As the late, great George Carlin points out above, the FCC has been an egregious mar on the First Amendment since its inception nearly 76 years ago. It’s the sole reason people can’t swear or show their junk on television. If it weren’t for them the Janet Jackson nipple thing at Superbowl 38 would probably have been longer than nine-sixteenth of a second. Anyway, they have a long history of over-reacting. Finally, they’ve done so with purpose.
Enter Verizon Wireless who in November raised the Early Termination Fee for their (former) customers from $175 to $350. The FCC sent them a letter Friday asking them why. No word yet as to whether Verizon has responded directly the FCC inquiry, but the initial statement from Verizon said it was to defer the cost of discounted cell-phones, acquired by users who sign up for new 2-year contracts. The FCC doesn’t seem to like the sound of that, asking questions that should make any self-respecting MBA practically wet themselves just reading them, such as:
“[W]hether, and to what extent, the increase in the ETF is the result of increases in the wholesale price of “advanced devices” charged by equipment manufacturers, and whether any such cost increases are uniform across all ‘advanced devices.'”
It appears that if a customer cancels a two-year contract after 23 months, the customer would still owe an ETF of $120. Is this correct? If the ETF is meant to recoup the wholesale cost of the phone over the life of the contract, why does a $120 ETF apply?
It seems that the FCC is also tackling Verizon’s data plan as well (my girlfriend has a Verizon plan – it is atrocious), after a New York Times (blog) article pointed out that people inadvertently hitting the Web hot-key on the phone were being charged for an entire MB of data, which seems to indicate that Verizon charges their clientele for pushing buttons. Frankly, Verizon’s position is ridiculous and uncalled for, an attempt to pinch even more money from the people from their shitty service in droves. Hey Verizon, can you bite me now?