The cost of Internet and phone service is about to go up for many Bright House Networks customers.
Starting Oct. 1, the cable provider is adding a $2 monthly fee for the use of a company-supplied modem required for high-speed Internet and phone service. It does not apply to people who have their own modem or cable service exclusively.
News of the fee did not sit well with customers such as 82-year-old Roland Kissinger, a longtime subscriber who lives in Treasure Island.
"I think it's ridiculous,'' he said. "It's like charging $2 to wash your dishes at a restaurant. It should be part of the cost of doing business.''
He said the company constantly "finds excuses to raise the rates'' without regard to customers, who have limited options in service providers.
The modem fee comes on top of other incremental monthly increases, including for converters and DVR service.
Bright House officials sent affected customers a notice of the new fee on Sept. 14. The fee will cover the installation, service and support of the modem.
"It was one of the many things that Bright House covered,'' said company spokesman Joe Durkin. "Since then we've added a lot of services at no charge.''
Customers who don't want to pay the fee can call Bright House to remove the modem for free, he said. To continue service, however, they would have to buy, install and maintain their own modems, which cost about $100.
Durkin said the company has received less than a handful of calls about the fee and once customers heard about what the fee covers, they understood.
Perhaps more bothersome to many subscribers, especially at this time of year, may be the continued absence of the NFL Network from the Bright House channel lineup. This year the football network will carry 13 games on Thursday nights, nearly double over last year.
Durkin said the door is still open to negotiations but nothing was pending.
The NFL Network is being carried on most of the largest cable/satellite companies except for Time Warner, which negotiates deals for Bright House.