10 years later and many of the promises made by the FCC Chairman at that time still remain unfulfilled.
To view the original press release “CABLE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS CAMPAIGN” on the FCC website (as of this moment, it’s still posted there), use this FCC Chairman Kennard Launches Cable Consumer Bill of Rights Campaign link.
CABLE CONSUMER BILL OF RIGHTS
Effective tomorrow, April 1, 1999, the FCC’s statutory authority to directly regulate rates for cable television service expires as a result of a “sunset provision” enacted by Congress in the Telecommunications Act of 1996. In ending the FCC’s rate regulation authority, Congress indicated that it expected that competition in the video programming marketplace would serve to keep cable service prices reasonable. At this point that has not yet occurred. The FCC will continue to open up the video marketplace by working to remove barriers to competition.
In the meantime, all cable users in the country should be aware of options available to them, so today I am launching a consumer education program to make consumers aware of what they can do in a deregulated marketplace:
From your cable company:
(1) Consumers should expect a fair deal from their local cable company, with reasonable rates that fairly reflect the costs of doing business.
(2) Consumers should expect an explanation from their cable companies whenever rates for the programming service tier are raised, particularly when cable companies attribute price rises to increases in the cost of obtaining programming.
(3) Consumers are entitled to write or call their cable companies whenever they have complaints about the cable services being provided on the various channels, or about program cost increases, and they should expect a speedy response.
From your local government:
(4) Consumers are entitled to file complaints with their local government (i.e. city, town or county) regarding basic tier cable rate increases and service quality.
From the FCC:
(5) Consumers are entitled to provide their own inside wiring for cable hookups.
(6) Consumers will soon be entitled to purchase and use cable set-top boxes at competitive market prices.
(7) Consumers have a right to contact local, state and national consumer advocacy groups with grievances that are not being adequately resolved by their cable providers.
(8) Consumers unhappy with their local cable company should explore competitive alternatives for video programming service available from DBS (direct broadcast satellite) and other providers.