Advanced Television

FCC votes for pay-TV pricing transparency

March 15, 2024

By Colin Mann

The Federal Communications Commission has adopted new rules requiring cable and satellite TV providers to specify the ‘all-in’ price clearly and prominently for video programming service in their promotional materials and on subscribers’ bills. The FCC aims to eliminate the misleading practice of describing video programming costs as a tax, fee, or surcharge.

This updated ‘all-in’ pricing format allows consumers to make informed choices, including the ability to comparison shop among competitors and to compare programming costs against alternative programming providers, including streaming services. TV providers often use deceptive junk fees to hide the real price of their services. The FCC is putting an end to this form of price masking, increasing competition, and reducing confusion among consumers.

These new rules require cable operators and direct broadcast satellite (DBS) providers 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 record demonstrates that charges and fees for video programming provided by cable and DBS providers are often obscured in misleading promotional materials and bills, which causes significant and costly confusion for consumers.

These new rules continue a series of consumer-focused proposals to combat junk fees and support transparency for consumers. In addition to this ‘all-in’ pricing, the Commission is preparing to upcoming launch of the mandatory Broadband Consumer Labels and has proposed to eliminate early termination fees from cable and satellite TV providers.

Categories: Articles, Broadband, Broadcast, Business, Cable, DTH/Satellite, Pay TV, Policy, Regulation

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