Wednesday, December 08, 2010

FCC would accept billing based on usage from telecommunications providers

The FCC’s chairman Julius Genachowski says that the agency is open to the idea that telecommunications companies can bill consumers for usage (or at least for high volumes of usage) as long as they don’t interfere with traffic that actually reaches end users (or arbitrarily cut off users).

That’s the gist of the story by Cecilia Kang in the Dec. 8, 2010 Washington Post, “FCC’s pay-as-you-go raises video, access questions,” here, p A15, also on the “Post Tech” blog.

The measure could be problematic for companies like Netflix (and I guess Blockbuster) that plan to expand Internet streaming of movies, and in a manner that recalls the “do not track” debate, Logo, which offers free streaming with heavy ads. It could also affect new artists (including classicaL) who promote themselves with high definition videos of their performances, often free with ads.

The link for the story is here.

Wireless companies typically offered tiered pricing plans (as does Verizon for connecting through the Blackberry), and AT&T no longer offers unlimited access.

But it’s really a billing policy issue, not a neutrality issue.  It's like normal electric utility billing, or even an apartment's complex decision to withdraw "bills paid" rental plans (which used to be common in high rises in some cities, but not NYC) because some tenants are heavy electricity users.

It reminds me of the “debate” some years back on unlimited mileage car rentals.

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