As far back as I can recall, the cry for cable television has promised the consumer greater viewing options, better availability, and freedom from commercials.
A quick visit to rural America will show availability is limited in many regions of the nation. The presence of satellite dishes delineates areas that are considered too expensive to reach with the cable networks. Satellite television is subject to interruptions due to rain, snow, wind, etc. In our case, the surrounding valley walls are so steep and high that satellite is not a viable option for us.
The promised freedom from commercials has never materialized. I would be willing to bet that the number of commercials/hour of cable television exceeds the number previously found in broadcast television.
Viewing options are a joke. Our monthly bill includes many channels that we do not want and will not watch bundled with one or two channels/bundle that we do watch. We are routinely billed for athletic games, religious broadcasts, and shopping channels that we do not wish to watch or pay for. We don’t want the music bundles either. We’ve expressed our discontent about this larcenous process to many cable providers over the years. None of them is concerned about our wishes and none of them will make any pretense of changing to a cafeteria selection process.
We’re willing to pay for what we watch. We’re unwilling to pay for things we don’t watch.
Now we find com-cast and Time-Warner planning a merger. They frankly admit that consumer costs for cable, internet, and voip telephony are going to rise. They won’t admit that the quality of service is most likely going to decrease.
I dislike the idea of yet another monopolistic merger by corporate America. I’m going to contact my Congressman, who will, of course, reply by form letter telling me why he is voting against the concerns of the consumer and for those of the corporations.
What it comes down to is this. Like many other Americans, I hate the cable/internet providers that have become a necessity for much of life in today’s world. I assume they are going to lie to me. I assume they will ignore my wishes. I’m going to do what I can to fight them. I’m going to begin with an attempt to require them to unbundle all their programming. I know this is an uphill, most likely futile undertaking. But I’m tired of being held hostage by cable/isp companies. Please join in. If they’re going to merge, the least we can do is jam up their operation so that they have to market to our wants rather than theirs.