Cable Subscribers Won’t See This Sneaky Fee Coming - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Cable Subscribers Won’t See This Sneaky Fee Coming

KHQ.COM - Local stations, public, government, and educational channels are free programming to owners of a digital tuner box, digital television with a (built in) QAM tuner, or most all HD-TVs, but those channels may not be freebies for long. On Monday, December 10, a little known measure took effect that was passed in October by the FCC allowing cable companies and service providers the option to begin scrambling "free" channels unless a customer subscribes and pays for their service. That measure took effect Monday and in many areas across the country, may impact your channel selection.

For cable companies it is optional whether they wish to scramble or encrypt their signal to unsubscribed customers, only to then rent out additional cable boxes to paying customers, one for each desired television in a person's home. The claim is that encrypting the signal will enhance efficiency by both eliminating the need for a disconnect visit by a technician and save customers the wait for a cable hookup. Also, reducing theft (watching free television you didn't pay for) would improve customer service.

"By permitting cable operators to join their competitors in encrypting the basic service tier, the Commission has adopted a sensible, pro-consumer approach that will reduce overall in-home service calls and accelerate cable operators' transition to all-digital networks," said Michael Powel, president of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) in a statement. According to consumer advocate Edgar Dworsky, founder of ConsumerWorld.org, "(t)he cable companies, with the FCC's blessing, have figured out how to pick the pockets of cable customers and charge them for every television they have – even when they don't really need a cable box."

Though none of the six major cable companies has announced a signal encryption date, the FCC acknowledged that its rule change would "adversely affect a small number" of cable subscribers.

Comcast released the following statement: "Currently, we do not have any announcements to make. Should we plan any changes in the future, we will notify any impacted customers well ahead of time."  

What do you think? Have we gotten too used to free programming, or is this just another hole in the wallet?  

Contributed by Ben Buckmiller, Technical Media Producer with KHQ. Email him at:  ben.buckmiller@khq.com

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • 13 semi-trucks park under Detroit overpass to help man considering suicide

    13 semi-trucks park under Detroit overpass to help man considering suicide

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 12:41 PM EDT2018-04-24 16:41:55 GMT

    DETROIT - 13 semi-truck drivers parked their big rigs under a highway overpass early Tuesday morning to help shorten the fall of a man who was threatening to jump.  All lanes of Highway 696 were closed early Tuesday morning after a call came in just before 1:00 a.m. of a man threatening to jump.  

    >>

    DETROIT - 13 semi-truck drivers parked their big rigs under a highway overpass early Tuesday morning to help shorten the fall of a man who was threatening to jump.  All lanes of Highway 696 were closed early Tuesday morning after a call came in just before 1:00 a.m. of a man threatening to jump.  

    >>
  • Big new pedestrian bridge in Spokane finally has a name

    Big new pedestrian bridge in Spokane finally has a name

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 5:17 PM EDT2018-04-24 21:17:03 GMT

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A big new pedestrian bridge at the edge of the University District near downtown Spokane finally has a name.    The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday night to dub the $12 million span for pedestrians and cyclists "The University District Gateway Bridge." 

    >>

    SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) - A big new pedestrian bridge at the edge of the University District near downtown Spokane finally has a name.    The Spokane City Council voted unanimously Monday night to dub the $12 million span for pedestrians and cyclists "The University District Gateway Bridge." 

    >>
  • Pierce County woman wakes up to stranger in her house rubbing her face

    Pierce County woman wakes up to stranger in her house rubbing her face

    Tuesday, April 24 2018 1:11 AM EDT2018-04-24 05:11:05 GMT

    PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Pierce County woman was terrified over the weekend when she woke up to a stranger in her house rubbing her face. She ran to her neighbor's house and the neighbor contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Arriving deputies spoke with the neighbor who called 911. 

    >>

    PIERCE COUNTY, Wash. - A Pierce County woman was terrified over the weekend when she woke up to a stranger in her house rubbing her face. She ran to her neighbor's house and the neighbor contacted the Pierce County Sheriff's Office at around 5:30 a.m. on Sunday. Arriving deputies spoke with the neighbor who called 911. 

    >>
HD DOPPLER 6i
/