Your Right to Pay Less for Cable
Advertising Age tells us that Vermont Telephone “has begun building out an aggressive and forward-thinking gigabit fiber network that will reach across its Vermont footprint, along with a state wide 4G/LTE network that promises 100 megabits throughout the crenellated peaks and valleys of the Green Mountains.”
A recent letter to customers says they “should have the legal right to pay less” for service, and, further, the right to a la carte rather than bundled cable TV service.
Three points come quickly to mind:
First, VTEL is doing this with $93 million of federal money, so the claim seems to resolve down to the idea that Vermonters have a right to be subsidized. Well, I too live in a state the begins with a V — Virginia — so surely I too have a right to be subsidized. So I will send my money to D.C. which will send it to Vermont and Vermonters can send theirs to D.C. which will send it to Virginia, and then we will all have our rights to blacken the sky with criss-crossing dollars.
Second, VTEL is a private “family-owned” company, so somewhere in the mix is the idea that some of the federal money will go to the coffers of the family of — in AA’s term — the “quixotic Dr. J. Michele Guite.” Ah, those colorful old New England curmudgeons!
Third, a la carte is not going to work like people think. Cable TV is a business that is heavy on investment costs and low on variable costs, so the actual cost of delivering one channel is not one percent of delivering 100 channels; I suspect the cost of delivering one is about 99% of the cost of delivering 100. George?
And let’s add a fourth point — Advertising Age seems unaware of all of these facts, which is certainly not a service to any readers who might think they have become better informed by reading it. No wonder conventional media is dying.