Subs sue for a la carte

Some cable subscribers are suing to get their programming a la carte. A multimillion-dollar class-action suit has been filed against the major cable programmers and operators for violating antitrust laws by bundling programming in expanded basic tiers.

In a suit filed by veteran antitrust attorney Maxwell Blecher on behalf of 14 cable and satellite subscribers from a variety of cities, the plaintiffs asked the court to enjoin the companies from “unlawfully bundling expanded basic-cable channels and ordering defendant cable providers and direct-broadcast satellite providers to notify their subscribers that they each can purchase ‘a la carte’ (separately) except for ‘basic cable.'”

That basic-cable caveat covers the lifeline basic package that includes the TV stations cable must carry per government mandate. The subscribers said they have been injured because they have been “deprived of choice, have been required to purchase product they do not want and have paid inflated prices for cable-television programming.”

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