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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 15, 2013

John McCain May Change the Face of America - Er, Cable TV

By Nicole Spector, Contributing Writer

There's an old saying that goes “If you lose your voice in debates about your country's policies, you will find great winnings in your country's debates about cable TV.” 

Senator John McCain is breathing life into this wisdom. The former presidential candidate is speaking up about his dissatisfaction with the current cable TV model, and introduced the Television Consumer Freedom Act last week, The Huffington Post reports.

If passed, the bill would allow cable subscribers to pick the channels they want and pay for them on an individual basis. This addresses some major issues McCain and many Americans have with the way cable TV presently operates, in that users are forced to pay for a flood of channels – many of which they don't care to watch. Personally, I can say, that as Time Warner (News - Alert) basic triple play subscriber, I have never watched the channel “Chinese Prime” – at least not for more than like, 15 minutes.

“It is time, in my view, to restore the proper operation of the market by empowering American consumers," said McCain in a statement. He went on to say that this pay-by-channel model is "the right thing to do and popular with consumers in large part because of rising cable prices, which are dramatically outpacing cost of living."

Unlike Sarah Palin with foreign policy, McCain has done his homework on the cable crisis. He cited a recent FCC (News - Alert) pricing survey which showed that since 1995, the average monthly cable bill for expanded basic service has skyrocketed from about $25 a month to $54 a month. 

In line with cable morality, the Television Consumer Freedom Act would also repeal blackout restrictions for local sports teams using publicly funded stadiums.

For many cable subscribers looking to cut down on costs, McCain's plan sounds like a great one, but broadcasters and cable companies who are looking for cable subscribers to do the exact opposite of cutting down such costs aren't likely to warm up to such a bill. In 2006, when McCain first proposed a similar legislation, his insights did not make it past the committee.

Edited by Rich Steeves

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