Cable Television Rates Will Soon Increase

Thousands of Cable One customers will soon be paying more for television.

Beginning next month, the cable company will charge $2 more a month for customers in Harrison County and Ocean Springs. Jackson County customers will pay $3.16 more per month.

The last rate hike was actually less than a year ago. Cable One increased rates in May of last year. Company officials blame a steady increase in the cost of programming, which they recover by passing on to customers.

Cable One customers have mixed opinions about paying more for the same programming choices.

"Seems to me like ever since Cable One has taken over our area, the quality of the picture has gone down and the price has gone up," one Long Beach resident said.

Another person we questioned feels they're getting their money's worth.

"Yes, I think I am," she told us.

One man would like to see more alternatives.

"They're getting a monopoly on the Coast, and I think it's time for competition to come in."

The programs viewers demand and enjoy on cable television also largely determine rates. Cable One manager Jim Perry says the cost of programming is constantly rising.

"ESPN is a big culprit. Twenty percent increases every year. And you sit there and you take it and absorb as much as you can. And eventually it's got to be passed on," Perry said.

Not everybody is complaining about the rising cost of cable. Cable television's chief competitor says such rate hikes prompt some viewers to consider alternatives.

"We always know when there's a cable increase, because our phones start ringing the following day," said Mickey Anderson of Starvision Satellite.

"Business increases. People get mad at the cable company and they call us up because they know our prices don't go up as often as cable does."

Jim Perry says the rate hike is justified. But he doesn't look forward to raising prices.

"My world would be considerably more gentle if I didn't do a rate increase. But I'm a business man and I understand what I have to do. And I will do it," Perry said.

The rate hike takes effect April 1.