The imaginary price of broadband

gettyimages-458751494Imagine that you went into a store, and you saw things you wanted to buy, and so you picked an item that was marked $20. And so you took it to the register, and were cheerfully told that your total was $35.

Crazy, right? Unless you’re buying cable TV or broadband.

Like the airline and hotel industries, the cable TV and broadband sector has a masterful knack for obnoxious, hidden fees. From fees for simply trying to pay your bill to broadband surcharges based entirely on fluff and nonsense, the industry has spent years advertising one rate, only to hit you with a significantly higher price once your bill actually comes due.

A new bill being proposed by Senator Ed Markey and Representative Anna Eshoo is attempting to put an end to the practice.

The duo’s Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees (‘TRUE Fees’) Act would require cable TV or broadband providers to include all additional surcharges in the advertised price, helping consumers avoid sticker shock.

Note that nobody’s saying they can’t charge fees, just that they need to clearly tell you what they are and what the resulting total will be. This seems like the most uncontroversial thing in the world.

So I’m looking forward to seeing who opposes it. Because the telecoms have deep pockets and lots of Congressional apparatchiks supporters.

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