Is America’s ‘Triple Play’ Overcharged $170.00+ Per Month Compared to Europe?

Bruce Kushnick
3 min readJan 29, 2021

Why is America being seriously hyper-overcharged?

  • FACT SHEET (2 page PDF): US Triple Play (broadband, phone, and cable TV) is overcharged, on average, $170.00 per month, or more, compared to Europe.
  • US average price per month is $217.00, according to Consumer Reports.
  • Average triple play price per month is $24-$ 47 dollars, according to the European Union.

The Digital Divide was created, in large part, because prices are no longer affordable and large areas of the US have little, if any, competition. The United States should be on par with pricing of communications services throughout the world. Instead, we are being gouged.

Just look at the pricing of the Triple Play, as told by a Consumer Reports study and a report by the European Union.

Consumer Reports Study: How Cable Companies Use Hidden Fees to Raise Prices and Disguise the True Cost of Service

BASIC FINDING: The Us Triple Play (Broadband, Phone, And Cable TV) Averages $217 A Month and Rising (CR CABLE BILL REPORT 2019)

Consumer Reports

“The average cable bill in our study costs consumers $217.42 a month. Of this number, a little less than $157 on average was determined to be the base package price once all fees, taxes, and charges for premium services were subtracted from the total price.”

Overseas, the European Union Basic Triple Play is 21–41 Euros; that’s $24-$47 dollars, depending on the exchange rate.

The European Union’s 2020 Full report Study on Mobile and fixed broadband prices in Europe at the end of 2019, findings is that ‘standalone’ broadband with 30–100 Mbps is only 22 Euros and the triple play is 41 Euros.

But it gets worse: The report also has a ‘cheapest’ price and the ‘stand alone’ broadband price is only 8.71 Euros for up to 100 Mbps — around $9-$11 dollars; the triple play is around $23–25 dollars.

One Reason this is Happening: Made Up Fees: Regulators have allowed outrageous made up fees, such as the Broadcast TV and Sports Programming Fees, as well as ‘cost recovery’ fees, which are not government mandated or even audited.


  • Broadcast TV and Sports Programming Fee went up 751% to $19.15 a month on a basic Spectrum triple play from $2.25 only 6 years ago, based on Spectrum Brooklyn, Nov. 2020 bill.

IRREGULATORS requested New York City to deny any renewals of the cable franchises until these excessive US charges have been investigated and lowered.

The IRREGULATORS gave testimony in front of the NYC Franchise and Concession Review Committee Public Hearing, January 11, 2021.

Click for an abridged version of the testimony. As we pointed out, the New York City cable franchises for Spectrum (Charter), Optimum (Altice) and Verizon FiOS have all expired.

To be very blunt, NYC should not renew any of the current cable franchises that have expired and it should start with a real change — a clean sweep — to address the actual problems with NYC and NY State’s telecommunications and cable company services. These issues have been here for decades, but they are a political hot potato and ignored.

The IRREGULATORS requested that New York City, before it renews any cable franchise, should audit the accounting of the companies, explain why prices in America are no longer affordable and to remove these ‘made up’ charges that makes prices no longer affordable. These charges are NOT government mandated, are not audited; they are not even mentioned in the advertised price of service or promotional prices.

This is now an industry-wide method of customer gouging, as these companies are acting as a ‘cartel’– a Big Telecom, Big Cable cartel.

What will the new FCC administration do about America’s hyper-inflated charges?

This is the second in a series of articles.



Bruce Kushnick

New Networks Institute,Executive Director, & Founding Member, IRREGULATORS; Telecom analyst for 40 years, and I have been playing the piano for 65 years.