Cable TV industry needs regulation, competition
The Federal Communications Commission says average monthly rates for cable television service increased by 93 percent in about 10 years. During 2004, the increase was 5.2 percent. Not surprisingly, prices went up less for cable operators who had competition.
“Few other goods and services in America cost nearly twice today what they did in 1995,” FCC Commissioner Jonathan S. Adelstein commented. “And as anyone would expect from looking at these ever rising prices, the cable companies behind them have swelling revenues year in and year out regardless of the overall American economy.”
The FCC could help consumers. Look at the concessions it forced from AT&T Inc. and BellSouth Corp. before approving their merger last week. These concessions include digital subscriber line, or DSL, high-speed Internet service for $19.95 per month.
Speaking of telephone companies, as they get more involved in TV service, their competition should help hold down cable prices. But regulators can’t pass the buck to the free market until more competition actually exists.