FCC grants six-month extension allowing ISPs to continue charging bogus equipment rental...

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,438   +557
Staff member

A highly questionable charge internet service providers use is the Cable Modem Rental Fee (alternatively called "WiFi Fee"). While a charge for loaned equipment seems justified, many ISPs apply this surcharge even for customers with their own modems. The practice is tantamount to theft, which is why legislators passed the Television Viewer Protection Act (TVPA) last year.

The TVPA has a "truth-in-billing" provision that bans the practice of charging customers rental fees when the ISP has not issued equipment to the subscriber. The law gives service providers until June 20 to comply. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has intervened and extended the deadline to December 20, 2020. Meaning ISPs can continue ripping off customers until the end of the year.

The FCC feels that ISPs need to be allowed to focus their resources on keeping connectivity to customers during the coronavirus hysteria.

"So that these service providers may focus their resources on this critical effort, we provide appropriate flexibility for MVPDs [multichannel video programming distributors] and providers of fixed broadband Internet access service to fulfill their obligations under the Television Viewer Protection Act of 2019 (TVPA)," the FCC's ruling reads. "Specifically, by this Order, we exercise our discretion under the TVPA to grant a blanket extension until December 20, 2020, of the effective date of new truth-in-billing requirements set forth in section 642 of the Communications Act of 1934, as amended (the Act), as added by section 1004 of the TVPA."

Back in March, the FCC enacted the Keep Americans Connected Pledge, in which many companies, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, and others are participating. Providers big and small taking the pledge agree to waive late fees, open their WiFi hotspots to public use, and not cancel service to subscribers struggling to pay their bills. These terms are binding for 60-days from the day an ISP agrees to them.

While most companies have already agreed to extend their commitments through the end of June, the ruling does not explicitly state that they must continue the pledge through the six-month extension. One is left to wonder if, come July, companies will go back to charging late penalties on top of their bogus and soon to be illegal WiFi fees.

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seeprime

Posts: 466   +496
I never thought any adminstration would support theft by any corporation. It's is actually condoned by the current pro-corporate-only FCC. This is not a great state of affairs.
 
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psycros

Posts: 3,147   +3,269
I never thought any adminstration would support theft by any corporation. It's is actually condoned by the current pro-corporate-only FCC. This is not a great state of affairs.
You must be new here..and by "here" I mean Earth.
 

Axil00

Posts: 29   +36
It doesn't matter how the fees are broken down in your monthly bill, you will still pay to keep the companies profitable. If a fee goes away in Dec 2020 you can rest assured that other parts of your bill will already have been increased by that much and more in the months preceeding.
Yeah but I'd much rather keep the items on my bill lower even I'd the total cost is the same. Let them advertise the prices they actually charge. Sadly this is just one step in a mile long slog uphill we need to make to get ISP's to treat their customers halfway decent
 

ShagnWagn

Posts: 1,297   +1,081
Wait a second here...

"The FCC feels that ISPs need to be allowed to focus their resources on keeping connectivity to customers."

Uh, the billing department has nothing to do with critical infrastructure. Their labor hours are not related, so this would have zero impact on uptime.

So, who still thinks the government knows what's best for you, makes the "best" decisions, and tell you how you should live your life?
 
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PEnnn

Posts: 405   +336
"The FCC feels that ISPs need to be allowed to focus their resources on keeping connectivity to customers during the coronavirus hysteria."

In other words, let the thievery continue for a couple more years because the billing dept is busy....stealing!

PS: Hysteria?? Ask the 108,000 Americans who died (as of today) how hysterical they find this virus!
 

wiyosaya

Posts: 5,321   +3,424
Ashit Pai shows he is still a corporate minion.

Does he even have the authority to do this since the law was passed by congress?

Some consumer advocacy group should take him to court on this.
 
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SixTymes

Posts: 36   +17
Gotta allow people to remain online, so their addiction to porn and HATE spreading can continue, otherwise they start rioting. oh wait...
 
