Comcast has been charging $7.50 "outlet fees" for people who use their own equipment (i.e. cableCards) simply because they can.
Comcast originally rented cable boxes for $10 a month, but then lost this revenue when people switched to using their own equipment. So Comcast decided to rent cable boxes for $2.50 with a $7.50 outlet fee. People who rent from Comcast see no change in price, but people using their own equipment are suddenly socked with a $7.50 per device surcharge.
Basically Comcast is finding ways of implementing fees when there's no real reason to do so. For example the $10 "HD Technology Fee" which Comcast charges if you want HD channels. That fee applies whether or not you actually rent an HD box from Comcast (even if you have an SD TV) so it's simply a money grab. -- The Comcast Disney Avatar has been retired.
Before the Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992 was implemented our cable company charged an outlet fee, a converter descrambler fee and a remote control fee. Only local channels were not scrambled for lifeline service. When will the gateway that has been discussed become available and will the FCC prohibit the cable service provider from charging for each outlet (television)? The FCC should use the telephone company model forcing the cable and DBS industry to allow the customer to own their own equipment.
The FCC should use the telephone company model forcing the cable and DBS industry to allow the customer to own their own equipment.
The FCC does force cable providers to allow users to install and use their own equipment by mandating that cable companies support CableCARDs which separates encryption from the device.
The FCC even mandates what can be charged for cards and that cable companies should refund customers the cost they would have paid renting from the cable company. In other words deduct the rental fee.
What Comcast did was arbitrarily decide that the box rental fee should now be $2.50 instead of the previous $10, so that's what customers who use their own equipment get back. Of course the box rental fee can't actually be $2.50 so they then tacked on a $7.50 outlet fee to make up the difference. Since it's not a "rental" fee, customers using their own equipment still have to pay it. It follows the letter of the FCC regulations, but not the spirit of said regulations. Basically Comcast found a loophole.