Standard Economy & Standard Cable TV Rate Adjustment
Q. Why did my Cable TV rate increase?
A. At Sparklight, we are committed to providing our customers with quality TV programming at a competitive price and we make every effort to minimize costs. In our contract negotiations with cable networks, we work hard to ensure you don’t suffer unfair price increases as a result of unreasonable rate demands.
Over the past several years, however, cable networks have increased their fees at an alarming rate, and programming costs are now the largest component of your monthly cable bill. Despite our best efforts to control these rapidly increasing programming costs, Sparklight, like other cable and satellite companies, must pass a portion of these costs on to our customers. As a result, our Economy Cable TV rate increased by $2.00/month, and our Standard Cable TV (includes bundle customers) rate increased by $6.50/month
Q. Why wasn’t I notified in advance of this increase?
A. We placed notices in your February, March, and/or April billing statements regarding this increase – we apologize that you missed those notifications.
Q. Is there anything I can do to lower my bill?
A. Sparklight offers a variety of bundle packages that could save you money. Please give us a call and we would be happy to go over our plans with you – 877-692-2253.
Q. Why did my Sports Surcharge increase?
A. Sports programming has become one of the biggest drivers of programming cost increases for cable and satellite providers and now represents more than one-third of Sparklight’s programming costs. Despite our best efforts to control these sports programming fees, Sparklight, like other cable and satellite companies, can no longer continue to absorb these increased costs. This surcharge covers a small portion of our costs to carry increasingly expensive sports programming, including ESPN, ESPN2, Fox Sports 1, and Regional Sports Networks.
Q. What kinds of sporting events are you talking about?
A. Networks are now paying billions of dollars for the ability to broadcast college and professional sporting events, including football, baseball, basketball, hockey, car racing, tennis, golf, soccer, the Winter and Summer Olympics, and more. Networks then pass these fees on to cable and satellite providers.
Q. Why wasn’t I notified in advance of this increase to the Sports Surcharge?
A. We placed notices in your February and March billing statements regarding this increase – we apologize that you missed those notifications.
Q. Other companies don’t have a Sports Surcharge, so why do you?
A. Actually, nearly all cable and satellite companies have been billing customers a Sports Surcharge for the past several years.
Q. Why can’t I just pick the channels I want to watch since I don’t watch sports?
A. Unfortunately, programmers set certain rules or guidelines for how their channels can be sold to customers, including what channels must be sold together, where the channels are positioned, and which cable packages can contain their channels. This prevents us from allowing customers the option of selecting their channels a la carte.
Q. Why did the Broadcast TV Surcharge on my statement increase?
A. This Broadcast TV Surcharge reflects a portion of the rapidly escalating charges levied by the owners of your local broadcast TV stations, including NBC, ABC, CBS, Fox, and others.
The retransmission consent fees that local broadcast TV stations charge Sparklight to carry their channels have increased nearly 82 percent over the past three years. This is despite the fact that broadcast TV stations use a spectrum granted to them for free by the federal government, and customers can pick these signals up for free with an antenna. Despite our best efforts to control these dramatically increasing retransmission consent fees, Sparklight, like other cable and satellite companies, can no longer continue to absorb these increased costs, and must pass these fees along to our customers.
Q. Why can broadcast TV stations charge for the carriage of their signals?
A. Broadcast TV stations distribute their signals for free over the air, using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing the distribution of broadcast, or "network-affiliated," TV signals. These same broadcast TV stations are then allowed by the government to charge cable and satellite companies to retransmit their signals, and if cable and satellite companies don't agree to pay, broadcast TV stations can force us to drop their channels, thereby adversely impacting our customers.
Q. Do other Cable or Satellite providers have this charge?
A. The majority of cable companies and DirecTV have been charging a Broadcast TV Surcharge to cover a portion of the retransmission costs from local broadcast TV stations for the past several years.
Q. Can I drop these channels and get these channels over the air?
A. The FCC requires Sparklight to carry these local broadcast TV channels in our packages; therefore, we are unable to sell TV services without these channels.
Q. Are all local broadcast or network-affiliated TV stations charging Sparklight?
A. The majority of all local broadcast TV stations require significant payment from any cable or satellite provider to retransmit their programming and it is a portion of their charges that are reflected in the Broadcast TV Surcharge.
Phone Regulatory & Admin Fee
Q. Why did my Phone Regulatory & Admin Fee increase by $1.65?
A. Each month our phone customers pay a Phone Regulatory & Administration Fee, which is assessed by Sparklight to recover certain federal, state, and local regulatory costs. While Sparklight has never increased rates for this fee in the past, unfortunately, the underlying federal, state and local regulatory costs have increased significantly over the past year, in some cases as much as 50 percent. As a result, we must pass a portion of this cost on to our customers.