Metered-Usage Billing and the Broadband Internet Fairness Act

November 21, 2012

Several metered-usage pricing schemes for broadband Internet are struggling or have already failed, with each experiencing large amounts of end-user backlash. The problem with price experiments is the severity of user backlash in response to even minimal tests of new schemes. Users often perceive pricing tests as threats to low-cost broadband, but Internet Service Providers want to please their customers while profiting from their trade. U.S. House Bill 2902, the Broadband Internet Fairness Act, was introduced as a way to solve these pricing issues, yet it also contains methods for ISPs to continue to profit from subscribers. While the successful passage of the Act seems unlikely, its creation is a step in the right direction for ending the current ISP pricing structure and avoiding excessive fees for bandwidth usage. Regardless of the Act’s passage, the ever-increasing use of the Internet in both wired and wireless devices will eventually lead to the extinction of what many users perceive as the current pricing model—unlimited use for a flat fee.