ISPs ask the FCC to scrap new rules, insist on not wanting to disclose hidden broadband...

DragonSlayer101

Posts: 304   +2
Staff
In context: To end broadband-bill shock for customers, the FCC proposed new rules that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to provide detailed, itemized bills and information about data caps and performance. However, the ISPs are opposed to the idea of transparency and are throwing an almighty tantrum to nip the new regulation in the bud.

As reported by Ars Technica, Internet service providers across the U.S. have lodged a complaint against the FCC, urging the agency to scrap its proposed rule that would require them to list out all their monthly fees individually. ISPs across various segments of the industry, including wired and wireless operators, have banded together to urge the FCC to ditch its new rule before it takes effect.

The ISP lobby groups originally petitioned the FCC earlier this year to drop the transparency clause, and have now nudged the agency again in a similar filing this month.

In their filing, the industry lobby groups claimed that listing all the fees separately would "add unnecessary complexity and burdens" for both consumers and service providers, and the FCC should instead ensure that the ISPs simply mention in the passing that there could be additional fees and charges beyond what's advertised publicly.

This month's appeal was filed by an industry group called NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, which counts the biggest cable companies in the country, including Comcast, Charter (Spectrum), and Cox, among its members. Along with NCTA, a number of other industry groups have also expressed their opposition to the proposed new rules to the FCC in a recent meeting with the agency's officials.

The industry lobby groups that took part in the meeting include NTCA-The Rural Broadband Association and ACA Connects-America's Communications Association, as well as CTIA and USTelecom, which represents wireless operators like AT&T, Verizon, Lumen (formerly CenturyLink), Frontier, and Windstream, among others.

The latest effort by the ISPs to scuttle the FCC's attempts to bring transparency into broadband billing comes a couple of month after Comcast wrote a letter to the FCC, expressing its reservations about the new rules, and arguing that implementing the proposed labels will impose "significant administrative burdens" on the company and add "unnecessary complexity" to its operations. It also claimed that contrary to the FCC's beliefs, the existing rules actually benefit consumers by helping ISPs streamline the labeling process.

Permalink to story.

 
To the FCC - "Just Say No!'

Its about time that the scummiest of ISPs be held responsible for their actions.

The latest effort by the ISPs to scuttle the FCC's attempts to bring transparency into broadband billing comes a couple of month after Comcast wrote a letter to the FCC, expressing its reservations about the new rules, and arguing that implementing the proposed labels will impose "significant administrative burdens" on the company and add "unnecessary complexity" to its operations.

Wow! Significant administrative burdens. :rolleyes: Translation: We don't give a flying f' about the crap we foist on our customers.

It also claimed that contrary to the FCC's beliefs, the existing rules actually benefit consumers by helping ISPs streamline the labeling process.
There's lipstick on a pig if anyone ever put lipstick on a pig.

To paraphrase a former white house press secretary - "The ISPs are like little toddlers who have been told not to do something. They need to be shown the consequences of screwing their customers and that their actions have consequences."
 
Wow! Significant administrative burdens. :rolleyes: Translation: We don't give a flying f' about the crap we foist on our customers.
I'm not sure that you realize that most ISPs are legally required to add governmental fees and surcharges onto their bills, and that these charges vary by state, county, city, and municipality -- sometimes widely. There are literally tens of thousands of different combinations of fees a large ISP is required to collect, and these fees change continually. Essentially, government is is requiring these firms to act as subcontract tax-collectors.

Is it reasonable to ask an ISP in a 30-second broadcast commercial to advertise:

$50M Broadband Internet!
(+ $3.99 in Skokie, MA)
(+9.01 in Butte, MT)
(+$18.59 in Los Angeles County CA, excluding city limits)
(+$9.60 in the state of Mississippi, excluding the following 37 municipalities ...)
(... + several thousand other locations)


And let's not forget the penalties for error. By the time an ISP actually generates one of these 30-page long disclosures to use it in an ad campaign, 2 or 3 of those charges have changed. Now they need to yank it and start over.

If you really want to help consumers, how about we ban the government from such an archaic, inane fee structure in the first place?
 
