August 11, 2009

Canadian cable, satellite costs going up

Canadian satellite and cable television costs will rise 1.5 percent this fall after the federal regulator ordered a bigger subsidy for small market TV stations.

The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission ordered a temporary 0.5 percent increase in the carriers' fees that are paid into the Local Programming Improvement Fund, the Toronto Star reported.

The fund was created last year, and the latest increase will generate more than $100 million for small TV stations instead of the original estimate of $68 million.

For the average Toronto cable customer of Rogers Communications Inc., it will mean about a $6.50 increase in their monthly bill, the newspaper said.

In March, Rogers raised its own rates by 4 percent and the company has said it's noticing customers are scaling back their services, and there's concern the upcoming increase will cost the company more business.

Rogers Vice Chairman Phil Lind told the Star consumers need to tell the federal regulator enough's enough.

The message is: You should be vigilant, consumers, about how much governments are imposing on you, Lind said. We have a real cynicism about temporary taxes because they usually stay in place for a hell of a long time, if not forever.