SBCA Chief Slams Cable Industry Over Pricing Report
Andrew Wright, president of the Satellite Broadcasting and Communications Association (SBCA), said that the Federal Communications Commission’s Report on 2002 Cable Industry Prices, released this week, “illustrates why consumers continue to unplug their cable boxes and switch to satellite television service.” He added that the cable TV industry “has consistently used its market power to raise its rates each year in order to finance upgrades in an effort to match DBS. This annual report continually underscores the superior choice, value and customer service that satellite TV provides.”
The FCC report found that the overall average monthly rate for cable programming services and equipment increased by 8.2 percent from $37.06 to $40.11 over the 12-month period ending July 1, 2002. This compares with a five-year compound annual rate of increase of 7.1 percent from July 1997 to July 2002. Specifically, the 8.2 percent increase reflects average increases in monthly charges of 3.7 percent for the “basic service tier” (BST), from $13.93 to $14.45; 10.8 percent for the “cable programming service tier” (CPST, also know as “expanded basic”) from $19.88 to $22.02; and 12.0 percent for equipment, from $3.25 to $3.64, over the same period.