What Cable Companies Don't Want You to Know

By Louise Balle

Cable service is fairly reliable and there usually are no contracts, but there are a few things that cable companies don't really want you to know.


Rates change drastically, often without justification. According to the FCC, cable rates almost doubled between 1995 and 2005.

Poor Customer Service

Cable companies recognize that customer service is lacking--the FCC even told them to do something about poor service in the mid-1990s--but in many cases not much has been done to improve it. Time Warner, a major cable provider, was rated "poor" by 29 percent of customers and just "fair" by 35 percent of those surveyed.


Deregulation, the process of introducing competition in the cable industry, has not worked as well as government officials would have liked. Only 286 out of approximately 30,000 cable markets in the United States offer consumers a choice between two or more cable companies.


Cable companies want to control the Internet like they control television. For example, Comcast cable blocks certain applications and sites from competitors.


Gene Kimmelman of the Consumers Union says that "personal information about viewing habits and interests" that is collected by cable companies is likely to be used to target these customers for advertisers. So you may be giving up a degree of privacy when you watch cable television.