My friend Richard Rider, an activist for smaller government based in San Diego, wrote me today about his experience with competition in cable TV. . . Competition has reared its beautiful head in the cable industry. Recently I switched to satellite TV using Dish Network. It has some pluses and minuses, but one plus is that it is cheaper than digital cable. It also includes a “free” TIVO with 100 hours of recording room. But the neat thing is that, now that the cable monopoly faces such competition, cable prices are negotiable — for both TV AND Internet cable services! When I was going to switch, I talked to my cable company, Time-Warner. I told them what I was considering, and they gave me their pitch as to why I should stay with them. But price concessions were not offered. Today I cancelled that cable TV service, and now they ARE offering price and service concessions to meet or beat satellite TV. Too late for me, but may be an easy source of savings for you! Just tell them you are about to switch to satellite, and squeeze them for price concessions. But I found that even bigger savings were available when I told them I was looking to switch from cable modem to SBC DSL for $26.95. They quickly dropped their standard $45/month price to the same level — offering “cable light” which they say is the same (somewhat slower) speed as DSL. For $29.95, they would offer the full speed service I had previously been paying $45 a month for. So, with a phone call, I now save $15 a month on my existing cable modem service. You should do the same! Ain’t competition grand? ================================ Richard Rider, President Economy Telcom Remeniscent of a recent report on whether government helps or hinders the spread of new technology.