Bundles V. A La Carte Cable TV

cable tv rates AP

CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
So the FCC is toying with the idea of allowing cable customers to order only the channels they want, instead of having to buy them in a bundle. Basic cable is a bundle; usually includes ESPN, Discovery, CNN, MTV — you know the drill. You pay a certain premium, you get certain channels.

Well, shocking as it may seem, not everyone wants ESPN, one of the channels that costs the most in your basic bundle. And the FCC surveys show there are number of customers who would rather order their cable a la carte. In other words instead of a bundle, you pay for what you really want, and that price may be lower depending on the channels you order.

The cable folk are upset because a lot of lesser channels ride on the backs of the ESPNs and Nickelodeons. If a la carte is approved it would mean wild times in the cable business. Some channels might disappear overnight. So be it. Just don't mess with C-Span.

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Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.

By Harry Smith
  • Bootie Cosgrove-Mather

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