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FCC Sort of Acknowledges Usage-Based Billing Regulations
New Commissioner Pai Uses Topic As Partisan Bogeyman
by Karl Bode 08:06AM Monday Dec 10 2012
New Republican FCC Commissioner Ajit Pai has warned that the FCC will likely tighten regulation over usage-based broadband if the agency survives its network neutrality legal fight with Verizon. The comments appear to be a bogeyman lobbed at attendees of his speech at the Conservative Phoenix Center, and may not actually be indicative of any serious effort by the agency to clamp down on some of the nastier aspects of metered billing.

"Should the D.C. Circuit uphold the FCC's order, I would expect to see revitalized efforts to expand the Commission's regulation of the Internet. In particular, I would not be surprised if the FCC looked into whether we should stiffen our oversight of the network management practices of wireless broadband providers and whether we should begin to regulate usage-based pricing," Pai said in his speech.

"With a court victory under the Commission's belt, I believe that the net neutrality order would be the first step, not the last, on our regulatory path," he added.

However, the FCC has shown absolutely no interest in regulating metered billing, despite the significant problems we've seen with inaccurate usage meters. FCC boss Julius Genachowski has either strongly supported caps and overages as either innovative or potentially troubling depending on the crowd he's giving a speech to, but the agency itself has utterly ignored the issue entirely, and there's absolutely no indication that's about to change anytime soon.

topics flat nest 

Chesterfield, MO

UBB Regulation

While there are voices in the crowd that have never met a regulation they like, it's reasonable to put a few rules in place regarding how usage is measured and reported to the consumer.

This is not an insignificant task because metered voice tracks the end point of each call and appliances, furnaces, water heaters, faucets, cars, insulation are all required to report their efficiency rating/consumption/annual costs. If we want to meter, consumers will need a way to determine how they can reduce their consumption. Maybe it's just requiring consumer routers to have the capability to easily offer monthly reports or maybe it's rating web sites by how much bandwidth they use.

I also think it's fair to define the billing increment. Today's GB increments are fair if each GB is extremely inexpensive. With GBs costing $10 or more, the increment needs to be significantly smaller.

I think all of this crap is ridiculous but if this is the only way providers can remain solvent and provide HSI, then it's fair to acknowledge all the crap that goes with it.

R.I.P. Mom, Brian, Ziggy, Max and Zen.
La La Land
·Optimum Online

Re: UBB Regulation

said by rradina:

I think all of this crap is ridiculous but if this is the only way providers can remain solvent and provide HSI, then it's fair to acknowledge all the crap that goes with it.

Where have you been?
The cost of "Broadband" has been dropping for years, yet the "cost" to the end user has either gone up, or remained the same.
None of these providers are hurting for cash-flow either.
All this metered billing is trying to do is garner MORE cash for them.
Politics is a disease, we need a cure!
In constant search for intelligent life on Earth!

Chesterfield, MO

Re: UBB Regulation

I stated this crap is ridiculous. Isn't it obvious the comments that follow are facetious?

Uncle Paul



They could start with regulating the way online meters function and certify their accuracy.

Brighton, MA

Re: Meters

no, they should require ISPs install meters at the demarc at the premises.

Des Plaines, IL

Re: Meters

but even then they will need to not count ARP traffic / data sent when the modem is off / cable phone / U-Verse video data / ECT.

Also round down or say must use at least 80% of a block to be billed for it. And say cap blocks of say a max of 10MB.

NO billing for a full 10GB with you only useing 20mb of it.

Chesterfield, MO

Re: Meters

Agreed...but just counting traffic is only a part of what's needed. What if a consumer wants to reduce their consumption? If all they know is a total, how can they determine what activities they need to reduce to lower their bill?

I'm showing my age here but when long distance calling wasn't all-you-can-eat, the bill came in the mail and you could usually determine which household members made what calls and which calls cost the most.

Consider an apartment scenario where two people share the rent. If a nasty HSI bill appears and one person claims they don't use that much internet, how can it be resolved without details?

Washington, DC
Uggh, any mandated equipment at the premises sounds like a bad idea. I'd rather the FCC create some kind of "broadband auditor" that customers could call up if they think they're getting screwed. They could bring a meter to the premises, leave it there for a month, and compare to the ISP provided meter. If it's significantly off, make the ISP credit the customer $1000 or something onerous.



Business as Usual

The Corporate sector will continue to do as they please and the FCC will continue to practice unnatural acts with the Corporate Big boys when and whatever the Big Boys demand of it. The American public is not on their list of responsibilities.

Fremont, OH

Re: Business as Usual

As it should. Until Congress gives the FCC control over the Internet, they have nothing to do with it. The FCC gave up that control over the Internet when they decided to declare the Internet an "information service" instead of "communications service". So it's going to create a whole new bag of worms and the ones with the most $$$ will win. And the FCC will NOT be the one winning.

This is also about "wireless" so they will need to define what "wireless" is.