I'm not sure that you realize that most ISPs are legally required to add governmental fees and surcharges onto their bills, and that these charges vary by state, county, city, and municipality -- sometimes widely. There are literally tens of thousands of different combinations of fees a large ISP is required to collect, and these fees change continually. Essentially, government is is requiring these firms to act as subcontract tax-collectors.

Is it reasonable to ask an ISP in a 30-second broadcast commercial to advertise:

$50M Broadband Internet!
(+ $3.99 in Skokie, MA)
(+9.01 in Butte, MT)
(+$18.59 in Los Angeles County CA, excluding city limits)
(+$9.60 in the state of Mississippi, excluding the following 37 municipalities ...)
(... + several thousand other locations)


And let's not forget the penalties for error. By the time an ISP actually generates one of these 30-page long disclosures to use it in an ad campaign, 2 or 3 of those charges have changed. Now they need to yank it and start over.

If you really want to help consumers, how about we ban the government from such an archaic, inane fee structure in the first place?

Who said they had to put it in the ads? They can put it in the bill and tell each potential buyer which specific fees apply to them when they try to sign up.
 
I'm not sure that you realize that most ISPs are legally required to add governmental fees and surcharges onto their bills, and that these charges vary by state, county, city, and municipality -- sometimes widely. There are literally tens of thousands of different combinations of fees a large ISP is required to collect, and these fees change continually. Essentially, government is is requiring these firms to act as subcontract tax-collectors.

Is it reasonable to ask an ISP in a 30-second broadcast commercial to advertise:

$50M Broadband Internet!
(+ $3.99 in Skokie, MA)
(+9.01 in Butte, MT)
(+$18.59 in Los Angeles County CA, excluding city limits)
(+$9.60 in the state of Mississippi, excluding the following 37 municipalities ...)
(... + several thousand other locations)


And let's not forget the penalties for error. By the time an ISP actually generates one of these 30-page long disclosures to use it in an ad campaign, 2 or 3 of those charges have changed. Now they need to yank it and start over.

If you really want to help consumers, how about we ban the government from such an archaic, inane fee structure in the first place?
Do you work for one of these companies? Why else would you think they shouldn't have to disclose those hidden charges, some of which may not even be "government imposed" as you stated? Maybe supermarkets should be able to tack on hidden fees to your grocery bill and not reveal them until you insert your credit card to pay e.g., like the "convenience fee for checking out your own groceries so you don't have to wait in line for a cashier, or maintenance fee for the shopping carts...
 
I'm not sure that you realize that most ISPs are legally required to add governmental fees and surcharges onto their bills, and that these charges vary by state, county, city, and municipality -- sometimes widely. There are literally tens of thousands of different combinations of fees a large ISP is required to collect, and these fees change continually. Essentially, government is is requiring these firms to act as subcontract tax-collectors.

Is it reasonable to ask an ISP in a 30-second broadcast commercial to advertise:

$50M Broadband Internet!
(+ $3.99 in Skokie, MA)
(+9.01 in Butte, MT)
(+$18.59 in Los Angeles County CA, excluding city limits)
(+$9.60 in the state of Mississippi, excluding the following 37 municipalities ...)
(... + several thousand other locations)


And let's not forget the penalties for error. By the time an ISP actually generates one of these 30-page long disclosures to use it in an ad campaign, 2 or 3 of those charges have changed. Now they need to yank it and start over.

If you really want to help consumers, how about we ban the government from such an archaic, inane fee structure in the first place?

It's honestly not that hard to do. There's not anyone that is manually typing out a bill for each customer. Each customer is already in a database for billing, it would be easy to add these fees based upon that alone. If it a fee changes, you update it in one place and every customer's bill tied to that change is updated.

The ISPs just don't want the consumers to know how badly they are being screwed. Why else would they spend tons of money on lobbying.
 
I'm not sure that you realize that most ISPs are legally required to add governmental fees and surcharges onto their bills, and that these charges vary by state, county, city, and municipality -- sometimes widely. There are literally tens of thousands of different combinations of fees a large ISP is required to collect, and these fees change continually. Essentially, government is is requiring these firms to act as subcontract tax-collectors.

