CATV operators to raise set-top box rates

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Cable companies are planning to charge more for set-top boxes to help pay for new, more expensive versions mandated by the Federal Communications Commission.

They say the price increases are a result of the government’s push to spur competition for the boxes, which are required to receive digital programming and change channels. It’s not yet clear how much the charges will rise.

The FCC has been trying for nearly a decade to open up the set-top market so subscribers actually buy their own and then use a cable-company-provided card to decode their programming.

The retail market for the boxes, however, has largely failed to materialize and millions of consumers still rent the boxes from their cable company.

As of July 1, cable companies were required by the FCC to start shipping the new set-top boxes with detachable cable cards.

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