Internet Providers Can’t Charge You for This Anymore

Woman happy about her internet service
Photo by ViDI Studio / Shutterstock.com

The federal government has put an extra gift in your stocking this holiday season.

As of Dec. 20, your internet service provider no longer can levy “rental” charges when you use your own equipment — such as a modem or router — with internet service.

The change is part of the Television Viewer Protection Act, which President Donald J. Trump signed into law in December 2019 as part of a larger legislative package. The law applies to companies that provide broadband internet access, including companies that also provide TV services.

Originally, the measure was to take effect on June 20. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) delayed the implementation of the measure to give providers more time to comply in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The new law can make purchasing modems and routers more economical than renting them from your provider. As the U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) recommends:

“It now becomes more advisable that consumers buy their own modems and routers. There is obviously an upfront cost when buying them, but after a year or two, the cost will be less than if you had rented. In addition, consumers can buy better equipment than would be rented to them.”

With the new provision in effect, U.S. PIRG urges you to monitor bills and make sure you are not being charged a fee for such equipment.

Ars Technica reports that the new rule is especially good news for customers of Frontier Communications. That provider has charged $10 rental fees to customers who use their own routers. In June, Frontier told Ars Technica that it would “comply with the requirements when the law goes into effect” in December.

Some other providers, such as Comcast, do not charge such fees, and thus will not feel the impact of the new rule.

The Television Viewer Protection Act also requires providers of cable TV services to clearly detail all total monthly charges, including fees imposed by the provider and a good-faith estimate of costs associated with government fees and taxes. This disclosure must be offered before you enter into a contract with the provider.

Details about promotional discounts and when they expire must be clearly explained, Ars Technica reports. Finally, the law provides for a 24-hour period after signing up in which you can cancel any new TV service without paying penalties.

Looking to cut the cable cord? Right now, you can save a bundle on one streaming TV service. For more, check out “This Deal Offers 85 Channels of Live TV for $10 Per Month.”

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
6 Ways to Guarantee Yourself a Steady Retirement Income
6 Ways to Guarantee Yourself a Steady Retirement Income

Saving is just one part of the retirement equation. Do this now to guarantee income in your golden years.

10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More
10 Ways Retailers Trick You Into Spending More

Think you’re a savvy shopper? Find out how retailers persuade you to dig more deeply into your wallet.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created
20 Generic Brands That Amazon Created

Amazon’s growing collection of private brands offers everything from toilet paper and coffee to motor oil and clothing.

12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized
12 Products to Keep Your Car Clean and Organized

These items will help put your vehicular mess to rest — and each is available for less than $20 on Amazon.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership
How to Buy Gas At Costco Without a Membership

The warehouse club often has some of the cheapest gas in town. Here’s how you can get it as a nonmember.

10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home
10 Things to Stop Buying If You Want a Clutter-Free Home

If you like to keep things simple, avoid these purchases.

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

Vacuums from this brand can last a half-century, if not longer — and they’re hot on the resale market.

A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today
A Simple Way to Silence Robocalls Today

A few steps can keep your phone from ringing when a spammer calls.

This Company Makes the Best Tires in America
This Company Makes the Best Tires in America

Driver satisfaction with tires is at an all-time high, but one brand stands out.

Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?
Can I Switch to Spousal Social Security Benefits When My Ex Dies?

Knowing when to claim can help you maximize benefits.

36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon
36 Things That Will Be Obsolete Soon

The writing is on the wall for dozens of things we have grown up with.

8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon
8 Things You Should Always Buy on Amazon

The giant retailer shines when it comes to these things, from basics to hard-to-find specialty goods.

This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance
This Health Issue Can Hint at Dementia Years in Advance

One type of pain is especially associated with cognitive decline.

8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners
8 Federal Income Tax Breaks for Homeowners

Some of these deductions and credits are available to a wide swath of homeowners.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money
17 Surprising Things You Can Sell for Extra Money

You probably don’t realize these items are worth decent cash.

5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free
5 Ways to Get Amazon Prime for Free

Hesitant to drop $119 a year on an Amazon Prime membership? Here’s how to get it for free.

5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food
5 Ways to Fill Your Pantry With Free Food

Anyone can take advantage of these resources.

10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable
10 Types of Retirement Income That Are Not Taxable

There are lots of things Uncle Sam can’t touch — so long as you play by the rules.

9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again
9 Things You’ll Never See at Costco Again

The warehouse store offers an enormous selection, but these products aren’t coming back.

6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home
6 Reasons You Should Stop Hiding Cash at Home

Stashing money around the house is anything but harmless.

These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire
These 5 States Are the Most Expensive Places to Retire

If you expect to have modest retirement income, you may want to avoid spending your golden years here.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.