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Comcast cable subscribers’ bills will go up in 2020

Xfinity X1 and Flex customers excited to try out the Peacock streaming service for free once it debuts for early access on April 15 should expect their cable rates to go up. 

Comcast, which owns NBCUniversal, announced rate adjustments on Thursday, according to The Verge. Comcast CEO Brian Roberts said in an interview with CNBC that the company is shifting to the streaming world, so costs will have to follow suit. 

“We needed to pivot the whole company to the streaming world, and I think what’s exciting is how well our cable company has done that,” he said. “Peacock will go right back for the advertisers and get you in a growing market, taking advantage of streaming with a free product as well.”

Roberts said in the interview that “cable customers will get it for free, whether you are video or broadband,” but if you’re a cable customer, expect your overall bill to go up in 2020.

According to a Comcast spokesperson, those price increases began taking effect in December and this month. The average Comcast customer’s bill will see an increase of 3.6%, which includes a $4.95 increase in the broadcast TV fee, a $3 increase on most internet plans, and a $1 increase in the cost of the modem rental.

“Comcast is fighting as hard as we can to protect our customers from unrelenting demands for higher fees from programmers.  While we absorb some of the increased programming costs, they have a significant impact on the cost of our services,” the spokesperson said.

While yearly price hikes are typical for the cable company, The Verge said that these price adjustments are a direct result of more and more customers favoring streaming channels over regular bundled cable.

Peacock will debut to Xfinity X1 and Flex customers on April 15, and for everyone else on July 15. There’s a free option with two pricing tiers, but with the price adjustments mentioned, that “free” option will be reflected by the increase in your monthly bill. 

Peacock’s free option will have ads, but subscribers will have access to 7,500 hours of content, including parts of the 2020 Olympics. Peacock Premium will be $5, and while it will still have ads, subscribers will be able to access more content (about 15,000 hours worth) and have access to mobile. Premium subscribers will also have access to full seasons of Peacock original series, whereas the free subscription only gives you select episodes of original series. 

Premium subscribers to the streaming service can upgrade to an ad-free experience that will cost $10 a month. 

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