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kmo911

Posts: 220   +27
Just wait for 5g. and say goodbye to that isp forever ??!! we have riks tv that makes us paying only for antena signals with id card not for equipment. the decoder are owned by costumer not by riks t v. only you must be costumer and pay for antenna channels. and somehow LAN port can be used on tv decoder for free. all nrk 1 2 3 are free use without use of card inside box. easy question do you needing much speed. just go out in nature and find some google flower instead. and use tha dvd vhs recorder and watch for later. wher did tha cat 7 go off ?
 
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treetops

Posts: 2,980   +746
It doesn't matter how the fees are broken down in your monthly bill, you will still pay to keep the companies profitable. If a fee goes away in Dec 2020 you can rest assured that other parts of your bill will already have been increased by that much and more in the months preceeding.
True, but you have people trying to shop around for the best deal, only to be suckered by a near min wage sales rep, who is motivated by bonuses and training. Or the threat of being fired.

No no, don't mention the modem fee until the end!(if at all) Relying on wasting consumers time is shady. Look out for that "free" landline phone, it might come with a $15 monthly tax. That the sales rep doesn't and will not mention.... Perhaps was mentioned once in training. Gee I wonder if that was planned, lobbied for and eye roll...

Here is on million dollars to politicians (lobbying). I have one million customers with landline service bundled in, noice! That's not capitalism, that's American politics. Nice and legal bribary.
 

Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,438   +557
Staff member
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  • #14
Ashit Pai shows he is still a corporate minion.

Does he even have the authority to do this since the law was passed by congress?

Some consumer advocacy group should take him to court on this.
Yes. It does. The law has a provision specifically for this:

(b) Effective Date.—Section 642 of the Communications Act of 1934, as added by subsection (a) of this section, shall apply beginning on the date that is 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act. The Federal Communications Commission may grant an additional 6-month extension if the Commission finds that good cause exists for such an additional extension.

The FCC is using this clause citing the complications with 'rona as the "good cause."
 
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candle_86

Posts: 408   +300
Yes. It does. The law has a provision specifically for this:

(b) Effective Date.—Section 642 of the Communications Act of 1934, as added by subsection (a) of this section, shall apply beginning on the date that is 6 months after the date of the enactment of this Act. The Federal Communications Commission may grant an additional 6-month extension if the Commission finds that good cause exists for such an additional extension.

The FCC is using this clause citing the complications with 'rona as the "good cause."
Well they're not wrong, I've got a friend who manages the network in DFW for a major ISP, the truth is everything is focused on keeping it running, it's under extreme stress and hasn't calmed down.
 

Puiu

Posts: 3,935   +2,449
It doesn't matter how the fees are broken down in your monthly bill, you will still pay to keep the companies profitable. If a fee goes away in Dec 2020 you can rest assured that other parts of your bill will already have been increased by that much and more in the months preceeding.
The difference is in the advertised prices and how they won't be able to fool people by giving them fake information when they sign a contract.
 
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Cal Jeffrey

Posts: 2,438   +557
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The difference is in the advertised prices and how they won't be able to fool people by giving them fake information when they sign a contract.
^^THIS^^
When I switched from Comcast to Grande I was super excited to be about knocking $60 off my bill and getting +100mbps added to my internet. Then I got the first bill which was more than what I was paying at Comcast. Looked at the fees... $65 on various fees. Misc fees on my Comcast bills totaled only $21 give or take. So their great advertised price which beat Comcast's advertised rate ended up being bogus since I ended up paying more in the end. Granted it was only $5 more, but that's not the point.

When looking at advertised pricing there is a vast difference between $100/mo and $140/mo. When you get your bill, even knowing that there will be fees attached, you should at least be able to expect the better rate to be roughly $40 cheaper, not the same or more. This is called a bait and switch con and it's usually illegal.
 
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Lew Zealand

Posts: 1,464   +1,436
TechSpot Elite
I totally agree that the added fee model is utter BS but I have zero confidence that anything will change as there is no real competition to offer a choice and no interest by any government org to impose reasonable rules about this. Obviously the FCC not only doesn't care about this but is actively endorsing it.