Fiber optic modem prices have skyrocketed in recent years.
But many consumers say they’re still more expensive than the cheaper cable TV packages.
In some markets, that has led to complaints from Comcast and others that the cable companies are charging more for broadband service than their customers actually pay.
And many broadband companies have been forced to lower prices by the rising costs of building the networks, making them more expensive.
“The price of the fiber has gone up substantially in many markets in the United States,” said Bob Eick, executive vice president for the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.
“In some markets it’s almost as much as cable television.
But you can’t argue with the fact that the price has gone way up.”
That has resulted in a new round of protests and lawsuits.
A lawsuit filed by the New York City Department of Consumer Affairs accuses Comcast of overcharging customers in some areas by over $20 a month, even though Comcast charges the same amount for fiber in those same markets.
Comcast and its allies have accused the city of using the suit to “target” consumers and argue that the lawsuit is an attempt to force them to pay more for cable service.
Comcast countered that the city’s lawsuit is “trying to stifle competition by using deceptive practices” and that it will defend itself vigorously against it.
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Department of Business Regulation told The Associated Press that the state’s attorney general is investigating whether Comcast and other cable companies violated New Jersey consumer law by charging too much.
But in the meantime, some broadband companies say they are continuing to raise prices in the wake of the protests and litigation.
The Federal Communications Commission has been investigating whether cable companies have engaged in anticompetitive practices since at least 2014.
The commission has said that the company and other providers of broadband services have a duty to make sure that consumers pay what they are actually paying for, including for cable and satellite service.
And Comcast has said it will “continue to raise its prices to help keep consumers safe and protect the integrity of our Internet services.”
A Comcast spokesperson told AP that the commission has not yet ruled on whether cable providers must charge customers more for their Internet service, but said the commission is examining whether the cable providers have “predicted” that they would face higher prices.
The FCC has said the same in its proposal to create net neutrality rules.
But the commission did not rule on the question of how much the broadband providers should charge for Internet service.
“If the Commission decides to rule in favor of net neutrality, it will consider the case in light of the totality of the evidence, including the testimony and the documents filed,” the FCC said in a statement.