Noted: Remember Time Warner Cable’s plan last April to impose limits on Internet use or face overage fees? After consumers cried foul, the cable provider pulled back though it didn’t drop the idea altogether.
Now, a freshman legislator has introduced a bill to make unfair usage plans illegal and force Internet service providers to justify any plan with “consumption based billing,” as Time Warner called it, to federal regulators, reports Wired News.
Says Wired: “Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) wrote the so-called Broadband Internet Fairness Act after successfully helping to force Time Warner Cable to stop its trial of new pricing schemes on his constituents in Rochester, N.Y. Net neutrality group Free Press and the anti-tier group Stop the Cap are already vocally supporting the measure.”
The bill would apply to any Internet service provider — including wireless, satellite, DSL and the other usual suspects — with more than 2 million customers and multiple service plans that charge based on data used. It would be up to the Federal Trade Commission to decide whether caps are justified.
Now the bill doesn’t ban the ability to charge based on consumption, explained Stop The Cap writer Phillip Dampier in a FAQ page for readers. He points out that the legislation needs to withstand legal scrutiny.
“The bill is designed to accomplish what needs to be done – preventing providers from launching Internet Overcharging schemes that, upon review by the appropriate agencies, are simply economically unjustified,” he wrote.
In April, Time Warner said it had not planned to implement the caps in Orange County. Time Warner still wants to bill customers based on usage, but it retrenched after poor publicity. It plans to find tools to help customers realize how much — or how little — Internet they use before launching any program.
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