Many viewers will soon be paying more for basic cable service. “Under a recent Federal Communications Commission rule change effective Dec. 10, millions of television owners who do not currently have a cable box will have to get one for every set, according to public service consumer resource guide Consumer World,” says the Huffington Post. This may also mean an additional monthly rental fee in order to access cable for some consumers.
Local cable TV operators can now scramble their signals, which means a set-top box will be required on every TV to view programs, reports HuffPo. And according to Consumer World, those boxes cost around $10 each per month.
Although cable will now cost users more, according to the FCC, the new rule will benefit consumers, not harm them. “By allowing cable operators to encrypt the basic service and require a cable box, cable services can now be activated and deactivated remotely rather than requiring a house call, according to the government agency,” writes the Huffington Post.
The measure will negatively affect “a small number of cable subscribers who use basic service without using a set-top box or other equipment,” admits the FCC.
The FCC will also now require cable operators to give two free convertor boxes to customers who have only basic service and one free convertor box to customers using higher tiers of service for two years. This will offset the price of the new required boxes. “After that, customers will be required to rent or buy boxes of their own,” explains the news site.
Cable has already increased over the past decade. The average cable TV subscriber paid close to three times as much for cable in 2011 than in 2001 — an increase in price, from about $48 a month to $128. More and more African Americans are watching cable as we reported, with popular shows on VH1, BET, and ESPN taking the top ratings. This upward trend in black cable viewing could be disrupted by the new charge. It’s already facing competition from TV on-demand offerings.