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Congressman Unveils Bill to Fight ISP Caps

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 70 comments

If you thought that the debacle over ISP net caps was just starting to boil, then you'll be even more surprised to hear that the issue has now landed on the front doors of Congress.

New York Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) promised that he would put forth a bill called the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" that would "prevent job killing broadband internet downloading caps," said Massa.

Time Warner Cabe is at the forefront of this heated issue. Because of a roll-out in New York state, many customers in the area have already canceled their TWC accounts and moved onto other services. 

According to Massa:

"Time Warner has announced an ill-conceived plan to charge residential and business broadband fees based on the amount of data they download. They have yet to explain how increased internet usage increases their costs."

While Massa is all for business profits, he is against TWC and others like it, especially in areas where the ISP holds a monopoly position.

"Time Warner's decision has the potential to more than triple customers' current rates and I think most families will find this to be too taxing to afford. Time Warner believes they can do this in Rochester NY, Greensboro NC, Austin TX and San Antonio TX, and it's almost certainly just a matter of time before they attempt to overcharge all of their customers. And while I favor a business's right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region," said Massa.

TWC, AT&T and Comcast and other ISPs are the target of the new bill.

Massa's page on the issue stats:

"In addition to this excessive and disproportionate charge, as internet usage increases by an average of 50% per year, companies setting caps sets a horrible, long-term, precedent. At a time when Americans need to utilize all available assets to improve the economy, limiting internet usage, which this plan would do, handicaps our ability to compete on the global stage. Furthermore, it will have significant stifling effects on start ups and small businesses."

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Top Comments
  • 17 Hide
    akhodjaev , April 13, 2009 6:58 PM
    Exactly!
    Take the licence from TWC. we do not need stupid ideas which will drag US backwards.
    SOmeone throw shoe size 10 to TWC CEO, please. or hack their system and let their system fried
  • 17 Hide
    chaosgs , April 13, 2009 7:02 PM
    Finally a big guy standing up for the little guys.
  • 17 Hide
    AdamB5000 , April 13, 2009 7:13 PM
    My only fear is that this could end up being one step toward our government mandating what companies can and cannot do with the internet. We always talk about NOT regulating the internet, and I wonder if a bill passing that tells an ISP what they can and cannot do will lead to larger issues.

    My point is that caps suck balls. There's no two ways about it. I just wonder if it's a government issue. One way for TWC to get rid of the cap idea is for users to switch providers. That'll make more noise than anything.

    I don't know. Just thinking out loud. I'd just hate to see a bill two years from now regulating something with the net now that the door might be open to federal regulations. The last thing we need is the FCC wondering if they can get their hands on the internet.

    But yeah, caps suck. I'm just nervous.
Other Comments
  • 17 Hide
    akhodjaev , April 13, 2009 6:58 PM
    Exactly!
    Take the licence from TWC. we do not need stupid ideas which will drag US backwards.
    SOmeone throw shoe size 10 to TWC CEO, please. or hack their system and let their system fried
  • 17 Hide
    chaosgs , April 13, 2009 7:02 PM
    Finally a big guy standing up for the little guys.
  • 15 Hide
    anders009 , April 13, 2009 7:07 PM
    It's nice to see that there is someone on the hill with some common sense and/or listening to the people they are supposed to represent.
  • 4 Hide
    anders009 , April 13, 2009 7:07 PM
    It's nice to see that there is some common sense still on the Hill and that they are actually listening to the folks that put them there to represent them.
  • 15 Hide
    descendency , April 13, 2009 7:08 PM
    Go get them! Beat down the monopolies that control our crap internet. When someone gets serious about it, maybe we can finally get some good internet.
  • -7 Hide
    MotorMouth , April 13, 2009 7:09 PM
    I'm all for something to be done BY US THE CONSUMER. TWC has a right to charge whatever they want. And we have the right not to buy what they sale! The government needs to stop this crap. I don't like what they're doing but we have the finale say so. Don't buy it!!!
  • 5 Hide
    magnus962 , April 13, 2009 7:10 PM
    That didn't take long! I guess sometimes the people do have a voice?
  • 2 Hide
    jsloan , April 13, 2009 7:12 PM
    ChaosGSFinally a big guy standing up for the little guys.


    or maybe he's just faking it to offset the fact that he's taking huge amount of money from the companies he's now looking to regulate...
  • 7 Hide
    hellwig , April 13, 2009 7:12 PM
    "Time Warner has announced an ill-conceived plan to charge residential and business broadband fees based on the amount of data they download. They have yet to explain how increased internet usage increases their costs."

    Even better, I want a cable company to explain to me how reducing the total amount of data downloaded in a month helps the problem of not having enough bandwidth at any given moment. Even if everyone had a 5GB cap, if they all chose to download at the same time, it wouldn't solve anything, there would still be bottle necks. Its not total usage over time, its total usage at any given moment.

