FCC Will Vote on “All-In” Pricing For Cable TV That Includes Hidden Fees and Taxes





Stressed woman looking at papers

The Federal Communication Commission will decide on a set of proposed rules that, if passed, will require satellite and cable TV providers to clarify “all-in” prices clearly so consumers can make informed decisions when signing up for services.

The rules strive to cull what the FCC calls a “misleading practice” of listing additional costs as a tax, fee, or surcharge. The new pricing format will require all costs and fees to be clearly shown so customers can make an informed decision when choosing a plan or signing up for a promotional offer. The rules aim to reduce confusion for customers while increasing competitive pricing between providers. 

The rules, first proposed by FCC Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel last March, will also aid consumers when comparing plans with competitors, including streaming services. 

“Working families deserve and expect transparency, but cable or satellite TV providers too often hide the real price of their service behind deceptive junk fees,” said Rosenworcel. “We’re putting an end to this form of price masking.”

The rules join several other consumer protection proposals designed to combat junk fees and support cost transparency for customers. The FCC is also prepping mandatory Broadband Consumer Labels, which go into effect this year. The Commission already voted to eliminate early termination fees from cable TV and satellite providers last December.

The cable industry fought the implementation of Broadband Consumer Labels, saying they were too complicated and onerous given each region or state’s different tax policies, and will likely oppose this move as well.

Both proposals support the Executive Order on Promoting Competition in the American Economy, which urged the Federal Trade Commission and FCC to ban “unjust or unreasonable early termination fees” for consumer contracts. This makes it easier for customers to switch providers and, in turn, promotes competition between companies, which could lower prices.

The FCC will convene for a vote on March 14. If adopted, cable TV and satellite providers must disclose the total cost of services, such as regional sports and other programming fees, as a single-line item on subscribers’ bills and clearly state costs on promotional materials.

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