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Cable TV Deregulation

In 1984, Congress passed the Cable Communications Policy Act. This Act called for the deregulation of the cable television industry in America. However, instead of encouraging competition within the industry, deregulation enabled local cable companies to establish monopolies around the country. As a result of this lack of competition, cable rates went up and service quality went down. Recently, there have been arguments in favor of re-regulating the cable industry. These arguments call for laws which would reduce the ability of new cable companies to hold exclusive contracts with local governments. This would lead to increased competition as well as increased benefits to consumers. In contrast with consumer opinion, the cable industry is opposed to reregulation. According to industry arguments, deregulation has been responsible for better quality programming and a wider variety of channels to choose from. In actuality, the cable companies are afraid of the new competition which might arise as a result of reregulation.

Although cable TV did not become popular until the 1980's, the cable television industry actually has a long history which dates back to the late 1940's. The first experimental cable television system was developed in Astoria, Oregon, in 1949. The following year, the first cable system for commercial use was introduced in Lansford, Pennsylvania ("Evolution of the Cable Industry," 1991, p. 34). At first, cable television was designed for the purpose of bringing broadcast transmissions to rural areas "where over-the-air signals could not be received clearly" (MacDonald, 1990, p. 224. Although cable TV was originally limited in this way, it soon proved to be in high demand among American consumers. Thus, "by 1955, there were 400 cable systems serving approximately 150,000 subscribers" ("Evolution of the Cable Industry," 1991, p. 34).

The technology used in early cable systems was very simple by today's s...

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Cable TV Deregulation. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 06:16, February 25, 2017, from