My local cable monopoly is Spectrum, part of Charter, and I refuse to get anything except internet service through them (alas, my city, Burbank, will not sell me access to our amazing, 100GB/s fiber network, which runs directly under my house, because they have a deal with Charter not to connect any non-commercial-zoned properties to our muni fiber).
Charter sends me approximately 400,000,000 letters a day, begging me to add a TV package, despite my having opted out of this several times (also every time I report a outage to them they force me to listen to several pitches for more service, which is hilarious, because if there's one time when I really don't want to buy more from a big, stupid cable company, it's when they're dropped my existing service).
Charter is one of the handful of bloated, monopolistic cable operators in America that are hemorrhaging customers and making up for it by gouging the people who haven't left in every conceivable way.
For example, in 2017, the cable operators spent giant sums of money to kill the FCC's "Unlock the Box", which would have forced Big Cable to let you buy a set-top box from anyone you want, rather than leasing one from your cable monopoly. That set-top box? It costs an average of $231/year (read that again: $231/year!) to lease, despite being slower, less power-efficient, and less feature-rich than any of the commercial offerings from third parties.
Having killed our freedom to buy cable-boxes on the open market, the cable operators are now raising the price on set-top boxes by 7.3%, triple the rate of inflation.
As the LA Times discovered when they chased up this price-hike, set-top boxes are shrouded in more secrecy than an E-Meter. The companies that make these overpriced, underpowered crapgadgets won't say how much they cost to make, or what the cable operators pay for them, or which cable operators they sell to.
Set-top boxes are just Exhibit A. The cable operators have lots of creative ways to wallet-fuck you every month: by hiding fees in your bill (fees that are not quoted to you when you sign up), and then ratcheting those fees up ahead of inflation, the cable operators have increased the average bill by 50% since 2010. Today, the average US family pays $107/month for their cable.
The most common reason so many households are kicking their cable TV habit is the cost. Cable bills keep soaring ever higher, yet millions of households still pay ridiculous costs each month for hundreds of channels they’ll never watch, endless hours of commercials, and contracts with hidden fees. Despite the fact that streaming video has become the new norm for millions of households, some people seem to hang on to their cable subscriptions no matter what the cost. According to new data collected by consumer research firm Leichtman Research Group, Inc. (LRG), the average cost households pay for cable is now up to $107 a month. How high will it go before more households decide to cut the cable for good?
The average cost of $107 a month is up 1% from last year, thanks in large part to increasing fees for things like regional sports licensing and taxes – fees which are often excluded from initial contracts and introductory pricing. While the 1% increase might not seem like much, the average price of cable has risen by over 50% since 2010, when cable bills were $71.24 a month at the time.
The Average Cable Bill is Now $107 a Month, Up More Than 50% Since 2010 [Brett Tingley/Streaming Observer]