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Ventura County Focus | East County / THOUSAND OAKS

TCI to Increase Basic Cable Rates

April 29, 1998|JOEL P. ENGARDIO

One of two cable television companies vying for customers in Thousand Oaks is raising its rates, prompting an early rash of complaints to the city.

TCI, which serves about half the market in Thousand Oaks, mailed letters to customers earlier this week announcing that it would increase the monthly cost of expanded basic service by 95 cents, with some increases for other services as well. The company cited higher programming costs for the rate change, to take effect in June.

TCI's new $27.25 rate will be 30 cents higher than the rate charged by GTE, a competing cable company that has grabbed half of TCI's business over the last year.

Cathy Koch, a cable committee member for the city, said she received several phone calls Monday from residents complaining about the increase.

TCI spokesman Andrew Johnson said the company's increase is comparable to those adopted by other cable systems in California.

"We're not happy when cable networks like ESPN pay $17 billion for rights to broadcast professional football because that cost ends up passed directly to customers," he said. "We don't like to raise rates, but we had to bite the bullet on this one in order to recoup part of those programming losses."

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