Congressman Anthony Brindisi (NY-22) today introduced the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act to provide better oversight of cable and internet providers and hold companies accountable that are fined by a state Public Service Commission (PSC).

In New York State, Charter Communications was fined $2 million after the company failed to meet its obligation to expand broadband by its required deadline. Brindisi led the fight against Charter/Spectrum after he heard from thousands of constituents unhappy about frequent rate hikes, slow internet speeds, and poor customer service.

As a member of Congress, Brindisi is continuing his fight on the federal level. In January, Brindisi demanded the FCC outline its plans to hold Charter/Spectrum accountable and the steps it will take to ensure Upstate New Yorkers finally have access to affordable high-speed broadband. Brindisi has not yet received a response to the letter.

“I’ve heard from thousands of Upstate New Yorkers who are sick and tired of dealing with frequent rate hikes, poor customer service, and failed promises,” said Brindisi. “This is more than just an inconvenience. For families on fixed incomes, an unexpected rate hike could wreck their budget. And for people in rural communities, crawling internet speeds can take away their connection to jobs, health care, information, and important online services. When a company enters into an agreement, it should be required to hold up its part of the bargain.  We can’t keep giving these companies a free pass. If we don’t hold them accountable, nothing will change.”

Under the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act, if a cable or internet company is fined by a state Public Service Commission, it would be required to report:

  • The number of cable and broadband internet customers in each county;
  • The average cable bill and broadband internet bill amounts in each county;
  • A full accounting of all fees charged customers in each county; and
  • The average broadband internet speeds delivered in each county.

Brindisi introduced his legislation during National Consumer Protection Week when federal, state, and local partners come together to help shed light on scams, identity theft, and other unfair, deceptive, and fraudulent business practices.

Brindisi spoke on the floor of the House of Representatives about the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act. His remarks as prepared for delivery are below.  A clip of the remarks are available to download here.

Mister/Madam Speaker, I rise today to call attention to the need for better oversight of cable and internet providers.

Between price increases, slow internet speeds, and baffling fees, customers in all regions of the country are overcharged by their cable company and don’t get what they paid for.

For customers on fixed incomes, a sudden jump in the cable bill can put a painful squeeze on other parts of the family budget. And customers in rural areas often find their broadband speeds are not nearly as fast as advertised.

That's why I am introducing the Transparency for Cable Consumers Act.
Under this bill, if a cable or internet company is fined by a state Public Service Commission, the company would be required to report to the FCC what they are charging customers and what they are delivering in return.

By bringing more transparency into the market, we can help increase competition and improve services for consumers across the country.

I yield back the balance of my time.