Additional Efforts to Increase Participation in the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP)
Frequently Asked Questions & Answers About Your Cable Service
STATE OF CONNECTICUT
PUBLIC UTILITIES REGULATORY AUTHORITY
Last Revised July 20, 2020
PURA Cable Sector Regulation Information
Who regulates cable rates?
Under state and federal law, PURA is unable to regulate cable rates.
Does PURA regulate satellite providers of television service?
PURA does not have jurisdiction over satellite providers of television service. Although the Authority does not have jurisdiction, the Connecticut Department of Consumer Protection may be able to assist you with unresolved complaints involving satellite providers of television service. You may write to Consumer Protection at the following address:
Department of Consumer Protection
165 Capitol Avenue
Hartford, CT 06106
Customer Complaints Related to Cable Service
Who should I contact about a cable company related complaint?
You should always contact your cable company first when you have a complaint. In many cases, the customer service representatives at your cable company will be able to assist you and solve your problem. The telephone number for your cable company should be on your cable bill.
Your cable company has jurisdiction over the following issues:
Programming carried on the system. With the exception of rules that require cable systems to carry certain local broadcast stations, cable systems decide which programming services to carry. Therefore, you should contact your cable system if it has dropped a particular channel.
Carriage of FM and AM radio stations.
Charges for pay-per-view or pay-per-channel programming. The rates charged for this type of programming are not regulated.
Questions or complaints handled by the Authority include:
Customer service problems, including billing disputes, office hours, telephone availability of personnel, installations, outages and service calls.
Signal quality, including interference and reception difficulties.
Use of public, educational, and governmental (PEG) channels. These channels may be required as part of the franchise agreement. Your local franchise authority can provide information on any terms or conditions of use.
You should contact the FCC if you have complaints or questions about the following issues:
Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) complaints. Contact the FCC, Media Bureau, Policy Division, EEO Branch, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
Signal leakage from cable systems, which can result in interference to other users of the spectrum, including aeronautical services. Contact 1-888-225-5322 or send your inquiry to FCC, Consumer & Governmental Affairs Bureau, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
Cable home wiring questions. If you believe that your cable company has violated the rules governing your ability to access and to use cable home wiring, please send a letter outlining the facts to the FCC, Media Bureau, Policy Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
Commercial limits for childrens’ programming. Write to the FCC, Enforcement Bureau, Investigations & Hearings Division, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
Indecency and obscenity. Generally, the rules concerning the content of programming on cable channels are not as strict as the rules concerning programming content on non-cable channels. If you object to programming on a cable system, you may contact the FCC to determine what rules may be applicable and what action may be appropriate. Call 1-888-225-5322 or send your inquiry to FCC, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554.
You can contact the FCC for assistance in understanding cable regulations at the following telephone numbers and addresses:
Written communications: Federal Communications Commission, General Cable Inquiries, 445 12th Street, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20554;
Telephone assistance: 1-888-225-5322 to have fact sheets describing various aspects of cable regulations sent to you or to ask questions; or
You can access recent Commission decisions regarding cable regulations via the Commission’s Internet site, www.fcc.gov.
Cable Service Rates Information
My monthly bill shows charges for various fees. What are these?
There are two types of fees that cable operators may be required to pay, although both of these fees are typically referred to as franchise fees. The first type of fee is a regulatory fee, and the second type of fee is a negotiated fee. Cable operators are allowed to be reimbursed for both types of fees by recovering the costs from subscribers.
Regulatory Fees: Connecticut does not impose a license fee, but does impose other costs, as listed below.
FCC Fee: The Federal Communications Commission requires payment from the cable operator on an annual basis to offset the cost of federal regulation. Depending on your cable operator, this fee may be called an “FCC Fee,” “FCC Mandated Fee,” or “Regulatory Fee.”
Negotiated Fees/Franchise Fees: Under federal law, non-capital costs relating to license requirements are considered franchise fees and may be passed onto subscribers. For example, cable operators are required to set aside channels for public, educational, and governmental (“PEG”) use. The monies spent to maintain the PEG access studio, equipment, and personnel are considered franchise fees and may be passed on to subscribers. Fees vary based on franchise area. These fees appear on monthly bills as “Franchise Fees,” “Franchise Costs” or “Access Fees.”
