Maine House Approves Measure That Would Require Cable Companies To Offer A-la-carte Channel Choices

May 28, 2019

Maine's House of Representatives Tuesday approved a measure that would require cable companies to offer a-la-carte channel choices when seeking municipal franchises for cable services.

Credit Mike Carlucci / Flickr Creative Commons

"Folks, the problem that we're facing is our elders — people in their 70s, 80s, and 90s — grew up in an era when television was free,” says the bill’s sponsor, Jeffrey Evangelos, a Friendship independent. “In order to receive a program they want to watch called the Boston Red Sox, it costs $100 in a cable package today, to get a package that includes the Red Sox."

Cable companies have argued that state authority over their offerings is preempted by federal regulations. Evangelos says that that is not true, and he cites a recent letter to the state's Office of the Public Advocate from a Federal Communications Commission official, who said there is no precedent that prohibits cable companies from providing a-la-carte services.

The bill passed on a vote of 94 to 45. It now moves to the state Senate for further action.