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Comcast: Sneaky 'Broadcast TV Fee' Is Just Us Being Transparent
by Karl Bode 11:42AM Friday Aug 08 2014 Tipped by Bill Neilson See Profile
As I mentioned recently and several times over the last year, cable operators and broadband ISPs have started placing a sneaky "broadcast TV surcharge" below the line on customer bills. Companies are doing this as a way to pass on retransmission fee hikes from broadcasters below the line, so they can increase your bill without increasing their advertised rates.

It's a sneaky practice on several fronts. One, because it's technically false advertising, and two, because it's really just duplicating the costs you're already supposed to be paying via your consistently-skyrocketing cable TV bill. That's why it's so amusing to see Comcast tell Geekwire that the fee is Comcast's way of being "transparent":
quote:
In a statement, Comcast spokesman Steve Kipp said the charge is due to broadcast “retransmission costs,” which have more than doubled in recent years. "Beginning in 2014, we will itemize a portion of broadcast retransmission costs as a separate line item to be more transparent with our customers about the factors that drive price changes," he said. “In 2014, we will not increase the price of Limited Basic or Digital Preferred video service, and adjustments to other video service prices will be lower than they would have been without the Broadcast TV Fee.”
Nothing quite says "transparency" like sneaking a fee onto your bill that distorts the advertised price. Programming hikes are a cost of doing business, and should be included in your overall bill. Comcast's not the only one doing this: Verizon covertly jacks up the price of voice service via an "FDV Administrative Charge" that covers retrans hikes. AT&T takes things even further, charging U-Verse users two completely different fees for this same purpose.

As previously noted, despite a professed dedication to "transparency," the FCC has turned a blind eye to this practice for most of the last decade.


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camper
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reply to 78036364

Re: would you rather

said by 78036364:

And who is going to pay for that?

 
The data are already in the billing system, as it shows up on your bills.

It would not be difficult to use that data to show more transparent monthly pricing.

It is not a question of cost, it is a question of will.


camper
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reply to 78036364
said by 78036364:

I will say that things like sales taxes and franchise these they can't list in the price since there are 3600 counties in the US and that would kind of be difficult.

 
There are things called databases and computers that make such tasks rather easy.


NormanS
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reply to 78036364
said by 78036364:

... them rise the bill even higher an not have the fee listed?

I detect a non-sequitor. What is the difference between $29.99+$10.00 Broadcast TV Fee and $39.99? And if the fee goes up to $15.00 next year, you pay $29.99+$15.00; which is a price hike (but they can claim their $29.99 "base fee" did not increase!)

Hmmm. Here is a nice car; $5,000. But the wheels and engine are extra.
--
Norman
~Oh Lord, why have you come
~To Konnyu, with the Lion and the Drum


karpodiem
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Detroit, MI

5 recommendations

Give us real transparency - line item details

Tell us what you are paying each broadcaster to carry their channel. Then people can finally put a dollar amount on the channels they have no interest in.