Internet users are demanding that the Federal Communications Commission crack down on Internet service providers to enforce its new Net neutrality law that took effect in June.
The law prohibits providers like Comcast and AT&T from tampering with the speed of Internet connections — either slowing down speeds for certain consumers or increasing them for companies that pay for their sites to load faster — and from “unreasonably interfering” with consumers’ access to online content. In the month since the Net neutrality law has gone into effect, the FCC has received thousands of complaints against Internet service providers, according to the National Journal.
Many of the approximately 2,000 complaints lodged over the last month deal with data caps, which slow down consumers’ Internet connections after they reach a certain amount of usage per month, or charge a fee for continued usage after the cap is reached. In one of the complaints, obtained by the National Journal through a Freedom of Information Act request, a consumer begged the FCC, “Please, please make data caps illegal!!”
Another consumer wrote that the data cap compromised their home’s security because their security camera used up a significant amount of their allotted monthly data. “By Comcast having this data cap, I don’t have a open Internet … I also think this data cap is very inaccurate, it goes up without anybody being home, and sometimes by a lot,” the consumer added.
The current Net neutrality law doesn’t explicitly ban data caps, although the FCC may choose to interpret data caps as “unreasonably interfering” with consumers’ access to the Internet after reviewing the complaints.
Users who are unhappy with their Internet service can submit complaints to the FCC online. The FCC then notifies the Internet service provider of the complaint, and the provider is required to respond to both the FCC and the customer within a month. Although the complaint might not ultimately be resolved, Ars Technica reports that some customers were offered price breaks after they complained.