A ZDNet news flash came across a couple of days ago stating that, although an FCC fee on digital subscriber lines (DSL) has been eliminated, neither Bellsouth nor Verizon DSL customers will see a discount.
No big surprise for Bellsouth customers… once there’s an add-on fee, it never goes away even when it goes away.
Today, the Wall Street Journal reports that the FCC has opened a formal inquiry:
Federal regulators have prepared formal inquiries asking Verizon Communications Inc. and BellSouth Corp., for more information about their decision to keep money high-speed Internet customers would have otherwise gotten back following a government decision that broadband subscribers no longer have to pay into a federal subsidy program.
The letters, which sources said could be sent as early as today, are the first step toward a formal Federal Communications Commission investigation. The inquiry is particularly unwelcome for BellSouth, whose $67 billion acquisition by AT&T Inc. is still pending before the agency. It’s somewhat unlikely the issue would have any significant impact on the merger, which is still being reviewed by staff. But FCC Chairman Kevin Martin was “very upset” by Verizon and BellSouth’s decision to keep the money, an FCC official said.
“The commission takes its obligation to protect consumers very seriously,” said FCC spokesman David Fiske. “Consumers must be provided with clear and non-misleading information so they make accurately access the services for which they are being charged and the costs associated with those services.”
It’s easy to get frustrated with the government, but I’m sure glad someone’s following up on this one. It’s about time.