Click Cable TV customers will be getting a rate increase effective March 1 for the first time since 2014.
The Tacoma City Council voted Tuesday night to raise the rates for the municipally owned and operated cable network’s rates an average of 12.9 percent this year. The last rate increase was approved in July 2014. Rate hikes had been planned for subsequent years, but were held off as the city and Tacoma Public Utilities formulated plans for Click’s transition to also selling internet and phone service directly to customers.
The rate hike was needed to try to close the gap between what the cable network makes and what it spends, said Click general manager Tenzin Gyaltsen. In the 2015-16 biennium, Click’s costs exceeded revenues by a total of $8.9 million, or 24 percent. This rate increase is expected to generate $2 million in cable revenue, he said.
Utility staff also recommended hiking Click’s rates to put the system more in line with what its competitors, such as Comcast, charge. Gyaltsen said Click’s current rates are lower than Comcast’s inside Tacoma by a range of 15 to 30 percent, depending on the level of service. The rate hike would keep Click’s rates lower than Comcast’s in Tacoma, but by somewhere between 5 and 20 percent, he said in a memo.
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Click’s programming costs for TV rose more than 16 percent in 2015-16, and labor costs per employee rose 15.5 percent, Gyaltsen said.
“This was a request that was a long time coming,” said Mayor Marilyn Strickland.
The new rates for a broadcast TV package, which gives customers access to the low channels on the dial such as ABC, CBS, NBC and some others, would increase to $19.69 per month from the current rate of $17.99. The standard cable channel package would go to $59.99 from $52.99 per month.
Click will continue to offer 20 percent discounts to its senior and disabled customers who are low-income.
Candice Ruud: 253-597-8441