McCain: Cable Report Demonstrates that Competition Matters

October 24, 2003

Washington, DC - Senator John McCain, Chairman of the Commerce, Science, and Transportation, issued the following statement regarding the General Accounting Office's (GAO) Report, "Issues Related to Competition and Subscriber Rates in the Cable Television Industry," released today: "The GAO Report confirms that competition matters. Competition brings lower rates, improved service quality, and more choices for consumers. According to the report, consumers in the few markets with a choice of a second cable company pay 15 percent less for cable. The apparent implication for all other consumers is that they continue to be fleeced by their cable operators. Consumers benefit from more choices - the choice of video distributors, the choice of cable networks, and the choice not to pay for multiple channels that they do not watch. “The Report addresses numerous issues ripe for examination by the Committee, including doubts about the reliability of the FCC's assessment of cable competition, increased sports and other programming costs, the impact of ownership affiliation on cable carriage, and a la carte programming options. Moreover, it discusses numerous options for policy makers to consider in addresseing escalating cable rates. These are complex issues, and I look forward to reviewing the report more closely at a hearing of the Commerce Committee in the near future." The report can be found at under ‘Today’s Reports’.