Federal law allows local U.S. broadcast television stations (i.e. affiliates of networks such as CBS, NBC, ABC, Fox, etc.) to negotiate with cable and satellite providers in order to obtain "consent" to carry their broadcast signals (Cable Television Consumer Protection and Competition Act of 1992).

As a direct result of local broadcast, or "network-affiliated," TV stations increasing the rates to Charter Communications to distribute their signals to our customers, we'll be passing those charges on as a Broadcast TV Surcharge. These local TV signals were historically made available to us at no cost or low cost. However, in recent years the prices demanded by local broadcast TV stations have necessitated that we pass these costs on to customers.

Frequently Asked Questions

  What is the Broadcast TV Surcharge on my statement?

The Broadcast TV Surcharge is a pass through reflecting charges assessed to Charter Communications by the owners of local broadcast, or local "network-affiliated," TV stations. While broadcast stations distribute their signals over the air using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government, they charge us significant amounts to carry their TV signals. These signals were historically made available to us at no cost or low cost. However, the prices now demanded by broadcast stations have necessitated that we pass these costs on to customers.

  Why and how is this cost new and different from what I've been paying for in the past?

These signals were historically made available to us at no cost or low cost. However, the prices now demanded by broadcast stations have necessitated that we pass these costs on to customers.  

  Why can broadcast TV stations charge for carriage of their signals?

Broadcast TV stations distribute their signals over the air, using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing the distribution of broadcast, or "network-affiliated," TV signals. These same broadcast TV stations are then allowed by the government to charge for their signals, and if we don't agree to pay, broadcasters can force us to drop their channels, thereby adversely impacting our customers. We're in favor of changes to the law that created this situation, and if those changes are successful, we'll remove these broadcast TV charges.

  Why do you treat local broadcast TV stations differently than you do cable networks such as ESPN, MTV or HBO?

Federal law treats them differently. Unlike cable TV networks, local broadcast TV stations distribute their signals over the air, using free spectrum granted to them by the federal government. In effect, taxpayers are subsidizing the distribution of broadcast TV signals. These same broadcast TV stations are then allowed by the government to charge for their signals, and if we don't agree to pay, broadcasters can force us to drop their channels, thereby adversely impacting our customers.

  Are all local broadcast or network-affiliated TV stations charging Charter?

Broadcast stations have the option of requiring us to carry their stations for no monthly fee, or opting to negotiate a charge for the right to carry their station. It sounds confusing, but the laws leave little option for companies like us. While there may still be some stations that do not demand payment from us for carriage, other local TV stations require significant payment, and it's their charges that are reflected in the Broadcast TV Surcharge.

  Can you tell me what one TV station costs?

We can't provide information by individual TV station.