Benjamin Franklin might have missed one regularly occurring event when he wrote, “In this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.”
Meadville City Council acknowledged the receipt of a letter from Armstrong, the city’s sole provider of cable television, announcing the impending increase of monthly rates for consumers. Only the rates for video services will be increased, according to the letter. Prices for internet and telephone services as well as for equipment will remain the same.
The monthly cost of Armstrong’s expanded TV service will increase by 8 percent, from $91.45 to $98.45. Entry-level service will increase 12 percent, from $29.95 to $33.45 each month.
Increases of between 50 cents and $1.50 will also affect the several video packages that can be purchased in addition to entry-level service.
The letter, dated Jan. 24, stated that similar letters will soon be sent to customers, with the increases being evident on statements issued in March.
Council members offered no comment on the letter or the impending increases during this week's council meeting.
The city’s cable franchise agreement with Armstrong runs through Dec. 31, 2021, and is expected to bring the city $172,000 in revenue this year.
In the letter, General Manager Michael J. Sammon assigned responsibility for the increases to the cost of doing business.
“As has been the case in past years,” he wrote, “the primary driver of this adjustment in video pricing is the skyrocketing costs we must pay for programming. Increases from content suppliers and broadcasters continue to outpace inflation.”
The letter from Sammon closely resembled similar letters from Sammon’s predecessors. As in the letter received last month, letters sent in 2017 and 2018 also cited “the skyrocketing costs we must pay for programming” as the primary factor in rate increases. The online minutes of City Council meetings indicate that council received similar letters in 2015 and 2016, though the minutes do not indicate if those, too, were nearly identical to the one received this year.
“The products we offer remain competitively priced and are less per month than similar offerings from most other like service providers in the region,” Sammon wrote in the letter, echoing almost verbatim the sentiments his predecessor expressed in Armstrong’s 2018 notice of an impending rate increase.
Mike Crowley can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at email@example.com.