And Now For Something Completely Different:
(Yes, I stole that line from "Monty Python's Flying Circus".)
Today marks the beginning of our fifth month without cable. Yep. 120 days ago we cut the cord. Of course we kept the internet and a landline, but the TV programming is gone. And we don't miss it one little bit. As it turned out most of the channels we watch are the sub channels of local broadcasters that we could get free through an antenna anyway.
What put us on this path was how much we use the internet for getting our information. Our provider had a monthly one terabyte limit, I've heard they've increased it a bit since, but the third time you break the limit they switch you from a residential account to a business one at a significantly higher rate, but allowing for unlimited data. We already had two strikes against us so when I saw a two year deal, without TV, but unlimited data for a hundred bucks a month less… We switched. It was a preemptive strike. It was going to happen sooner rather than later. I wanted it to be on our terms not theirs.
Then we found out our Amazon Prime account also entitles us to a lot free programming through their Prime Video (the movies they produce leave a lot to be desired) as well as a lot of the programming from IMDB (yes, IMDB is owned by Amazon too). The only other network we've subscribed to is Paramount+. That is the lowest cost provider of the Smithsonian channel. They have the best detective documentaries show on TV, "Air Disasters". And along with that a whole lot of documentary series about both World Wars. Like the saying goes "Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it".
And who knows where it goes from here? One thing is certain. It will be wireless. I just read an article that 26 gigabit speeds are close to reality as they develop new ways of using incredibly high frequencies, and that translates into far more data throughput with longer ranges between radio towers that many thought impossible just a couple of years ago.
So what does this mean for franchise cable? Nothing good. It ends the need for 20 to 30 year franchise agreements cable operators demand justifying the long term because of the costs involved in wiring a municipality. It also means more choice for consumers, a doing away with "programming packages" where you're stuck buy 10 channels to get the one channel you want to watch. (And a lot of those junk channels you never watch, their ownership trail leads back to the cable company to boost their total number of channels they advertise at relatively little expense.)
As for me, I see a day when you sit down at whatever device you're using, picking the channels you want and activate them instantly online, streaming video is only the first step in that direction. I can see a day where programmers create a co-op of sorts where programming providers would contribute to running this ala-carte system with something like a monthly fee you can cancel at any time prior to a set monthly date and be done with the expense of a channel you've decided you can do without. And it will help weed out the truly garbage channels that make you scratch your head saying "I'm paying good money for this trash every month."
Remember when President Reagan said we should "Vote with your feet". I can see that day coming sooner rather than later when it comes to news, history, and entertainment. T-Mobile has already started offering a real choice in how you send and receive data in your home or office through wireless.
Of course all this depends on politicians doing the right thing and not succumbing to the demands of well-heeled (with our money) cable operators with ludicrous bought and paid for laws and regulations.