"We believe that GAO's examination of cable pricing issues will confirm conclusions reached previously by the FCC and the Bureau of Labor Statistics - that cable prices per channel have remained relatively constant since deregulation in 1999, despite substantial operator investment in programming and personnel to support cable's more advanced services.

As the FCC recently reported, escalating costs are affecting all multichannel video providers, including satellite companies. We hope that GAO's review will also look at underlying costs, as well as changes and enhancements to cable service packages.

We also note that Senator McCain's request refers to pricing trends since 1996. Cable rates were regulated from 1996 to 1999, and we're confident that a close examination will show that market place competition has caused price increases to moderate since 1999."