Is it reasonable to ask an ISP in a 30-second broadcast commercial to advertise:

$50M Broadband Internet!
(+ $3.99 in Skokie, MA)
(+9.01 in Butte, MT)
(+$18.59 in Los Angeles County CA, excluding city limits)
(+$9.60 in the state of Mississippi, excluding the following 37 municipalities ...)
(... + several thousand other locations)


And let's not forget the penalties for error. By the time an ISP actually generates one of these 30-page long disclosures to use it in an ad campaign, 2 or 3 of those charges have changed. Now they need to yank it and start over.

If you really want to help consumers, how about we ban the government from such an archaic, inane fee structure in the first place?
They have to provide it in the final bill to the customer. Stop making excuses to allow them to screw customers.
To the FCC - "Just Say No!'

Its about time that the scummiest of ISPs be held responsible for their actions.



Wow! Significant administrative burdens. :rolleyes: Translation: We don't give a flying f' about the crap we foist on our customers.


There's lipstick on a pig if anyone ever put lipstick on a pig.

To paraphrase a former white house press secretary - "The ISPs are like little toddlers who have been told not to do something. They need to be shown the consequences of screwing their customers and that their actions have consequences."
See I'd just tell them that Local Loop Unbundling will come down if they whine, and add a 0 to the fee for every customer complaint filed. Every customer whom complains you get to charge the ISP $50k until the matter is resolved.

They will change their behavior very quickly.
 
They have to provide it in the final bill to the customer. Stop making excuses to allow them to screw customers.
See I'd just tell them that Local Loop Unbundling will come down if they whine, and add a 0 to the fee for every customer complaint filed. Every customer whom complains you get to charge the ISP $50k until the matter is resolved.

They will change their behavior very quickly.
How are they "screwing" customers vis a vis these charges? They don't establish the charges, the government does. They can't charge you more than the allowed fees. Unless you're suggesting that they are arbitrarily adding fees above and beyond what the government is demanding. If so, why not just force them to itemize any non-government fees?

Is it really Comcast that is screwing you, or the government? If Comcast advertises $99 Gigabit Internet and there is an additional $25/mo in "fees", is it Comcast that is being dishonest or the government? Comcast or any ISP can easily get around this by just saying, Internet is $X, all inclusive, except for government fees. I'm all for exposing how the government taxes you outside of the typical Federal or State income tax, but I don't see how this will actually help me in the long run.
 
I don't care if they itemize or not -- I don't get a breakdown of delivery charges, packaging charges, and so on if I buy something at the grocery store.

BUT!!!! I do think the price should be the price. If I want to pick "should pick this crappy DSL company, or this crappy cable company" (and make no mistake, companies that want to hide billing practices and have hidden data caps are crappy), you would then actually be able to directly compare prices. (OK, if they want to charge modem rental, I'm for that -- since I don't want the choice taken away of buying a modem and NOT paying that fee.) I even looked into satellite here due to the poor choices, same thing.. the "$40" plan was going to cost like $80 after $10 modem rental plus $30 in other made up fees.

They couldn't faslely claim "your price won't go up" then claim the PLAN price didn't go up, those extra $20 are increases in fees. They can't falsely claim some low price then find out the price is not even close to the price (the local cable co frequently advertises this $30 plan.. without disclosing a ridiculously low like 100GB data cap, or that it's really more like $60 due to massive fees tacked on.)
 
Is it really Comcast that is screwing you, or the government? If Comcast advertises $99 Gigabit Internet and there is an additional $25/mo in "fees", is it Comcast that is being dishonest or the government?
It's Comcast. The gov't fees are like $3, the other $22 is just junk Comcast is tacking on so they can advertise a $22 lower price than the real price.

(Edit: I'm not privy to Comcast's fees, but when I had Mediacom -- who did itemize the fees -- they had like a line maintenance fee, a "local channel" fee, a "sports recovery" fee -- which I debated with them on since the "broadcast basic" plan I had had ZERO sports channels, and even a "cost recovery" fee. I cancelled when the service went up from $13.91 to $35 for like 22 channels, my area has poor TV reception but I hard a larger TV antenna by then so I could get plenty into my DVR over the air. And reluctantly switched from cable internet to DSL at the same time since they were jacking up the price on that too, I don't know if it was by raising the "price" or just raising the fees but whichever.)
 
