The Progressive


A project of Common Dreams

For Immediate Release
Contact: Timothy Karr: 201-533-8838,,

House Bill Would Protect Consumers Against Internet Overcharges

Rep. Massa, Free Press, Stop the Cap! Discuss Broadband Internet Fairness Act


Rep. Eric Massa (D-N.Y.) joined Free Press and Stop
the Cap! on a national conference call today to discuss the "Broadband
Internet Fairness Act" (H.R. 2902), legislation that would protect
consumers from Internet overcharges.

Listen to the national conference call:

AT&T and Time Warner Cable are currently testing a new pricing
scheme in Beaumont, Texas, where consumers pay large fees for exceeding
a low monthly Internet usage limit; AT&T's trial also includes
Reno, Nev. Though presented as a means to address a very small number
of heavy bandwidth users, these Internet overcharges would impact large
numbers of consumers.

The "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" would give the government
explicit authority to prevent broadband providers from overcharging for
Internet access.

Learn more about the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" here:§iontree=23,24&itemid=316

"Access to the Internet has become a critical part of our economy,
and we can't let corporate giants limit the public's access to this
important tool," said Congressman Massa. "The Broadband Internet
Fairness Act is all about protecting consumers from outrageous Internet
overcharges and giving the public a voice in this process. I have taken
lots of time to work on this bill and have consulted with my
constituents and industry experts. Now the hard work of passing this
bill begins."

Congressman Massa became a vocal opponent of Internet overcharges
after Time Warner Cable announced plans this spring to impose its new
pricing scheme on his constituents in Rochester, N.Y. Tens of thousands
of Internet users from around the country -- many of them alerted by
Free Press and Stop the Cap! -- contacted Congress about the unfair
penalties, and Massa pledged to introduce legislation to address the

"Customers should be able to use their Internet service without the
fear of getting even higher monthly bills, especially on a product
already making a lot of money for providers," said Phil Dampier,
the Rochester resident who founded Stop the Cap!, a consumer-driven Web
site dedicated to combating Internet overcharges. "At a time when the
economy is hurting, we cannot afford to allow a handful of companies to
gouge consumers and limit Internet access -- just to increase
shareholder value. That's why Congressman Massa's bill is so important."

According to a new study by the Pew Internet & American Life
Project, even groups that have traditionally lagged behind in Internet
adoption -- rural and low-income Americans -- are beginning to
subscribe in larger numbers. But more users have not translated into
lower prices. In fact, Pew reports that the average monthly price for a
broadband connection has jumped by more than 10 percent in the last
year alone.

"With monthly Internet bills on the rise, overcharges just add insult to injury," said Ben Scott,
policy director of Free Press. "We applaud Congressman Massa and Stop
the Cap! for taking a stand for consumers. This is an inspiring example
of grassroots activism fighting against a big corporation and a member
of Congress siding with the people. We don't see it often enough. This
bill sends a message that Congress is watching and can take action to
protect consumers."

Read the "Broadband Internet Fairness Act" here:

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