I really think the FCC needs to step in and force them to offer something reasonable without a contract to those of us that live outside the reach of cable. Even if it's special plans where you must prove you can't get cable or something.
I don't want the FCC to even exist, let alone do what you propose. I see a post a couple back complaining how the companies charge a late fee if you are late with payment.......Really? How about just paying on time then. We have become whiners who expect the Government to ensure or subsidize what we want.
There is a reason for contracts. Are you willing to pay for the equipment up front then in lieu of a contract? (Much as the cell companies) Or pay more for month to month as you do with many home heating companies? And when I see someone wants the Government to step in to make something cost less, that can mean only one thing. The rest of us will pay more.