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Do you work for one of these companies? Why else would you think they shouldn't have to disclose those hidden charges
Instead of a childish personal attack and a dangerously myopic, neo-socialist mindset, why not at least attempt to use your head and understand the real problem? These fees aren't "hidden" -- they're disclosed on every bill. They also don't benefit the ISPs; they go to the government. And federal, state, county, and local governments have combined to make them an incredibly Byzantine, ever-changing web of confusion. There are even cases where an ISP, knowing your home address, can't predict what these fees will be without visiting the actual site to see where exactly the tap will be (for properties which span jurisdictional lines).

If all these multitudinous government entities wish to collect these fees and charges from you, wouldn't it be much more transparent if they did so directly, rather than hide behind a corporate veil? Or at least standardize them to the point that companies could at least easily tell you what they are?

I realize substituting emotion for logic is more viscerally satisfying to you, but to answer your original question: no. I do not work for any of these firms.
 
Instead of a childish personal attack and a dangerously myopic, neo-socialist mindset, why not at least attempt to use your head and understand the real problem? These fees aren't "hidden" -- they're disclosed on every bill. They also don't benefit the ISPs; they go to the government. And federal, state, county, and local governments have combined to make them an incredibly Byzantine, ever-changing web of confusion. There are even cases where an ISP, knowing your home address, can't predict what these fees will be without visiting the actual site to see where exactly the tap will be (for properties which span jurisdictional lines).

If all these multitudinous government entities wish to collect these fees and charges from you, wouldn't it be much more transparent if they did so directly, rather than hide behind a corporate veil? Or at least standardize them to the point that companies could at least easily tell you what they are?

I realize substituting emotion for logic is more viscerally satisfying to you, but to answer your original question: no. I do not work for any of these firms.
You don't get a bill until you sign up. So you sign up for $40 service and find out it's like $70? Absolutely fees should have to be disclosed up front.

Second, it's "taxes and fees". The taxes are taxes. These fees go straight to the cable co. so they can advertise a lower price than the true price of the service. They list them as "taxes and fees" specifically so people will think "Well, there's nothing they can do about it, those are gov't fees" but the vast majority of them are not.
 
It's Comcast. The gov't fees are like $3, the other $22 is just junk
Oops! You forgot the Federal Universal Service Fund (FUNF) fee, the SUNF (state universal service fund) fee, the 911 fees, the FCC fee, the LFF (local franchise fee, paid to local governments), the (potential) local utility tax fee, PEG (public educational government) fee, state and local sales taxes, state and local excise taxes, and quite a few other region-specific charges (NM, for instance, charges an additional fee for certain live sports channels).
 
Oops! You forgot the Federal Universal Service Fund (FUNF) fee, the SUNF (state universal service fund) fee, the 911 fees, the FCC fee, the LFF (local franchise fee, paid to local governments), the (potential) local utility tax fee, PEG (public educational government) fee, state and local sales taxes, state and local excise taxes, and quite a few other region-specific charges (NM, for instance, charges an additional fee for certain live sports channels).
Well, state and local sales tax and excise tax are taxes so they'd be listed as taxes. I suppose FUNF, SUNF, 911 fee, and franchise fee are fees but these typically add up to under $10. (Edit: are you signing up for phone service? I never had a 911 fee, or I don't think universal service fund fees on mine since it was TV and cable.) Region-specific charges like a sports fee are fees the cable company makes up to be able to advertise a lower price for the service, "cost recovery" fees are a fee they tack on rather than listing in the price of the service; for that matter even the franchise fee is something that in decades past was included in the price of service, not tacked on as an additional charge.

The fact of the matter is, companies exist now (both ISPs -- both fiber ISPs here do this, alas neither in my neighborhood yet) and cellular service providers that list the price "all in", other than possibly having to pay sales tax, the price is the price. They pay FUNF, SUNF, 911 fee, and (for ISPs at least) the franchise fee, too, but instead of giving you a price that's not really the price, they list the true price of the serivce.

