Wednesday, August 20, 2008

FCC Chairman calls for much more competition in cable television industry

Today, Aug. 20, 2008, The Washington Times ran an Exclusive “Newsmaker Interview” with Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin J. Martin, appointed by President Bush and a Republican. The article is by Kara Rowland, and the link is here. The title is “FCC Chief Slams Cable Rates: Martin Sees Ineffective Competition.”

Martin believes that cable companies have tended to overbundle cable services, offering relatively few choices of packages, and requiring the purchase of many channels, some of them objectionable, to get the educational channels desired by many families. He cites lack of effective competition in the industry, which also relates to somewhat less than robust customer service, often done by contractors. He also cites the lack of effective competition from satellite companies, partly because many apartment buildings and complexes don’t allow satellite. He says that more competition is needed to make cable affordable to lower income people.

FIOS fiber-optic cable from Verizon and other companies may start to increase competition in many areas.

Rowland seems to believe that presidential and legislative candidates for office should make increasing competition among service providers a high political priority, rather than over-regulation.

Picture: a sculpture at the University of the District of Columbia campus, but it looks inspired by the magic beads (enabling instantaneous teleportation) in Clive Barker's 1991 fantasy novel "Imajica". Barker's "In ovo" is the ultimate alien "Internet", although not exactly neutral.

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