AT&T (NYSE: T) has implemented a series of new fees on its U-verse broadband and IPTV customers as a way to recoup the costs of programming and end-user devices like the home network gateway.
A Broadband DSL Reports article, citing end-user forum entries, said the telco has implemented a $2 "Broadcast TV Surcharge" and a $3 "High Speed Internet Equipment Fee" beginning this month.
AT&T said on its U-verse website that the new $2 "Broadcast TV Surcharge" is to "recover a portion of the amount local broadcasters charge AT&T to carry their channels."
AT&T is not the only video provider imposing content fees on consumers, as DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) has also begun charging its customers a $3 "Regional Sports Fee" to offset local sports programming fees. However, AT&T does not specify whether its fee is related to sports programming.
The telco began charging U-verse customers a $2 monthly high speed Internet equipment fee for the Wi-Fi-enabled Residential Gateway, while the monthly rate for the Home Wiring Protection Plan will be $6. What's interesting about the gateway fee is it has been levied on only customers who do not own their gateway devices.
"If you are not currently paying a monthly high speed Internet equipment fee for the Wi-Fi-enabled Residential Gateway, a $2 monthly fee will begin with the January 27 billing statements," said AT&T on its U-verse site.
Frontier Communications (Nasdaq: FTR) also implemented a $7 DSL modem and $15 integrated wireless modem/gateway fee on its subscribers in December 2011. Earlier, the telco proposed Verizon FiOS TV rate hikes in Oregon, Washington and Indiana.
While these fees may seem small, they open up opportunities for AT&T and Frontier's cable competition to lure potentially angry subscribers with their own triple play packages, including higher speed packages with 50 and 100 Mbps, over their existing HFC-based networks.
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