Monday, December 3, 2007

FCC wants to set a 30% cable ownership limit

What is going on at the FCC. First they try to impose a la carte rules and contend a 70% cable penetration and now they are trying to limit a cable company's ownership. What is there underlying motivation? If it is to promote more competition, I am hard to understand how this strategy makes sense.

I am a true believer of economics and the ideal notion that normal market forces will find equalibrium. As an example, look no further than cable and the role economic forces are playing. The rise of the phone companies into cable, the growth of satellite, and the technological forces that wireless and high speed. Rather than limit cable, allow the market to be open. Let technological change bring in more competition; perhaps finally the electric company will find a way to push programming and information through their electric wires. It is true competition that will create supply and demand and set real prices. It is the FCC and franchise exclusivity that limits it.

As a second example, look at the Sirius and XM Satellite merger. Again technology and market forces should be more at play than preventing their merger. The growth of ipods, wireless, and even over the air radio, is enough competition to not interfere. Consider if Direct TV or Dish make a play for mobile and the free market rules.

My advice, sometimes hands off is the way to go!