Thursday, May 08, 2008

Comcast Considers Fees Based On Internet Usage

Comcast is considering a cap on internet usage each month and charging additional fees if users go over the limit. Other internet service providers, like Cox Communications, already have caps and fees in place depending on how much info is accessed. Time Warner is preparing to test a program for varying charges for access depending on how much info is accessed.

And while this takes place, Congress is holding hearings on issues related to Net Neturality. Backers are supporting a bill called the Internet Freedom Preservation Act (HR 5353), with investigations already underway into whether Comcast has been blocking access.

Ben Scott, Free Press Policy Director offered his comments at the hearing:

First, almost everyone agrees that consumers are entitled to access the lawful content, applications and devices of their choice; and second, that it is reasonable to establish these principles in the law. FCC put it in a policy statement that Congress has tried to codify in different ways.

This leads me to conclude that it is no longer a question of whether consumers will have laws guarding an open Internet, but how those laws will be crafted. We strongly support this bill for rising to the occasion.

This bill simply places these agreed-upon consumer rights at the base of the Communications Act. It clarifies the authority of the FCC to protect Internet users from discrimination. And it tells the agency what rights Congress wants consumers to expect in an open Internet marketplace. It is a modernization of the principles that have long been in the Act. Simple and clear."

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