Public Knowledge Slams 'Big Cable' In Set-Top Campaign

Public Knowledge has taken to social media to hammer cable operators over set-top costs and to gather support for the FCC's set-top proposal.

It is asking its supporters to tweet a photo of their cable bill or otherwise convey their set-top rental price, using the FCC's own set-top proposal-promoting hashtag, UnlockTheBox (, and #TrueCableCosts, and and say what they could do with the money they would save.

To encourage that input, it is using the $231 per year rental price for set-tops it characterizes as clunky and often outdated and coming from Big Cable with a chokehold on the market.

The e-mail to supporters starts:

"[Your name here],

Let's be honest. Most people are less than thrilled over their staggering monthly cable bills. Right now, cable box rentals -- you know, that fee you pay to access the cable content you're already paying for on a clunky device you never own -- average $231 per household per year. That's $20 billion going to Big Cable on set-box rentals alone, and that's just plain nuts."

Public Knowledge also has launched an online petition in support of the proposal, which had 62 signaures at press time after it sent out an e-mail about Twitter and online efforts.

Former Public Knowledge President Gigi Sohn is a big backer of the FCC proposal to open up MVPD content and data streams to third-party navigation devices as a way to boost device innovation and price competition.

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.