Gross Earnings Tax: The history of the gross earnings tax dates back to 1965. At that time, the existing gross earnings tax in Connecticut General Statutes (Conn. Gen. Stat.) §12-258 was revised by the Legislature to add cable television systems at a rate of six percent. In 1971, the rate was changed to eight percent. Public Act 81-255 increased the rate again to nine percent. Finally, Public Act 89-251 reduced the rate to the current five percent.
Cable television systems itemize the gross earnings tax, sometimes identified as the franchise fee, on the monthly cable bills. This is confusing to many subscribers. They believe they are being taxed incorrectly because the sales tax is computed on the total bill, including the gross earnings tax. However, we have been advised by the Department of Revenue Services (DRS) that this treatment is correct.
DRS states that the gross earnings tax is a tax on the company, like the federal income tax or state property tax. As such it is an expense of the company. According to Conn. Gen. Stat. §12-407(8), the “Sales Price” of a company’s product or service, upon which sales tax is computed, includes “the cost of materials used, labor or service cost, interest charged, losses or other expenses.” Although cable television systems have chosen to treat this one expense differently by identifying it separately on your bill, the gross earnings tax is, by statutory definition, a part of the sales price and, therefore subject to sales tax.
If you have further questions, DRS’s Taxpayer Service Division may be reached by phone toll-free at 1-800-382-9463.
Is the cable operator allowed to charge sales tax?
Yes. Cable operators may charge subscribers a Connecticut sales tax for the lease of remote controls. The tax must be itemized separately on your bill.
Cable Billing Information
Is my cable company allowed to bill me in advance?
Yes, Connecticut regulations allow cable operators to bill subscribers up to two months in advance. However, most cable operators providing service in Connecticut only require payment for one month in advance.
When is payment for my cable bill due?
Connecticut regulations require cable operators to include a specific due date on subscribers’ bills. The due date must be at least five business days from the date the bill was mailed. Your bill should be paid by the specified due date.
When is my account considered delinquent for non-payment?
A subscriber’s account can be considered delinquent if payment has not been received by the cable operator thirty days after the due date shown on the subscriber’s bill.
Is my cable operator allowed to charge me a late fee?
Yes, but only after the following conditions are met: (1) a subscriber’s account must be considered delinquent, meaning payment has not been received within thirty days from the bill due date; (2) the cable operator must provide the subscriber a written late charge notice; and (3) the subscriber must be given eight days from the date the amount becomes delinquent to pay the balance due. If an account meets these conditions, cable operators are allowed to charge up to five percent on the balance due in the form of a one-time late fee. A late fee cannot be imposed on any charge that is in dispute while the complaint mechanism outlined below is being followed.
Is my cable operator allowed to disconnect my service for non-payment?
Cable operators are allowed to disconnect cable service for non-payment under the following conditions: (1) a subscriber’s account must be considered delinquent; (2) the cable operator must give the subscriber written termination notice; and (3) the subscriber must be given at least eight business days from the mailing date of the termination notice to pay the balance due.
What can I do if I disagree with a charge on my cable bill?
Subscribers who disagree with a charge on their cable bill should contact the cable operator as outlined below:
Subscribers should immediately contact the cable operator to file a billing complaint. Under Connecticut regulations, the cable operator must be contacted within thirty days from the due date shown on the subscribers’ bill. The cable operator is required to investigate and respond with a decision within thirty business days of receipt of a billing complaint.
Establishing Cable Service
What information should I receive before I subscribe to cable television? Connecticut regulations require cable operators, upon request, to give potential subscribers written notice of their services, rates, charges, and billing practices before a subscription agreement is reached. The billing practices notice should include the cable operator’s policies regarding frequency and timing of bills, payment requirements necessary to avoid account delinquency, billing dispute resolution procedures, and late payment penalties.
Cable Programming Information
Why does programming differ from community to community? Under federal law, cable operators are allowed to select the programming they want to carry and to package that programming in a manner they determine is best. Cable operators consider a number of factors when deciding how to package their programming. Legal, technical, financial, and demographic factors can influence the cable operator’s decision to carry certain channels. For example, federal regulations require cable operators to include certain over-the-air broadcast channels along with other local channels on the basic service tier.
Are cable operators required to carry local broadcast programming?
