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Why cable bills are rising again and what can you do

Many opting for online streaming over cable

NEW YORK (AP) -- Cable and satellite TV providers are ringing in the new year with an unwelcomed gift: higher cable bills.

Comcast, for instance, says customer bills will rise 2.2 percent, on average, in 2018. AT&T is raising DirecTV's prices by up to $8 a month in mid-January. Smaller providers are planning increases, too.

Over the past decade, prices for TV service have risen almost twice as fast as inflation.

Cable companies point to rising fees they pay to carry TV networks. The networks, in turn, have their own rising costs -- particularly sports, as they willingly pay more to sports leagues for what they consider must-have programming. Although annual rate hikes are inevitable, many consumers manage to lower their bills by pushing back and getting promotional rates.

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