The cable giant will score some PR points next year when consumers open their monthly bills. Instead of hiking rates for “limited basic” and “digital preferred” service, Comcast will tack on a new $1.50 charge that it calls a “Broadcast TV Fee” — designed to point a finger at TV stations that demand rising retransmission consent payments. “In recent years, the cost of retransmitting broadcast television signals has increased significantly, and we want to address these more recent increases through a separate itemized charge so that they are clear to you,” the company says in a customer notice. The $1.50 charge is just the amount that Comcast is passing along to rate payers, not necessarily the whole amount of the increase in its outlays to broadcasters. Others, including Charter and AT&T U-verse, have similar fees that call attention to retransmission consent. Comcast won’t have a similar charge to highlight the rising price demands from pay TV channels.
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