During the last week of December, BT cable customers received a letter in the mail regarding an increase to cable rates due to fees from content and programming providers. BT is no longer able to absorb these annual increases, often at levels well above the underlying inflation, and unfortunately must pass them on to subscribers. This is not unique to BT and is a problem experienced by operators nationwide.
We would like to assure our customers that these increases are in no way related to BT’s pending sale to Schurz Communications.
Burlington Telecom’s business model is based in providing an exceptional service experience for our customers that is free from misleading fees, gimmicks, and promotions. Below you will find additional information about the cable rate increase. Our Customer Service agents are available to answer any questions and work with you to find solutions for your viewing and budgetary needs.
We also encourage all cable customers to visit our new OTT Test Lab opening Saturday, January 6 between 1pm -3pm in our new storefront at the Ethan Allen Shopping Center on North Avenue to learn about “cutting the cable cord” and experiment with the latest streaming technology as a possible alternative to costly cable packages. Our in-house specialists will help you discover if this option is a good fit for your household and guide you every step of the way.
Click here for details
Our Certificate of Public Good from the Vermont State Public Utilities Commission requires that we provide customers with no less than 30 days’ notice of any changes to cable rates. BT was aware that transmission negotiations would be occurring in 2017. Every three years, cable television providers are required by law to negotiate with local broadcast stations that represent the major networks (CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC) for the right to re-transmit these television signals. Even though these over-the-air signals are broadcast free to the public, providers must pay monthly per-subscriber fees for the ability to carry these networks.
While we work hard to minimize price increases, broadcasters take advantage of small cable operators, like Burlington Telecom, by using their effective monopoly in the television market to demand excessive per-subscriber fees. BT’s policy is to raise prices only by the amount necessary to cover the cost of these increases.
Three years ago, when these contracts were last renewed, we experienced a similar situation which resulted in this letter to Senator Sanders.
Cable Rate Change Notification Timeline
November 22, 2017
Bills include message below notifying cable customers of an anticipated rate increase that would go into effect with no less than 30 days’ notice.
Notice of Cable Price Increase
Every three years, cable television providers are required by law to negotiate with local broadcast stations that represent the major networks CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC for the right to re-transmit their signals. Small cable operators, like BT, are often charged higher fees than our local competitors. We are continuing to negotiate prices to get our customers the best value and will only pass on the additional charges that we receive. We anticipate the increase taking effect within the next couple of months and will notify you 30 days in advance of the increase.
December 22, 2017 – Bills include message below notifying customers that the increase that would go into effect on February 1, 2018.
Reminder of Cable Price Increase
Every three years, cable television providers are required by law to negotiate with local broadcast stations that represent the major networks CBS, FOX, ABC and NBC for the right to retransmit their signals. Small cable operators, like BT, are often charged higher fees than our local competitors. We are continuing to negotiate prices to get our customers the best value and will only pass on the additional charges that we receive. The increase will take effect on February 1, 2018. You will also receive a letter in the mail before January 1, 2018 that will contain the new cable and bundle prices.
December 26, 2017
This letter containing the new cable rates that will take effect on February 1, 2018 is mailed to cable customers.
January 24, 2018
Bills to contain this letter explaining the increase seen, which is prorated for 20 days of service (February 20 is the end of BT’s billing cycle)
February 22, 2018
Bills will reflect the increase in the full amount.