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Event Economics Regulatory Policy

Cable TV Rates: Has Deregulation Failed?

Friday November 2003


Mark Cooper Research Director, Consumer Federation of America
Thomas W. Hazlett Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute

Moderator: Ted Hearn, Washington News Editor, Multichannel News

Cable TV rates were regulated pursuant to the 1992 Cable Act, but then deregulated in the 1996 Telecommunications Act. Recent rate increases have spurred a rethinking of decontrol among some policy makers. A new report by the General Accounting Office establishes that subscribers’ bills have been increasing at a substantially faster pace than the Consumer Price Index, a curious finding given the rapid growth of cable’s principle video competitor, satellite TV. The GAO also finds that prices are substantially lower in markets where head-to-head cable competition occurs. Has deregulation of cable proven a failure? Mark Cooper, Research Director of the Consumer Federation of America, and Thomas Hazlett, Manhattan Institute Senior Fellow, will address this question in a debate moderated by Ted Hearn, Washington News Editor, Multichannel News.