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Bill Proposes Regulation of ISP Bandwidth Caps

Not a fan of bandwidth caps? Neither is New York Congressman Eric Massa, who is proposing a bill (PDF) that would give the FTC the power to put a stop to internet service providers who implement unreasonable bandwidth caps.

The bill refers to the itself as the “Broadband Internet Fairness Act,” and aims to “authorize the Federal Trade Commission, in consultation with the Federal Communications Commission, to review volume usage service plans of major broadband Internet service providers to ensure that such plans are fairly based on cost.”

According to the bill, Congress found that the increased adoption and use of broadband Internet is a factor in economic recovery and growth. It also said that the Internet today plays a key role in “agricultural, medical, educational, environmental, library, and nonprofit purposes.” Ars Technica reported that Eric Massa said at a press conference that he discovered the problem of bandwidth caps when Rochestor doctors said that limits imposed by ISPs would triple their bills.

Massa said that the cable and phone company duopoly has allowed them to run their Internet services in anticompetitive fashion, in hopes to draw customers to its traditional services. The bill suggests that ISPs are trying to halt the use of broadband for TV and movie delivery so that consumers will have to rely on the cable company’s offerings.

“The market for video delivery is effectively controlled by companies operating both traditional cable delivery and broadband Internet access services, increasing incentives to raise prices for Internet use in high volumes, to discourage consumers who may wish no longer to subscribe to traditional cable services,” read the bill.

The bill proposes that ISPs offering or planning to offer bandwidth caps will have to file with the FTC a service plan analysis that includes information on the different service tiers and prices along with an analysis of the economic reasonableness and necessity for imposing such tiers based on costs.

Essentially, if the bill were passed, ISPs would be required to justify to the FTC not only why it must impose bandwidth caps, but also the pricing structure that’s behind each tier.

  • tayb
    If you don't like what your cable provider is doing vote with your wallet. Tell them to f*** off and switch providers. They will change their policies or they will go out of business. Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area. The government has no business regulating competitive markets, stay the hell in Washington and focus on better ways to waste my tax dollars.

    Time Warner tried to cap Dallas, a city with multiple ISP options, and look what happened? The consumers spoke loud and clear, Time Warner got the message, and they indefinitely curbed their data capping plans. No government "help" needed.
    Reply
  • tipmen
    taybIf you don't like what your cable provider is doing vote with your wallet. Tell them to f*** off and switch providers. They will change their policies or they will go out of business. Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area. The government has no business regulating competitive markets, stay the hell in Washington and focus on better ways to waste my tax dollars. Time Warner tried to cap Dallas, a city with multiple ISP options, and look what happened? The consumers spoke loud and clear, Time Warner got the message, and they indefinitely curbed their data capping plans. No government "help" needed.

    Some People can't switch or if they switch they get even less.
    Reply
  • tayb
    tipmenSome People can't switch or if they switch they get even less.
    I guess you must have missed this sentence. It was only the fourth sentence on the second line so I can see how you could miss it...

    "Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area."
    Reply
  • chripuck
    taybIf you don't like what your cable provider is doing vote with your wallet. Tell them to f*** off and switch providers. They will change their policies or they will go out of business. Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area. The government has no business regulating competitive markets, stay the hell in Washington and focus on better ways to waste my tax dollars. Time Warner tried to cap Dallas, a city with multiple ISP options, and look what happened? The consumers spoke loud and clear, Time Warner got the message, and they indefinitely curbed their data capping plans. No government "help" needed.
    Problem is there aren't very many options. In Atlanta I have AT&T DSL and Comcast Cable.
    Reply
  • hopiamani
    taybIf you don't like what your cable provider is doing vote with your wallet. Tell them to f*** off and switch providers. They will change their policies or they will go out of business. Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area. The government has no business regulating competitive markets, stay the hell in Washington and focus on better ways to waste my tax dollars. Time Warner tried to cap Dallas, a city with multiple ISP options, and look what happened? The consumers spoke loud and clear, Time Warner got the message, and they indefinitely curbed their data capping plans. No government "help" needed.
    In Las Vegas there isn't much competition, either you get Cox Cable or slow DSL.

    What we should be rooting for is the removal of monopoly rights for cable companies in an area. Then you'll be right, we won't need this regulation.
    Reply
  • ravewulf
    taybI guess you must have missed this sentence. It was only the fourth sentence on the second line so I can see how you could miss it..."Regulation is only needed for areas where a single company holds a monopoly over the area."There are MANY areas that only have one ISP. Coverage for each ISP isn't accross the entire US and people with only one ISP in their area get shafted as far as prices go
    Reply
  • gorehound
    I will go to a slower krappy connection rather than pay slime warner the BS rates they are tryingf to pull off.
    unfortunately i live in portland maine so it would be a change to a real krap connection but when and if that type of billing hits here i dump slime warner and then i do everything i can to get as many folks as possible to do the same.
    i will make up posters and stand outside on my lunch break protesting those slimeball rich bastards.
    Reply
  • NuclearShadow
    Currently I am very angry at Comcast which cut my speed in half. I use to get 12 mb/s down and 2 mb/s up now I get 6 mb/s down and 1 mb/s up. With no notification and of course the monthly fee remains the same. Do they really expect that no one will notice? When I called them about it they refused to give me a explanation on why and then offered me a costlier plan which I rejected because why the hell should I pay more just in hopes that I get my speeds back? Whats worse is that I am stuck with them as they are a monopoly in my area.
    Reply
  • dokk2
    IF,,it was up to me I would just enact a law requiring fiber optic everywhere replacing copper and everything phone,tv,internet,government,the whole 9 yards would be available at speeds that we can only dream of,after all it is the way of the future,what the hell are we waiting for???????????..:)
    Reply
  • We're waiting for our government to catch up to the 21st century. We will be waiting a while longer at this pace. Obama, though I don't agree with some of his strides, would do well to push his techy administration that he had when he was elected into office. I can't believe he gave in when they made him keep the decade-old Windows network in the White House. Cable companies have an incredibly un-American monopolistic system in place. The Comcast smack-down was the first of what I had hoped was the first wave of the internet broadband revolution that we so desperately need.

    I see other countries like Japan and Switzerland making huge advances in their technological infrastructure, and what are we doing? We're coasting along on 40 year old technology. Sometimes you have to start over and throw away the old to allow for the new.

    The United States of America still has a chance to remain the most powerful nation in the world, but if we don't wake the hell up... we're going to lose that title. Transportation infrastructure and information infrastructure are so important right now, yet we sit on our laurels hoping that we can get by another year without having to do anything. We know that oil is not infinite. We know that corn will cannot supply our entire country with fuel, but here we sit hoping we can put temporary fixes in until we have no other choice but to make something feasible. We need a 5 year plan, not a 30 year or a 40 year plan. Write down a list of options. Figure out the cost. Decide what we have to give up for 5 years. Then make our move. Foreign policy is a huge deal for our President. There are so many international messes that we're trying to resolve that we are not able to focus enough to realize that we have glaring problems of our own. I'm not saying that we should lock ourselves in our room, so to speak, but I am saying that we need to take our heads out of the sand and start working on solutions to problems that will not go away on their own.
    Reply