Wed, Apr 8th 2009 2:46pm
There's been quite a bit of uproar over some ISPs' boneheaded plans to introduce broadband traffic caps and charge customers based on the amount of data that travels across their broadband connection. Already, the pushback against Time Warner's plans to expand its use of the caps has led another ISP, Frontier Communications, to reconsider its plans to introduce them, illustrating how competition could take care of this issue. Still, some politicians see it as a chance to wade in and drum up some publicity, such as a New York congressman, who (among other things) says the caps raise "broad and sweeping First Amendment issues." Erm, well, these caps aren't so impressive, but to imply they're unconstitutional seems like a bit of a stretch. But the rhetoric is -- unfortunately -- typical of politicians' positions on these issues. The rep says he'll take "a leadership role in stopping this outrageous, job killing initiative", which is nice and sure to grab some headlines in his hometown paper, but it ignores the real issue at play: a lack of true competition in the broadband market. Politicians jump on whatever hot internet issue pops up, whether it's these caps, or something like net neutrality, talking about the need for new laws and rules. If they'd do more to engender actual, meaningful competition in the broadband market, all of these issues would take care of themselves. But that doesn't make for nearly as great a sound bite, apparently.
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