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Adelphia Cable to raise rates on digital plans

It may look like a rerun but Adelphia Cable is raising its rates again.

The service increase that will take effect in April comes less than a year after the company announced an average of a $3.25 per month increase for customers in the Huntington-Ashland-Ironton area. This will be at least the fourth price hike in the past three years.

On the bright side, this increase is not as sizable as some in the past. Adelphia's digital basic service will increase by 76 cents per month and the cost for the digital box will increase by $1. The top level of digital service that includes all the digital channels plus four premium channel services will rise by $1.76 per month.

Most packages that include digital channels and high-speed Internet increased an average of 40 cents per month although the top level increased by $4.50 per month.

Needless to say, residents were not thrilled by the newest hike that comes after last year's increase and an average increase of $2.50 in 2003 and $2 hike in 2002.

"They keep nickling and diming us, trying to sneak it in on consumers," said Coal Grove resident Howard Perkins. "It seems like they try to pass little increases thinking people won't notice."

Perkins said he believes it is time Lawrence County residents who only have Adelphia as an option look for other options.

"They are not giving us the type of service we pay for," Perkins said. "We are not getting our money's worth."

Mark Ganley, Adelphia's new general manager of southeast Ohio and West Virginia, did not return several messages left with his office. The company explained the hike in a letter.

"We are committed to providing you with superior customer service, a wide variety of programming and the highest quality products available," the letter stated. "But in order to remain competitive and to keep pace with rising operating costs, our residential rates will be adjusted as follows, beginning with your next billing statement."

But Perkins is not buying that explanation and he is not alone in his anger. Ironton City Councilman Richard Price has been critical of the company in the past for its practices.

"It does not surprise me that they are raising the rates. It has in the past but once it got to be like every 6 months, I was not surprised," he said. "In fact, just a month or so a go I was thinking, 'Well, it is probably about time for Adelphia to hit us with another increase.'"

Like Perkins, Price said he is not convinced that Adelphia provides as great a service as they would have customers believe. To back up his claim, he illustrated that Time Warner offers far superior service and options in Cincinnati for comparable rates.

"I just can't understand myself why the increases keep coming when we don't see a whole lot of increases in service," he said.