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Rep. Markey Blasts AT&T Data Caps

Markey Att

The Huffington Post   First Posted: 03/15/11 12:59 PM ET Updated: 05/25/11 07:40 PM ET

If AT&T's plan to begin capping broadband usage worries you, you're not alone.

Democratic Representative Edward Markey expressed his concerns over the proposed policy change, as reported by Hillicon Valley.

"I am concerned that charging more for increased usage would raise prices for some consumers and potentially lead to lower broadband adoption levels," he said. "This would undermine our broadband goals as outlined in the National Broadband Plan while undercutting our global competitiveness, and I will be closely monitoring this decision."

AT&T plans to cap DSL users at 150 GB per month, and U-Verse users at 250 GB per month, starting on May 2. Those who run over these caps three times in three separate months would be charged $10 for each 50 GB over the cap. According to the carrier, the caps would only affect about 2 percent of their users.

Some advocates fear that raising prices on higher rates of bandwidth usage has the potential to slow not only user adoption, but web innovation, calling such actions symptomatic of broadband's lack of real competition.

"AT&T's Internet overcharging is a poor solution to an unproven problem, and it will have a chilling effect on economic growth and innovation online," wrote S. Derek Turner of the Free Press in a press release. "AT&T claims that its caps and penalties will only affect a few users, but unless the limits grow rapidly along with usage, many more customers will soon be ensnared. When ISPs force their customers to watch the meter, experimentation, innovation and business will suffer."

Markey underscored the importance of web freedom in the development of Internet progress.

"The Internet has always been an all-you-can-eat electronic marketplace for consumers, innovators and companies large and small," he said. "Such freedom has made the Internet the most successful commercial and communications medium in history, helping to fuel our economy, spur investment and create jobs."


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