FCC Paves Way for More Fee Forgiveness

The FCC has granted two waivers that will allow hundreds of broadband and phone providers to forego late fees for customers with "economic challenges" due to the pandemic. 

The FCC's Wireline Competition Bureau said it had granted waivers to National Exchange Carrier Association (NECA) and John Staurulakis, Inc. (JSI) to allow rate-of-return carriers to meet the FCC's Keep Americans Connected Pledge, which includes "waiv[ing] any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur." 

The waiver also applies to installation and early cancellation fees.  

“We need to remove regulatory hurdles wherever we can to help consumers stay connected during this national emergency,” said FCC chairman Ajit Pai in a statement. "With these waivers of our tariffing rules, we’re doing exactly that. I’m glad to enable these rate-of-return carriers to waive late payment fees and allow consumers to purchase and cancel DSL service without having to pay installation and termination fees. We hope that this relief will help keep rural Americans connected during the coronavirus pandemic.”

John Eggerton

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.