Cox customers hit with price increase
By: Jeannine LeJeune
CROWLEY – When Cox Communications customers in the area received their bills this past month, they likely were surprised to see that they would now be playing more for their internet, phone and/or cable services.
While Cox doesn’t hide the fact that its prices, and special offers, are subject to change and restrictions, customers have had to deal with these rate increases almost annually.
Upon a bit of research, it appears the March bill increase really shouldn’t be much of a surprise to customers as Cox has risen rates fairly consistently throughout the country for the past five years. However, according to Cox, rates in the Acadiana region have not risen since 2009.
But with the continuing economic issues the price change appears to have caught more eyes than usual this time around.
The root of the increases, according to Cox Communications Public Affairs Manager for the Acadiana area Patricia Thompson, is an increasingly high cost of business and programming.
“We’ve done everything to absorb these cost increases, but the rates for programming have increased significantly,” she said.
She added that the big networks, such as Nickelodeon and Disney (especially Disney) have had huge jumps in the prices for their programming over the past few years, but Thompson said the rate increases passed down to their customers are far less than what the company.
Thompson also says that the challenging economic times and increased cost of business as a company also has led to higher rates across the board, not just in the television cable service sector.
“It’s a challenging economic time for everyone,” said Thompson.
She says the price increases are similar to those people see in a grocery store. As it costs more for the store to get the products, it begins to cost the customer more to receive/purchase products.
Cox says that other telecommunication companies have seen their rates rise in the past few months as well.
The biggest rate change falls in the cable equipment category. Last month’s Cox bill showed $5.25 as the cost for an high-definition receiver, but now it costs $7.25 per month for a HD receiver.
The rate increases also hit the services as well. Internet services seemed to take the smaller hit. For example, “Internet Preferred” rates only rose 6.5 percent to $48.99.
Television services were not so lucky as the “Cox TV Starter” package jumped 25.7 percent to $19.55. Some things in the cable sector did actually see a decrease, as “Advanced TV” and DVR services prices dropped $2, “Advanced TV plus 1 Pak” dropped $1 and “Advanced TV plus 2 Paks” stayed the same at $14.99.
Through the public notices/legals portion of the major newspapers–i.e. The Advocate, The Advertiser and Times Picayune–across the state, Cox Communications first warned customers of the price increase on January . The notice outlined all price increases on cable services that would go into effect on or around March 1 of this year.
Cox also sent letters explaining the price increases with the pricing chart to its local franchise authorities (LFAs). LFAs are those entities, a city hall, a mayor, etc., that Cox must pay to be able to provide services in the area.
Thompson added that there is a program in the area, provided through the Lafayette Council on Aging, to all qualifng senior citizens. Seniors who have an income of $24,000 or less and are 60 years or older can apply through their local Council on Aging office for a 25 percent discount on basic cable services.