Starting March 1, Armstrong basic-cable customers in central and western Crawford County will be paying another $2 per month for service — the third hike in three years.

Rates will go to $45.95 for basic-cable service — $44.95 if customers have automatic payment service.

For customers within the city of Meadville, this will be the second increase in their overall cable bill this year.

The city imposed a 5 percent cable franchise fee effective Jan. 1 that added $2.20 on top of Armstrong’s base rate. With Armstrong’s $2 increase, the cable franchise fee will increase another 10 cents for city residents.

Armstrong’s increase follows a $2-a-month increase in March 2006 and $3.55 in March 2005.

Ike Mutlu, general manager of Armstrong’s Crawford County region, said the hike has nothing to do with Meadville’s cable franchise fee.

“It’s a combination of increased programming costs, technology costs and the overall cost of doing business,” he said, noting each of the channels carried has a monthly service cost.

Armstrong is charged by the channels based on its customer base on a cost-per-customer rate and those charges are continuing to increase yearly, he said.

The increase covers the Meadville, Conneaut Lake, Saegertown, Cochranton, Jamestown and Linesville service areas which have 66 basic channels.

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