Battle for cheaper cable

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TEXT OF STORY

SCOTT JAGOW: Tomorrow, the FCC votes on making it easier for phone companies to get into cable TV. That could bring down those cable bills, as Sam Eaton reports.


SAM EATON: In the communications world, cable television is somewhat of an anomaly. As prices for other media like mobile phones and WiFi plummet, that monthly cable bill keeps on rising.

The FCC blames local governments for blocking competitors in exchange for lucrative licensing fees. Telecom analyst Jeffrey Kagan:

JEFFREY KAGAN: You can't have one company offering a variety of services and not another. That's not competition. Competition is when you have two companies offering the same level of services and letting the customer choose.

Telephone companies like Verizon and AT&T have invested billions of dollars upgrading their networks to be able to provide cable TV.

They now want easier access to that market, but consumer advocates say the FCC could go too far.

Cities also mandate public access channels and service to poorer neighborhoods. Take that authority away, they say, and the lower prices could be offset by a drop in local access.

In Los Angeles, I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

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