In many homes, cable TV is just as important as having a telephone or a television itself, and unfortunately, that's where dishonesty comes in. When someone steals a cable signal, it's the honest customer that has to pay.
"Mainly, it's going to affect their picture quality. What's going to happen is that they'll have bad reception, and then they'll call us and we'll be troubleshooting their picture, trying to get them the good picture they're paying for and that they expect and want," says Glenn Parker, with Cox Communications.
Parker says it may not affect just one house, but a whole neighborhood. According to one survey, the cable industry loses an average of 5.1 billion dollars in unrealized revenue each year, and that lost revenue is passed on to you as a consumer. That's why companies like Cox are taking strides to get the widespread problem under control, and if a person is caught stealing cable, the thief will likely face charges.
"Generally, if it's just theft of service we're going to allow the Lufkin Police Department or the sheriff's office to investigate it and determine if we do have a case, and if we do we press charges and the rest will be left to the judge, but there's usually a two to three hundred dollar fine minimum," says Parker.