Sunday, May 13, 2007

Cable TV Companies Need Stiff Regulation by the FCC

(This article first ran in May of 2005!)
As I sat down to absorb myself in the a Senate debate yesterday, I learned that my Cable Company had taken C-SPAN - 2 off my cable. No doubt they replaced it with some “shopping network”, or something of equally inane, mind numbing, pocket fleecing, programming.

I currently pay in excess of $70.00 a month for channels, which are never viewed. I dare say 90% of the channels on my Cable hook-up are never viewed in my home. Yet, I must pay for them in order to get the handful of channels I do watch.

It is past time for the FCC to force Cable Providers in this country to offer a Carte Blanche system for their subscribers, which will allow subscribers to pick and choose only the channels they want on their cable hook-ups. No more packaging of good quality channels with channels of much lesser quality and of practically no interest to subscribers.

Now, I am not so naive as to believe that the cost per channel will not escalate… for it surely will! The Cable companies will scream “bloody murder” to the FCC and to Congress that the “Carte Blanche” rule will put them out of business. It won’t… but that will be their argument. In the meantime, the cost per channel will shoot through the roof. To get the handful of channels I now actually watch, will most likely cost me as much as that which I pay now for the truck load of channels I never watch, at all.

The cable companies have been allowed to run amok and prices for their services have risen out of all portion to the services their customer receives. It is now time for the federal government to step in. Hard regulation is now called for. When companies doing business in this country, themselves, are unable, or unwilling, to serve their customers responsibly, then they are opening the door, and holding that door open, for government intervention. That is what the Cable TV companies in this country have done. Our new Federal Communications Commission is about to enter through that open door. What follows will not be pretty. But Cable TV providers simply have to understand… whatever happens… they brought it on themselves.

I have been a subscriber for at least 30 years to the same Cable Company, if not the largest, then certainly one of the largest, cable companies in America. I am now investigating the advantages of switching to a satellite provider. Cable rates have consistently risen over those 30 years and the quality of the product entering my home has not risen commensurate with rates. Something must change. It appears I will make the change.

As a 30-year veteran of the broadcasting business, this was a difficult blog posting to write, but at some point, those who dance must pay the fiddler. It is past time for the Cable Companies in America to ante up!


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1 comment:

Frank said...

Actually this would in effect be almost impossible to implement on a house per house basis, for cable or even DBS (directv or dishnetwork). I used to have a BUD C-band dish and it had Ala Carte programming available but it is a pain to surf channels with. May I suggest DirecTV? They cram more channels in, but atleast it's less, alot less in my case. And I love the shoe Democracy Now! on Link TV, you might like it too since you like to be informed.