Because Consolidated Telcom is a hometown business, we are invested in our community, our employees and our customers. With Network fees dramatically increasing and impacting your monthly bill, we wanted to give you a backstage pass to better understand the economics of the TV business.  Your monthly bill has two big cost buckets:

Cost to Provide Service

This includes installation costs, maintaining and upgrading our network infrastructure and normal business expenses, such as employee salaries, rent and power. The bulk of this portion is used to build a better Internet and entertainment experience which is about 1% of your cable TV bill. 

Programming Costs

All Satellite and Cable providers (TV providers) pay each Network owner (Programmer) a fee for every household that receives a particular Network – regardless of whether anyone in the household actually watches it, which makes up 99% of your cable TV bill.

  • These Network fees have increased dramatically at 3½ times the rate of inflation over the last 15 years. 1
  • Five media companies control 90% of the Networks, and while we work hard to keep these costs under control, they continue to use their power to demand more money. 2
  • Programmers are securing long-term contracts with significant guaranteed Network fee increases, regardless of how many people watch.
  • 1SNL Kagan 
    2Ben Bagdikian, The Media Monopoly 

Frequently Asked Questions

How are TV Package prices determined?

Consolidated pays each network a monthly fee per subscriber for their channel(s).  Networks raise their fees annually and many networks that were previously free or low cost are now charging high rates.

How often does Consolidated increase prices?

Consolidated is forced to raise rates on a regular basis as the networks raise the fees they charge Consolidated regularly.

Who owns TV Programming?

With so many players involved, TV today can seem confusing.  It’s difficult to know who owns what.  In the simplest terms Networks (NBC, CBS, ABC, and FOX) own the programming, and cable companies provide the high quality delivery. 

So why all the confusion?

It all started because the government wanted everyone to have access to local television news, and information.  The deal was, broadcasters can have free use of the American Airwaves, and in return, broadcasters were obligated to provide the local community with programming for free.  To make money, broadcasters were allowed to charge broadcasters for commercials.  But, over time, Congress wanted to strengthen local programming.  So they passed laws that allowed broadcast stations to charge cable and satellite companies to carry their signals.  That’s when the big media conglomerates that own the stations and other networks became crafty.  Here’s how.

They bundle their popular channels along with their less popular ones.  That way they could get a bigger fee and distribution for their weaker networks.  The result of this scheming?  Many people complained that they had to pay for channels they don’t want and will never watch.  But when cable and satellite baulk at paying these higher rates, reaching an agreement can be a problem.  Local stations can be taken off the air.

Who’s to blame?

Is it cable?  Is it satellite?  No, it’s the big network conglomerates who take their local stations off the air. 

Who are these big network conglomerates?

They are media companies that own, or have a cross ownership stake in networks.  Broadcasting radio stations, newspapers and magazines, record and movie studios, Internet sites, theme parks, and it goes on and on. 

So, what has this consolidation led to?

Just 8 major conglomerates own and control nearly 90% of the 280 program networks.  These are the recipients of the American Public’s Airwaves given to them free by the government.     

The question is, as cable companies are negotiating with the networks, is it just arrogance when they run ads urging cable customers to switch to satellite?  Or, are they counting on nobody noticing that satellite also has been raising rates due to network program increases.  Maybe, it’s a little of both.  Because, like it or not, the networks are the only game in town, and they own the game. 

On January 1, 2019, Consolidated will implement the TV package price change listed below

  • Essential/HD Package:  increasing from $17.79 to $17.99/mo.
  • Elite/HD Package:  increasing from $69.99 to $74.49/mo.
  • Premier/HD Package:  increasing from $82.99 to $87.99/mo.
  • Premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Cinemax, Starz):  no change
  • Local Network Retransmission:  increasing from $14.13 to $15.79/mo.   (Covers the cost of providing CBS, ABC, NBC, and FOX)
  • Consolidated feels that you have been paying way too much for these local channels, which are available for free over the airwaves.  To voice your concerns contact North Dakota’s local Congressman Kelly Armstrong and the local affiliates to let them know these price increases are unfair.

Washington Office
1717 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Phone: 202-224-3121
Bismarck Office
220 East Rosser Avenue
328 Federal Building
Bismarck, ND 58501
Phone: 701-224-0355
Barry Schumaier
Phone: 701-255-8124
Tammy Blumhagen
Phone: 701-223-9197
KBMY (ABC, Xtra, Justice)
Joshua Rohrer
Phone: 701-241-5338

With So Many Choices, Why Choose Your Local TV Provider?

It’s not complicated. We are your one-stop shop for communications services in your community. We offer a wide variety of services and extend discounted rates when you choose multiple services.

We are your friends and your neighbors, and sometimes your family! As a member of your community, we care about the quality of the service we bring to you, and we appreciate you and your business.