Mayor Seeks to Stabilize Cable Television Rates

May 12, 2011
By

City of Boston residents are like hostages in captivity when it comes to rate setting for the cable companies.

Comcast is the only real show in town, with something like 175,000 ratepayers in Boston and no real competition of any kind to make a difference when it comes to setting rates every year.

During the past two years, cable rates for Boston ratepayers doubled and according to the mayor, they could double again in the next two years.

So the mayor has asked the Federal Communications Commission to allow the city to set the rates instead of the cable company.

With the city setting the rates, the mayor believes rate increases would decrease or at least would be kept to a minimum.

The mayor knows what most of us ratepayers have come to understand, that cable companies raise rates with impunity the way oil companies up the cost for gasoline if they are allowed. There is a big exception to this comparison. First, cable costs should be arrived at considering cable as a utility, like electricity. Cable wiring and connections are like poles cemented into the ground and in many cases, it is delivered wireless. Once cable infrastructure is built, it remains without having to be replaced for years. It is not like pumping oil out of the ground and then paying attention to supply and demand.

Let’s face it, we all use cable and we tend to feel a bit ripped off when cable prices go up when we get nothing else in return and when it has not cost the cable company more money to deliver the cable services we are paying for.

We applaud Mayor Menino’s decision to solicit the FAA’s interest in allowing the city to set the rates in the future.

A city commission will keep down the rising cost for cable as money won’t be awarded unless costs have risen dramatically.

This is a good piece of work in progress for the mayor and for cable viewers in the city of Boston.