US telecom regulator wants to bar cable TV early-termination fees By Reuters

© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Jessica Rosenworcel answers a question during an oversight hearing held by the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation for the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), in Washington, United States, on 24 June 2020. Jonathan Newton/P

By David Shepardson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Federal Communications Commission Chairwoman Jessica Rosenworcel on Tuesday proposed banning cable and satellite television providers from charging consumers early termination fees to cancel contracts.

Rosenworcel said the commission would take a first vote Dec. 13 on the plan, which would also require TV and video service providers to refund subscribers if they cancel before the end of this billing cycle. She cited President Joe Biden’s executive order that encourages the FCC and other agencies to take steps to crack down on what the administration calls “unwanted charges.”

Since Democrats took control of the FCC in early October, Rosenworcel has quickly established new rules.

Last month, the FCC voted to approve a proposal to reinstate historic net neutrality rules and assume new regulatory oversight of broadband internet, rolled back under former President Donald Trump.

Last week, the FCC adopted final rules to prevent digital discrimination in access to broadband services, under a congressional directive. Under the new rules, the FCC can investigate complaints of discrimination in broadband access and impose penalties on companies that violate the rules. “We have created a process to find solutions that work for all parties,” Rosenworcel said.

Republican FCC Commissioner Brendan Carr said the plan gives “the federal government a roving mandate to manage almost every aspect of how the Internet operates.”

In November 2022, the FCC declared that U.S. broadband service providers must display information similar to nutrition labels on food products to help consumers purchase broadband internet services.

The rules require broadband providers to display labels at the point of sale showing prices, speeds, fees and data allowances.

In June, the FCC granted initial approval to a proposal requiring cable operators and direct-to-home satellite providers to clearly and conspicuously specify the “all-inclusive” price for video programming service in promotional materials and on subscriber invoices.

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