Senators Propose Ban on “Predatory” Internet Data Caps

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Unfair data caps could be outlawed thanks to two senators.

U.S. Senators Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.) introduced legislation today that calls for an end to internet data caps that are implemented by ISPs solely for monetary reasons. Describing them as “unnecessary” and “predatory,” Luján and Booker want to see the practice gone because it “forces families to pay high costs and unnecessary fees to access high-speed broadband.”

The Uncap America Act, as it’s called, would require that data caps only be used for “network management purposes.” It would also prompt the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to “hold providers accountable” if they were to impose “predatory” data caps.

Luján’s office shared some statistics to demonstrate how Americans’ need for data is increasing, necessitating the need for legislation such as the Uncap America Act:

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, monthly data usage has increased at a rapid rate. According to a study on American broadband consumption conducted by OpenVault, the average household now exceeds over half a terabyte in bandwidth per month. According to a study by NPD, demand on cellular data was up to 31.4GB on a monthly basis, up 25% from a year prior. Low data caps prevent households from taking advantage of this transition, expanding the digital divide.

“As internet usage continues to be a necessity for work, education, and health care, no family should have to worry about extra fees and costs because of unnecessary limits on their data,” said Luján, Chair of the Commerce Subcommittee on Communications, Media, and Broadband. “Today, I’m introducing the Uncap America Act to put a stop to these costly data caps and increase competition and innovation in our growing digital economy. This legislation also empowers the FCC to protect Americans’ access to data while incentivizing additional investments in our national broadband infrastructure.”

“Internet access is a basic necessity and has been increasingly important throughout the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Booker. “Unfortunately, many internet providers have imposed predatory data caps, making it difficult for many vulnerable families to access high-speed internet. I am proud to introduce this legislation with Senator Luján that will help ensure that the American people have access to affordable, high-speed broadband services and that providers are not taking advantage of their consumers by imposing predatory data caps.”

A summary of the bill can be found here, while a full text of the bill is available here.

Source: Ben Ray Luján

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Tsing Mui
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