WASHINGTON, March 22, 2023—Today, Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel introduced a proposal for new customer service protections that would require cable operators and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers to specify the “all-in” price clearly and prominently for video programming service in their promotional materials and on subscribers’ bills. Specifically, cable and DBS providers would be required to state the total cost of video programming service clearly and prominently, including broadcast retransmission consent, regional sports programming, and other programming-related fees, as a prominent single line item on subscribers’ bills and in promotional materials.
The proposal aims to eliminate the misleading practice of describing these video programming costs as a tax, fee, or surcharge. This updated “all-in” pricing format will allow consumers to make informed choices, including the ability to comparison shop among competing providers and to compare programming costs against alternative programming providers, including streaming services.
“Consumers deserve to know what exactly they are paying for when they sign up for a cable or broadcast satellite subscription. No one likes surprises on their bill, especially families on tight budgets,” said Chairwoman Rosenworcel. “We’re working to make it so the advertised price for a service is the price you pay when your bill arrives and isn’t littered with anything that resembles junk fees. Not only will this reduce cost confusion and make it easier for consumers to compare services, but this proposal will also increase competition among cable and broadcast satellite providers through improved price transparency.”
This consumer protection effort is the latest in the Commission’s price transparency and increased competitiveness initiatives, including the forthcoming roll-out of the nation’s first Broadband Nutrition Label, which requires broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband services.