SAN ANTONIO – Screen time is costing more.
Unless you’re in a promotional offer, if you subscribe to AT&T’s DirectTV or U-Verse, Spectrum internet or Comcast’s Xfinity cable or internet, you may be seeing higher bills.
“It’s becoming an annual thing for companies to raise prices on TV and internet service,” said Consumer Reports Tech Editor Jim Willcox.
The companies attribute price hikes largely to rising programming costs and enhanced or faster broadband speeds.
This week, AT&T increased prices on most DirectTV and U-Verse packages by an extra $5 to $9 a month. The most basic stayed the same and some premium prices dropped.
Some Charter Spectrum internet customers just saw their bills jump by $5 a month. Comcast is boosting add-on fees, as well.
“Broadcast TV fees are going up by as much as $4.50 a month,” Willcox said. “And, there’s a $2 bump to get regional sports networks.”
Several companies are also reinstating data caps, which were suspended in the pandemic to ease the financial burden as many people worked and learned from home. As caps return, if you exceed your data limit, you could get hit with charges or slower speeds.
There is a bright spot for customers.
A new law requires cable and satellite TV companies to disclose the complete monthly price of the bill, including taxes and fees, when you sign up. They are also banned from charging rental fees for equipment, such as your router, that you provide yourself.
If you are frustrated by the price jumps, contact your provider and ask if there is a way to lower your bill. You can also consider cutting the cord. Streaming programs may save you money, but you’ll still have to pay for internet.