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Cable Companies Forced to Compete! Dogs Sleep With Cats!

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Here’s a TV business story that could actually affect the way some of you watch TV: The FCC is reportedly preparing to strike down contracts that limit apartment building residents to one exclusive cable company. In theory, anyway, this could lead to that most mythical and dreamed-of scenario for TV viewers: the ability to choose among competing cable providers.

Cable companies enjoy the same beloved status in our society as lawyers, tax auditors and journalists, and a big part of the reason is the lack of practical competition in many markets and the arrogance, slownesss and know-nothing customer support that these de facto monopolies produce. Hell, I work for the same company (Time Warner) that provides my cable service (having no alternative outside satellite), and I curse my employer / tormentor on a regular basis.

I have no research to back this up, but I think that poor service from lack of competition ultimately costs cable providers business. At least in my experience, I will actually avoid getting new services, new cable boxes and so forth simply because I am so afraid that Time Warner will screw up my service in the process of changing anything.

Apartment dwellers: do you think the new rule will help you? Everyone else: what’s your wish list for improving your cable (or satellite) service?