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FCC Acknowledges A-la-carte Cable Savings

USA Today reports that consumers could shave as much as 13 percent off their cable TV bills if they were allowed to buy channels individually, a new report from the Federal Communications Commission concludes.

The FCC's finding that people would benefit from an "a la carte" system undercuts a bedrock principle of the cable industry � that big bundles of channels deliver the best value for consumers. Programmers have long refused to sell their channels a la carte, saying it would erode their subscription fees and ad revenue.

But cable TV bills keep rising 2 to 6 percent annually. That rise is due, in large part, to programming costs. The FCC's report, prepared at the behest of Chairman Kevin Martin, reversed a 2004 FCC report released under the prior chairman, Michael Powell. The Powell report had affirmed the industry's claim that a la carte programming would mean less choice and higher prices for viewers.

In other matters at the FCC -- it is rumored that the Commissioners have now agreed to formally acknowledge that the planet earth is in fact "round," which is also in contrast to the findings of a prior FCC chairman (they don't recall which one). As a result, the "flat-earth" lobby is apparently already considering their next move.

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