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New Bill May Prevent ISPs from Slowing Online Video Services 

A new Senate bill called the “Consumer Choice in Online Video Act” is taking aim at internet service providers who degrade rival video services and over charge customers. Submitted by Senator Jay Rockefeller, the bill takes a good look at how internet service providers may limit consumer choice in their favor and how the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) may take steps to prevent bad outcomes.

If it passes, the bill will make it illegal for service providers to “block, degrade, or otherwise impair any content provided by an online video distributor”. It will also be illegal for any internet service provider to give benefits to the transmission of videos for a company they are affiliated with. The law overlaps somewhat with the Net Neutrality law imposed by the FCC. However, with large internet service providers like Verizon attempting to remove that law, Rockefeller’s bill may help to cement rights for consumers in this situation.

Additionally, the bill would not allow providers to charge customers with a usage-based billing system if it in any way favors the provider’s video services against competitors. The bill would also block ISPs from failing to divulge before purchase all of the extra charges, fees and costs which may be associated with subscribed internet service.  With any luck, Rockefeller’s bill will be able to provide clearer rights for internet users around the country.