The FCC has sent letters of inquiry to 11 cable companies asking why their customers are paying the same amount each month, even as the companies move channels to digital cable.
Some consumers are complaining that they are getting fewer channels now on their analog cable service, as cable companies move channels to more-expensive, digital tiers. Once a channel is moved to a digital tier, it is unavailable to analog customers, who still make up about 40% of cable subscribers.
Agency officials said the investigation stems from concerns that cable companies could be trying to use the transition to digital-only television broadcasts in February to lure their subscribers to move to these more-expensive digital tiers.
Cable subscribers don't have to do anything to prepare for the digital transition, because that will affect only consumers who rely on TV sets using antennas. Cable subscribers aren't required to upgrade to digital tiers of service, either.
Cable companies are notorious for introducing fees and other assorted items on your bill without giving you much of a choice. (Just how the hell did I start "renting" a cable box and remote, exactly?)
Are you being gouged on your cable bill while people freak out over the digital transition Y2K-style? Tell us in TalkBack.