The Business Council of New York State, the State’s leading statewide business and industry association, opposes this legislation that would amend the Public Service Law to require cable companies to provide information to consumers on various products used by customers under subscription services.
If enacted, this legislation would mandate significant limits on New York State’s cable and internet providers and the customers they serve. The legislation was amended recently, but is still unacceptable and should not advance this year.
Specifically, the proposal now requires cable companies to provide information to subscribers that details how or where equipment can be purchased outright and what retail equipment would be compatible with the cable system. This information is not always available and it should not be a requirement placed on providers to help market a product that can be purchased from another manufacturer. It should be noted that customers already have the option to purchase their own modem, often from third party retailers, but it's not fair to force cable and internet providers to help identify these companies and their products annually. Consumers are free to research the pros and cons of each option, and then determine which is best for them individually. Imposing this notice requirement may actually increase consumer costs if cable and internet companies are forced to help market competitor's products.
As in previous versions, there also remains the intricacies of installing, maintaining, and replacing this equipment. Since many consumers have decided to opt for the convenience of leasing a modem that is installed and maintained by their provider, they avoid unplanned, unknown, and sudden costs associated with modems and equipment purchased from third party providers. This scenario would likely change if this bill were to become law and customers then seek help in installing the very equipment this new law would make provider companies advertise. It is almost deceptive to ask providers to send lists/advertisements for third party equipment - thus lending the appearance of recommendation of the products by providers - but upon purchase by customers they find they may need assistance in installing or activating said products. Thus, confused customers may be led to call their provider for help under the erroneous belief that since the providers recommended the product, they will now install it for them. This scenario will create market disruption, cost increases, and dissatisfaction due to the unintended consequences of this unnecessary law.
For these reasons, we respectfully urge the defeat of this bill.