Kerry Seeks FCC Cable Rate Analysis
Follows Mayor Menino's concerns about price increases
By John Eggerton -- Broadcasting & Cable, 5/10/2011 8:58:51 PMin the wake of Mayor Thomas Menino's petition to reregulate basic rates there, saying in a letter to the FCC last week: "I share Mayor Menino's concerns about the consequences of price increases on families that can least afford it."
In a letter to the FCC Tuesday Kerry asked for an analysis of "the price effects the Effective Competition determination has had on basic cable rates using a sampling of markets where this determination has been made over the last ten years, including Boston and other cities in Massachusetts."
Kerry says he wants to determine "whether rate hikes are specific to Boston or systemic, if the hikes are justified, and what the factors are that can effectively check those rate hikes," Kerry wrote in his letter.
The filing consists of a petition to the FCC to recertify Boston for basic rate regulation -- the FCC ruled the city rates should be deregulated in 2002 in response to a petition from Cablevision; a review of Boston's rate status, and a report the city commissioned on rates between 2002 and the present. The FCC ruled AT&T's broadband system in Boston was subjective to effective competition in March 2002. Comcast bought the system it in December of that year.
According to the City, Comcast's rates were increased by 18% in the most recent increase, from $13.50 to $15.80. It argues that the new services and technologies and investments that Comcast has pointed to have "no impact" on basic, "antenna-level" service.
Comcast counters the market is competitive and that its basic price is still only about half that of any other competing provider.
With cable being the majority of viewership these days over broadcast viewership, it's about time to give American's a choice of what they "purchase" on cable or satellite. Please unbundle these onerous cable packages and let me order the channels I want to purchase.
My cable bill would fall dramatically as I would only purchase a dozen channels instead of the hundreds of networks that I do not watch that come bundled whether I want them or not.
When someone goes into a supermarket, you don't have to buy non-nutritious "twinkies and ding-dongs" when you get eggs and milk. Yet when you purchase cable shows, you get dozens of extra channels that ride (for a fee) on the back of the popular networks.
I've had enough of being force fed.
Mickey McMahon - 5/11/2011 12:26:19 PM EDT
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