A coalition of technology companies – including Intel, Microsoft, Dell, IBM, and Sun Microsystems – filed a complaint with the FCC about “troubling restrictions” imposed by some cable providers on how consumers can use their broadband connections. Here’s a Washington Post article with details.
Comcast, Cox, and others are moving towards “tiered pricing” – charging more for Internet access to heavy users. But they also are taking steps to prevent home users from using the connections in certain ways: preventing access to company computers using VPNs, preventing users from setting up servers for work or games, and restricting access to certain graphics-heavy Internet sites, for example. In other words, even if cable or DSL becomes available in your neighborhood, you cannot simply assume you’ll be able to use it the way you want to.
Under the Bush administration, the FCC has been given a greater role in formulating policy for broadband Internet access. The FCC has signaled its intent to back away from any requirement that broadband providers share their networks with competitors. As a result, prices are rising, competition is decreasing, and broadband rollout is lagging.