NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The FCC's Television Tax

August 13, 2002

Recently, the Federal Communications Commission issued a new regulation requiring all new television sets to come equipped with a special tuner that would enable them to receive digital programs. Critics warn that this regulation will amount to a return to the regulatory bad old days.

  • The rule will raise the cost of purchasing a new television by as much as $250 after 2006.
  • American consumers have resisted purchasing DTVs and that's apparently the reason the FCC thinks it needs a new rule to force them to do so.
  • Broadcasters and some set manufacturers that produce the tuners are feverishly pushing the regulation -- which critics call a corporate welfare boondoggle.

Free-market analysts say that rather than push this new technology down the throats of American consumers, simply let the market work and let consumers adopt the new technology when they are ready.

Source: Stephen Moore (Cato Institute), "'Television Tax' Is a Rerun of Regulatory Interference," Investor's Business Daily, August 8, 2002.


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