Senators Call on FCC to Probe Cable, Broadband Prices

WASHINGTON, July 10 - Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and three colleagues today asked the Federal Communications Commission to investigate “ridiculous prices” for cable and broadband services.

“Consumers in our country have little or no choice in their Internet and cable provider,” Sanders wrote in the letter to FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler. “As a result, these companies are able to charge ridiculous prices and add hidden fees onto a customer’s bill,” he added in the letter also signed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Edward Markey (D-Mass.) and Al Franken (D-Minn.). “It’s no wonder the American public rank these providers last in customer satisfaction,” the senators said.

The letter asks the FCC to collect information on what Americans pay for broadband and cable services by location, provider and the fees these companies charge. Currently, America ranks 25th worldwide for broadband speed, and we pay more for poorer quality broadband than customers in Slovakia, Estonia, South Korea, and the U.K.

The recent increased concentration in the cable and Internet industries has created a de facto monopoly where substantial price increases have become the norm.

The senators said an investigation by the commission would give consumers a better understanding of cable and broadband prices. They also said it would help policymakers evaluate the impact of corporate mergers, such as a proposed deal involving Charter, Time-Warner Cable and Bright House Networks. 

“Americans deserve affordable access to the Internet, not hidden fees and rising prices,” said Sanders. “I hope Chairman Wheeler will take action and continue to defend American consumers.”

To read letter, click here.