Broadband and TV providers can keep charging "rental" fees for equipment that customers own themselves until Dec 2020, thanks to a Federal Communications Commission ruling that delays implementation of a new law. A law signed by President Donald Trump in Dec 2019 prohibits providers from charging device-rental fees when customers use their own equipment, and it was originally scheduled to take effect on June 20. This law will help Frontier customers who have been forced to pay $10 monthly fees for equipment they don't use and, in some cases, have never even received.
A survey from Consumer Reports finds that only 38 percent of those with paid TV subscriptions with cable or satellite providers said they were very or completely satisfied with their service. Consumer Reports said most of the larger cable companies ended up in the bottom half of the 25 companies on the ratings list. Google Fiber broke away from the pack on the TV front, though, receiving top marks in areas like technical support, customer service and equipment ease of use.
The financial challenges YouTube TV and other “virtual cable” providers face is a good illustration of some points we’ve been making at Public Knowledge for a while. "These streaming services have yet to figure out how to make money. In fact, the more people they sign up, the more money they lose. That’s because the services are paying more for programming than what they’re charging consumers.” Why is this? Basically, the incentives of large content providers and big cable make offering viewers more choice very difficult.
Early signs suggest the legal fight over AT&T’s $85 billion Time Warner takeover will focus heavily on the small screen, drawing much of its evidence from the companies’ video rivals. Those competitors argue the telecom company will use Time Warner’s entertainment assets against them.
The Federal Communications Commission issued a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that explores ways to enable pay-tv providers (multichannel video programming distributors in regulatoryspeak), such as cable and satellite providers, to communicate with their subscribers in more efficient and less costly ways. Specifically, the Notice proposes to allow cable operators to send general written notices to subscribers by email, as long as they use a verified email address and comply with other consumer safeguards.