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Sen. John McCain  (Source: Associated Press)
McCain is hoping his new bill will force cable providers to let customers pick and choose the channels they want

Sen. John McCain (R-Arizona) wants satellite and cable TV customers to be able to choose the channels they pay for instead of being forced to buy expensive packages -- and he's working on a bill that will push providers in that direction.

McCain is expected to introduce a new bill soon, which would allow satellite and cable TV customers to have an "a la carte" package instead of the pre-determined options given by providers. 

Right now, customers must purchase expensive cable TV packages and pay for many channels they don't want in order to receive the few they do want. McCain doesn't see this as a fair way to go, and is hoping his new bill will force cable providers to let customers pick and choose what they want. 
 
In addition, McCain's bill would ban TV networks from bundling broadcast stations with cable channels they own. In other words, a parent company that owns multiple broadcast stations could not force a cable provider to pay for one station in order to carry another. 

It doesn't end there. The bill would also give Web TV service Aereo a lift, which allows customers to stream broadcast TV on their computers or mobile gadgets. 

McCain's bill would also eliminate the sports blackout rule, where cable companies cannot carry a sports event if the game is blacked out on local broadcast television stations. This rule was put in place to draw more fans to live games.

McCain tried pushing out a similar bill in 2006, but it didn't end up going anywhere at the time. 

He could face heavy opposition this round as well, considering the National Association of Broadcasters and the National Cable and Telecommunications Association are just a couple of expected opponents. 

In March of this year, Verizon announced that it's looking to launch a similar method of cable TV consumption. It's currently in negotiations to give customers access to the entire spectrum of cable channels. It works like this: whenever Verizon's set-top box records a customer watching a specific channel for more than 5 minutes, Verizon would pay the bundler for that channel, and charge the customer for that channel.

Source: The Hill





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