Cable TV subscribers in Baltimore will soon be paying more each month to cover the costs of having the Federal Communications Commission keep their rates down.
Coles Ruff, president of United Artists Cable of Baltimore City, said yesterday that the FCC gave the cable company permission earlier this month to charge customers 37 cents a year to cover its costs of being regulated.
The charge will be spread over 10 months. Customers will first see it in the form of a 3-cent charge on their monthly bills in December, Mr. Ruff said. The charge will increase to 4 cents a month in February, he added. That would bring the cost of the popular Basic Plus service, plus converter box and remote, to $23.38.
Baltimore consumers have seen few benefits from the re-regulation of cable rates under the 1992 Cable Act. FCC figures released this July showed that United Artists subscribers were paying 15.2 percent more than they were before price controls went into effect. That compared with a decline of 16.46 percent among the 15 surveyed systems that felt the full impact of regulation.
Mr. Ruff also said the Tele-Communications Inc. subsidiary's subscribers could see some other new charges as early as Jan. 1 to cover the costs of adding new channels.
He said some new channels would be offered on an a la carte basis, but others could be added to the basic packages.