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

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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  • by degeneratemonkey ( 1405019 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:06PM (#42361721)
    Well, no, the FCC does not have the authority to do this. This story is about a bill that would grant the FCC such authority.

    It won't pass though, because there is a lot more money against than there is in favor.
  • by jhoegl ( 638955 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:07PM (#42361735)
    The law is created in the bill. The FCC is the enforcer or "over watch" of the law.
    Much like when you contact the FCC for a spectrum use violation.
  • by StormReaver ( 59959 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:10PM (#42361779)

    How about congress actually pass a LAW on this, after all, they are supposed to be the legislators, eh?

    I know most people don't bother reading the stories here, but did you bother to even read the summary (which actually does a decent job of summarizing the story)?

    This is a bill. Bills become laws if they are approved by Congress.

  • Re:Netflix... (Score:2, Informative)

    by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:10PM (#42361783)

    Netflix pays for transport, so do you. The problem is the man in the middle it seems.

    If this really is a problem for you, you could lower the default stream quality on the netflix website.

    I would instead suggest you try to see if there is another provider in your area.

  • by DragonWriter ( 970822 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:11PM (#42361785)

    Does the FCC actually have the authority to do this?

    This isn't the FCC doing something, its a member of Congress proposing a law directing the FCC to do it. If they pass the law, then the FCC will, ipso facto, have authority to do it (assuming, of course, that Congress has Constitutional authority to pass the law.)

    How about congress actually pass a LAW on this, after all, they are supposed to be the legislators, eh?

    That's exactly what Senator Wyden is proposing: Congress passing a LAW that would ISPs from imposing data caps without prior approval of the specific cap meeting specific requirements from the FCC.

  • More Regulation (Score:5, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:15PM (#42361869)

    An alternative to this would be to finally break the monopoly faced by many Americans on their broadband cable services.

    I live in an area served by both FIOS and Cablevision, and neither have caps, and have played them against each other to get discounts on my service bills.

  • Re:Wary (Score:5, Informative)

    by Microlith ( 54737 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @02:27PM (#42362007)

    Couldn't this serve to discourage ISPs from improving their infrastructure?

    They don't need any prompting to not improve their infrastructure. Their "solution" is to impose arbitrary limits and offers slow service to stretch their profit margins by not improving their infrastructure. Competition is necessary for them to improve and they fight vigorously to deny it, suing municipalities to prevent them from offering their own lower cost, higher quality services.

  • Re:Cap and Compete (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @03:09PM (#42362491)

    How about: ISPs are freely allowed to impose data caps, but everything sent over the connection has to be in those caps.

  • Re:Netflix... (Score:5, Informative)

    by cluedweasel ( 832743 ) on Friday December 21, 2012 @03:19PM (#42362617) Homepage
    My ISP has a 150Gb limit too. When we moved here it was unlimited. Then the ISP proposed a 30Gb monthly limit. After a local campaign, they acted like they were going to go bankrupt after upping it to 100Gb. Now it's 150Gb. I called them when the 100Gb limit came in and asked them how I was meant to use Netflix and the like with 100Gb. their answer was to use their own VOD system. To me, there's the heart of the matter - it's not the cost of transport, it's protecting their own revenue from online competitors. BTW, this ISP (Bend Broadband) is in Mr. Wydens district and he was receptive to complaints about their data caps.
  • Re:Sen. Wyden. (Score:4, Informative)

    by LiENUS ( 207736 ) <slashdot@vetma n a g e . com> on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:13PM (#42363309) Homepage
    "pants-on-head retarded" ? no it probably doesn't exist in the constitution but Article I, Section 8, Clause 3 says "To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;" that's a fancy way of saying they have the authority to regulate interstate commerce. How applicable it is for 99% of the stuff they say allows it I wont argue, but the constitution does in fact give them the authority to regulate commerce among the states.
  • Re:Sen. Wyden. (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 21, 2012 @04:23PM (#42363477)

    I assume you read the bill? Unless my reading of the bill is wrong, there are a few small points you may wish to consider...
    1) IANAL, but it seems the bill makes no allowment for an ISP that does not have a data cap. It seems to codify into law that all ISPs will have a data cap, and provide monitoring of user traffic to determine usage and monitoring tools for those users.
    2) Failure to provide these tools results in fines, the abililty for users to get money from from the government for any overage charges, and any funds in the money gained by fines goes into the General Fund to ostensibly "fight the deficit" - yeah right.
    3) This bill is an example of administrative law, which in my opinion is a bad idea. They are giving carte blanche to the FCC to do as they wish. My opinion is that if it's important enough to have a law on, it's important enough for the legislators to actually create rather than "some unnamed beurocrat will decide..." type crap.
    4) The article nor the bill thus make any mention of how often re-certification would have to happen - i.e. if this law had always existed, we could be stuck with 1990 level data caps and might not be able to do anything about it.

    So THANK YOU, dear Senator Wyden for trying to mess up the internet, in a bill that, from the headline, sounds like a good idea. Afterall, headlines and perception is all that really matters.

The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. -- John Kenneth Galbraith