Next FCC chair should be anti-broadband data caps, says group

A group of more than 20 online video creators, artists, actors, and consumer advocates have asked lawmakers to consider choosing a new FCC chairman who can deal with the usage caps that telcos and cable operators have placed on their broadband users.

In a letter sent to Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and John Thune (R-S.D.)--both members of the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, & Transportation which is charged with choosing a new FCC boss--the Public Knowledge-supported group said that they should examine the effect that broadband data caps have on their industry segment. The letter is copied on the website dontcapthat.org.

"This much is clear: data caps are an easy way for existing pay television providers to make their online video competitors less attractive to viewers," the group wrote.  "It is critical that the next Chair of the FCC recognize the threat that data caps pose to the future growth of the internet, and to the growth of online video specifically.  We urge you to insist that the next FCC Chair commit to making a detailed examination of data caps a priority during his or her tenure."

AT&T (NYSE: T) and CenturyLink (NYSE: CTL) customers have said that the two service provider's data cap policies are very confusing to understand.

According to various reports, the frontrunner candidate to replace outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is Tom Wheeler. Wheeler previously served as the president of the National Cable Television Association (NCTA), and later as CEO of the Cellular Telecommunications & Internet Association (CTIA).

Of course, the key question is whether Wheeler, who has strong history of lobbying for the cable and wireless industries, will support consumers who face onerous fees for violating confusing data cap rules.

In addition to Wheeler, two other prominent candidates who have gained strong support are Cardozo law professor Susan Crawford and Blair Levin.

For more:
- see the letter

Related articles:
Report: Former CTIA chief Wheeler front-runner for top FCC post
CenturyLink DSL usage caps cause subscriber confusion

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