The incredible rising internet bill

July 31, 2014
Obsession
Glass
July 31, 2014
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Time Warner Cable average monthly bills

The average Time Warner Cable customer’s monthly bill is up to $106.98.

Over the past two years, the price of television service has actually remained flat, after adjusting for inflation. And home phone service is cheaper. But take a closer look at the data, and you’ll see what’s really going on with the second-largest cable company in the US: Internet service is getting a lot more expensive.

That makes sense because internet is the growing portion of Time Warner Cable’s business: It has added 336,000 internet subscribers so far this year, while losing 186,000 for television. (All of the data in this piece, including the chart, refer to residential rather than business customers.)

Internet bills have risen 20% in two years, to an average of $46.92 a month, (pdf, p. 9). That’s one reason that Time Warner Cable, which dominates internet service in New York City and Los Angeles, was such an attractive acquisition for Comcast, the country’s leading provider of internet and TV. Comcast doesn’t break down its monthly bills at the same level of detail as Time Warner Cable, but its total average revenue per customer is growing at a similar clip (pdf, p. 5).

Time Warner Cable and Comcast made their names largely with television service, but make no mistake: They are internet service providers. That’s what their impending merger is about, and that’s why Americans’ monthly cable bills are likely to keep rising.

Check out Glass for more on the future of TV.

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