OK, the cable descramblers thread stirred me to ask a question that I’ve often wondered about.
How do these cable companies get away with the way that the monopolies are set up. Recently the gummint deregulated the cable companies to make things even less comprehensible to me. In my area we have three choices. Plain ole’ antenna broadcast signals, not much of a choice in my book. Cable TV, with various degrees of bells and whistles. Finally, the true variety (AFAIK) of DSS, Digital Satilite sytems. The Satilitte systems are provided by a number of services and therefore a customer can pick and choose his favorite one, based on price, service, selection etc. Essentially, the model of capitalism, and competition controlling price. Network TV is an enigma, no one seems to actually use it, the people who watch TV all have cable, the creepy people who never watch TV have antenna service, but never watch it. Its free so i don’t really consider it a product that competes with cable.
Now to cable companies. There is only one company in my area that i am capable of choosing. (A very suburban area that isn’t lacking in demand or resources. Luckily my company has been excellent in service, and has the cutting edge of technology -broadband, digital cable, etc.- , but was recently bought out, and I fear the quality will suffer) How does this fit into any defintion of accptable fair trade practices? They have no competition within their product. (Calling network broadcasts and satillite TV the same product is like making people choose to drink warm drain water, Coke and only coke, or a variety of fine wines) So what motivation makes deregulation acceptable? Yeah, lobbyists, but they had to raise some kind of facade of legitamacy.
These assholes can raise my rates, offer shitty service, have frequent blackouts, have a meager selection, and generally blow goats, and my only recourse is a strongly worded letter to some PR slob. I can’t honestly threaten to change my service.
Is it the mere presence of some other type of option even if impractical or virtually unpracticable, and not very similar except on the loosest definition that makes this monopoly legal? Whats a comsumer to do, besides steal cable? I consider myself a moral person (neglect all purity score comments, and any of Satans threads), but this apparent injustice makes it hard for me to frown on stealing from the evil king. It makes me envision Robin Hood, maybe if everyone steals cable, the cable companies may need to stay in line, and keep the prices affordable. I don’t suppose this type of anarchy will gain any real approval, but its frustrating as shit.
Question two: Same as above, but substitute deregulated local phone service, and electricity.
Question three: Are there areas with multiple cable companies competing for customers? Does the cable company own the actual cables? And would a second competitor need to run brand new cables to every home?
The facts expressed here belong to everybody, the opinions to me. The distinction is
yours to draw…