Ritter customers to see 10 percent rate hikes

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Effective in the first billing invoice of the new year, local Ritter Communications customers will notice adjustments to the price of some services, with the average customer seeing a 10 percent increase.

Ritter officials say the rate hike was necessary to levy an increase to some services to help defer the rising cost of TV programming, equipment, insurance, network expenses and other ancillary factors.

"However, we are pleased that through smart business practices, we have been able to minimize the increase that will be realized by the customer," said Jane Marie Woodruff, Ritter's director of marketing. "While programming costs have risen more than 35 percent over the last five years -- and are jumping 15 percent for 2013 -- the average price adjustment felt by Ritter customers will be just 10 percent. We are able to keep our price adjustment to $1 for our very affordable basic video package currently available for $20.95 per month. This is the first increase on basic video service since it was introduced in 2008."

She said it is a difficult decision, under any circumstances, to adjust subscriber rates, "and it is not one we take lightly."

" As a company, it is one of our top priorities to provide the very best value for our subscribers' hard-earned dollar," Woodruff said. "And we pledge to remain committed to fairness and openness as we negotiate with the programming owners to bring our customers that value. Unfortunately, the issue is not one we tackle alone. Heated programming disputes involving a number of other service providers have made national news headlines in the last couple of years."

"We continue to strive to keep customer rates as low as possible, while balancing the need for the technological improvements and broadened programming choices that will enable us to provide the cable services our customers have come to expect from us."

She said, in 2012, Ritter was able to:

-- Increase Internet speeds from 3 to 8 mbps;

-- Introduce higher speeds of 30 and 50 mbps;

-- Launch the much-anticipated ESPN3; and

-- Add 13 new high-definition channels and 13 new digital channels.

"While the Blytheville City Council is aware of the rate adjustments, the franchise agreement does not require the Council to approve the new fees," Woodruff said. "Customers are encouraged to contact Ritter Communications with any questions or concerns."

For more information, visit Ritter's website at www.getritter.info or contact a Ritter Customer Care Representative at 888-336-4466.