Thursday, November 05, 2009

Cox Raises Rates...

The Independent, the Gonzales Weekly Citizen and the Baton Rouge Business Report all have up stories based on a Cox press release that announces rate increases for both cable and internet packages in South Louisiana starting December 8th. Price increases range from 2 to 3 dollars on each effected service...with 1 dollar bumps on some (unspecified) premium packages. So if you get both internet and cable from Cox you'll be looking at at least $4 on the low end to $6 and up on higher end combos. It would be pretty easy for all those small changes to add up to a substantial surcharge of 10 dollars and more a month and it will be interesting to see a more detailed accounting of the changes.

Merry Christmas!

Details are still murky (expect pieces with some real reporting in tomorrow's news cycle) and "Along with the channel launches, some channels will move within tiers and into new service levels." Thats' pretty vague and sounds like it might mean that some tiers will actually lose channels. At any rate Cox is claiming cost increases in retransmission fees (that refers to fees paid to local stations) and cable channel packages to account for the increases cable side. Nobody is saying why internet has to increase as well.

Cox's "Ultimate Tier" —that 50/5 tier was introduced in Acadiana to compete with LUS Fiber's 50/50 tier—is the only internet package that will not see an increase.

(Hmmn...I justed checked the Cox site for Baton Rouge and Gonzales zip codes. Baton Rouge's announces that you can't get the Ultimate package there. But in Gonzales, where small local provider EATEL is also providing fiber to the home, the site now shows that Cox is willing to sell the "Ulitmate" service there as well. My...doesn't Baton Rouge wish that it had something more competitive than AT&T's UVerse to spur a little competitive energies?)

Cox announced some service increase candy alongside the bitter medicine of a rate increase. Among them are more HD channels, and speed increases on some of the internet tiers. The intent behind announcing them together is, pretty clearly and sensibly enough, to encourage folks to think that Cox is giving you something extra for your money. But they extras don't line up that neatly: on the cable side the lower-priced tiers and the movie packages get an increase but the higher-priced tiers are the ones that benifit from new HD channels.

Cox has been holding off on price increases in South Louisiana and especially in its Acadiana branch since LUS Fiber came onto the scene but apparently that long drought has ended. Cox is not going to continue to give all of South Louisiana a break just to keep its prices lower in Lafayette. You can look for semi-permenant "special introductory offers" to be given at a drop of the hat if you zip code is right, of course. But those things are time-limited and I doubt many people will be fooled for long.

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