TV Competition Helps Consumers
By: Editorial Staff, Wisconsin State Journal
AT&T announced in July it would soon offer its U-verse television service in Madison. The package would include the Big Ten Network, which many Badger fans were clamoring for.
A few weeks later, Charter Communications suddenly reached a long-stalled deal with the Big Ten Network to offer its sports programming as well.
The injection of competition into the Madison television market put additional pressure on Charter to provide a better product or risk losing business.
That's just one example of how a new state law encouraging greater competition in the television market is benefiting consumers.
Since the law was enacted earlier this year, a bunch of telephone companies -- not just AT&T -- have signed up for and received state franchises to provide television service. The bipartisan law is making it easier for providers to enter and expand in the marketplace. And that is resulting in more choice for consumers.
More consumers can now choose between cable, satellite and phone companies for their television service. They also are being courted with financial incentives and deals that serve to hold down prices.
Yes, Charter slightly raised some of its prices for cable TV recently. But it's also advertising deals if you bundle your TV with Internet and phone service. AT&T and other competitors are offering deals of their own. Direct TV, for example, advertised more than 150 channels for $30 a month for a year in Sunday's newspaper.
Greater competition is undoubtedly holding prices lower than they otherwise would be.
Opponents of making it easier for competitors to enter the market predicted public access stations would be shut out.
They haven't been.
Opponents suggested AT&T would erect giant metal boxes conspicuously in front of people's homes.
Opponents claimed AT&T would shun low-income neighborhoods.
That's not happening.
What is happening is that customers are getting better options and deals.
More people want your business, so more choice and benefits are coming your way.