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Senate hot for cable probe

Thirty-four members of the U.S. Senate have asked the Federal Communications Commission to step up its investigation into whether cable TV companies have illegally evaded rate regulation rules.

In a letter to new FCC chairman Reed Hundt, the lawmakers said, “It appears that the intent of Congress (in passing the 1992 Cable Act) to protect consumers from unjustified cable rate increases is not being met.”

FCC surveys have found that about two-thirds of cable customers serviced by companies that did not switch to an a la carte pricing strategy have seen their cable rates drop by about $ 2 a month.

However, a third of those customers have seen cable rates increase.

“In short, while rates for some consumers have declined, rates for too many consumers have risen,” Senate Commerce Committee chairman Ernest Hollings (D-S.C.) wrote in a missive signed by a bipartisan group of 33 other lawmakers.

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