Originally Posted by phildaant
Did satellite and other non-cable TV providers do the same with FCC?
Sat providers are treated somewhat differently because they are able to bring service to areas where cablecos found it economically nonviable to run wire. Many rural areas depend on satellite for TV. And because satellite signals don't come in on a wire, they had to supply some type of set top box for reception, even when it was standard def analog video. A decade ago, you could buy the box at Best Buy or Costco for $99, and own the box, which was turned on in exchange for a service commitment (kind of like cell phones), but now you can no longer buy satellite hardware just as you cannot buy cableco hardware except for TiVos, and then you still cannot buy cable cards. It's all about the control, not whatever fantasy story they tell the FCC.
Satellite companies, like cablecos, have fought very hard for the right to drop local channels, or charge extra for them, but so far, the FCC and Congress have stuck to their guns. With a new group coming into office in January, that may all change.
The two satellite companies have roughly 25-30 million subscribers between them, whereas the top three cablecos are currently at around 40-45 million subscribers. Both groups are fighting very hard to price themselves totally out of the market by continually raising prices while lowering image quality by adding more and more channels that fewer and fewer people watch, and losing customers in the process. The cablecos will have already figured out their future is in a la carte channels, broadband, and VOIP, they just don't know how they're going to get there yet. Satellite companies are a one trick pony - it's video or nothing. Their broadband is a joke.
My prediction: in 20 years (or less), video will be delivered either through streaming or by satellite only, broadband mostly by copper but high powered neighborhood wi-fi is also coming, which is why the cablecos fight so hard to not let cities supply it as a (free) service, and are mostly succeeding.
As far as influencing (bribing) the FCC, they seem to be at par. The one group that is routinely ignored by the FCC and every other governmental body is the consumer.