Basic cable television rates in Wadsworth will increase 7.9 percent on Jan. 1. Basic rates will increase from $16.55 to $17.85 for Wadsworth residents, and from $18.20 to $19.65 for those outside the city in Wadsworth and Sharon townships.
John Madding, Wadsworth CityLink Cable program manager, said the increase was needed.
“The cost of programming goes up tremendously every year,” he said. “We’re trying to keep the rates as low as possible."
He said the industry’s sports channels, most notably ESPN, continually increase their fees.
Madding said the notice for the increase will go out in consumers’ December utility bill.
He said he hasn’t heard much negativity from subscribers about the rate hike.
“Most people understand,” Madding said. “We are just passing through the programming costs. If programming goes up $4, we don’t always charge them the whole cost.”
He said the price increases are almost a yearly occurrence. City Council approved the increases at its Nov. 17 meeting.
Madding said the wholesale price for programming in 1987 was $8. Now, for the same service, the wholesale price is now $29.
The increases are causing some cable companies to drop some popular networks such as Discovery.
CityLink has been unable to cut costs by dropping some of the high-priced networks because it competes fiercely with Time Warner Cable and consumers have the option to switch providers.
“It’s a competitive market,” Madding said. “They all want eyeballs on their channels.”
Madding said his company has 3,750 subscribers in Wadsworth, Wadsworth Township and Sharon Township.
It has 4,100 Internet subscribers, which he said is a growing trend. He said CityLink started the year with about 3,800 Internet subscribers.
Madding said more people are watching television on the Internet — and that trend will continue. CityLink offers a free site that allows paid subscribers to watch TV on their phones, iPads or other mobile devices on www.watchtveverywhere.com. It has a contract with Massillon Cable TV to offer the portal. The channels available are ones individuals are already subscribed to in their cable package.
Besides TV and Internet, CityLink also provides a service called Internet Protocol Phone.
“That part of our business hasn’t grown,” Madding said. “Many older adults, though, are keeping their home phones. It’s a comfort to them.”