The Federal Government Might Help Lower Your Cable Bill

What's Hot


5 Reasons to Shop for a Home in DecemberFamily

Shoppers Boycott Businesses Selling Trump-Branded ProductsBusiness

Giving Thanks: Why Foreigners Find America AmazingAround The House

Why Washing Your Turkey Can Make You IllFamily

50 Best Gifts Under $25 for Everyone on Your ListFamily

Pay $2 and Get Unlimited Wendy’s Frosty Treats in 2017Family

What the Richest 1 Percent Earns in Every StateFamily

10 Ways to Retire Earlier Than Friends on the Same SalaryGrow

The 10 Best Ways to Blow Your MoneyCredit & Debt

7 Foods That Can Lengthen Your LifeFamily

The 50 Hottest Toys of the Past 50 YearsFamily

New Email Phishing Scam Targets Amazon ShoppersMore

7 Government Freebies You Can Get TodayFamily

The FCC has taken a big step toward increasing options for pay-TV customers who rent set-top boxes.

The federal government has taken a big step toward increasing options for pay-TV customers who rent set-top boxes.

The U.S. Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 Thursday to approve an “unlock the box” proposal to establish rules that would pave the way for alternatives to renting set-top boxes from cable or satellite TV providers.

The move is intended to spur innovative devices and software “to compete with the set-top boxes that a majority of consumers lease from pay-TV providers today,” the FCC explains in a news release issued Thursday. “Lack of competition has meant few choices and high prices for consumers.”

For example, pay-TV subscribers with alternative devices like Apple TV or TiVo might be able to choose to access pay-TV signals via those alternative devices instead of via a rented set-top box.

According to the FCC:

  • 99 percent of pay-TV subscribers have limited choices and lease set-top boxes from their cable or satellite providers.
  • The average American household pays $231 per year in set-top box rental fees.
  • American consumers collectively spend $20 billion per year to lease set-top boxes.
  • Since 1994, the cost of set-top boxes has increased by 185 percent, while the cost of computers, TVs and mobile phones has decreased by 90 percent.

FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says in a Bloomberg Business report:

“Consumers deserve a break and a choice. The issue is whether you are forced to rent that box every month, after month, after month.”

Thursday’s vote kicks off a months-long period during which the FCC will take public comments on setting standards for competing devices and software, Bloomberg reports.

Pay-TV providers are already speaking out against the FCC’s vote, however.

A Comcast blog post published Thursday, for example, describes the FCC’s proposal as “an unbalanced notice seemingly predestined to lead to a new, anti-consumer government technology mandate on video set-top boxes.”

What’s your take? Do you consider the FCC’s proposal pro- or anti-consumer? Share your thoughts with us by commenting below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

It's not the usual blah, blah, blah

I know... every site you visit wants you to subscribe to their newsletter. But our news and advice is actually worth reading! For 25 years, I've been making people richer without making their eyes glaze over. You'll be glad you did. I guarantee it!

💰🗣📰

Read Next: 7 Sly Ways to Save Money at Target

Check Out Our Hottest Deals!

We're always adding new deals and coupons that'll save you big bucks. See the deals to the right and hundreds more in our Deals section.

Click here to explore 1,778 more deals!