FairPoint irks residential customers with new $3 broadband fee

FairPoint Communications

FairPoint has implemented a new $3 “Broadband Cost Recovery Fee” on its consumer customers, a move that will likely irk the telco’s Northern New England customer base that has growing options from a larger Charter and Comcast.

Citing a consumer letter posted on its comments page, a DSL Reports article reported that FairPoint said the new fee is needed "to defray costs associated with expanding network capacity to support the continued increase in customers' broadband consumption.”

FairPoint said in the letter that the $3 fee, which is subject to change, is a company surcharge and is not mandated by the FCC.

Similarly, CenturyLink launched a $1 "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" in 2013 to its DSL users. In April, the telco notified users that it would double the fee to $4.

The FCC has attempted to address the so-called broadband pricing sticker shock by working with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to develop a new set of labels for wireline broadband and wireless Internet services, giving consumers the ability to make price and feature comparisons when they shop for service.

With this price label, service providers would spell out all of the so-called hidden fees such as overage, equipment, early termination and administrative fees. 

At the time the FCC devised the broadband pricing labels, the regulator said it gets over 2,000 complaints related to "surprise" fees associated with consumers' internet service bills. According to the complaints that the FCC collects, the actual prices paid for broadband-related services can be as much as 40 percent greater than what is advertised after taxes and fees are added to a bill.

"These labels provide consumers clarity about the broadband service they are purchasing, not only helping them to make more informed choices but also preventing surprises when the first bill arrives," said FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler, in a statement. "Customers deserve to know the price they will actually pay for a service and to be fully aware of other components such as data limits and performance factors before they sign up for service."

For more:
- DSL Reports has this article

Related articles:
New consumer labels may combat broadband service sticker shock
CenturyLink slaps $1 Internet cost recovery fee on DSL users