Warren, Sanders want FCC to investigate high Internet prices

A group of senators including Bernie SandersBernie Sanders2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Cardi B posts message of support for Ilhan Omar #IStandWithIlhan trends after crowd at Trump rally chants 'send her back' MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenNew CDC overdose estimates are nothing to celebrate 2020 Democrats react to 'send her back' chants at Trump rally Democratic Houston councilwoman announces Senate bid MORE (D-Mass.) are asking the Federal Communications Commission to look into pricing for Internet service around the country.

"Many Americans have very few, if any, options when it comes to choosing their local cable and Internet providers. And, as the telecommunications industry becomes increasingly concentrated, this lack of choice has resulted in huge price increases and often poor service for consumers,” wrote Sanders and Warren as well as Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn.) and Ed Markey (D-Mass.).

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Specifically, they mentioned the proposed merger of Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable, which they said would “only increase concentration in the cable and broadband markets.”

The senators asked FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to provide them with information about the average cost of broadband by state and provider, as well as for urban and rural customers.

“The Commission’s collection of pricing information is critical to upholding its mission to protect consumers, and promote competition, and deploy broadband across America,” they said.

The FCC declined to comment on the letter.

The issue of the FCC’s authority over Internet pricing is contentious. The business community and conservative lawmakers have said they think that the commission’s new net neutrality rules open the door to rate regulation. They say that by regulating broadband providers like utilities, the FCC can now seek approval over how much companies charge consumers for Internet access.

Wheeler has insisted that won’t be the case.

"Broadband providers will be able to adjust retail rates without Commission approval and without having to wait even a minute," the FCC said in a fact sheet about the net neutrality order.