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Arvig's TV rates to increase in January

Arvig will be raising its cable television rates, effective January 2013.

According to a press release from the company, the rate increase is due to rising retransmission fees and the high cost of obtaining television rights for sports programs.

Arvig customers are being notified of these price increases through Arvig's monthly newsletter, special mailings and via a message on their invoices.

According to David Pratt, Director of Video at Arvig, "Under a federal law passed in 1992, called retransmission consent, television service providers are required to obtain the permission of most local broadcasters to retransmit their signals. For many years, local broadcasters like WDAY, KARE, KCCO, KVLY and KMSP, gave us retransmission consent at no additional cost. That began to change in the last several years, when these stations began to require us to pay a fee. We recently renegotiated our retransmission contracts with local broadcasters and fees increased dramatically."

Pratt continued, "Customers should know they have a voice. The 1992 retransmission law is out of date and needs to be updated. Arvig and other television service providers have been actively seeking reasonable reforms to broadcast retransmission consent for years. We have lobbied both the FCC and federal legislators, but they have yet to take action. If you would like to voice your concerns about these fees and charges, please contact the FCC and your Minnesota Representatives in the U.S. Congress."

The other major factor leading to cable rate increases are sports rights. Historically, channels like ESPN and FS North have been the most costly channels television service providers carry. Increasingly, those channels, the major broadcast networks, ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox, and other channels are competing for the rights to televise professional and major college sports. The fierce competition has resulted in major increases in the costs of sports rights, which the channels are passing on to viewers.

Pratt said Arvig has been able to hold its rates flat for the last two years with bundled services, but now must increase rates: "Although we'd like to be able to offer these high-cost sports channels on an à la carte basis, the contracts will not allow it."

"As a locally owned company, Arvig is committed to providing customers the latest in television, Internet, phone, wireless technology and security services. And, for more than 60 years, we have prided ourselves on offering each of our services at a reasonable price," said David Arvig, COO-Vice President. "Arvig will continue its commitment to high quality and reasonable prices while delivering the television content our customers want."

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