And no, I do not count satellite services as a true competitor because it requires a whole different way to connect (satellite over the air & dishes vs. cable that is already pre-wired into most houses). Last I checked, Adelphia (my local carrier) did not lay down the cable wires that go to each house/apartment in my area, so I don't think they can claim ownership over those wires. Yet they have sole control of service and prices over that said area. Living in L.A. I have friends all over the place who have different providers. So at face value one could say "there's plenty of cable providers to choose from". Except that all of their territories conveniently stop at the border of the other's. So really the consumer has no choice. When the live in ___ area, they must buy ___ cable. My parents live in a medium sized (200,000 pop) NorCal town and they have only one choice for the whole city, so there is not even the pretense of competition there. I suspect in most small cities this is the case. So why am I griping? Quite frankly, I'm sick of being a slave to the services and rates of my one company. Just over the hill is another cable company that offers more channels in their base package for substantially less than what I'm paying for my service. About 30 miles south (remember L.A. is one contiguous city) in my best friend's house he has digital cable + HDTV and twice the channels I have for about $10 more a month (to even come close I'd have to subscribe to multiple packages on Adelphia and pay $30-40 more than he does). Someone who is smarter than me, please explain how this isn't a monopoly in practice (if not in theory). I'm sure there are legal eagles employed by the cable company convincing the courts how this isn't a monopoly in theory, but in practice it sure seems like it is.