Thursday, May 6, 2010

FCC To Turn Broadband Into a Utility

How much was your water bill last month? Your gas? Your Electric? Your Broadband? That certainly may become the next regulated service. And with it, a move from one month price to per kb consumed. Read your email, that's 2 kb, download a song 10 kb, a movie 10,000 kb. Watch the charges grow. That pipe to your home may have a counter attached and charge per byte.

Quite a slippery slope. That is not what the FCC says will happen though. "But Julius Genachowski, the F.C.C. chairman, said the approach would specifically forbid the commission from regulating rates charged by telephone and cable companies for Internet service and would not allow the commission to regulate Internet content, services, applications or electronic commerce sites." But isn't that what cable companies want to do, charge for usage.

And what about competition. Will other utilities be able to bring broadband to consumers as well. Could I decide whether to get my broadband service from my cable company, electric, gas, or even water company. Will the FCC encourage more competition in this space to maintain consumer friendly pricing. Will further regulation truly help the consumer or hurt us.

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