The actions of these four cable commissions will have a nation-wide impact and will require Comcast to be more transparent in their billing practices. In early 2013, Comcast began charging subscribers a $1.99 DTA fee. A DTA is a digital adapter box that allows customers to convert digital cable signals to work on an analog television.
“Subscribers across the country complained about this fee,” said attorney Mike Bradley of the cable and telecommunications law firm Bradley & Guzzetta. “These four cable commissions decided to do something about it.” Comcast had insisted its fee was an unregulated service fee.
All four cable commissions, represented by Mike Bradley and Steve Guzzetta, engaged Dick Treich of Front Range Consulting, Inc. (http://www.frc-inc.com), a municipal cable financial consultant based in Denver. Based on the Report of Mr. Treich, the Commissions all adopted rate orders requiring Comcast to unbundle the equipment from three different so-called “service fees.”
“Comcast was charging a DTA Fee, an HD Technology Fee and an HD/DVR Service Fee,” said Mike Bradley. “All of these fees far exceeded the maximum rate that Comcast was allowed to charge for the equipment.” Bradley explained,
Because of the Commissions’ actions, the FCC confirmed that “the equipment regulations still apply to all the equipment in a subscriber's home that is provided and maintained by the cable operator and that is used to receive the BST [Basic Service Tier], even if it is also used to receive additional tiers of unregulated services.”
Cable operators across the country will no longer be allowed to hide equipment fees in so-called service fees. According to Steve Guzzetta, “Now all cable operators across the country, not just Comcast, will have to explain to its customers why they charge subscribers for equipment and a corresponding service that the equipment already provides. Certainly this is a victory for transparency in cable billing.”
Click headline to read more--