“I'm going to be cutting and they're one of them!” Cox Cable customers are fed up with yet another rate increase, but what can be done to protect customers?
Cox announced on the March bill that customers would see an increase in rates due to “the result of increases in operating and programming costs.” Channel 6 News has learned Cox is in the middle of negotiations with the city to renew a 10-year contract.
Many of us have cable and if you're inside the city limits of Omaha, chances are your provider is Cox. Even though negotiations are underway, there's nothing the city can do to protect customers from rate hikes because nearly 30 years ago, the City Council gave over that regulation to the Federal Communications Commission.
Vickie Devries is fed up. “This morning when I got into my email, I get my Cox bill through email, and I opened that up and just about dropped my teeth ‘cause it's like, it's gone up again.” She says she has called the company to complain in the past, but it's never done any good. “They tell me, oh it's just $10, oh it's $12, oh it's 7. Well you know in this day and age, that's a lot of money.”
According to MSNBC, nationwide, the monthly rate for pay TV has been rising at an average of six percent annually and averages $86 a month. The Omaha city attorney says if customers are upset with rate increases they can complain to Cox or to the FCC, but the City Council cannot influence rates in any way and can't deny Cox business because of rates.
“Either we need more competition or they need to cut back on their expenses like we do,” said Devries. Despite what many may have thought, the city does not limit how many cable providers can come into the city. CenturyLink will go into negotiations with the city after Cox's negotiations are settled.
As for Devries, she's looking for any solution to save money. “Nothing stretches anymore. I've stretched until I can't stretch any further and things are having to get cut back, a lot of amenities and I'm about to tell my dog to get out and get a job.”
The city attorney says negotiations between Cox and the city should wrap up by mid-May and he does expect a public hearing on the agreement during a City Council meeting toward the beginning of May.
However, rates will not be a part of the discussion. Their negotiations focus more on reworking the contract and asking for better public access TV provided for no additional cost.
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