Legislation that would limit Internet service provider’ ability to impose data caps on broadband services stands little chance of passage in Congress, but the Federal Communications Commission might take a tougher stance on so-called “usage-based” billing, analysts say.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D.-Oregon, on Thursday introduced a bill to regulate the use of data caps. If the Senate passes Wyden’s legislation, Republicans control the House of Representatives, making it highly unlikely the bill would make it into law, says Paul Gallant, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities. FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski, however, has made public comments signaling a tougher stance on usage-based billing.
“We would not expect Wyden’s bill to become law because Republicans are firmly against broadband regulation and likely have blocking power in Congress,” Gallant said in a report. “But we believe Wyden’s push for limits on usage-based pricing — coming after similar points from Chairman Genachowski — indicates continuing Democratic interest in monitoring cable/telcos’ usage-based pricing.
“(ISPs) like Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Cablevision and Charter may need to ‘self-regulate’ as they consider future broadband pricing moves.”