WASHINGTON — Cable customers who are tired of paying through the nose to rent set-top boxes are about to see some serious savings, thanks to a new proposal from the Federal Communications Commission.
The new regulation would open up the set-top box market to consumer choice so that customers could rent or buy devices from providers other than their cable companies. About 99 percent of cable customers currently rent set-top boxes from their cable company. According to a survey commissioned by Sens. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) and Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), cable customers pay an average of $232 a year for those rentals — a $20 billion market annually, just for set-top box rentals.
… In July, current Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) organized a letter calling on the agency to collect a host of consumer pricing information from cable companies — a move designed to show that in many regions of the country, households pay arbitrarily high prices due to a lack of other cable options. Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Markey and Blumenthal all signed on to the letter.
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