Kieckhefer, Staff Writer
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 didnt 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
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
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
Washoe County, Carson City and the City of Sparks should review
the record carefully in light of their individual franchise renewal
Be well. Raise hell.
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
Thu, 20 Jan 2005 12:54:47 -0800
To: email@example.com (Ben Kieckhefer)
From: Andrew Barbano <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: last year's rate hike
Here's my take on last year's cable box rate increase
Be well. Raise hell.