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.