A La Carte Report May Be Released Thursday

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Word around Washington Wednesday was that the FCC could release its much-anticipated a la carte cable report Thursday.

That is the report whose existence FCC Chairman telegraphed in an indecency forum on Capitol Hill last fall.

Martin said that unlike an earlier FCC report that found a la carte cable service was unworkable, this "further report" would show that it was, indeed, feasible.

A la carte has been pushed by cable indecency critics as one way of giving viewers more control over cable content, while the industry has begun to create family tiers as a way to address the concern short of offering its services a la carte, which it argues would wreak havoc with its business model.

"Based on a more complete analysis of the costs and benefits of bundling and the potential costs and benefits of a la carte pricing," Martin told the Senate Commerce Committee forum Nov. 29 in pretty thoroughly dissing the earlier study, "this further report determines that the First Report incorrectly found that offering of cable programming in a more a la carte manner would be economically infeasible.  It also concludes that doing so in fact could be in consumers’ best interests.  Finally, it explores several alternatives for increasing consumer choice that could provide substantial consumer benefits if their provision were mandated.   

If the report does come out tomorrow, the commissioners won't be around to talk about it.

FCC Chairman Kevin Martin and the other commissioners will be in Texas, touring broadband over powerline facilities as well as an IPTV demonstration by AT&T and a fiber-to-the home showcase by Verizon. That is before parking in Keller, Tex., to hold its monthly meeting there, which will deal with the FCC's annual video competition report.

Why the Keller road show? That is where Verizon launched its FiOS multichannel video service in competition to cable.

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