Conservative Legislators Diss a la Carte

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A  group of conservative state legislators has come out against mandatory a la carte.

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), which represents some 2,400 state legislators nationwide, adopted a resolution Monday opposing "government intervention in the cable marketplace that would require cable and satellite providers to offer all programming on an "a la carte" or pay-per-channel basis."
The group is made up of  free market, limited government legislators, so their opposition to the government mandated business practice is not a big surprise. If there were any doubt about where it stands, the group has also published a report, A La Carte: The New Regulatory Noose for Cable & Consumers, spelling out its objections.

Some national legislators, led by Arizona Republican Senator john McCain, have pushed for a la carte as a way to reduce cable bills and increase parent's control over cable lineups in an post-Janet Jackson age of heightened indecency awareness.

The cable industry has argued that a la carte threatens its business model generally, and niche networks in particular that benefit from piggybacking on more more popular services.

"While these proposals may be well intentioned, both government and private-sector studies indicate that a la carte regulations would increase consumer costs while reducing programming quality and driving many diverse, niche networks out of business," says ALEC's
Michael Keegan.

Sounding like a big cable fan, Keegan said: "The currently vibrant cable industry market allows consumers to enjoy unprecedented programming alternatives along with reasonably priced technology that enables parents to protect their children from inappropriate content. Implementing any type of a la carte system would turn this successful model on its head and would hurt, not help, consumers."

An ALEC spokesman was not available for comment on the resolution.

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