There’s been a notable surge in reports of communications service providers raising rates and fees. Companies who have implemented or announced hikes in the past few days include Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable and Rogers Cable.

Earlier this month, DirecTV announced it would raise rates effective in March.

Rogers recently mailed customers a card detailing increases in residential rates of between 3 and 9 per cent for its high-speed Internet services, with the exception of its $99.95 a month tier. Several cable TV packages will also see prices increase, including a 5 per cent hike for basic cable services to $29.99 per month. The increases go into effect on March 1.

The latest increases are necessary to “ensure continued investment in our network and programming” and to address “increased costs like those from programming providers, “ Rogers spokesperson Nancy Cottenden said, as quoted by the Toronto Star (story here).

Comcast plans to raise the fee on its expanded service by $3.59 a month to about $58 a month in Oregon and southwest Washington., effective April 1.

"While we are highly focused on controlling our costs for the benefit of our customers, price adjustments are a necessity in view of the increased cost of doing business in this challenging economic environment, including health care costs, increases in the cost we pay for programming, and technology and service improvements," Theressa Davis, communications vice president for Comcast, said in a written statement provided to The Oregonian (story here).

Also in Oregon, Verizon is raising its prices next month, charging customers $2 more each month for its set-tops. The Oregonian reports Verizon is offering its customers fewer high-definition channels.

Meanwhile, there is a flurry of reports from New York State that Time Warner Cable is raising its rates in several markets, including Albany and Ithaca.

TWC is raising fees for all but the basic tier by 4 to 6 percent. TWC’s 90-channel tier went up this month from $52.95 to $56.45,according to the Times Union in Albany (story here).

More Broadband Direct 02/20/09:
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•  Time Warner split officially a spinoff
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