Yes, but this is subject to negotiation between the cable operators and broadcasters. Federal law provides broadcasters the option of either requiring a cable operator serving the relevant market to carry its station (“must-carry”), or requesting compensation from the cable operator for the right to carry the broadcaster’s station (“retransmission consent”). Many larger broadcasters choose retransmission consent, and the resultant compensation from cable operators is often passed through to subscribers in the form of a “Broadcast TV Fee” or similar charge. Many smaller broadcasters choose to invoke their must-carry rights.
10 Franklin Square, New Britain, CT 06051
An Equal Opportunity Employer
Internet Access – CT
Internet Access- CT
During the COVID-19 crisis, internet providers in Connecticut have been making efforts to help the state’s residents get online and stay connected. The information below is a compilation of the packages and offers currently being offered in the state.
Keep America Connected Pledge — Virtually every internet provider in Connecticut has signed onto the FCC’s Keep Americans Connected Pledge. This means that companies will:
- Not terminate service to any residential or small business customers due to an inability to pay their bills due to the disruptions caused by COVID 19.
- Waive any late fees that any residential or small business customers incur because of their economic circumstances related to COVID 19 disruption
- Open all WiFi hotspots to the general public.
Internet providers in Connecticut that have signed the pledge include: Comcast, Frontier, Altice (Optimum), Charter (Spectrum), Cox, Atlantic, Verizon, AT&T, T-Mobile and others. A full list of companies that have taken the pledge can be found here.
In addition to the connectivity pledge, certain internet providers are taking further steps to cover residents in Connecticut. The following is a sample of offers companies are making in the state:
Connecticut Cable Internet Providers
- Internet Essentials is Free to New Customers:Low-income families who live in a Comcast service area can sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of free Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
- Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone:Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
- Pausing Our Data Plan:With so many people working and educating from home, Comcast is pausing data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
Cellular Data Plans
- Unlimited minutes and additional monthly data until June 21, 2020.
- Visit https://www.accesswireless.com/lifelineor call 1-888-900-5899 M-F 8am-12midnight, Sat 9am-12midnight, Sun 10am-7pm EST to confirm details. Existing customers call: 1-866-594-3644
Assurance Wireless (Virgin Mobile’s version of Safelink)
- Offering new customers unlimited texts, 350 voice minutes, 3GB of data monthly plus a free Android Smartphone.
- Unlimited Domestic calls and texts plus 6GB of data free through 5/20 due to COVID-19.
- Visit https://www.assurancewireless.com/or call 1-888-321-5880 to confirm details.
- Waiving domestic wireless plan overage charges for data, voice or text for residential or small business wireless customers incurred because of economic hardship related to the coronavirus pandemic.
- Unlimited AT&T Home Internet – All AT&T consumer home internet wireline customers, as well as Fixed Wireless Internet, can use unlimited internet data. Additionally, we’ll continue to offer internet access for qualifying limited income households at $10 a month through our Access from AT&T program.
- AT&T World Connect Advantage – Business customers currently on or who purchase an AT&T World Connect Advantage package receive 50% off the current rate in a monthly bill credit (max $7.50/mo.).
- Helping You Work and Learn Remotely – Businesses, universities and schools can keep their teams and classrooms connected through conference calls and video conferencing with Cisco Webex Meetings with AT&T for 90-days, and seamlessly forward calls to both mobile and landline phones with AT&T IP Flexible Reach.
- Distance Learning – AT&T is underwriting expenses for a “one-stop” resource center to support eLearning Days from the State Educational Technology Directors Association(SETDA) available to all educators in schools to help them handle school closures and the increase in virtual learning due to COVID-19.
- To learn more, visit AT&T’s website.
- Dial 6-1-1 from a Cricket-issued phone to enroll in any COVID-19 relief programs.
- Waiving reactivation & Automated Phone System fees.
- Customers can use “Bridge Pay” to extend payment period by 7 days. Includes minute plans.
- Adding additional data to plans for a limited time.
- Visit: https://www.cricketwireless.com/support/fraud-and-safety/covid-19.htmlor call 1-800-274-2538 to confirm details.
- All current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers who have plans with data will have unlimited smartphone data for the next 60 days (excluding roaming).
- T-Mobile will provide T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers an additional 20GB of mobile hotspot/tethering service for the next 60 days.
- T-Mobile is working with our Lifeline partners to provide customers free extra data up to 5GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
- T-Mobile is also increasing the data allowance, free of charge, to schools and students using our EmpowerED digital learning programs to ensure each participant has access to at least 20GB of data per month for the next 60 days.
