Cable Customers with Harlan Municipal Utilities (HMU) will see an increase in their bill starting in May. In a regular board meeting Tuesday, the HMU board of Trustees approved resolution No. 40 for the rate changes for Cable TV and Internet Services. Doug Hammer, Marketing Director for HMU, said at the meeting, new network contracts were signed and many of the channels were increased and a lot of the increases were in part because of sports content. “This is where a lot of the hidden fees come in. Folks like Turner will go out and spend $11 billion for the college basketball tournament because they know they have a revenue stream to pay for it. They continue to pass it along to the cable and satellite customers. And we are seeing it across other sports too,” according to Hammer.
He says even the once free “over the air” content is now being paid for by the consumer. He says “Our basic cable cost of $14.49, that 38% off the top just for the TV stations that we never paid for, is being paid by the customer.” The difficulty in avoiding the rate increases are because of how the contracts are dictated by TV companies. “People always say is there a way to mitigate the cost, how do we slow down or can we stop the increase? The only way to do that is drop content. There is the possibility to drop broadcast channels but that won’t save much. To drop other channels, you will have to wait to the end of the contracts. You can’t drop one channel or you lose out on other channels. It’s an all or none,” he says.
Overall, the basic cable TV package for HMU customers will increase by $2 and expanded basic cable $4 to $52.95. All bundle packages of either/or cable/internet, cable/phone or all three will be a $3 increase. All premiere movie packages such as HBO or Showtime will increase $2 as well. The increase will go into effect on May 1st.