NORTH ADAMS - Cable television isn't cheap these days and subscribers of Time Warner Cable will pay a little more to watch their favorite shows beginning March 1, when a recently announced rate increase goes into effect.
Price increases will range from $1 to $6.04, depending on a subscriber's service plan.
The announcement, sent to subscribers with their February bills, follows similar rate increases implemented in January by satellite television providers DirecTV and Dish Network.
"It's an average increase of 2.6 percent," Jennifer Holick, Time Warner's communications manager for New England, said Tuesday. "But more than 67 percent of our customers across the Northeast won't see a change in the price of their services, as they are [subscribed to] a promotional package."
She attributed the rate adjustments to increased programming costs and continued investments in infrastructure and available services.
"Our new prices reflect dramatically higher programming costs - especially for local broadcast channels and sports programming. In recent years, the cost of cable programming has grown at double the pace of the price of our television services," Holick said. "At the same time, customer's TV packages are more valuable than ever. We've added new channels, many in the HD tier, including the NFL Network. We've also added more On Demand movies and shows, more access to live and On Demand programming available on computers, smart phones and tablets. We've also improved our interactive guide for digital TV customers.
There will be no increase to the company's cable Internet or home phone services, although packages including cable television services will increase by $3. Subscribers currently enrolled in promotional packages will not see a rate increase until the discounted package expires.
Basic cable rates will increase by 13.7 percent or $1.54, from $11.25 to $12.79. Although Time Warner did not increase its rates in 2012, the company adjusted its rates twice in 2011. The cost of basic service has risen $4 since 2011.
Standard cable service, which comprises the basic and cable programming tiers, will increase 3.5 percent, from $72.45 to $74.99.
Customers subscribing to the cable company's digital tier will see an increase of $5 or 6.4 percent, when the package increases from $78.45 to $83.45.
"All the Best Premium" subscribers, which includes the digital TV package with four premium channels, will see an increase of 1.5 percent or $3, as the service tier rises from $193.45 a month to $196.45.
In addition, cable cards will increase by 50 cents, from $2 to $2.50. The digital cable box rental fee will decrease by 62 cents from $6.48 to $5.84, and the digital remote fee will remain at 36 cents.
Time Warner customers are not alone, as satellite subscribers are also feeling the pinch of increased rates. On Feb. 7, DirecTV subscribers saw an average price increase of 4.5 percent, with package rates increasing between $2 to $5 depending on the level of service purchased.
The country's No. 1 satellite television provider also attributed price increases to the rise of programming fees charged by network providers in a statement on its website.
"Each year the owners of television channels increase the programming fees they charge to DirecTV for the right to broadcast their movies, shows and sporting events to you," the website states. "As a result, DirectTV must periodically adjust pricing and channel lineups of our programming packages In 2013, the programming fees we pay to the owners of these television channels will increase about 8 percent, but DirecTV is adjusting the prices our customers pay on average by about 4.5 percent."
Rival Dish Network increased the price of its core bundles between 7 percent and 20 percent, effective in January, with most packages increasing by $5.