The FCC outlined a proposal to require cable and satellite providers state from the outset the “all-in” price of their services, including such things as broadcast TV fees or regional sports surcharges.
The proposal comes amid a Biden administration push to tackle so-called junk fees on things such as concert and airline tickets, as well as banking fees.
FCC chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel said in a statement, “No one likes surprises on their bill. The advertised price for a service should be the price you pay when your bill arrives, rather than hide a bunch of junk fees that are separate from the top-line service price.”
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She said that the pricing requirement would make it easier for consumers to compare service providers.
“Not only would this proposal reduce cost confusion and make it easier for consumers to compare services, but it would also increase competition among cable and broadcast satellite providers through improved price transparency,” she said.
President Joe Biden endorsed the proposal, saying in a statement that “too often, these companies hide additional junk fees on customer bills disguised as ‘broadcast TV’ or ‘regional sports’ fees that in reality pay for no additional services.” He cited one report that the fees increase customer bills by nearly 25% of the base service price.
Last week, the White House hosted a group of ticketing industry executives, including those from Live Nation, as they unveiled voluntary “all in” pricing on concert and other event tickets.
The proposal will now go through a public review period of several months. The FCC is taking comments on the specifics of the proposal, existing government truth-in-billing requirements, marketplace practices and its legal authority to adopt the rules. The full commission would then have to vote on the proposal or any revised rules.
The Senate Commerce Committee on Thursday will have a hearing on the nomination of Anna Gomez to fill the fifth seat on the commission. Two other commissioners, Brendan Carr and Geoffrey Starks, will come before the commission for a hearing on their nominations to additional terms.
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