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Sanders, Warren Want Cable TV Price Probe

Sanders and Warren are pressing the FCC on the cost of cable TV. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)
Sanders and Warren are pressing the FCC on the cost of cable TV. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Perhaps Sen. Bernard Sanders should adapt a line from a former New York gubernatorial candidate and declare he thinks the cost of cable television is too damn high.  

Four senators led by Sanders, the independent from Vermont seeking the Democratic presidential nomination, want the Federal Communications Commission to probe high prices for satellite and cable TV services, as well as broadband Internet.  

“We need healthy competition to foster innovation and ensure fair prices for consumers. At the very least, Americans should be able to understand the prices of the product they are buying and what their neighbors are paying for the same service,” they wrote in a letter.  

Sanders was joined on the Thursday letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler by Democratic Sens. Al Franken of Minnesota and Elizabeth Warren and Edward J. Markey of Massachusetts.  

Franken was among the loudest voices critical of the proposed merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable, which has since been abandoned. As the four senators note in their letter to the FCC, there are now discussions about a consolidation involving Time Warner Cable, Charter Communications and Bright House Networks.  

“With increasing concentration in the industry, there are now de facto telecommunications monopolies throughout the United States,” Sanders and his colleagues write. “Given the lack of incentive for companies to provide better quality service and competitive prices, it is no surprise that individuals rank cable and Internet providers last in customer satisfaction when compared to other companies in other industries.”  

The letter requests that Wheeler and the FCC report back on average service costs in each state and with each service provider for both TV and broadband Internet, as well as the divide between rural and urban customers.

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