  • 17 Hide
    AdamB5000 , April 13, 2009 7:13 PM
    My only fear is that this could end up being one step toward our government mandating what companies can and cannot do with the internet. We always talk about NOT regulating the internet, and I wonder if a bill passing that tells an ISP what they can and cannot do will lead to larger issues.

    My point is that caps suck balls. There's no two ways about it. I just wonder if it's a government issue. One way for TWC to get rid of the cap idea is for users to switch providers. That'll make more noise than anything.

    I don't know. Just thinking out loud. I'd just hate to see a bill two years from now regulating something with the net now that the door might be open to federal regulations. The last thing we need is the FCC wondering if they can get their hands on the internet.

    But yeah, caps suck. I'm just nervous.
  • 4 Hide
    Ho0d1um , April 13, 2009 7:14 PM
    MotorMouthI'm all for something to be done BY US THE CONSUMER. TWC has a right to charge whatever they want. And we have the right not to buy what they sale! The government needs to stop this crap. I don't like what they're doing but we have the finale say so. Don't buy it!!!


    The problem is that in some areas there is no other choice for broadband internet. I only have the choice of 1.5 Mbit DSL or 10 Mbit Cable. This, I hope, will help keep any company from overchargeing for their service.
  • 3 Hide
    AdamB5000 , April 13, 2009 7:14 PM
    To follow up with my comment and someone mentioning monopolies, that might be the bigger issue. We have laws to avoid or eliminate monopolies, but we seem to have hit a rut with allowing just a few huge companies to offer the same service at a similarly high price. That's part of the problem.

    Where I live I have ONE cable option and ONE dsl option. They both overcharge for 1.5meg service. That sucks. Where's the competition?
  • 5 Hide
    jsloan , April 13, 2009 7:15 PM
    MotorMouthI'm all for something to be done BY US THE CONSUMER. TWC has a right to charge whatever they want. And we have the right not to buy what they sale! The government needs to stop this crap. I don't like what they're doing but we have the finale say so. Don't buy it!!!


    ok sounds good, what if twc is the only broadband service around. what then do they get to charge as much as they want. what happens to the citizens, do they have to move out of the area.

    the reason that government gets to have an input is because they companies have made deals with the local governments which have allowed them to exclusively control areas of the country without competition.

    i know of towns where they have even made it hard to install dishes which competes against the cable companies that the town has struct a franchise with.

    then again we have the best government money can buy...
  • -2 Hide
    dravis12 , April 13, 2009 7:22 PM
    It's not a government issue. Don't get me wrong, I hate cappin' as much as the next guy, but bringing the federal government into it will only cause problems into the long run.

    The U.S. government dosen't have the best track record with "solving problems" and not screwing the average citizen in the process.
  • 0 Hide
    IzzyCraft , April 13, 2009 7:29 PM
    :0 let just force IPv6 need more ip addresses in my routers! I'm fine with GB caps as long as it's above 100g at min i'm fine with it, imo comcast 250gb is plenty for most users and logical even a heavy user would have to do alot to pass it downloading a good amount of hd movies over the month. Anything less then 100g imo at even dsl speeds is a slap to the face.
  • -5 Hide
    AndrewMD , April 13, 2009 7:32 PM
    I can understand that TWC is trying to stop consumers from illegally downloading movies and music from the internet, but capping is not going to stop large or small organized crime syndicates from this?

    They in turn would have many locations so downloading is not a problem.

  • 1 Hide
    njalterio , April 13, 2009 7:33 PM
    Time Warner already lost a bunch of subscribers (including me) to their cable services in Western New York when they didn't air the Buffalo Bills games for a few weeks.

    I guess TW didn't feel like paying the local station (that actually aired the game), because people could still watch the game for free anyways over the antenna, big difference was in the signal quality!
    TW ended up paying for the station again after a few weeks of bleeding customers. Seems like they haven't learned their lesson.

    Even though I canceled their TV service, I still have them as an ISP. Now I am ready to switch off of them completely as soon as FiOS is available.
  • 1 Hide
    afrobacon , April 13, 2009 7:37 PM
    TWC, statue... Internet users, pidgeons flying
  • -2 Hide
    lamorpa , April 13, 2009 7:44 PM
    As long as this idiot can legislate unlimited bandwidth we're all set. I hope he move on to requiring 500mpg cars! That would help.
  • 0 Hide
    thegh0st , April 13, 2009 7:45 PM
    I have to agree - the U.S. govt. doesn't have the best record with joe-blow or what was it, joe the plumber? But the U.S. govt. does have a big stick it can swing at Time Warner and I am all 100% for that! I am just elated to hear someone actually has some common sense to and is working on something that effects a lot of us out here - unlike the tv news who has nothing better to talk about or push on american citizens than the fact that the president got a dog. Uh yeah, that's important and effects my daily life, sure. I better make sure to DVR that priceless 15 minute jewel of tv news media! Was the dog bought with my tax dollars? :p  Grrr - now I'm thinking about the talk of nationalizing banks and the stupid oil companys!
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