OneLink Communications, the San Juan metropolitan area’s only cable television service provider, will be increasing its video service rate by $2.50 cents effective July 1, which for certain customers can represent a hike of close to 5 percent.
The proposed rate increase comes as the company that provides Internet, voice and video services in San Juan, Levittown, Toa Alta, Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, and Toa Baja is overhauling its network to scramble basic service signals. That change will require all customers to have a cable box to get their cable service.
“We deliver all of the goods that we do [to] you every day through the efforts of all of us here at OneLink and our associated suppliers and vendors,” said OneLink in a notice sent to customers over the past week. “To continue our commitment to you we are going to increase the price of your current video service by $2.50 per month effective July 1, 2011.”
“This amounts to an increase of a little over 8 cents per day in a typical month. Because we make no charge [sic] for additional outlets of video service installed by OneLink, if you have two televisions hooked up to OneLink, this adjustment is only about 4 cents per day per television outlet,” said the company that employs about 350 workers.
OneLink’s basic rates vary according to the number of services a client is signed up for. In some cases, basic cable video service can go for as much as $55 per month.
Earlier this year, the company told the Federal Communications Commission that it would not increase rates as part of its conversion to all-digital. However, it noted that as part of the conversion process, it would offer analog customers up to two basic digital “mini box” converters free of charge for the first year. Additional converters will be available for $2 a month, so those customers would see an even bigger monthly increase when coupled with the looming basic rate increase.
At present, OneLink communications is the San Juan metropolitan area’s only cable television service provider, competing against direct-to-home satellite service companies DirecTV and Dish Network.
For the past three years, Claro has been waiting for the approval of a petition for a cable television franchise through which it would blanket the island. As it waits for the go-ahead, Liberty Cablevision is also seeking renewal of its cable television franchise, through which it offers services to 37 towns along Puerto Rico’s eastern and southern flanks. A third cable television company, Choice Cable, rounds out the island’s traditional service providers.
As of March 2011, there were 275,000 cable television subscribers on the island, according to Telecommunications Regulatory Board statistics.