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      3 comments  ·  Plain Language  ·  Flag idea as inappropriate…  ·  Admin →
      Anonymous commented  · 

      I came into the national broadband discussion by asking similar questions about FRANCHISE and PEG fees on my Comcast bill. In the last three months I've contacted local and state agencies who govern the cable franchise agreement for my county (Marin, California) and read through the California AB 2987 act of 2006 governing video franchises. While I have come to understand how and why fees and taxes can be levied on communication services like internet, phone, and cable video, I throw my support behind any citizen or group who demands that companies like Comcast and AT&T provide backup on their invoices, and I don't just mean an asterisked reference. Franchise Fees are calculated as a percentage of the total portion of your cable bill attributable to VIDEO. The maximum is 5%. But the majority of cable subscribers received phone, video, and internet in a bundled package so you how any of the fees and taxes are applied is impossible to determine. At the very least I believe our communication service providers should provide us with the "long math" (5% x $100=Franchise Fee) so we can at least know what we are paying for. This is ultimately necessary because every municipal franchise provided in this country is in a ongoing and expensive lawsuit with Comcast about "uncollected" fees. Comcast owes our cities tens of millions of dollars because there is little to no transparency in the entire process. How crazy is this. You pay. Comcast collects. And your city then has to pay for an expensive audit to get your money. Never forget that these service providers are conducting their private business through the PUBLIC RIGHTS-OF-WAY and thus have a special obligation to care for the public's best interests. Having the providers declare their calculations on an invoice would be a start. We all know that when paid for politicians award monopoly market power to corrupt corporations the consumers are held *******. But nothing will change unless we keep asking the right questions and spreading our answers around.

      Anonymous supported this idea  · 

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