FCC Might Crack Down On Sneaky Cable Broadcast TV Fees
Cable operators and broadband ISPs have started placing a sneaky “broadcast TV” fee below the line on customer bills. Companies use this fee to pass programming costs below the line, so they can increase your bill without increasing their advertised rates. It’s technically false advertising, given programming is something you’re already supposed to be paying via your consistently-skyrocketing cable TV bill.
The practice may have finally gotten the attention of the FCC.
The FCC Media Bureau’s latest request for comment and data for its next video competition report is looking for feedback on the subject of sneaky fees. The inquiry could lead to FCC enforcement, with misleading pricing covered under the transparency requirement of the FCC’s net neutrality rules.
“Some MVPDs have added various video-related fees to monthly billing statements,” the Media Bureau said. “Such fees include, for instance, a broadcast fee to partially recoup retransmission-consent fees charged by local broadcast stations and a sports fee to defray the cost of sports programming.”
The Bureau proceeds to note that “some MVPDs may raise subscribers’ total monthly bills using these fees without raising the advertised package prices.” Of course burying these kinds of sneaky fees below the line has been a wireless and wired pastime for years,
“While broadcast stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government, they charge Charter significant amounts to carry their TV signals,” Charter’s website informs customers. Charter was one of the first cable companies to start charging the fee. When Comcast was asked whether the fee was misleading last year, they informed media outlets it was simply their attempt at being transparent.
The FCC Media Bureau’s inquiry into sneaky fees may not lead to any meaningful FCC action, but it’s good to see such behavior isn’t flying entirely under the regulatory radar.
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Clean living forum to be held Aug. 5
Panel discussion, Bravehearts reception to recognize many paths to recovery
Worcester, MA –The month of August is typically the worst time of year in Central Massachusetts for opioid overdoses. As part of its efforts to fight this summer spike, the City of Worcester is partnering with the Worcester Bravehearts, Saint Vincent Hospital, and Spectrum Health Systems for a day of discussion focused on opioid addiction, treatment, and the many paths to recovery.
On Wednesday, August 5, 2015, community members will join local and state leaders and officials as well as medical experts for a Clean Living Forum focused on the drug epidemic in Worcester County and opportunities for assistance and recovery followed by a pregame reception at the Worcester Bravehearts game that evening.
The day will feature the following:
Panel discussion focused on “The Many Paths to Recovery”
Saint Vincent Hospital Atrium, 123 Summer Street, Worcester, MA
Worcester Bravehearts “Clean Living Night” non-alcoholic pregame reception with buffet
Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field
Baseball game– Worcester Bravehearts vs. Nashua Silver Knights
Hanover Insurance Park at Fitton Field
Worcester City Manager Edward M. Augustus, Jr. will serve as moderator of the panel discussion. In the audience will be members of Worcester’s recovery community. The panel is open to the public. Resource tables will be available with information on treatment and recovery support. A series of public service announcements with vital information about opioid addiction and support services featuring local officials and community members will premiere at the event.
Forum panelists include: former Red Sox great Bernie Carbo; Matilde Castiel, MD, Executive Director of the Latin American Health Alliance; Charles Faris, President and CEO of Spectrum Health Systems; Maryanne Frangules, Executive Director of Massachusetts Organization for Addiction Recovery; and Douglas Waite, MD, Chief Medical Officer, Saint Vincent Hospital.
The pregame reception will include the opportunity to meet members of the Regional Response to Addiction Partnership and District Attorney Early’s Opioid Task Force. In addition, Bernie Carbo’s birthday will be celebrated with cake, an on-field ceremony, and a commemorative bobblehead giveaway.
Free tickets and wristbands for the reception and game will be available to all who attend the Clean Living Forum.
The Clean Living Forum is sponsored by Spectrum Health Systems, Inc., Saint Vincent Hospital, the city of Worcester, the Worcester Bravehearts Baseball Team, and the Q 90.1.
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