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Let’s Complain About Cable: Hidden Fees and What You Can do About Them

August 2, 2018 Cable Pricing , Competition , Set-Top Boxes

In moving off my university’s campus, I experienced one of today’s newest and least revered rites of passage into adulthood: frustration with my cable provider. Aside from my appointment being rescheduled twice and the representative on the phone trying to convince me that bundling my services was a matter of life or death, I found there to be a surprise or two in my bill. Cable companies advertise a certain price, but then upon receiving their bill consumers learn of the staggering number of fees that are often tacked on.

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No Shortage of Ways to Bring TV Prices Down

July 30, 2018 Cable Pricing , Competition , Future of Video , Set-Top Boxes , Video Marketplace

This recent story (paywalled) about the financial challenges YouTube TV and other “virtual cable” providers face is a good illustration of some points we’ve been making at Public Knowledge for a while. As the story notes, “these streaming services have yet to figure out how to make money. In fact, the more people they sign up, the more money they lose. That’s because the services are paying more for programming than what they’re charging consumers.”

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Why Is America Overpaying for Cable?

February 16, 2018 Cable Pricing , Competition , Video Marketplace

Cable costs are out of control. Over the last six years, consumers’ cable bills have increased by a whopping 40 percent.

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The Internet’s “Virtuous Circle of Innovation” Is Starting to Look Like a Spiral of Rate Increases

January 25, 2018 Cable Pricing , Competition , FCC , Net Neutrality

When the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) overturned the net neutrality rules in December 2017, it gave the green light to cable and other Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to make the internet start looking more like cable TV. It’s not news that many people are completely sick of cable, from the skyrocketing rates, to archaic and slow set-top boxes, to bogus fees. By refusing to police ISPs, the FCC has cleared the way for the internet to start looking more like this, as the Comcasts of the world begin to jack up rates and nickel-and-dime the internet like they did with cable. The FCC’s action didn’t just repeal one set of rules, but took away even the basic level of oversight the FCC has had over ISPs for years, under both Republican and Democratic leadership.

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The Monopolies that No One Is Talking About

September 1, 2017 Antitrust , Cable Pricing , Competition , Competition Policy

Recently there’s been a lot of noise about monopolies and antitrust in the United States. The Federal Trade Commission approved Amazon’s bid to buy Whole Foods in August, and Google was served with a record breaking fine by the European Union’s antitrust regulator in June. These stories have been fueling the buzz around competition policy discussions in the U.S. People are suddenly discussing the relevance of the Sherman Act, passed over 100 years ago. People are talking about whether there are “new monopolies” that these tech platforms could have on internet search, internet shopping, and more. But mostly, people are looking around and realizing that after waves of consolidation, the U.S economy has a few big players at the top — and fewer options when they need to buy something be it online or in their hometown.

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