Either way, though, they really should have to list a true price up front to make price comparisons and seeing if price is within your budget possible.

Edit: I do agree though, both the taxes and gov't fees should be examined and see if it makes sense to reduce or eliminate some of them, they do definitely add up.
 
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Cough BS cough. Had these rules in Australia forever. There are no hidden fees whatsoever. The advertised price is the price you WILL pay, no if's or buts and billing is so trivial even a numpty can understand it.
 
Cough BS cough. Had these rules in Australia forever. There are no hidden fees whatsoever. The advertised price is the price you WILL pay, no if's or buts and billing is so trivial even a numpty can understand it.
Yeah I don't understand why it isn't like that here. I mean, you buy groceries, there is not a $1.50 head of leetuce. But actually it's $2.50, there's a 25 cent transportation charge, 25 cent packaging, 10 cents to cover the grocery store's property taxes, 20 cents for cash register maintenance and 20 cent cost recovery fee. It's $2.50. Prices in the states don't include sales tax (varying by state and locality, and often excluding food items), so there's that, but you know what that's going to add.

In general on any other goods or services the cost is the cost, I don't know why cable companies, phone companies, and the cable and DSL style ISPs think they should continue this practice. (Well, I do, the hook people on that low stated price, and in areas with a duopoly (cable and DSL) it makes cost comparisons close to impossible.
 
It's Comcast. The gov't fees are like $3, the other $22 is just junk Comcast is tacking on so they can advertise a $22 lower price than the real price.

(Edit: I'm not privy to Comcast's fees, but when I had Mediacom -- who did itemize the fees -- they had like a line maintenance fee, a "local channel" fee, a "sports recovery" fee -- which I debated with them on since the "broadcast basic" plan I had had ZERO sports channels, and even a "cost recovery" fee. I cancelled when the service went up from $13.91 to $35 for like 22 channels, my area has poor TV reception but I hard a larger TV antenna by then so I could get plenty into my DVR over the air. And reluctantly switched from cable internet to DSL at the same time since they were jacking up the price on that too, I don't know if it was by raising the "price" or just raising the fees but whichever.)
This.

They always try to sneak in an extra fee such as "line maintenance" and will claim that a squirrel or bird might damage the wire and then the customer is reliable. What if said customer has a buried line or perhaps would rather not have the bill and take on the damage if/when this occurs rather than pay an extra $5 a month for an issue that may not arise. They charge fees for moderns and tv received, but rarely disclose that multiple units track in an additional fee.

The price advertised/negotiated should be transparent up front for the consumer.
 
Just as the FDA requires all food companies to label it's ingredients, so should all companies that add additional fees and costs to your bill so you know what you are paying for.
 
Oops! You forgot the Federal Universal Service Fund (FUNF) fee, the SUNF (state universal service fund) fee, the 911 fees, the FCC fee, the LFF (local franchise fee, paid to local governments), the (potential) local utility tax fee, PEG (public educational government) fee, state and local sales taxes, state and local excise taxes, and quite a few other region-specific charges (NM, for instance, charges an additional fee for certain live sports channels).
Ah, here's the Endy back again that I so love and adore. For a while there, I was beginning to think that you had an epiphany and came back to TS as an enlightened individual interested in more than debating everyone on TS and trying to prove yourself as the only one on TS that knows everything about anything. You should write a book: "The World According to Endymio: the most Brilliant and Wonderful user to ever come to Tech Spot." :laughing:

IMO, you are missing the point. We all know, much to the chagrin of your snarky replies that we don't know anything (and to your implications that everyone else is personally attacking you) about the government fees. It is not those fees that ISPs are abusing. How can they? They are government fees and the government would be all over their a$$e$ if they were abusing them.

There any number of fees that ISPs can and do add to the monthly bills of their customers for literally any reason that damn well please, and they hide them because they do not want their customers to know just how ridiculous these fees are. Its these fees that the crap ISPs do not want to disclose and are lobbying the FCC to allow them to continue hiding.

