Many Wisconsin residents will be getting a holiday gift they'd rather not have … higher cable bills. State Representative Spencer Black (D-Madison) says there's nobody watching over the cable companies, so he continues to push congress to do something about it. Unfortunately, he's going to have to wait until the next session begins in January.

"Well actually there is some telecommunications reform that's pending before congress right now. The big issue is net neutrality ." Congressman Ron Kind (D-LaCrosse) says net neutrality aims to prohibit companies from discriminating against different users by charging different rates.

It's pretty technical information, he says, but it has huge ramifications in the development of the world wide web and people's access to information on the Internet. "What we're hoping through this telecom reform is to introduce more competition at the local level, so consumers have the ability to compare plans and compare prices and make the choice that fits their needs. And right now there's a deplorable lack of that type of competition."

Kind had hoped to get something passed before the 109th congress adjourned, but the bill never made it through the Senate. Thad Nation, Executive Director of TV4US Wisconsin , says, "Cable rates are continually on the rise and customer service is on the decline." He says several cities in our state have seen 55% increases in their cable rates since 1999.

NOTE: Consumers can get involved in the TV4US Wisconsin effort by calling 800-597-4103 or through their website .

AUDIO: Jackie Johnson report (1:23 MP3)

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