Tell the FCC: Lower Our Cable Bills
Companies like Comcast and the newly merged Charter-Time Warner Cable have way too much power. With near-monopoly control these companies have a lock on what we see — and don’t see — on our TV screens and charge increasingly high prices for cable and Internet access.
But now you have a chance to fight back. The FCC is considering a proposal that would lower your monthly cable bill and expand the range of programming you can watch or stream at home or on-the-go. And it does all that by addressing that little box your cable company forces you to rent every month.1
Almost everyone who pays for cable TV rents a set-top box from their cable company to watch the content they've paid for — and these rentals cost the average household hundreds of dollars a year. This is a great deal for the cable companies, which rake in $20 billion in annual revenues from set-top box rentals.
But it’s not just about the price. The cable companies control the boxes and the boxes control the programming that comes into our homes. This allows them to shut out competition and stops new programming and channels made and owned by people of color, as well as other independent voices, from making it to a wider audience.
The FCC’s proposal would allow competitors to build set-top boxes that you can buy outright, along with new ways of accessing cable channels and online streaming video from creators who have been shut out from traditional cable line-ups.2 It could put streaming Internet content on your cable box and also let you watch your cable channels on other devices like your cellphone, tablet or laptop.
Tell the FCC: Lower our cable bills and allow us to see more diversity on TV
1. "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking and Memorandum Opinion and Order: In the Matter of Expanding Consumers' Video Navigation Choices Commercial Availability of Navigation Devices," Federal Communications Commission, Feb. 18, 2016: https://apps.fcc.gov/edocs_public/attachmatch/FCC-16-18A1.pdf
2. "Unlocking the Set-Top Box Could Help Level the Playing Field for Programmers of Color," Free Press, Feb. 18, 2016: http://www.freepress.net/blog/2016/02/18/unlocking-set-top-box-could-help-level-playing-field-programmers-color
Original image by Flickr user Mr.TinDC