In a new report released recently, “Are Government-Owned Networks Abusing Market Power in the Set-Top Box Market? A Review of Rates,” Phoenix Center Chief Economist George S. Ford concludes that municipally owned and operated video systems are charging slightly more for set-top rental as cable and satellite operators do.
The study says that an informal survey conducted by U.S. Senators Ed Markey and Richard Blumenthal showed that cable and satellite providers charge their consumers an average monthly fee of $7.43 for a set-top. Based on an examination of set-top box fees of the government-run networks, Ford reports that the fees of the public entities average $7.65 per month, a figure slightly higher than that charged by other providers.
“Therefore, if it is true, as some claim, that a set-top box price of about $7 is hideously vexing, unjust, unjustifiable and an abuse of market power, then local governments are equally guilty of such abuse,” Ford says.
INCOMPAS, for its part, congratulated the Obama administration’s blog posted last week that called for more competition to offer consumers different options other than renting a box.
“Like the rest of us, President Obama must be tired of having to switch remote controls every time he watches ‘House of Cards’ or other streaming content,” Chip Pickering, CEO of INCOMPAS says in a statement. “New boxes from new companies will create a competition ecosphere that benefits consumers, innovators and content creators.”
“A bi-partisan Congress directed the FCC to bring competition to the set-top box market two decades ago,” Pickering adds. “Unlocking the set top box and ending monopoly policy is change consumers and free market conservatives can all believe in.”
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Filed Under: Industry regulations