I know you can't stand people referring you to other "authoritarian" sites, but have a look at some of the fees here - https://updater.com/guides/internet-provider-fees These are modest, IMO, and only the tip of the iceberg. How about this one from Xfinity
Fee for opting out of adding a mobile line

For some of Xfinity’s plans, you only get a deal on your internet if you also choose to add mobile service when you sign up. Otherwise, you have to pay a fee of $20/month. This gets added to your monthly bill after you either cancel or choose not to add mobile service.

The best way to avoid this fee is to either sign up for mobile service if the plan requires it to get a discount, or choose another plan that has a price you’re comfortable with even if you don’t opt for mobile service.
And that's not the best example, either.

Here's another interesting page if you can bear the smell as its a site contrary to your political bent https://www.washingtonpost.com/technology/2022/11/17/isp-prices-fees/ I'll only say this about this page: There is at least one ISP charging customers more for a much slower speed than they charge customers for a speed 10x higher.

Oh, so these abusive practices must be because of the government surreptitiously taxing everyone for their internet use rather than the greed and abuse of the ISPs who all get away with it without consequence. I get it. :rolleyes:
 
I wish they would just charge a flat known price that doesn't change all the time. When you go to the grocery store and you buy a box of soda, it might cost $11. When you go to pay, it doesn't then cost $20 because there is a trucking fee, clerk fee, shelf space fee. That stuff is just baked in to the $11. That's how it should be for everything. I don't care what their costs are. That shouldn't be my problem and they just shouldn't be allowed to tack of fees that weren't agreed upon up front.
 
Well, state and local sales tax and excise tax are taxes so they'd be listed as taxes. I suppose FUNF, SUNF, 911 fee, and franchise fee are fees but these typically add up to under $10. (Edit: are you signing up for phone service? I never had a 911 fee, or I don't think universal service fund fees on mine since it was TV and cable.) Region-specific charges like a sports fee are fees the cable company makes up to be able to advertise a lower price for the service, "cost recovery" fees are a fee they tack on rather than listing in the price of the service; for that matter even the franchise fee is something that in decades past was included in the price of service, not tacked on as an additional charge.

The fact of the matter is, companies exist now (both ISPs -- both fiber ISPs here do this, alas neither in my neighborhood yet) and cellular service providers that list the price "all in", other than possibly having to pay sales tax, the price is the price. They pay FUNF, SUNF, 911 fee, and (for ISPs at least) the franchise fee, too, but instead of giving you a price that's not really the price, they list the true price of the serivce.

Either way, though, they really should have to list a true price up front to make price comparisons and seeing if price is within your budget possible.

Edit: I do agree though, both the taxes and gov't fees should be examined and see if it makes sense to reduce or eliminate some of them, they do definitely add up.
Interestingly, I just checked my Comcast bill. It's $96. It shows zero dollars for taxes and fees and they take exactly $96 a month out of my checking account. So, it appears the price is the price, at least here. Now, should they have to itemize all the fees and taxes that go into the service, because that is what it seems like the government is trying to force them to do. I don't cate what the taxes or fees are, I only care that I get gigabit speeds for $96/mo.
 
It's Comcast. The gov't fees are like $3, the other $22 is just junk Comcast is tacking on so they can advertise a $22 lower price than the real price.

(Edit: I'm not privy to Comcast's fees, but when I had Mediacom -- who did itemize the fees -- they had like a line maintenance fee, a "local channel" fee, a "sports recovery" fee -- which I debated with them on since the "broadcast basic" plan I had had ZERO sports channels, and even a "cost recovery" fee. I cancelled when the service went up from $13.91 to $35 for like 22 channels, my area has poor TV reception but I hard a larger TV antenna by then so I could get plenty into my DVR over the air. And reluctantly switched from cable internet to DSL at the same time since they were jacking up the price on that too, I don't know if it was by raising the "price" or just raising the fees but whichever.)
Some of those fees are fees imposed by certain networks, like the sports fee. Sports networks charge Comcast or whomever, a fee, Comcast passes that on to the consumer even if they don't get the sports channels, because if you have broadcast channels, they have sports.

Here's a link to the Comcast page for fees. I don't use Comcast for TV, so I don't see most of these. And, for my Comcast internet bill, I get one price, no taxes, no fees, just $96/mo and not a penny more.
 
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