US Congressman Wants to Ban Download Caps
As a result of Time Warner Cable's plan to charge its customers by the gigabyte in Rochester, New York, congressman Eric Massa "called TWC's proposal to switch its 8.4 million cable broadband customers to metered internet billing an "outrageous plan to tax the American people."
Critics say usage caps will cost users more and hurt innovation on the net - especially in new video services, as subscribers begin to calorie-count their internet usage. TWC's new tiered pricing structure for its Roadrunner internet service starts at $15 for a plan that allows 1 GB a month with an overage charge of $2 per GB. (A GB of data equals about three hours of online video from Hulu.com and about half of a rented standard definition movie.) The company says bandwidth hogs need to pay their fair share and maintain that if the company doesn't get enough money to build new infrastructure, "internet brownouts" will be inevitable.
In a conference call with reporters Tuesday, Massa dismissed those arguments, describing TWC as a greedy, unregulated monopoly providing a utility service. His yet-to-be-introduced bill would seek to increase competition among broadband providers and regulate monopolies, he said, though he declined to give specifics."
Particularly interesting is the fact that "Time Warner Cable's 2008 annual report shows its high-speed data costs actually declined by 12 percent to $146 million. Meanwhile its subscriber count increased by more than 10 percent to 8.4 million, and high-speed data revenues climbed to more than $4 billion.
"Congress must investigate these anti-competitive practices before they become a nationwide problem." Timothy Karr, a campaign director at the consumer advocate group FreePress, said last week.
A Massa spokesman said the text of the bill would be ready late in the week." [via Wired]