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Former FCC Boss: Data Caps Not About Network Congestion 238

An anonymous reader writes "Broadcasting Cable reports on comments from Former FCC chairman Michael Powell (now president of the U.S. cable industry's trade association) confirming what many have long suspected: data caps on internet service aren't just about network congestion, but rather about 'pricing fairness.' 'Asked by MMTC president David Honig to weigh in on data caps, Powell said that while a lot of people had tried to label the cable industry's interest in the issue as about congestion management. "That's wrong," he said. "Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost." He said bandwidth management was part of it, though a more serious issue with wireless.' Powell went on to say that ISPs had huge up-front costs which had to be allocated out to consumers, and those consumers were familiar with usage-based fees from paying their power bill or buying food. He was part of a panel with three other former FCC chairs. Dick Wiley agreed with his cost argument, adding that the marketplace was responding better than new legislation could. Michael Copps thought the FCC could question data caps a bit more, but wasn't opposed in principle. Reed Hundt said he wants the FCC to focus on getting better, faster, cheaper internet to 100% of the population."
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Former FCC Boss: Data Caps Not About Network Congestion

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  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @10:33AM (#42633467)

    I have Tim Warner cable and have unlimited
    Fios is unlimited too

    And how much data is it to get past the cap? I stream all my TV. Only have Internet. And I use less than 200gb per month. So far I'm at just over 50 for this month

  • by localroger ( 258128 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @10:35AM (#42633485) Homepage
    I have to use wireless because there is no reliable wired service to my house but I'm practically underneath a cell tower. I pay USD$60/month for 5 gigabytes and, if I go over, USD$60 per gigabyte for every gigabyte I go over that. The only way to tell how close I am to the usurious cap is to log into a website that's only updated once a day and which itself serves several megabytes of ads before I can get to the summary of my data usage. Oh, I also get 50%, 75%, and 90% emails and similar SMS messages which I can't receive because my access point is a MIFI which isn't really a phone. I have complained, and of course not only is nothing done the only competitor has EXACTLY the same pricing model. The one time I went over by accident it nearly doubled my bill and when I complained they "generously" gave me a one-time waiver, but when I told them I'd rather have the service slow down or stop working I got nothing but shrugs. Because, of course, it's a profitable trap and nothing else.
  • by alen ( 225700 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:06AM (#42633583)

    so how much do you have to stream to use 250GB? i only ask because i stream all my TV. i have done it since september and i have used 450GB the whole time according to Time warner

  • by poity ( 465672 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:56AM (#42633773)

    They changed that last year. It's 300GB/month now, with 3 months overage without charge (you are warned whenever you get near the cap or go over), then on the 4th month that you go over they will automatically bill you +$10 for an additional 50GB

  • Re:By this logic (Score:5, Informative)

    by Gaygirlie ( 1657131 ) <gaygirlie&hotmail,com> on Saturday January 19, 2013 @11:58AM (#42633785) Homepage

    One thing that baffles me is that, well, here in Finland we just don't have data caps. Period. Since we don't have data caps whatsoever, even on most mobile broadband - connections, does that mean we're somehow being unfair? Incompetent? Both, even?

    I just don't see it. We're a small country with lots and lots of rural land, only about 8 million people in the whole country and all, and yet our ISPs and cell-phone operators are just thriving without any data caps. We have only one ISP/cell-phone operator that does data caps, the rest do "speed limits," ie. the lowest of the lowest mobile broadband - packages one can get from my cell-phone operator is 512kbps up/down for 4.99€/month and on which you can simply upload and download as much as your heart is willing. 512kbps is enough to download about 158 god damn gigabytes of stuff a month and I didn't even factor in the amount of uploaded data at all -- this is also a package that you can just drop off or switch to a higher/lower tier at your own leisure, there are no 12/24 month contracts involved at all. So basically, even our lowest-tier broadband packages grant us consistent speeds, no long contracts and no sudden extra charges no matter how much you transfer. For some reason our method sounds fairer to me.

  • by reboot246 ( 623534 ) on Saturday January 19, 2013 @12:21PM (#42633851) Homepage

    After all money is the root of all evil.

    Actually, it goes like this: "For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."

    So you could say that the love of money placed before the love of God is the root of all kinds of evil. Money itself is neither evil or good, but keep it in perspective.

Disraeli was pretty close: actually, there are Lies, Damn lies, Statistics, Benchmarks, and Delivery dates.