Boston (October 25, 2019) – Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today responded to the FCC’s approval of Charter Communication’s Petition for Determination of Effective Competition. The Commission found that AT&T’s DIRECTV NOW video programming service, a streaming service rebranded as AT&T TV NOW, provides effective competition to Charter throughout Massachusetts. As a result of this decision, Charter will no longer be subject to rate regulations and will be able to raise rates for basic cable service and equipment in 32 Massachusetts communities.


“Today, the FCC paved the way for a powerful cable company to increase its prices without regard to the impact on consumers,” said Senator Markey, a member of the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. “I will closely monitor whether Charter uses this decision to dramatically hike price for Charter cable consumers in Massachusetts. 


“In light of today’s decision, it is more important than ever that Congress pass the TRUE Fees Act, which protects cable subscribers from hidden fees and allows customers to end their contracts without early termination fees. Both the Commission and Congress should be looking out for consumers, not corporations and putting families first.”


Senator Markey previously urged the Commission to consider the effects of Charter’s request on consumers – particularly members of vulnerable populations who subscribe to Charter’s basic tier offering – and to not take any steps that will subject Massachusetts viewers to higher prices. 


In February, Senator Markey and Congresswoman Anna G. Eshoo (CA-18) introduced the Truth-In-Billing, Remedies, and User Empowerment over Fees (TRUE Fees) Act, legislation that requires phone, cable and Internet providers to include all charges in the prices they advertise for services. The legislation also provides remedies for consumers when they have been wrongfully charged.