Have you looked at your cable bill lately? Turns out you’re not just paying for TV channels. Your cable company is also most likely charging you every month for rent on your cable box. Almost all of the 53 million cable customers in the U.S. face a monthly charge.
Those bills mount up, costing the average household 231 dollars per year. That generates almost 20 billion dollars per year in revenue for the cable industry, according to an inquiry by Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn. and Sen. Ed Markey D-Mass.
Consumer Reports has a campaign to push Congress to end what it calls the cableboxopoly. Consumer Reports believes that instead of paying rental fees every month, you should be able to choose the best solution for getting the programming you pay for. Ideally, cable and satellite companies would support set-top boxes from other companies, prices would come down, and programming choices would open up.
You can find out about Consumer Reports campaign here: unlockthebox.com. The Federal Communications Commission is now collecting public comments on new rules for cable boxes. The final rules will need to be approved by the FCC.
The cable industry is opposed to the idea and questions the need for it, saying the cable market is already making some changes. The National Cable and Telecommunications Association says, “The FCC has no policy need nor does it have the legal authority to impose such invasive new regulations on the thriving video marketplace.”
But Consumer Reports believes that with the ever-increasing price of cable and all of the recent advances in technology, consumers deserve better choices.