Wednesday, October 31, 2007

On the agenda: freedom for cable?

Reports are swirling today, suggesting that the FCC will change the rules that keep apartment-dwellers from choosing their own cable providers.

The change, which would allow residents in apartment buildings to choose providers similarly to how cell phone service operates, is on the agenda for today's hearing.

NYT quotes Kevin J. Martin, chairman of the commission: "Exclusive contracts have been one of the most significant barriers to competition."

Mr. Martin has also pressed the cable companies to offer so-called "a la carte" plans that would permit subscribers to buy individual channels, or groups of channels, at lower rates than they now pay. Here's what cable operators say about prices at present (PDF).

Are your choices for cable service limited, like mine are? I have only one choice in my building: Comcast, which is notorious for terrible customer service.

Would you be interested in an a la carte plan? If so, which channels would you want?

-JACKIE SAUTER, Multimedia Editor

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