On March 2nd Senator Wyden (Oregon) introduced new legislation that would stop phone and cable companies from charging internet consumers differently depending on how they use their computers. He says a new fee structure -- being discussed by the telecommunications industry -- would fundamentally alter the Internet: from a system that's open-to-all to a pay-as-you-go arrangement.
Three chears for Wyden! Today I'm proud to be an Oregonian. I'm not 100% convinced that Internet access should not be billed based on how much you use, but I'm pleased that the government feels it should have a role in how Internet access is charged. I believe Internet access should be regulated by the government just like any other utility.
For starters, the PUC should be given authority over Internet providers... It angers me that Internet providers can offer a service with no QOS agreement, shut it down whenever they want, slow it down whenever they want, tell you what you can and can't so with the service, and then we as consumers have no recourse--in many markets there are only two choices for broadband: cable and DSL. There should be a government agency that oversees consumer Internet access, just like the telephone, just like water, just like electricity...
If your telephone went out for a day--and it's the phone companies fault--you can file a complaint with the PUC and they'll actually do something about it. But if you're Internet access goes out for a day--you're screwed. There's no one for you to complain to, there's no one that will listen, and good luck getting a refund for that day you were down.