Thursday, September 27, 2012

FCC Chairman: UBB is Useful; Should be Transparent and Fair

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski (pictured) spoke recenelty at Vox Media, making a statement on usage based billing.

At the end of 2010 Mr. Genachowski said that "Our work has also demonstrated the importance of business innovation to promote network investment and efficient use of networks, including measures to match price to cost such as usage-based pricing" (see "FCC: Usage-Based Pricing is Important" - here) - this time he was more cautious.

"This explosion of online video and other high-bandwidth applications and services is leading Internet users to consume more and more data every month. To maximize the opportunities of broadband for our conomy, consumers need sufficient monthly broadband capacity to make e-commerce routine and unconstrained".

".. This presents challenges for broadband providers in managing the growing loads on their networks while earning returns to drive capital investment in network upgrades and expansion. One tool we’ve seen is usage-based pricing, often implemented with monthly data limits.I’ve said since 2010 that, in a competitive market, usage-based pricing can be a useful tool, consistent with the goals of driving efficiency, investment, and faster and more robust network infrastructure. In general, experimentation in business models in competitive markets is something to be encouraged, and has historically benefited consumers".
"At the same time, I’ve been clear that I’m concerned about practices that harm competition, including from over-the-top providers; unnecessarily depress broadband usage; or reduce incentives to increase broadband speeds and capacity. As I said earlier this year, as consumer usage grows and technology improvements enable providers to deliver more bits at lower cost, we should expect that any monthly usage limits will increase and that consumer cost-per-bit will decrease".

" .. And certainly, any usage-based pricing practices should be implemented in a transparent and easy-to-understand mannerso consumers are treated fairly and have the tools they need to make the right decisions based on their needs".

See "Chairman Genachowski Remarks on Broadband at Vox Media" - here.

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