Today, Representative Anna Eshoo (D-CA) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) introduced the “Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees” (TRUE Fees) Act to ensure that pay TV, cellular service, and broadband providers include “below-the-line” fee items in their advertised price for service.
Today, the Federal Communications Commission adopted its first ever Communications Marketplace Report. The Report complies with new congressional requirements to streamline the Commission’s various communications reports into a comprehensive, consolidated review of the state of the communications ecosystem.
In moving off my university’s campus, I experienced one of today’s newest and least revered rites of passage into adulthood: frustration with my cable provider. Aside from my appointment being rescheduled twice and the representative on the phone trying to convince me that bundling my services was a matter of life or death, I found there to be a surprise or two in my bill. Cable companies advertise a certain price, but then upon receiving their bill consumers learn of the staggering number of fees that are often tacked on.
This recent story (paywalled) about the financial challenges YouTube TV and other “virtual cable” providers face is a good illustration of some points we’ve been making at Public Knowledge for a while. As the story notes, “these streaming services have yet to figure out how to make money. In fact, the more people they sign up, the more money they lose. That’s because the services are paying more for programming than what they’re charging consumers.”