Pole Snow Job?

Every so often, I watch Bright House techs climb the utility pole in the alley. There always seems to be someone with snow, or needing new service, or canceling service.

Like you, I have cable and I have an interest in not wasting money. So I check my bill. You might want to check yours. You’ll notice Bright House charges you $1.47 a month for “City of Lakeland Pole Attachment Fee”. That’s $17.64 a year.

Before September 2007 Bright House was charged a $20.28 per pole fee. That month the City of Lakeland raised the fee to $20.70 for 2008. Bright House immediately started charging customers the $1.47. But, according to the city, Bright House has neither paid what was due for 2007, nor the amount due for 2008.

Let a customer neglect to pay their cable bill for a year and see what happens.

You may ask, why isn’t Bright House charging $1.725 per month? (That’s the yearly $20.70 divided by 12.) I’d reply, well, that’s because they’re charging $3.16 per month.

Wait, didn’t I say $1.47 a month? That’s the new fee. We can be sure that we were already paying the $20.28 a year. It just wasn’t a line item. That was $1.69 a month. Add the $1.47 and $1.69 and you get…$3.16.

Bright House attaches to 40,942 poles in Lakeland. That means they owe the city $847,499.40 for 2008. Our next question is: how much do they collect?

There are a reported 60,150 Bright House subscribers whose service is attached to Lakeland poles. That means Bright House collected $1,219,842 in pole attachment fees in 2007. They’ll collect that much plus an additional $1,061,046 with the additional $1.47 per month fee. That means $2,280,888 for both fees for the year.

So they owe the city $847,499.40 and they collect $2,280,888.00 That means, um, two, carry the one, uh, Bright House will make $1,433,388.60 profit on pole attachment fees alone! Thats 23.83 a year profit on each and every subscriber.

With that kind of profit, I better get my MTV.


I called Bright House for their comment. I am still on hold. I’ll update when I get an answer.

Meanwhile, I’ll anticipate one comment. “We were eating the cost of the poles for 2007. The $1.47 per month is all we charge customers for pole fees.”

Well, they’ll still make a profit. 60,150 customers at 1.47 per month for 12 months is $1,061,046.00 per year. They owe the city $847,499.40. That is $213,546.60 profit per year.

Press “B” if you consider that gross profit.