Let cable consumers choose channels

We in WNC are captive to a single cable-television provider: Charter. On its Web site, Charter lists only their high-priced bundle. Customers have to ask specifically for the low-priced basic cable contract, which is not described. Unfortunately, it doesn’t include the channels we’d most like to watch.

According to the May issue of Consumer Reports, “rates have spiked 122 percent since 1995, the Federal Communications Commission noted recently. That’s three times the rate of inflation.” They also note that when more than one cable operator is available, “rates were consistently some 10 percent lower.”

Consumers Union supports a la carte pricing, which would allow customers to choose their own assortment of cable-TV channels and pay only for what they want—as is already done by some cable providers in Canada. I agree with CU that: “In the absence of competition among providers, the best that policy makers can do is press cable companies to justify their pricing and to let consumers choose their channels.”

We urge your readers to contact their state legislators and U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler, to urge their support for a la carte pricing of TV channels by cable companies.

— Paula Robbins
Marcia Bromberg

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4 thoughts on “Let cable consumers choose channels

  1. Dionysis

    Don’t forget to include other delivery systems such as the two satellite services in this. While they are less costly than Charter, they all deliver the same crummy programming, bunched into ‘packages’ that most don’t want or need (I would gladly trade about 40 channels such the many shopping channels, children’s programming and the many religious channels for a handful of others, such as History International, Biography and the Science Channel, none being ‘premium’).

    Add to these packages the fact that increasingly, we are paying for incessant commercials punctuated by the occasional old movie (edited and censored) or silly fare such as ‘reality’ shows, and by all rights, cable and satellite companies should honestly describe themselves as advertising delivery systems (‘Direct Ad TV’!).

    A campaign of letters to our representatives might get some attention.

  2. Cheshire

    These companies wonder why they keep losing business. Charge out the rear for crap selection and watch your customer base find other options…especially when there’s things like hulu online. Who needs television service when you can go to Orbit?

    These days all that’s needed is a decent internet connection and/or a monthly subscription to your favorite movie store. (Works for the land line phone, too.)

  3. AvlResident

    Maybe other readers who agree with this and are concerned about the high price of cable and the monopoly held by local cable companies can send a copy of this letter to Rep Susan Fisher, susan(dot)fisher(at)ncleg.net

  4. Rob Close

    exhibit a) charter is bankrupt. proof that they don’t know how to operate their business even when they practically have a monopoly.

    b) they whine that if they let us choose our channels, that little channels would go away. But c’mon, if people don’t want them, why are we paying for them?

    charter sucks. period.

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