- T-Mobile is offering free international calling for all current T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile customers to Level 3 impacted countries.
- To learn more, visit T-Mobile’s website.
- Partnering with Safelink to enroll people in plans with free minutes, assistance with bill pay, waiving reactivation fees, & setting people up with data/texting packages.
- Visit com/enrollmentor call 1-800-723-3546 to confirm details.
- Will waive overage charges and late fees to support customers who may be financially affected by the COVID-19 crisis.
- Announces two months waived internet and voice service charges for current Lifeline customers and new affordable internet option for low-income households.
- Adds 15GB of high-speed data for wireless consumer and small business customers to be automatically applied with no customer action necessary.
- Verizon provides first responders with priority and preemption abilities for voice and data.
- Consumer and small business Fios and DSL broadband internet plans have no data caps.
- To learn more, visit Verizon’s website.
Last updated March 24, 2020 at 8:40 a.m.
If you feel like you or someone you know has been the victim of an online security issue, here’s how to let the right people know.
Customer Security Assurance
The Customer Security Assurance organization has been established to ensure a safe and secure online experience for Comcast customers. This team is a dedicated group of security professionals who respond to issues pertaining to phishing, spam, infected computers (commonly referred to as
bots), online fraud and other security issues.
- Business Hours: 6:00am – 2:00am EST, 7 days a week
- Contact: 1-888-565-4329
Comcast Legal Response Center
- Location: 650 Centerton Road, Moorestown, NJ 08057
- Business Hours: 8:30am – 5:00pm EST, Monday – Friday
- Contact: 1-866-947-8572
*After Hours Emergency: If you are a law enforcement agent seeking immediate assistance due to imminent loss of life or serious bodily injury, please contact the Comcast Security Response Center (24×7) at 1-877-249-7306.
Report Child Pornography
Child pornography is illegal, and any use of Xfinity services in connection with this material violates the Xfinity Acceptable Use Policy.
If you believe you have encountered photographs, videos, or other content online that contains child pornography, please report the issue to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at report.cybertip.org.
Report Online Harassment
If you feel you are in immediate danger
Contact your local law enforcement immediately and file a report to ensure your physical safety.
If you feel you are not in immediate danger
Please document the incident by collecting information that can support an investigation.
- Emails illustrating the harassment, including the email headers.
- Time-stamped screenshots and URLs that display the harassment.
If you believe we can assist in your harassment investigation, send an email to [email protected] with the subject line “Harassment Investigation” and attach all evidence you can provide us to support in the investigation.
While Customer Security Assurance may be able to assist, you will be required to contact your local law enforcement agency if you are interested in pursuing legal action, including the identification of a Comcast customer.
If you feel a child is in physical danger while participating in an online activity
The child should first be instructed to tell a trusted adult about the event and then report the issue to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children at: www.cybertipline.com
Help Protect Yourself Online
For real-time alerts related to your online security, visit our Alerts page.
Continuing our commitment to you
Comcast April 2, 2020 Latest News
- Network Performance Website: Information about Comcast’s network, the steps taken to ensure reliability, and additional measures Comcast is taking to keep everyone connected can be found here: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19/network
- Collection of Comcast’s COVID-19 Responses and Activities: All of Comcast’s COVID-19 responses and activities can be found here: https://corporate.comcast.com/covid-19.
Coronavirus Comcast Update – Some FREE for Everyone
- Xfinity WiFi Free For Everyone: Xfinity WiFi hotspots across the country will be available to anyone who needs them for free – including non-Xfinity Internet subscribers. For a map of Xfinity WiFi hotspots, visit www.xfinity.com/wifi. Once at a hotspot, consumers should select the “xfinitywifi” network name in the list of available hotspots, and then launch a browser.
- Pausing Our Data Plan: With so many people working and educating from home, we want our customers to access the internet without thinking about data plans. While the vast majority of our customers do not come close to using 1TB of data in a month, we are pausing our data plans for 60 days giving all customers Unlimited data for no additional charge.
- No Disconnects or Late Fees: We will not disconnect a customer’s internet service or assess late fees if they contact us and let us know that they can’t pay their bills during this period. Our care teams will be available to offer flexible payment options and can help find other solutions.
