the market would suggest. I think many will just pay the extra cost because some favorite show or sport would be lost.

  18. oldwiz65 says:

    The rates go up whenever Comcast’s executives need pay raises and bonuses.

    • NorthAlabama says:

      good to know.

      i thought that executive pay raises and bonuses were financed by firing experienced, higher paid employees and replacing them with lower paid, inexperienced, entry level employees who aren’t able to effectively assist customers without getting a supervisor or the consumerist involved…

  19. frank64 says:

    “Aug. 1: Comcast Corp. says it lost 176,000 video subscribers, though the rate of decline has slowed. It ended the quarter with 22.1 million to remain the nation’s largest.”

    http://news.yahoo.com/look-cable-satellite-tv-earnings-reports-230540043.html

    • lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

      Make that 176,001 as of this Friday. But I still have to pay them for internet, as they’re the only high speed service (other than satellite) that I can get on my road.

  20. Bort says:

    I agree they are holding down costs.
    Jack up price, skimp on cost and voila, double the profit. I bet they can’t understand why we aren’t proud of them.

  21. Jimmy37 says:

    OK, so Atlanta has access to 3 other service providers.

    Are these Comcast customers go to bleat like sheeple about how unfair the increase is and do nothing, or will they act like consumers and vote with their dollars?

    Pay TV service is a luxury that the marketplace should decide.

  22. ganon446 says:

    Oh wow the golf channel w00t