Mobile data users have been exceptionally unhappy over data caps since they were first introduced. Many argue that these data caps have nothing to do with controlling congestion on mobile networks and everything to do with charging customers as much as possible. A white paper was published this week from the New America Foundation arguing that data caps were designed to maximize revenue rather than minimize congestion.
Apparently, the white paper caught the attention of a Democratic senator from Oregon named Ron Wyden. Wyden has introduced legislation to regulate the use of data caps this week. The Senators Bill would allow the use of data caps only to control congestion on a network and would not allow them to be used to maximize a carrier’s revenue.
Wyden plans to address three major issues with his bill. He wants to increase the accuracy and amount of information carriers provide consumers. This bill also proposes to allow the FCC to regulate methods used by carriers for measuring bandwidth. The second major issue the bill seeks to address would be to require any data caps used by ISPs to “reasonably limit network congestion without unnecessarily restricting Internet use.”
A statement released along with the legislation noted that some data caps might work to discourage Internet use even when it has no effect on network congestion. The third thing the legislation seeks to address could be the most controversial. The bill would require any data cap in place not be used to provide preferential treatment of data based on the source or content of the data. That would mean the legislation would eliminate any paid fast lane for data, which has been proposed by some users.