Did you know that if cable companies want to raise the rates you pay for your TV package, they need the approval of local government? Or rather they did until this week.
According to an inside source, Federal Communication Commission has removed that restriction in a 5-0 vote. This means that cable companies can now set whatever rate they want, create more basic cable packages and vary prices in the same region.
The rule the FCC has overturned was put in place 22 years ago to keep cable providers with a local monopoly from gouging customers. The FCC says that no cable company has a monopoly now that satellite TV is available everywhere as well.
Also, cable companies often appeal to the FCC to grant rate updates, and, according to Bloomberg, the FCC has approved 220 out of 224 requests in the last two years. So, in fairness, the rule wasn't doing much to halt rate increases anyway.
Still, consumer advocates are worried cable companies are going to start raising rates much faster. Not only that, local broadcasters are worried cable companies will move their channels from the most basic package available to all cable customers to other higher priced packages with fewer viewers.
Cable giant Comcast says that only 17% of its customers are going to be affected by the ruling. It remains to be seen what the overall effect on cable prices is.
It could be, however, that this is the time to drop cable TV entirely and switch to one of the many alternatives. For example, my Komando Indoor Amplified HD Antenna lets you pick up network shows, local news and sports for free.
For on-demand viewing, you can grab a streaming video gadget and sign up for a streaming service, or get digital downloads. Learn more about how to cut the cord, save money and still enjoy your favorite shows.