As of March 1, Bermuda’s cable subscribers will be charged $11.25 per month in the form of a Local Programming Fee to watch local television.
The notice was sent out to customers via email and social media this week by One Communications.
“Following months of protracted negotiations between One Communications and Bermuda Broadcasting Company (BBC), the Telecommunications Commission set new rates for the retransmission of Channels 7 (ZFB) and 9 (ZBM). The Commission’s final decision is retroactive in effect from November 1, 2020,” the company said.
The monthly fee will “cover the increased fees and retroactive nature of the changes”.
Brian Lonergan, One Communications Chief Commercial Officer said: “Over the last eight (8) years, we have ensured that our TV customers were unaffected by increased programming costs charged by content providers. Given the magnitude of these new rate increases for retransmission of ZFB and ZBM, additional fees are no longer avoidable.
“We want to assure our customers that we did everything possible to minimize these rates, and we will continue to negotiate against content rate increases in the future. In addition to providing popular ABC and CBS content, these channels provide viewers with important local news, special event coverage and sports programming. The new Local Programming Fee ensures our customers have access to BBC’s channels for years to come.”
For all customer related questions and concerns, please contact One Communications customer care team by calling 441 700-7000 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
In a statement released by the BBCa spokesperson said: “The decision to increase retransmission rates was made by the independent Telecommunications Commission.
“The BBC has lobbied for years for rates that more closely reflect market value and international industry standards, in light of the ever-increasing costs of purchasing and producing TV content, including the nightly local news and exclusive network affiliate programmes.
“Over the last many years, the BBC has been unable to raise the rates for its channels. If OneComm now decides to raise their rates higher than what was determined by the Telecommunications Commission and pass costs directly onto their Bermuda customers, that is OneComms’ decision alone.
“It is notable that other local cable TV providers, who are paying similar rates to the BBC, have not raised their customer fees. The BBC is proud to have served Bermuda for over seventy years.”