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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Channel Choice Now

A La Carte Option! Current news has it that AT&T and SBC are possibly being transmuted back into a megacorp mini-monopoly under the Bush Administration.   No big surprise there, for sure...   The push for channel choice from providers becomes an even more inportant issue for all of us.   We need to push congress on the 'a la carte' option...   - fc
Hear Us You may be able to save as much as 13% on your cable bills, according to a new FCC report (PDF file). Real cable and satellite choice would allow you to pick and pay for only those channels you want.

If you had the option to choose channels individually (known as a la carte) instead of having to buy cable and satellite packages like you do today you could lower your monthly bills and gain more control over the programs your family watches. This a la carte system could also allow for more independent and diverse programming because it would break the hold that cable and satellite operators currently have when deciding what packages to market.

It is time to tell Congress that consumers want more channel choice! Real cable and satellite choice can bring consumers lower prices, and more diverse programming.

Send Message
Give me more control over my channels!

I am writing to let you know that I am angry that cable and satellite rates are continuing to rise and I want more control over my cable and satellite TV bills. The Federal Communications Commission has said that allowing consumers to choose and pay for only those channels they want to watch will save consumers money. Cable and satellite companies should adopt this "a la carte" system immediately, and give me more control over what programs come into my home.

Consumers should have more flexibility when it comes to the cable and satellite programming that we pay for. Today, the cable and satellite companies, not consumers, decide what packages of channels we have to buy. Because of this system, they're able to favor the channels they own. Giving me more choice--either to choose a package or select my own channels--would help break the choke hold cable and satellite companies have on programming, and could allow more independent programming to get aired. This "a la carte" system would let me save money and allow me to decide what programming I want to keep out of my home.

Over the past ten years, the average price of expanded basic cable service has increased from just over $20 to well over $40 nearly three times the rate of inflation. Today, 98% of consumers can choose from only one cable company and not everyone can get satellite. This lack of competition has hurt consumers and encouraged the industry to lock us into the large packages of channels we don't watch.

I understand the technology already exists to make a cable and satellite a la carte system work. While the cable and satellite industry is fighting this idea, giving consumers choices is the way most markets work. Imagine Time Warner telling consumers that to buy Time magazine, they also had to buy Time Warner-owned Field & Stream. In the competitive publishing market they couldn't get away with that, but in TV, they make more money by controlling how consumers get cable and satellite programming. Bundling lets them squeeze consumers and control content. They may have no incentive to quit unless policymakers step in and get involved.

Please support giving me more control over my bill.