Hargray announces new fees for TV service in Beaufort County

gmartin@islandpacket.comFebruary 29, 2012 

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Hargray Communications will add a fee of about $5 to $7 to cable customers' bills starting in April, the Hilton Head Island-based company announced Wednesday.

The fee is comprised of separate surcharges -- a $1.89 fee to offset recent charges from broadcast affiliates and an increase of $3 to $5 to cover increasing costs for programming purchased from cable television networks.

Hargray will not profit from the first charge, according to Andrew Rein, the company's vice president of sales and marketing.

He added Hargray will remove the fee if and when federal lawmakers change the law allowing broadcasters to demand payment from cable and satellite companies for the right to retransmit their signals.

Rein said several other cable providers have also implemented a fee to offset those payments.

The second charge of $3 to $5, Rein said, is driven mostly by rising programming expenses, which spiked about 12 percent for Hargray in 2011.

"Programmers' demands for large increases each year is an industry-wide problem facing every cable and satellite company," Rein said, adding the new fees are consistent with those of other nearby providers, including Time Warner.

Also beginning in April, the company will waive its $3 transaction fee for customers paying by credit card online.

Hargray's rates for high-definition programming, DVR service or premium channels will not change.

Hargray provides telephone, internet and television services throughout Beaufort, Jasper and Hampton counties.

Follow reporter Grant Martin at Twitter.com/LowCoBiz.

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