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Guest Opinion: Basic Tier Cable Subscribers At Risk

The following MyRye.com Guest Opinion is penned by former Rye Mayor John Carey

The City Council on January 16th voted 4 to 1 to approve Cablevision’s TV franchise agreement without seeking price protection for Basic Tier subscribers. As soon as the Federal Communications Commission grants Cablevision’s pending petition to deregulate the Basic Tier, Basic subscribers may expect to pay more each month, if they can afford to keep cable.

Cablevision_billMy plea to the Council to bargain for a provision limiting increases to the Consumer Price Index was brushed aside by the Acting Mayor because Cablevision, he said, might end its Rye cable service in the face of such a limit. In other words, in his view Cablevision would rather turn over all Rye cable business to Verizon than be limited by the CPI in what it could charge the less fortunate for its simplest list of cable channels.

Let no one be surprised when Cablevision jacks up what it charges for its Basic Tier. When that happens, if not sooner, ask yourself what you think of the Acting Mayor’s explanation for not bargaining harder, and what you think of the Council members who went along with so lame an excuse.

To her credit, Councilwoman Catherine Parker voted against Cablevision. Councilman Joe Sack was absent, as was Mayor Steve Otis.

John Carey is a judicial hearing officer, a former member of Supreme and County Courts and a 26-year partner in Coudert Brothers law firm. He has served as an assistant district attorney and as a US Naval Officer in World War II with service in anti-submarine warfare in the Atlantic, European and Pacific theaters of operations. He was an elected member of Rye City council for 14 years including eight as Mayor. He holds a BA, Yale 1947; LLB Harvard 1949 and LLM NYU, 1965. He lives on Forest Avenue.

[Publisher’s note: The Acting Mayor on January 16th was City Councilman George Pratt. Basic cable cost $9.95 per month.]

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