US cable companies living in fear of competition

The FCC has mandated change with the cable TV industry and this is an industry that hates change. For years companies such as Comcast have grown fat and lazy, charging customers top dollar while delivering miserable service and doing everything possible to prevent any competition. Every time I talk with someone in the US about their cable TV rates I have to brace myself for some horrendous story about cost, which is always much higher in the US than here in “socialist” France. US cable operators will find any excuse – the latest being the set top boxes with a removable chip, like we have here – to charge more. The bloated fees have helped the cable operators maintain a healthy lobbying presence in Washington to fight off competition but now they are bashing heads with another bloated industry, telcos, who also want a piece of the action.

As mentioned before, in Paris customers can choose from a number of options for cable/telecom/internet and mobile options (using free wifi) at costs dramatically lower than what can be found in the US. The current rate is still about 30 euro/month for unlimited internet, 100+ cable channels, video on demand, phone calls to roughly 50 countries in the world and various options for running your mobile phone over your wifi network. Even with the weak dollar we’re still talking about $40, though 30 euro in local buying terms is like $30 in US buying terms.

All of the crying and now additional $2 and $3 charges to customers is absolute rubbish. The American cable TV industry has done a great job of protecting themselves from competition but sooner or later Congress is going to wake up and see that it’s painfully anti-consumer in all ways possible. What ever happened to the long lost spirit of competition in America? Interesting how much of that disappeared during the GOP congress years, isn’t it?

An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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