April 14, 2009, 8:03 AM — Last week we talked a bit about Time Warner Cable's upcoming 'tiered pricing' trials for broadband access. We weren't the only ones alarmed by the plan. Congressman Eric Massa of New York (Rochester, NY, is one of the planned 'trial cities') is in the process of drafting "The Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act" which is designed to "prohibit unfair tiered price structures from internet providers." Congressman Massa said, "I am taking a leadership position on this issue because of all the phone calls, emails and faxes I've received from my district and all over the country." and added "They [TWC] have yet to explain how increased internet usage increases their costs."
These are early days (the draft isn't even completed yet) but we can hope this sends a message to Time Warner Cable. The basis for Congressman Massa's involvement seems to be that for many customers, TWC is their only option for broadband internet access: "And while I favor a business's right to maximize their profit potential, I believe safeguards must be put in place when a business has a monopoly on a specific region," he said.
You can read the entire statement on Congressman Massa's website.
So what do you think? Should government be involved in this process? Or should we let the law of supply and demand dictate whether Time Warner Cable's new system succeeds or not? I'm normally a fan of less, not more, government, but in a case like this where so many people have no alternative to using TWC, and at a time when so much progress is being made online, I think government intervention is warranted.
Please leave a comment telling us what you think.