Ajit Pai’s new gift to cable companies would kill local fees and rules

Ajit Pai’s new gift to cable companies would kill local fees and rules

Enlarge / FCC Chairman Ajit Pai speaking at a press conference on October 1, 2018, in Washington DC. (credit: Getty Images | Mark Wilson )

Ajit Pai is continuing his multi-year battle against local broadband regulation with a plan that would stop cities and towns from using their authority over cable TV networks to regulate Internet access.

Chairman Pai’s proposal, scheduled for a vote at the Federal Communications Commission’s August 1 meeting, would also limit the fees that municipalities can charge cable companies. Cable industry lobbyists have urged the FCC to stop cities and towns from assessing fees on the revenue cable companies make from broadband.

If approved, Pai’s proposal would “Prohibit LFAs [local franchising authorities] from using their video franchising authority to regulate most non-cable services, including broadband Internet service, offered over cable systems by incumbent cable operators.” Pai’s proposal complains that “some states and localities are

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Google Stadia in 4K might push you past your home-Internet data cap

Google Stadia exec isn’t worried about data caps—but he probably should be

Enlarge / A Google Stadia controller and a Google Chromecast Ultra. (credit: Google)

The Google executive in charge of the company’s new Stadia game-streaming service says he thinks data caps won’t be a problem—but his prediction largely depends on the generosity of ISPs.

In an interview Friday with GameSpot, Google VP Phil Harrison said his confidence stems from US broadband providers’ history of treating their customers well.

As he told GameSpot:

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House votes to block Ajit Pai’s plan to kill San Francisco broadband law

House votes to block Ajit Pai’s plan to kill San Francisco broadband law

Enlarge (credit: Steve Johnson / Flickr)

The US House of Representatives has voted to block Ajit Pai’s attempt to kill a San Francisco ordinance designed to promote broadband competition in apartment buildings.

As we reported last week, the Federal Communications Commission chair has scheduled a July 10 vote on a measure that would preempt the San Francisco city ordinance, which lets Internet service providers use the existing wiring inside multiunit residential and commercial properties even if the wiring is already used by another ISP that serves the building. The ordinance applies only when the inside wiring belongs to the property owner, but it makes it easier for ISPs to compete in many multiunit buildings already served by another provider.

Pai claimed that the city’s rule “deters broadband deployment” and infringes on the FCC’s regulation of cable wiring. But US Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) proposed a budget amendment that

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Charter squeezes more money out of Internet users with new cancellation policy

Charter squeezes more money out of Internet users with new cancellation policy

Enlarge (credit: Getty Images | Sean Gladwell)

Charter is making it more expensive to cancel its Spectrum Internet service, as it will begin charging customers for the full month after they cancel instead of providing a prorated final bill.

Charter broke the news to customers in the fine print of their latest billing statements. Stop the Cap reported the change yesterday, and we were able to confirm it on the May billing statement received by an Ars staffer in Texas who subscribes to a triple-play package with Spectrum TV, phone, and Internet service.

“Effective on or after June 23, 2019 and consistent with the Terms and Conditions of Service, Spectrum will no longer provide a pro rata credit for services sold on a monthly basis that are cancelled prior to the end of the current billing month,” the notice to customers says.

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Charter data use “rising rapidly” as cord cutters average 400GB a month

Charter data use “rising rapidly” as cord cutters average 400GB a month

Enlarge / A Charter Spectrum vehicle. (credit: Charter)

Charter cable Internet customers who don’t subscribe to Charter’s TV service are using an average of more than 400GB of data a month, the company said yesterday.

While Charter doesn’t impose data caps on its Spectrum Internet service, the newly released stat helps illustrate how ditching cable TV and relying on streaming services can push customers closer to incurring data overage fees. Comcast and other ISPs impose monthly caps of 1TB.

“The demand for both speed and throughput on our network continues to increase,” Charter CEO Tom Rutledge told investors in an earnings call yesterday. “Monthly data usage by our residential Internet customers is rising rapidly and monthly median data usage is over 200GB per customer. When you look at average monthly usage for customers that don’t subscribe to our traditional video product, usage climbs to over 400GB per month, which

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