Other than a near monopoly, who else could jam through double digit price increases during the worst recession in decades?
When we first signed up for our fiber option connection here in Paris the cost was €40 per month, which again includes calls to 100 countries around the world, high speed internet (100MB) plus 140 TV basic channels. Even with the poor exchange rate, this translates to around $52 but in local purchasing power, it's really closer $40. The price today (five years later) is €33.90 which if my math is accurate, would be less, not more than before. If we had a TV and cared, we could add an 80GB DVR plus access to 150 movies for another €6 per month. The router and wifi is of course included and not an extra fee like the price gougers in the US.
A few years ago I met the director of a US cable company who was trying to build the local French market and he couldn't believe the prices that were offered in France. That company ultimately left as they weren't able to charge the French the same bloated fees that they can get away with in the US. What's odd is that in the US, more and more Americans are canceling their monthly subscriptions to cable TV, so the industry is now charging more for those who remain. Even worse, Congress let's them get away with it. The money they receive for campaigns is just too hard to turn down, apparently. LA Times on the price increases coming to Southern California:
Some rates will be significantly higher, such as a 27.4% increase to $17 from $13.34 just to receive local broadcast channels. Others will be modestly higher, such as a 9.5% increase to $69 from $63 for broadcast plus basic cable channels, or a 7.3% increase to $58.99 from $54.99 for the digital video package. Compare that with a 3.5% annual inflation rate as of October. "The cable industry maintains a near-monopoly over television services," said Doug Heller, executive director of Consumer Watchdog, a Santa Monica advocacy group. "Their prices are completely disconnected from the real lives of their customers."