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Net Neutrality Bill Aimed At ISP Data Caps Introduced In US Senate 151

Posted by Soulskill
from the fire-up-a-torrent-to-celebrate dept.
New submitter Likes Microsoft writes "Yesterday, Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) introduced a Net Neutrality bill aimed at ISPs using data caps soley for profiteering purposes, rather than the 'traffic management' purpose they often claim. The text of the bill is available at Wyden's Senate page. It would require ISPs to be certified by the FCC before implementing data caps. It says, in part, 'The [FCC] shall evaluate a data cap proposed by an Internet service provider to determine whether the data cap functions to reasonably limit network congestion in a manner that does not unnecessarily discourage use of the Internet.' In a statement, Wyden said, 'Americans are increasingly tethered to the Internet and connecting more devices to it, but they don’t really have the tools to effectively manage data consumption across their networks. Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion.'"
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Net Neutrality Bill Aimed At ISP Data Caps Introduced In US Senate

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  • Netflix... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:08PM (#42361747) Journal
    We start approaching our monthly ISP imposed data cap of 150 GB just from watching Netflix. One room mate nearly busted us through when she started watching the new Dr. Who series, beginning from the first David Tennant episode on up.

    If I remember right, Netflix currently accounts for about one third of all total Internet data usage.
  • Re:Sen. Wyden. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Synerg1y (2169962) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:12PM (#42361811)
    If the FCC actually started to regulate the ISPs... it's too much to hope for. But then if even if the FCC starts regulating ISPs, look at what happened in the big pharma / FDA world, the FDA got bent over and ISPs have deep pockets like big pharma, so it may happen again.
  • by jettoblack (683831) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:30PM (#42362067)

    While this law sounds reasonable on the surface and seems well enough intentioned, looking at the past history of government regulations, I can't help but assume that even if this were to pass, the law will be twisted and manipulated to the point that it actually hurts the end users or stifles competition. Perhaps the requirements for compliance with the law will be so onerous that small ISPs cannot compete, leaving only the big players and a high barrier to entry, or it will prevent new innovative business models and force us to stick with the status quo even if a better alternative is found.

    For example, the regulations for bidding for government contracts were intended to level the playing field, reduce corruption, and lower costs. But as the regulations became more and more complicated (trying to plug the loopholes), only the biggest contractors with government bidding officers and on-staff lawyers can actually get through all the red tape. The result is that small players cannot compete and costs go up. The regulations ended up doing exactly the opposite of what was intended.

  • Re:Sen. Wyden. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by ninetyninebottles (2174630) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:36PM (#42362131)

    Thank you for your good intentions, but...just why is this a task for the federal government?

    Okay, I'm curious. Are you trolling or is your understanding of interstate commerce drawn directly from (and only from) poorly researched libertarian pamphlets?

  • Re:Netflix... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by sandytaru (1158959) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:51PM (#42362303) Journal
    Nope. ISPs are given a virtual monopoly on their method of delivery. We have AT&T DSL and that's all we can get through the phone lines. We had tried Charter cable, but their data cap is the same at 150 GB, and their QoS was ten times worse and the bill was twenty dollars more.

    We've talked about going to a business grade fiber connection at $200/month, but that's only on the table if one of us has a true telecommuting job. As it is, our offices are 15 minutes away and neither of us work enough from home to justify it.
  • Re:Monopolies, AOK? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by preaction (1526109) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:54PM (#42362335)

    The government exists to regulate monopolies that must exist, like power, gas, water, waste disposal, police, fire, and transportation, and break those that must not, like telephone, computer hardware, and computer software.

    Those monopolies I listed must exist because of the barrier to entry and the potential consequences of a monopoly. Electricity and gas being necessary to survive winter, or even summer for some folks, a company cannot be allowed to hold someone's life for ransom. Water is a necessity of life, which is why it's provided by the city government (who holds a monopoly on it). On the other hand, there are things a monopoly can do better than competition, like take a loss on serving certain customers because the loss is made up by less costly customers, or make a large capital investment because they can take a credit risk and be assured that customers have no other choice (in a more competitive market, risk is heightened).

    Of course, what I've just said is a good argument for government-owned fiber to the home (except for the "necessary for life" thing, which is only a matter of time).

  • Re:Sen. Wyden. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:27PM (#42363529)

    Pedantic Legalistic Asshole (This is you) Reason #1 : Because the internet is a needed part of interstate commerce, and by screwing with it locally, you screw with your resident's ability to conduct interstate commerce.

    This is bad reasoning that is unfortunately steeped in legal precedent. This is the same mindset that allowed the Federal government to restrict how much wheat a farmer could grow on his farm, because he was "exert[ing] a substantial economic effect on interstate commerce" by being self-sufficient enough that he did not need to buy wheat from out-of-state (see: Wickard v Filburn).

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