Well, the complaint I made to the FCC is now closed, and little happened. AT&T was notified by the FCC that I complained, and they “addressed” the issue through a phone call where they offered a lowered price. Of course, this would require an additional 12-month contract, etc. etc.
A complete waste of effort, and we have ended our use of AT&T. Unfortunately, it means that TimeWarner is the best option. So far, at least, the internet service is vastly better. The TV is marginally not as good, but the boxes are reasonable. Too many pixelation in my opinion.
Today, I filed a complaint with the US FCC about Uverse and Fox. It comes down to #darts really… you expect one thing, but there’s a squabble over broadcast rights. Instead of soccer, you get #darts. It’s crap, but it also sets a very dangerous precedent for cable carriers and channels. You can’t let them modify content, and still pay full fare. It’s not fair to consumers.
Complaint, as filed, below.
I’m writing today to ask for you to investigate AT&T Uverse and FoxSports for unfair trade practices. For months, Fox and AT&T have not been able to come to terms on their content deal, and this is an unfortunate reality in television services lately. However, instead of not including the channel, Uverse has chosen to substitute content for which it can’t agree to terms with Fox.
In short, the “channel” appears to work, but the customer receives alternate programming. This is unacceptable, as the customer is still paying full-fare for the channel. There is no strong incentive for either side to come to terms, and the customer is left to get only a fabricated version of the product.
I would ask that the FCC mandate that it is an illegal trade practice to provide alternate content as a means of dispute resolution. If a provider and a carrier cannot come to terms, then a channel should be blacked out at all times. Allowing providers and carriers to alter a product produces a slippery-slope to which only the customer loses.
I believe that Fox Sports should be required to provide the proper content, and that AT&T should have to refund all of its consumers for the fraction of its charged price for content which it did not provide. The remedy to consumers should be monetary, as no other process will restore the timely content to which they have paid.
While it is annoying to no end when channels and providers fight, I understand that it is a business. So be it; let channels come and go in a competitive market. But please, FCC, do not allow “lite” versions to substitute as the real content, and continue to charge customers. This is exactly why regulation should exist.