Last month, I wrote about so-called "retransmission consent" … or, why your cable bill (if you still get one) keeps growing faster than utility bills under the polar vortex. Over-the-air, so-called "free" television that distributes over the spectrum we all "own" allows stations to charge you for receiving it via coaxial cable. (Satellite can charge you, too, but under a different, equally confusing set of laws and regulations.) And, since most (but not all) cable subscribers depend upon the cable to retransmit those over-the-air signals to your set-top box, the cable companies have to pay the stations for that right. Not being anything but pretty well-run American businesses, they pass along those charges to you … usually now as a specific line item. (By the way, broadcasters hate that bit of transparency.)
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