Today’s Bottom Line column?
Basic-cable television subscriptions might be getting a little less basic in the coming months.
A Federal Communications Commission ruling last October allows cable companies to shut down unencrypted basic channels — the major networks ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC and PBS, and public-access — whenever they want. To cable subscribers, that would mean the end of plugging the cable line directly from the wall to a television while adding, and eventually paying for, another set-top box.
It’s already happening around the country. Here, Comcast acknowledges it’s in the works. Cox spokeswoman Dana Nolfe says the company has “no current plans” to encrypt local broadcast channels. Charter, which serves towns in the western and northeastern parts of the state, says it will encrypt the local channels when it converts to an all-digital delivery format in the next one to two years.