- Internet Essentials Free to New Customers: As announced yesterday, it’s even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign-up for Internet Essentials, the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program. New customers will receive 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month. Additionally, for all new and existing Internet Essentials customers, the speed of the program’s Internet service was increased to 25 Mbps downstream and 3 Mbps upstream. That increase will go into effect for no additional fee and it will become the new base speed for the program going forward.
- News, Information and Educational Content on X1 and Flex: For those with school-age students at home, we’ve created new educational collections for all grade levels in partnership with Common Sense Media. Just say “education” into your X1 or Flex voice remote. To help keep customers informed, we also have created a collection of the most current news and information on Coronavirus. Just say “Coronavirus” into your X1 or Flex voice remote.
- 24×7 Network Monitoring: Underpinning all of these efforts, Comcast’s technology and engineering teams will continue to work tirelessly to support our network operations. We engineer our network capacity to handle spikes and shifts in usage patterns, and continuously test, monitor and enhance our systems and network to ensure they are ready to support customer usage. Our engineers and technicians staff our network operations centers 24/7 to ensure network performance and reliability. We are monitoring network usage and watching the load on the network both nationally and locally, and to date it is performing well.
Comcast Increases Access to and Speeds of Internet Essentials’ Low-Income Internet Service
Comcast Increases Access to and Speeds of Internet Essentials’ Low-Income Internet Service to Support Americans Through the Coronavirus Pandemic
As our country continues to manage the COVID-19 emergency, we recognize that our company plays an important role in helping our customers stay connected – to their families, their workplaces, their schools, and the latest information about the virus – through the Internet.
We also know that for millions of low-income Americans who don’t have Internet service at home, this uncertain time is going to be even more difficult to manage. As schools and businesses close and families are encouraged, or even mandated, to stay home, Internet connectivity becomes even more important.
At Comcast, we’ve been looking for ways to help through our Internet Essentials program, which is the nation’s largest and most comprehensive broadband adoption program for low-income Americans. Since 2011, it has connected millions of individuals to the Internet.
A hallmark of this program has been our flexibility in adjusting Internet Essentials to meet the needs of low-income residents in our footprint. So, effective Monday, we are putting in place two substantial program enhancements to help these families deal with this crisis.
- We will make it even easier for low-income families who live in a Comcast service area to sign up by offering new customers 60 days of complimentary Internet Essentials service, which is normally available to all qualified low-income households for $9.95/month.
- Also, we are increasing Internet speeds for the Internet Essentials service from 15/2 Mbps to 25/3 Mbps for all new and existing customers, which will be the speed of the service going forward. In this way, we will ensure that Internet Essentials customers will be able to use their Internet service for all their increased needs as a result of this health crisis.
We want to make it as fast and simple as possible to access this service:
- To receive the increased Internet speeds, existing customers will not need to do anything. The new speeds will be rolled out nationally over the next few days.
- We’ll send all new customers a free self-install kit that includes a cable modem with a Wi-Fi router. There will be no term contract or credit check and no shipping fee.
- To sign up, applicants can simply visit www.internetessentials.com. The accessible website also includes the option to video chat with customer service agents in American Sign Language. There are also two dedicated phone numbers 1-855-846-8376 for English and 1-855-765-6995 for Spanish.
We’re also reaching out to our thousands of governmental and nonprofit partners to help us spread the word. Our hope is that broader access and faster speeds will help all of our Internet Essentials customers more easily work from home, access educational resources, obtain important government health care alerts, and stay in contact with their families during this difficult time.
Director, Government & Regulatory Affairs
222 New Park Drive
Berlin, CT 06037
Xfinity Gives Advanced Cybersecurity To 18 Million xFi Customers For Free
Xfinity xFi Advanced Security will now be included free for all xFi customers using Xfinity’s xFi Gateway.
New customers will receive Advanced Security immediately upon activating an xFi Gateway.
Xfinity xFi gives customers a simple, digital dashboard to set up and manage their home WiFi networks.
Effective October 10, 2019, Turner Classic Movies will cost $10 per month.
Effective October 10, 2019, Turner Classic Movies (TCM) will move to the Sports Entertainment Package and will no longer be included in its current service package(s). Customers will have to purchase the Sports Entertainment Package for approximately $10 per month to wartch TCM. Comcast is notifying impacted customers of these changes through a bill message.