Unhappy with Spectrum? You are not alone. If you are a Charter/Spectrum customer, you have most likely seen an increase of 12 percent on your basic cable rates since November, not counting increases in internet and box rental fees.

According to Ars Technica and Los Angeles Times reports, on March 1, Spectrum will raise its “broadcast TV” fee, which subscribers pay to access local network broadcast channels, from $9.95 to $11.99 (an increase of more than 20 percent). This shouldn’t surprise cable subscribers, but this increase comes just four months after the same fee was increased from $8.85, regardless of what you were promised when you signed up for your package deal. The inflation rate for all of last year was 1.9 percent.

But wait, there’s more. If you have the Charter Silver or Gold package, 13 Cinemax movie channels plus on-demand programs will be removed from your channel lineup this month, according to a recent notification from the company (which does not mention an accompanying price reduction).

When contacted, the Charter customer service representative said there will be a $5.13 reduction. However, Cinemax is an additional $15.47 a month as an a la carte offering.

The cover story of Consumer Reports last August was headlined “Dear Cable TV, You’re Fired,” and the article outlined alternative ways to watch TV. These continuous insults to consumers and reported noncompliance with state statutes – coupled with the recent disregard for local municipal, school and public access programming by “slamming” those local channels up to the 1300 block (so the telecoms can rent the lucrative single-digit channel slots to shopping networks) – have prompted the Community Television Association of Maine into action.

While federal and state laws prevent price regulation, legislation will soon be announced to protect consumers in other areas of cable service while benefiting the municipalities that Big Cable operates in. Stay tuned.

Tony Vigue