/ Unsplash / Guillaume de germain
Many tariffs of large American providers set a threshold for the maximum amount of “incoming” data. It ranges from 150 GB to 1 TB. You need to pay an average of $ 10 for every 50 GB over the limit, which in a difficult economic situation not everyone can do.
Therefore, in March, a group of senators sent the management of the largest Internet providers of a letter with a request to remove restrictions on downloading data for broadband access to the network. Such measures should help people keep in touch with families, colleagues and employers.
Recommendations were followed immediately by several companies. One of the first is AT&T and Comcast. Last even raised connection speed for low-income families.
Providers showed flexible infrastructure capabilities, as evidenced by research. According to report BroadbandNow aggregator, in large cities (for example, in New York), bandwidth dropped by 24%, but in most cases, users did not notice the changes. Therefore, a number of politicians suggest abandoning tariff restrictions for good.
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Consumerism experts at Free Press they saythat restrictions only create dangerous precedents. In 2018, Verizon reduced the data transfer rate for special services putting out fires in California, because they exceeded the monthly traffic rate. As a result, firefighters found it difficult to coordinate.
But, most likely, this logic cannot be extended to all kinds of situations, and limits on the amount of downloaded data will be returned. Representatives of Comcast they sayThat it is the mechanism which really allows to save the users consuming a small amount of traffic. Verizon also noted that for customers who want unlimited access, they have separate rates. Another argument confirming the temporary nature of the changes is that initiatives of large streaming services like YouTube are helping to reduce the load on the network. They are temporarily lowered the quality of the content, and as they return to full-fledged “broadcasting”, the quality of connection for individuals can fall.
What’s up with regulation
The issue with restrictions for tariffs, taking into account the amount of downloaded data, can be solved at the legislative level. The first regulatory attempts were made eight years ago.
In 2012, Senator Ron Wyden formulated Data Cap Integrity Act. He forbade Internet providers to set limits on the amount of incoming traffic without the permission of the FCC. But the bill was rejected despite the support of consumer protection organizations.
/ Unsplash / Joshua hoehne
Therefore, even a temporary waiver of restrictions is an unusual decision that returned the attention of the public and the FCC to this issue. Some Commission staff are already urge management to engage in active regulation of tariffs. Whether the head of the FCC will pay attention to this call will become clear when the situation in the US begins to stabilize.
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