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FCC Chairman’s Latest Non-Answer Answer on Internet Overcharging Schemes

Phillip Dampier August 4, 2009 Data Caps, Editorial & Site News, Public Policy & Gov't No Comments

Om Malik managed a quick interview with the new chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, Julius Genachowski. In a wide-ranging interview about the competitive landscape of mobile broadband, which is to say there isn’t a whole lot at present, Malik managed a direct question about Internet Overcharging schemes:

Om: Phone companies and cable companies are trying to impose bandwidth caps on Internet access. By doing so, I feel (and many agree) that they’re actually limiting the scope of innovation. Maybe in that that case, we should think about the need to separate services (TV, video, etc.) from the pipe. What are your views on metered broadband?

Genachowski: It ties into an important policy decision the FCC will be confronting with how we drive a ubiquitous broadband infrastructure that’s open and robust and delivers on the promise of the Internet for all Americans. To tackle these questions we will be focusing on the real facts around what’s going on and what policies will best promote ubiquitous broadband and innovation. It’ll be an ongoing topic. It’s something that consumers of Internet services pay a lot of attention to and we’ve seen that in reactions to some of the events over the last year.

That’s about as non-committal an answer as ever out of the FCC.  The usual formula is there:

  1. Express concern.
  2. Define the issue in terms of the Commission’s general policy direction and goals.
  3. Promise sober assessment of the issue.
  4. Under no circumstances commit to anything specific that might get the attention of the press and/or Congress.

Consumers cannot enjoy open and robust broadband that delivers on innovation from providers that are rationing access and charging top dollar for it.  Internet Overcharging schemes represent the best way to run a bypass around Net Neutrality by simply limiting and/or overcharging for access, killing enthusiasm for high bandwidth services like video that challenge current cable television business models.

At least he notes consumers have been pounding the issue with elected officials and the Commission sufficient to warrant mention of it.

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Stop the Cap!