Sen. Ron Wyden Introduces Bill to Regulate Data Capping

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced legislation Thursday that would regulate the use of data caps by internet and mobile service providers. Wyden has been a longtime champion of net neutrality rules and internet freedom. He opposed SOPA, PIPA and other bills that would put rules or regulations on the Internet and has been a strong supporter of the FCC's net neutrality rules.

"Data caps create challenges for consumers and run the risk of undermining innovation in the digital economy if they are imposed bluntly and not designed to truly manage network congestion," Wyden said in an e-mail to Ars Technica.

Wyden's proposal does a number of important things. For starters, it aims to increase the amount and accuracy of information provided to consumers by their providers. His bill would allow the Federal Communications Commission to regulate ISPs' methods for measuring bandwidth usage to make sure the information is accurate and it would require them to provide their customers with real-time tools for tracking their usage and comparing them with the ISP's established caps.

Second, the bill would limit data caps employed by ISPs to "reasonably limit network congestion without unnecessarily restricting Internet use."

But the most ambitious part of the legislation is a network neutrality-style rule that requires that any data cap not be used to "provide preferential treatment of data that is based on the source or content of the data." This would effectively ban the creation of paid "fast lanes."

"Future innovation will undoubtedly require consumers to use more and more data—data caps should not impede this innovation and the jobs it creates," Wyden said. "This bill is intended to help consumers manage their data more effectively and ensure that data caps are used only to serve the legitimate purpose of addressing congestion."

Source: Ars Technica

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