Picks and Pans Review: Cable Fable

updated 09/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 09/02/1991 AT 01:00 AM EDT

>AFTER YEARS OF GOUGING CUSTOMERS, the cable business is finally being threatened by Congress with rate re-regulation. So very gratifying. If ever an industry needed to be knocked down a few pegs, it's cable. I've moved a number of times during the cable era and have without exception found local companies to be completely unresponsive to questions or requests, though they're as exacting as Scrooge when it comes to billing.

They've got these high-tech detection trucks cruising the streets like SAC bombers, vigilantly making sure nobody splices into their wire to get the Weather Channel for free. But it takes them four days to get someone to your house to restore lost service you've already paid for. That's if you can actually get one of their surly customer-service representatives on the phone. Their lines are always busier than a household full of teenagers. Lately they've been calling me, but only to sell me on upcoming pay-per-view events. Phone solicitations—how very '90s.

Maybe they'll start listening now. There's nothing like the threat of federal action to prod a monopoly that's been riding roughshod over consumers into mending its fences—or in this case, its coaxial cable.

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