Biden Supports FCC Plan for Multichannel Price Disclosures

The Federal Communications Commission proposed a rule that would require cable TV and multichannel satellite services to disclose full pricing for programming plans in consumer promotional materials and invoicing, a plan President Biden quickly endorsed. The intent is to clearly convey “all-in” costs as a prominent single line, avoiding taxes and surcharges excluded from sales pitches and sometimes difficult to decipher on bills. “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,” Biden said.

“These fees really add up,” Biden’s statement continued, suggesting they can “increase customer bills by nearly 25 percent of the price of base service.” The all-in pricing disclosure proposed by the FCC under chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel “would help consumers comparison shop between providers and increase competition,” Biden said.

The FCC issued an order of proposed rulemaking on the matter last week after initially proposing the transparency requirements in March. “The proposal now faces a 90-day public comment period before going to a vote before the full FCC,” notes Reuters.

“The ‘all-in’ pricing format we propose (on Tuesday) would allow consumers to make informed choices by letting them more easily comparison shop among competing providers and evaluate programming costs against alternative programming providers, including streaming services,” Rosenworcel said in a statement.

Alluding to the FCC’s November order requiring ISP providers to adopt a Broadband Nutrition Label, “this is another step in our initiative to improve price transparency and competition,” Rosenworcel added. “Increases in programming costs shouldn’t be described as a tax, fee, or surcharge.”

“The FCC’s ‘all-in’ proposal enters the picture as U.S. pay-TV is in a steep decline,” reports Light Reading, citing a MoffettNathanson estimate of a record 2.31 million subs lost in Q1 2023.

While the FCC’s notice of proposed rulemaking, or NPRM, currently doesn’t seek to impose similar price data requirements “from newer streaming pay-TV services such as Fubo, Hulu and YouTube TV,” Light Reading says “it will ask if the FCC should expand the requirements to other types of multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs).”

No Comments Yet

You can be the first to comment!

Leave a comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.