New York’s attorney general calls for cutting cable fees tied to live sports programming

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New York’s top law enforcement officer asked the biggest cable and satellite television providers to cut or eliminate fees tied to live sports programming during the coronavirus pandemic, saying customers are being forced to pay for access to events that aren’t taking place.

The companies, including AT&T Inc. and Charter Communications Inc., should immediately propose plans to cut charges and provide financial relief to customers already financially strained by the crisis, New York Attorney General Letitia James said Wednesday in a statement.

“At a time when so many New Yorkers have lost their jobs and are struggling, it is grossly unfair that cable and satellite television providers would continue to charge fees for services they are not even providing,” James said.

In a letter she sent Tuesday, James asked the companies to look for ways to provide “appropriate refunds, discounts and reductions of charges and fees, payment deferrals, and waiver of termination fees, at least until live sports programming is resumed.”

AT&T and Charter didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment on the AG’s letter.

Shares of Altice USA and a batch of other cable and telecom industry stocks pared earlier gains after James’s calls for cuts.

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