New Law Would Let FTC Stop ISPs From Capping Broadband Usage

We’ve looked at Time Warner Cable’s unnecessary, overly greedy attempts to slap meters on broadband usage before, and it’s clear to everyone but TWC that metering Internet is bad policy, but now Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) is setting out to make the practice illegal.

The Broadband Internet Fairness Act would let the FTC smack meter-happy ISPs across the face.

Consumer Affairs writes:

“The Federal Trade Commission Act authorizes the Federal Trade Commission to investigate and remedy consumer pricing practices that it determines to be unfair or anti-competitive, including pricing practices by Internet service providers,” the legislation said. “Substantially above-cost pricing has anti-competitive and anti-consumer effects on Internet use, including in particular Internet use for online video delivery.”

The bill was crafted with help from media watchdog group Free Press, and Rochester resident Philip Dampier of StopTheCap.Com. Among its provisions:

ï Requires ISPs planning to introduce bandwidth caps to submit their plans to the FTC beforehand, as well as hold public hearings and comment opportunities.

ï Prohibits metering plans if the plan is found to be discriminatory or has usage terms that are unreasonable.

ï Targets ISPs with 2 million subscribers or more.

ï Gives the FTC enforcement and penalty power.

“Cable providers want to stifle the internet so they can rake in advertiser dollars by keeping consumers from watching video on the Internet,” Massa said. “But so long as Americans can’t choose which cable channels they want to pay for, I don’t think cable operators should be able to determine consumers’ monthly internet usage.”

Word has it TWC is responding to the legislation by building a Death Star that would destroy the Congressman’s home planet of Alderon.

New Bill Gives FTC Veto Power Over Broadband Caps [Consumer Affairs]
(Photo: The Consumerist)