Craig; You are clearly wrong about 1) cable being highly regulated and 2) local price regulation by the local franchising authority. Price regulation went OUT in the 1992 cable re-write. All you need to do to find out about this is to contact the cable-regulatory guy or gal in Gainesville. And, the 1996 and later re-writes even opened up the doors even wider. Indeed, the most recent legislation passed in the last year, permitting state-wide franchising authority, and California at least has legislation implementing it here. John Willkie -----Original Message----- >From: Craig Birkmaier <craig@xxxxxxxxx> >Sent: Jun 8, 2008 6:23 AM >To: opendtv@xxxxxxxxxxxxx >Subject: [opendtv] Re: News: Independent Networks, ACA Speak Out Against >Program Tying > >At 6:53 PM -0400 6/7/08, Albert Manfredi wrote: >> >> NO. This is the way government supported oligopolies >> work. In a free market economy there would be >> competition. > >>So as long as people create the notion that this cable connection >>is critical, the cable companies can raise prices as much as they >>please. Power and water/sewage utilities could do exactly the same >>thing, were it not for regulation. > >Uhhhh Bert. > >The cable companies ARE highly regulated. There was a period in the >late '80s when the regulation was relaxed, but the rates kept going >up so Congress used this as an excuse to re-regulate the cable >industry and to give the broadcasters the keys to the cable kingdom >via retransmission consent. > >In order for the cable companies to raise prices they must typically >submit the rate increase to the local regulatory authority - in our >case, an appointed board of citizens who oversee the cable system. >The problem is that increases in "programming cost" can simply be >passed through without question. The cable company simply points to >the congloms and say we are being forced to pay more for the content. > >The OTHER major way that the cable companies have been able to get >away with increases is via system upgrades that allow them to put >more channels into the extended basic tier. Most systems went through >digital upgrades in the '90s from 550 MHz systems to 750 MHz and in >some cases 1 GHz systems. As they did this they kept adding a few new >analog channels each year and raising the rates as the total number >of channels increased. Their excuse was always that they are paying >more for these channels - and for the rate increases for existing >channels like ESPN. > >So Both the congloms and the cable companies were able to increase >their reach into our pockets, without any complaints from the >regulators. And by the way, the local power and water utility is >doing much the same to us. We have had our second electricity rate >increase this year and they told us to "Brace yourself Bridgit" cause >we are going to do it to you again later this year. The >justification is the increase in the cost of natural gas. OUr public >utility has a large coal fired plant and a share of a nuclear plant >in the region - Natural gas accounts for less than 10% of their >generating capacity...but that's enough to justify pushing up rates... > >> So, again, either you accept this govt role, or you stop >>complaining about high prices. > >Why? Should I also accept never ending tax increases and more and >more onerous regulation. You would not believe the hoops that we must >go through to open a brewery. > >THERE IS NO REASON TO ACCEPT TECHNOPOLITICAL GERRYMANDERING WITH WHAT >SHOULD BE FREE MARKETS. > >> >>The situation now, with Verizon and AT&T competing with cable, has >>not changed much. They all pretty much charge the same rates, for >>similar services, similarly bundling programs in tiers. There isn't >>that much competition. Maybe WiMAX will change matters, we'll see. > >EXACTLY. Why change the business model when everybody is making >oligopoly profits? > >DBS could change the rules, but they do not. The only reasons that i >can ascribe to this are: > >1. That they might have difficulty getting contracts for content if >they do not play by the same rules as competitors. > >OR > >2. They like the fact that they can charge customers for a bunch of >things they do not want, because it allows them to make higher >profits. > >While I do not like the practice, I CAN understand that the >multi-channel services do not want to allow us to pick and choose, as >most of us would not choose to pay for stuff we do not watch. > >>Well, the FCC is the only govt agency out there suggesting that >>cable companies introduce more a la carte offerings. If this becomes >>law, it would be the FCC that accomplished your goal. Otherwise, why >>on earth should cable companies, on their own, do anything that >>increases their operating costs and reduces their profit margins? > >Congress is not an agency, but there are many members of Congress >calling for ala carte. But it takes a majority to legislate this >change. The FCC has no authority to force this to happen - so they >just use their Bully Pulpit to put a little pressure on the >multi-channel industry. Only Congress, or the companies themselves, >can change this. > >> > Nobody is forcing you to buy an SUV. You can drive an >>> econo-box or ride a bike. >> >>The increased demand created by behemoths, which behemoths have not >>had to meet the more stringent CAFE requirements that automobiles >>have had to meet, is in part why the supply of oil isn't meeting the >>demand, and why the price is going up. > >Really? > >I seriously doubt that you can substantiate that argument. The fact >that the population increased from 225 million in 1979 (the last big >gas crisis) to 304 million today is a much more significant factor. >And then there is the number of vehicles per capita: > > From Wilkipedia: > >>According to cumulative data by the Federal Highway >>Administration (FHA) the number of motor vehicles has also increased >>steadily since 1960, only stagnating once in 1997 and declining from >>1990 to 1991. Otherwise the number of motor vehicles has been rising >>by an estimated 3.69 million each year since 1960 with the largest >>annual growth between 1998 and 1999 as well as between 2000 and 2001 >>when the number of motor vehicles in the United States increased by >>eight million. Since the study by the FHA the number of vehicles >>has increased by approximately eleven million, one of the largest >>recorded increases. The largest percentage increase was between the >>years of 1972 and 1973 when the number of cars increased by 5.88%. > >So the real issue is that there are many more people driving many >more cars, not the mileage that those cars get, which has been >increasing over the same time period. In 1980 the average mileage for >all passenger vehicles was 13.3 mpg; in 2004 it was 17.1 mpg - and >this includes all of those gas guzzling SUVs. > >But that's only part of the problem. In 1979 we imported less than >40% of the oil we use in the U.S. Today it is over 70%. We are >competing in a world market with a large number of industrializing >nations who are seeing big improvements in their standards of living >including more appliances and automobiles. > >Bottom line, the world's oil producers are limiting production to >keep the prices up as demand increases. And countries like the U.S. >are making it nearly impossible to develop new energy resources and >refining capacity. > >So once again, it is not the consumer who is at fault here - you can >buy SUVs real cheap now - it is the political gerrymandering that has >prevented us from developing the resources we need to keep up with a >growing economy. > > >>So, while there are many factors involved, including the increased >>demand from India and China, SUV and large pickup truck owners are >>very much responsible for EXACERBATING the situation here in the US. > >NO. This is just a small blip. > >>I don't have to remind you that until very recently, these >>obscentities were accounting for half the sales of personal >>transportation vehicles in the US. And that as a consequence, in >>spite of the fact that AUTOMOBILE fuel economy has increased >>dramatically since 1970, the average miles per gallon of privately >>owned vehicles has gone slightly DOWN in that period of time. > >WRONG. > >http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passenger_vehicles_in_the_United_States#Fuel_economy > >> >>So, JUST LIKE those cable subscribers who consider cable to be >>indispensable, people who help create a problem cannot expect a lot >>of sympathy when they have to pay for the consequences of their >>unrepressed behavior. > > >Your view of the world is twisted Bert. > >But then, we must consider the source of the news and information >that you choose to suck on... > >Regards >Craig > >> >>Bert >> >>_________________________________________________________________ >>Search that pays you back! 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