Comcast: FCC’s Broadband Labels A ‘Burden’ That Add ‘Unnecessary Complexity’

Comcast is pushing back on the Federal Communication Commission’s plans to require companies to use “nutrition labels” to clearly inform customers of plans' costs and features....
Comcast: FCC’s Broadband Labels A ‘Burden’ That Add ‘Unnecessary Complexity’
Written by Staff
  • Comcast is pushing back on the Federal Communication Commission’s plans to require companies to use “nutrition labels” to clearly inform customers of plans’ costs and features.

    The broadband industry is notorious for hidden fees, mystery rental charges, and a host of other costs that are not clearly defined when people sign up for plans. The FCC has been working to address the problem, requiring companies to use a “nutrition label,” akin to the labels used in the food industry, to help customers make informed choices.

    Evidently, Comcast believes it is not reasonable to do what virtually every other industry in America already does — be transparent and upfront about what it charges. In a letter to the FCC, the company has singled out “pass-through fees” and the requirement to “track the provision of labels to consumers in alternate sales channels.”

    Read More: Comcast Caught Giving Fake Coverage Data to FCC…Again

    In essence, Comcast is objecting to the part of the order that requires it to inform customers about pass-through fees, fees it is charged that it has the option of passing to the customer. There are some fees, on a federal, state, and local level, that must be passed to the customer as a separate fee. The FCC is not requiring companies to itemize those since it varies by location.

    Comcast wants that same rule applied to optional pass-through fees, however. In other words, Comcast wants the ability to advertise a lower price and then opt to pass on the additional fees to the customers above and beyond the quoted price, essentially continuing its business model with as little change as possible.

    If these fees must be itemized, a separate label must be created for each unique combination of applicable nonmandatory pass-through government fees. Itemizing these fees would substantially increase the burden on providers to generate and maintain their labels, particularly as the fees are subject to change, in some cases as often as quarterly.

    See Also: Comcast Continues Its Race to the Bottom With $27 ‘Broadcast TV’ Fee

    Basically, Comcast is saying it is incapable of keeping its advertising transparent or honest on even a quarterly basis, despite the fact that this challenge has been successfully overcome by retail companies, software companies, automotive companies, grocery companies, and virtually every other industry.

    Comcast is also balking at the requirement to document that broadband labels are provided to customers that may purchase plans from third-party sellers and other alternate sales channels.

    Given the estimated number of customer interactions in Comcast retail stores and over the phone, this would be a significant undertaking….As detailed in the Joint Petition, the need to create and maintain such an extremely large number of otherwise-unnecessary records imposes substantial additional burdens and raises a host of other issues and concerns.

    It is somewhat incredible that Comcast believes its business should be exempt from the same rules of transparency and honesty so many others. There’s little mystery as to why Comcast is among America’s most hated companies. With stunts like this, it will likely retain that reputation for years to come.

    Get the WebProNews newsletter delivered to your inbox

    Get the free daily newsletter read by decision makers

    Advertise with Us

    Ready to get started?

    Get our media kit