Cable's rep takes hits; but at least it's not wireless

No matter what the reason--better service, higher programming costs, more expenses paid into infrastructure--rising cable prices and ongoing negotiations with municipalities and programmers seem to be causing more than the usual consumer furor this year.

In New York City, all five borough presidents complained to Mayor Michael Bloomberg's administration that they need some remedy to spur on new franchise agreements with Time Warner and Cablevision. The existing agreements expired in 2008 and "at this rate there will be peace in the Middle East before we have a cable franchise deal," Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer said.

The cable environment even led the MotleyFool to conclude that "the future doesn't look too bright for cable." The investment pub suggested that consumers are turning to online venues for TV "making a pricey premium cable TV bundle less of a necessity."

The ray of hope in all of this is that cable is not wireless--yet. Cable came in second in a listing of consumer complaints compiled by the Chicago Better Business Bureau with 32,616 gripes. First place went to complaints about cellular phone service and equipment with 37,477. Even here there's no silver lining since cell phone company complaints only went up 2.1 percent while cable advanced 8.7 percent.

For more:
- see this story from the NY Daily News
- and this story
- and this story

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