Bills would tighten the reins on maverick cable industry
Amid charges of excessively high rates and poor service, two bills in Congress could tighten the reins on the currently unregulated cable television industry.
But local cable operators claim the push to regulate is unfair and could put a halt to cable television's growth and lower the quality of programming.
"Both of those bills go a little too far to regulate the cable industry," said Wayne O'Dell, president of the Cable Television Association of Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia.
In the early 1980's, the cable industry, along with the airlines and the trucking industry, was freed from government control in the deregulation fever that raged through the Reagan administration. The Cable Act of 1984 stripped regulatory powers from the state and federal government "patchwork maze" that had ruled on rate increases and service standards.
A bill in the Senate sponsored by Sen. John Danforth of Missouri and a bill in the House of Representatives sponsored by Massachusetts Sen. Edward Markey would …