Netflix pushes FCC on data caps

Netflix pushes FCC on data caps
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Netflix is drawing attention this week for opposing caps on the amount of data consumers can use from their internet provider in a filing at the Federal Communications Commission.

“Data caps (especially low data caps) and usage based pricing (“UBP”) discourage a consumer’s consumption of broadband, and may impede the ability of some households to watch Internet television in a manner and amount that they would like,” the company's representatives said in the filing.

“For this reason, the Commission should hold that data caps on fixed ­line networks­­ and low data caps on mobile networks­­ may unreasonably limit Internet television viewing and are inconsistent with Section 706.”

The FCC regularly takes stock of the broadband market in the United States. It is required to figure out whether “advanced telecommunications capability is being deployed to all Americans in a reasonable and timely fashion.” If it finds it is not, it is required to “take immediate action to accelerate deployment of such capability by removing barriers to infrastructure investment and by promoting competition in the telecommunications market.”

The mobile video service filed the document last week as part of the FCC’s ongoing, regular review of the broadband market. It was first noticed by Ars Technica on Monday.

Putting caps on the data customers can consume — both through mobile and wired internet connections — is an increasingly common but controversial practice.

Comcast, in particular, has been testing the implementation of data caps on its fixed broadband service. The company also recently raised the cap from 300 gigabytes per month to a terabyte.

Netflix, in its filing, said that the lower cap was not reasonable for Americans consuming television on the web.

“A data cap or allotment of 300 GB of data per month or higher is required just to meet the Internet television needs of an average American,” the company said. “This does not account for the other things that consumers typically do with their broadband connections, such as web ­browsing or downloading games or apps from the Internet.”