As Expected, Bill Introduced To Outlaw Tiered Bandwidth Pricing

from the this-won't-go-far dept

As was widely expected, Rep. Eric Massa has introduced a bill that would outlaw metered billing and create a bunch of other regulatory hoops ISPs need to jump through on pricing plans. We're no fans of metered broadband by any stretch of the imagination. It stifles innovation and limits the usefulness of the internet. Contrary to what some broadband providers will claim, it's not at all necessary and has nothing to do with preventing the network from being overrun or to stop part-time users from "subsidizing" everyone else. The Broadband Reports link above walks through how silly each of those arguments are. It also explains why this is a pure money grab. Flat-rate pricing has been quite profitable for the providers, but they want more. Note that nowhere in these usage plans do they talk about cheaper tiers. Beyond just being about a straight money grab, part of the desire is to use this to reduce competition for online video by making it more expensive for anyone other than the ISP to deliver video services.

That said... this bill seems laughable and is unlikely to go anywhere. The real issue here (as it has been all along) is the lack of meaningful competition in the broadband space. Get meaningful competition into the market, and this whole issue goes away. But that's not what Massa's bill does. It just adds regulatory burdens to ISPs without doing much to get at the root of the issue.

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  1. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), 18 Jun 2009 @ 10:20am

    Re: Re:

    You are correct. Mike did this the other day as well suggesting that infrastructure be forced and nationalized in some ways. Yet, he goes on and on about less laws, less government interference, etc.

    Reading comps not your strong suit, I guess?

    I did not say that the infrastructure should be nationalized. I just explained what a natural monopoly was and why, because of that, it made sense not to nationalize the infrastructure, but to look at ways to allow competition on the infrastructure layer. As I suggest in my other comment above, there are plenty of ways to do that that aren't "nationalizing." But why bother with details.

    One of the things that makes the internet so resilient is that there are many providers, many ways to get a connection, many ways to get a route, and many ways to route around trouble. Let the government run it, and there would be a single backbone from one side of the US to the other and that would be it (remember MAE East and MAE West?). The current situation is better than it was 10 years ago.

    Strawman alert! No one said create a single system and let the gov't run it. Why make that up?

    For end user ISPs, the problem is cost of bandwidth versus usage. The connectivity providers sell it by the size of pipe, so pricing to the end user is in part dictated by this. Excessive usage means they need to buy more pipe, and more pipe costs money.

    This is simply not supported by the actual numbers. ISPs are raking in the cash with the current system, and bandwidth usage growth is slowing dramatically.

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