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Cable providers launch website to address fees, channel choices

Ever wonder why cable users have to pay for television channels they never watch, or why their bills go up every year?

Perham-based cable provider, Arvig, along with hundreds of other local, independent cable providers throughout the country, are hoping to answer these and many other questions with the launch of

This new website was developed by the National Cable Television Cooperative as a resource for cable providers and their customers to explain trends and track disputes related to the cost of cable TV, according to a press release.

The goal of the website is to shed light on the contract negotiations that often lead to rate increases and channel blackouts.

“ will be a great platform for transparency between us as the provider and our customers,” said David Arvig, vice president and chief operating officer of Arvig.

Each year, media networks and broadcast affiliates increase the programming fees they charge cable providers for the right to deliver movies, shows and sporting events. These “retransmission fees” and programming licenses are what account for the bulk of a monthly cable bill.

 “We are controlled by the networks that provide television content,” explained David Pratt, director of video at Arvig. “We absorb as much as we can when fees go up, but we are also forced to pass along a portion of the increase to customers so we can continue to deliver the service.”

According to, more than 95 percent of the cable programming customers receive is delivered and regulated by nine powerful media conglomerates. These companies push for higher fees and often contractually require cable providers to carry both the most-popular and least-popular cable networks in order to obtain a more favorable rate.

“Just as it’s cheaper for customers to bundle their services, it’s cheaper for us to bundle channels,” continued Pratt. “And we don’t have a choice on what channels are included in our bundle. If we want the lowest rate, we have to pay for them all.”

Pratt concluded, “We hope will help customers understand that no decision on price or packaging is made lightly and that we always have our customers’ best interests in mind.”

Arvig is a full-service telecommunications provider serving 28 counties within the state of Minnesota. For more information, call 888-992-7844 or visit