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NCTA Seek Immediate Extension of Truth-in-Billing Regs

Citing the coronavirus, cable operators are asking the FCC for an immediate, blanket extension of compliance date for truth in billing requirements mandated by Congress. 

NCTA-The Internet & Television Association, was already planning to seek such an extension in comments it would have filed later in the general course of the notice and comment process--the FCC had set comment dates for the truth-in-billing compliance trigger for April 6 and 13--but, "given the circumstances surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic...submitted the request last week for immediate action."  

It said granting the extension now would "allow MVPDs to redirect all necessary resources towards addressing COVID-19." 

The current compliance date is June 20, 2020, but the FCC asked if it should grant a six-month extension to December 2020. NCTA said yes, and ASAP.  

The truth-in-billing requirements were contained in the Television Viewer Protection Act.

The TVPA, which passed last December, obligates MVPDs "to give consumers a breakdown of all charges related to the MVPD’s video service” before those consumers sign a contract, and gives consumers 24 hours to cancel service without penalty." The TVPA also requires more transparency in electronic billing and prohibits MVPDs from charging for equipment they don't provide. 

Some ISPs are asking for a host of coronavirus-related extensions, exemptions, waivers and temporary deregulation to deal with preserving and extending broadband in the current crisis, in some cases without charge or at reduced rates. 

John Eggerton
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.