Unfair cable monopoly

To the Editor:
I’ve written about this subject before. Why should the cable companies continue to have a monopoly when it comes to providing service in a given town? The Cablevision/News Corp dispute provides a perfect example of why the time has come to end this practice. If people had access to other providers, this dispute would be very short lived. Cablevision, however, has a captured audience and once the dispute is resolved that audience remains in tact with no choice but Cablevision if they want to keep cable service. There’s no justification for this monopoly.
The cable companies argue that they have incurred the expense of providing the cable infrastructure in a town and it would be unfair to allow a competitor to utilize their equipment to provide an alternative service. They also argue it would be cost prohibitive and impractical to have all the different cable providers wire towns so they could compete. These arguments may have been valid 20 years ago but providers today are the same ones made by Bell Telephone when law makers broke that monopoly up. Comcast is in Jersey City, Cablevision is in Bayonne, and there are other providers elsewhere. They’ve all wired the individual towns they service and if a town were to change a provider, the new provider would utilize the existing system to run its service. Why shouldn’t the consumer be given the choice of which provider they wish to engage? Wouldn’t the competition force the prices down? Wouldn’t lower prices enable more people, especially those on fixed incomes such as seniors, to experience cable? FIOS should not be the only alternative. The more competition, the better for the consumer. We’ve seen Cablevision customers lose access to Channel 7 and now Channels 5 and 9.
As the cable companies and network contracts begin to expire we’ll see more disruptions involving more providers. It’s only a matter of time before it’s Comcast, Time Warner, or other providers. The time has come to stop the monopolies and give the consumer the ability to choose amongst various providers. Competition is always a good thing for the consumer. Hopefully Trenton is listening.


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