FCC aims to mandate ‘all-in’ cable and pay TV pricing

US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel has said she wants to mandate cable and pay TV operators to specify the ‘all-in’ price of TV services prominently in promotional material and bills.

Specifically, cable and direct-to-home pay TV 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 FCC said that the proposal aims to eliminate the misleading practice of describing these video programming costs as a tax, fee, or surcharge.

The watchdog believes that the ‘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.

The move is the latest effort to enforce price transparency from service providers. In November, the FCC announced the forthcoming rollout of the Broadband Nutrition Label, which requires broadband providers to display easy-to-understand labels to allow consumers to comparison shop for broadband 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 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.”

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