So one of the most loathed companies in the United States, Comcast, has a sad, because the FCC wants it to detail all of its fees, and the cable company says that it is too hard to do this.
If you lack the infrastructure or knowledge to tell your customers about your fees, you Saracen pig dogs, you lack to the infrastructure or knowledge to charge your customers these fees:
Comcast is not happy about new federal rules that will require it to provide broadband customers with labels displaying exact prices and other information about Internet service plans.
In a filing last week, Comcast told the Federal Communications Commission that it is “working diligently to put in place the systems and processes necessary to create, maintain, and display the labels as required.” But according to Comcast, “two aspects of the Commission’s Order impose significant administrative burdens and unnecessary complexity in complying with the broadband label requirements.”
Comcast noted that five major cable and telecom industry trade groups petitioned the FCC in January to change the rules. Comcast’s new filing urged the FCC to grant the petition “as soon as possible before the rules become effective to help providers streamline and simplify their labeling processes, which will ultimately benefit consumers.”
The FCC was required to implement broadband label rules in a 2021 law passed by Congress. Although the FCC approved the label rules in November 2022, it’s not clear when they will take effect. They are subject to a federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review because of requirements in the US Paperwork Reduction Act. Medium-sized and large ISPs would be required to comply six months after the OMB review, while providers with 100,000 or fewer subscribers would have one year to comply.
“The label hasn’t even reached consumers yet, but Comcast is already trying to create loopholes. This request would allow the big ISPs to continue hiding the true cost of service and frustrating customers with poor service. Congress created the label to end these practices, not maintain them, and Comcast offers no compelling reason for the FCC to violate Congress’ intent,” Joshua Stager, policy director at media advocacy group Free Press, told Ars. Stager previously advocated for the broadband labels when he was deputy director of New America’s Open Technology Institute.
The FCC rules require ISPs to display the labels at the point of sale. The labels must disclose broadband prices, introductory rates, data allowances, Internet speeds, and include links to information about an ISP’s network management practices and privacy policies.
Comcast and other ISPs have annoyed customers for many years by advertising low prices and then charging much bigger monthly bills by tacking on a variety of fees. While some of these fees are related to government-issued requirements and others are not, poorly trained customer service reps have been known to falsely tell customers that fees created by Comcast are mandated by the government.
A small correction here: the CSRs who dishonestly describe the nature of the fees are not poorly trained. They are trained to lie to the customer.
They are improperly trained.
Here is the crux of the matter:
As Comcast makes clear, it isn’t required to pass these costs on to customers in the form of separate fees. Comcast could stop charging the fees and raise its advertised prices by the corresponding amount to more accurately convey its actual prices to customers. Instead, Comcast wants the FCC to change the rule so that it can continue charging the fees without itemizing them.
The portion of the FCC order that Comcast and other ISPs object to says that “providers must list all recurring monthly fees,” including “all charges that providers impose at their discretion, i.e., charges not mandated by a government.”
Secondly, Comcast objects to a record-keeping requirement that seems designed to ensure that ISPs are following the rules. The record-keeping rule relates to providing labels through “alternate sales channels” such as retail stores or customer service phone calls. The FCC said that ISPs can meet the label requirement in these sales channels either by providing a hard copy of the label or by “directing the consumer to the specific web page on which the label appears by, for example, providing Internet access in the retail location or giving the customer a card with the printed URL or a QR code, or orally providing information from the label to the consumer over the phone.”
So, the short version is that they want to lie in the ads about the cost of their services, and they want to make it impossible for regulators to know when they are lying.
Mom!!!! Comcast is being Comcast again!!!!
Municipal broadband, baby. That’s the only way to go.