PLEASE NOTE: This unofficial website represents the views of neither
the City of Reno nor its Citizens Cable Compliance Committee.


January 21, 2005


Ben Kieckhefer, Staff Writer
Reno Gazette-Journal

Re: "Cable rates to rise" in your 1-21-2005 edition

Dear Mr. Kieckhefer:

In the above story regarding the latest rate hike, Charter Communications' Donna Lupkey asserts that “last year we didn’t do one in this area, but this time we had to pass on a portion of our increases, operating costs that we have. And programming costs alone are up 20 percent."

As noted in my 7-25-2004 story, linked below, Charter did indeed impose a rate increase last year, attributing it to cable boxes.

I could not find a link to the RGJ story on my website while we were talking. As I vaguely recall, your webmaster did not upload it to your site and I have been unable to locate a hard copy in my files.

Charter has consistently committed sins of omission in its rate increase announcements. By attributing each rate hike to a certain area of operations, the company attempts to justify an assertion that they haven't raised rates in quite some time.

That is both a distortion and a distinction without a difference. They raised rates in 2003, 2004 and this year.

As a deregulated monopoly, Charter has carte blanche to increase rates at any time. (Even in the basic tier, they are able to carry forward so much in cost filings from previous years that the federal ceiling is somewhere between here and Mars.)

By terming last year's increase as hardware-specific, they were able to state in their letter to consumers that "it has been over three years since we have adjusted rates on our digital equipment although costs have continued to increase."

Actually, they had raised rates 13 percent in 2003. See

Ms. Lupkey performs the same semantic acrobatics in your article.

Given that the industry is changing at an increasing rate and that the City of Reno is stuck with a 15-year franchise which is rapidly becoming obsolete, the city council should take a fresh look at implementing the long range plan first presented by the Citizens Cable Compliance Committee last October.

Washoe County, Carson City and the City of Sparks should review the record carefully in light of their individual franchise renewal processes.

Thank you.

Be well. Raise hell.

Andrew Barbano

ps: As I noted, you will find my presentation before the City of Reno's Boards & Commissions Review Task Force, along with the McNeely Administration's recommendation that the Citizens Cable Compliance Committee be gutted, hereat


Date: Thu, 20 Jan 2005 12:54:47 -0800
To: (Ben Kieckhefer)
From: Andrew Barbano <>
Subject: last year's rate hike

Here's my take on last year's cable box rate increase

Be well. Raise hell.




    Watch this website and Barbwire by Barbano in the Sunday Sparks Tribune and Friday Comstock Chronicle for updates. Click here to request placement on our mailing list.

     Thank you.

Back to Unofficial Citizens Cable Compliance Committee Home Page



Site designed & maintained by Deciding Factors