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FCC Cuts TV Costs with Paperless Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) wants to trim your TV bill by going green. A recent rulemaking would legalize TV service providers sending mandatory updates by email.

A passé requirement from last century states that notices of rate changes, installation documents, and station modifications must be delivered to customers in hard copy. This might be a waste of money for frequent email users. The new proposal would allow customers to request electronic notices by providing TV service providers with an active and verifiable email address.

Additionally, the proposal would legalize responding to customer complaints via email under defined circumstances. Email complaint responses would be permitted if a customer issues their complaint via email or requests an email response. Currently, companies must respond to email complaints via the postal system! Old rules strangle companies that seek modern customer service solutions.

If approved, this rulemaking would drive down TV costs for everyone. The switchover from hard mail to email would save paper, printer ink, and clunky machinery. Labor costs for customer service would decline. Every penny saved on labor could be diverted towards service improvement, investment, and price competition.

Not to mention, quitting postage should reduce carbon emissions and paper consumption. Maybe liberals will finally find a stake in the Trump administration’s deregulatory initiative.

Outdated requirements for postage notices are another example of costly regulation and clumsy policy. Of course, there was no harm intended by requiring notices via mail when mail was a primary method of communication. But the government’s inability to adapt with the times has blocked common sense business innovation.

This rulemaking is a small piece of FCC Chairman Ajit Pai’s modernization initiative. Chairman Pai recognizes that many FCC regulations are obsolete or damaging in today’s economy. Legalizing email in TV customer service follows decisions to repeal telegraph laws, expand business opportunities for media companies, and lift restrictions built for old technologies that hamper new ones. Customers are bound to win with more decisions like this one.

FreedomWorks supports proposed changes in this rulemaking. Activists can view the rulemaking summary and instructions for public comment here:

https://www.regulations.gov/document?D=FCC-2018-0020-0001

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