Washington

Wyden Introduces Data Cap Bill

Would mandate measurement standards and prevent ISPs from using caps to create 'artificial scarcity' that drives up prices 12/20/2012 04:05:58 PM Eastern

Sen.Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) introduced a bill on Thursday to give
consumers more control over their data usage in the wake of data caps imposed
by some ISPs. The bill would also mandate industry-wide data measurement
accuracy standards and impose "disciplines" to ensure that data caps
are only used to manage network congestion, not to "extract monopoly
rents," citing a New York Times
editorial opining on that subject.

The Data Cap Integrity Act would require the FCC to come up
with the standards for how ISPs measure data, and gives it the power to
"ensure that data caps are designed to manage network congestion rather
than monetize data in ways that undermine online innovation."

It also includes a bit of network neutrality language,
saying that ISPs "cannot, for purposes of measuring data, discriminate
against any content."

Public Knowledge, which has been critical of the caps,
branding them as a vehicle for driving up prices, praised the bill.

"Data caps create an artificial scarcity in the
broadband market that limits consumer choice and hinders the creation of new
competitive content online," said Public Knowledge VP of public affairs,
Christopher Lewis. "Public Knowledge supports Sen. Wyden's effort to
provide consumers with transparency on their data usage and to ensure that
these caps do not limit innovative products and uses on the Internet."

The bill won't be going anywhere in the present Congress,
which has only a few days left of legislative sessions.

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