National Survey of Cable Television Rates and Services

RCED-89-193: Published: Aug 3, 1989. Publicly Released: Aug 3, 1989.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO conducted a nationwide survey of cable television operators to compare rates and services before and after deregulation.

GAO found that: (1) average monthly rates for the lowest-priced services increased by about 29 percent; (2) average monthly rates for the most popular service increased by about 26 percent; (3) for the most popular service, the availability of service options increased, but there was usually an extra charge for service options; (4) average monthly rates for premium broadcast services decreased; (5) average monthly revenue per subscriber increased by about 14 percent; (6) cable system penetration increased from 55 percent of homes accessible to cable to 57 percent; (7) overall cable subscriptions increased by 15 percent; and (8) after adjustment for inflation, average monthly rates for the lowest-priced service increased about 21 percent, rates for the most popular service increased about 19 percent, and revenue per subscriber increased about 8 percent.

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