Time Warner Cable will soon add a $2.75 sports programming monthly surcharge, in addition to other increased service and equipment fees that altogether could add as much as $9 to a customer’s bill, according to multiple reports.
Other fees that will rise include those for a digital adapter, from 99 cents to $2.75; Internet modem lease, from $5.99 to $8; and HBO, from $14.95 to $16.99, according to reports. The higher fees will take effect in their next billing statement.
The news came in a letter to customers.
Time Warner reportedly attributed the sports surcharge to the increased costs imposed by sports programmers. The cable giant in recent years has been involved in a handful of disputes with networks over sports programming.
Last year, for instance, a payment disagreement with CBS Corp. threatened to leave viewers blacked out of professional football games. And a programming fee battle between MSG and Time Warner knocked Buffalo Sabres games off of Time Warner Cable in 2012.
Time Warner increased cable television and Internet rates last March by an average of 6.4 percent, including a new fee to cover the rising cost of carrying the local broadcast television stations.
The company blamed that rate increase primarily on the increased costs it faces to carry programming from television networks and cable channels, along with the rising fees it must pay to carry local broadcast stations that consumers are able to receive for free if they use an antenna.
At that time, Time Warner also added a separate “broadcast TV fee” of $2.25 per month to help cover the fees it pays to local television stations to retransmit their programming. The broadcast TV fee is increasing to $2.75 under the new schedule, according to reports.
The Federal Communications Commission is expected early next year to review a proposed controversial $45 billion merger between Time Warner and Comcast that would unite the two largest cable operators in the country.
If the deal goes through, the combined company would cover about a third of pay television subscribers and control an estimated 35 percent of broadband Internet service.
Other companies, public interest groups and labor unions have joined forces to urge regulators to reject the merger.