Frontier to raise broadcast, regional sports fee to $23 a month

The logo of Frontier Communications.
The logo of Frontier Communications. (Graphic by The Desk)

Frontier Communications has started notifying its cable television customers that their service is about to get more expensive.

Starting in December, Frontier is raising the price of its broadcast and regional sports fee by $6 a month, according to a notice sent to customers and reviewed by The Desk. The fee will cost Frontier customers an extra $23 a month, on top of the price of their programming package.

Frontier offers cable, broadband and other telecom services across 25 states. The company had nearly 3.2 million cable television customers as of August 2021. (The company did not release updated information about its pay TV subscribers as part of its most-recent quarterly earnings report.)

Like other pay television companies, Frontier passes along the cost of providing certain channels, including regional sports networks, to its customers in the form of separate fees on their bills. The price hike continues a trend across cable, satellite and some streaming services of raising fees due to the rising cost of certain channels that are provided to customers.

In September, customers of Charter’s Spectrum TV service began receiving notices that a broadcast TV fee charged across most packages would increase by $4. After the dust settles, Spectrum customers will pay $21 a month in extra fees for broadcast channels that can often be received with a free, over-the-air antenna.

On Monday, The Desk reported Dish Network started telling customers of their legacy satellite service that their bills will go up by as much as $5. The price hikes appeared to be linked to a recent deal with the Walt Disney Channel for continued carriage of networks like ESPN, FX, the Disney Channel and Freeform on Dish Network and its streaming service, Sling TV. A Dish spokesperson said no fee increase is planned for Sling TV customers at this time.

Dish briefly pulled the Disney-owned networks from its satellite and streaming services after its carriage agreement with the company expired earlier this month. The channels were unavailable for one weekend before they were restored under what was described as a temporary agreement.

Like other companies, Dish executives have complained that the rising cost of programming is a significant part of the expenses that are passed on to consumers. In the past, Dish has taken an aggressive stance against some programmers, opting to drop regional sports networks in places where the company feels it makes sense.

Others have taken a similar approach to broadcast and cable channels. Last Friday, Verizon pulled around a dozen local TV channels owned by Nexstar Media Group from its Fios service after both sides failed to reach a new carriage agreement. Verizon accused Nexstar of demanding a 64 percent increase in fees for the right to provide those channels to Fios subscribers. Nexstar didn’t refute this claim, instead saying it was simply asking for a “fair” price for the channels. The channels remain unavailable to Verizon Fios customers as of Wednesday afternoon.