Sick Of Comcast Rate Hikes, Boston Mayor Asks FCC To Let City Regulate Cable Prices

In the city of Boston, where most residents only have access to Comcast service, the price of basic cable has soared 60% over the last three years. So the city’s mayor, Thomas Menino, has asked the Federal Communications Commission to let the city regulate the cost of cable.

In several municipalities around Boston, the local government determines the rate for basic cable because there is minimal or no competition. But because a small number of Boston residents have a choice between cable providers, the FCC has let the providers determine their own rates in Beantown.

According to the Boston Globe, monthly charges for the lowest tier of basic cable in Boston are $15.80 per month. Over in Cambridge, where the price is regulated, that same package only costs $7.30 per month.

“Comcast is taking advantage of deregulation so we are going to file a petition with the FCC asking that basic rate regulation return to Boston,” says Menino. “These aren’t reasonable rates and that’s what I want.”

Up until 2002, the cable rates in Boston had been regulated. But that regulation was pulled when RCN began offering service in the city that was intended to expand and compete with Comcast.

It didn’t.

The city says RCN has only 15,000 subscribers, less than one-tenth the number of Comcast subscribers in Boston.

Menino wants to regulate cable rate [Boston.com]