FCC Modernizes Cable Subscriber Notice Rules

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The FCC has adopted a Report and Order that allows cable operators to deliver notices to their customers via e-mail, thus reducing costs and paper waste for both cable operators and consumers. Specifically, the Commission’s action will permit cable operators to send electronic messages to consumers, but only to verified e-mail addresses. Consumers will be permitted to “opt-out” and elect to receive paper delivery at any time. In 2017, the Commission adopted a Declaratory Ruling which clarified that mandatory annual notices sent from cable providers to subscribers can be sent via email, subject to certain consumer safeguards, and this Report and Order expands upon that decision to include additional subscriber-related notices. Additionally, the Report and Order allows cable companies to respond to consumer inquiries regarding billing or service disputes – provided the consumer initiated his or her inquiry via e-mail. The Commission also adopted a Further Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that seeks comment on whether cable subscribers should have the option to choose electronic delivery of messages via text or mobile apps. Presently, the Commission’s rules mandate that cable operators send customers non-electronic, written information about various service-related topics.

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