Newsweek has published an article about how the Federal Communications Commission could make it easier for Americans to buy and use their phone books and other internet-connected services without going through an online service provider.
The FCC has issued a rule that would require internet service providers (ISPs) to provide consumers with a telephone number to verify the address of a home or business.
That number would then be stored and used by ISPs to help them provide services like email, instant messaging, and more.
The FCC’s rule is expected to go into effect in 2018.
However, the rule has drawn criticism from consumer advocacy groups, and the internet industry as a whole.
“If you’re going to build a wall around the internet, you have to put it up on the internet,” said John Gilmore, the president and CEO of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA), an industry trade group.
“And I don’t see how you can do that with the internet.”
The FCC rule, Gilmore said, “is going to require more infrastructure investments and more infrastructure that will lead to more problems, more delays.”
He continued, “There are going to be more costs associated with that.
There will be fewer choices, and fewer choices for consumers.
And the ISPs will be able to charge more to their customers for those services.”
For instance, if a consumer wanted to buy a broadband phone plan with a monthly plan price of $10 per month and use that number to check the address on their phone book for a business or other business-related service, the FCC’s current rule would require that they purchase the phone plan from the phone company and pay an extra $5 per month to be connected to the phone number.
But if they also purchased a phone plan that included a service that provided unlimited data, $10 a month would be the minimum amount that they would have to pay.
That additional fee, Gilmore predicted, would add $100 to the cost of a phone account, even if they used the service for unlimited data.
“What that’s going to do is hurt people with limited data plans, people who don’t have a lot of data, people with a lot less data,” Gilmore said.
“I think that’s a big concern.
I think that it’s going a long way to driving down the consumer choice of what’s available on the web.”
The current rule, however, does not require ISPs to allow consumers to pay extra to get their service.
And even if the FCC did, the rules would still likely not apply to consumers with limited access to the internet.
For example, if you’re a new homeowner and you want to pay $5 to be able access your phone book from your home, the ISP will be required to give you a bill to pay for the service.
If you want a phone book to help you with other things like making calls or texting, the fee would be $5 a month.
But if you want unlimited data to be the only service that you use, the same ISP would be required by the FCC to charge you $10 for unlimited Internet service.
That fee would add up quickly.
If your plan cost $20 a month and you only used it for 3GB of data a month, your ISP would have an extra bill of $2.50 per month.
If they charged $30 a month for unlimited and you used it on a monthly basis for 3.5GB, your bill would be another $1.50 a month on top of the $5 bill you’d already paid.
For a consumer like me who has limited data, Gilmore says the rules “are going to drive up the cost, but it’s a small cost to add to the bill.”
“If people are going in and trying to make a lot more money than they’re already getting out of the current system, they’re going do it with a little more effort and with a small amount of money,” Gilmore added.
“It’s not a very good system.
I would hope it wouldn’t be the way that we’re going in for the foreseeable future.”
The FTC issued its own guidance for consumers in a May report that said the current rules would create “unnecessary complexity and uncertainty.”
The report also noted that “unwanted burdens are inevitable in the broadband market, and ISPs may have to assume additional costs to provide additional services.”
The rule’s most controversial aspect is the requirement that ISPs provide customers with “the ability to verify an address of an address book or other internet service provider.”
In other words, the commission said that ISPs would be obligated to store the telephone number that the consumer used to check an address, as well as to provide an address verification service.
The agency said that for example, “if a consumer visits an address information service provider and is unable to locate the information provider, the consumer may contact the address information provider.”
The Commission also said that providers of internet services