FCC Chairman Fails to Pass Meaningful Rules to Protect Consumers

Industry Self-Regulation Will Continue to Leave Consumers at the Mercy of Wireless Companies
Published:   October 17, 2011

Today, FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski announced that the wireless industry trade association, CTIA, has agreed to advise its member companies to provide consumers with alert notifications when they exceed their monthly limit on wireless minutes, text or data, or will incur charges for international roaming. Benjamin Lennett, Policy Director for the New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative (OTI), issued the following statement: 

"OTI is disappointed that Chairman Genachowski has opted to rely on industry self-regulation, rather than meaningful and enforceable FCC rules to protect consumers.  Indeed, CTIA already has a consumer code that is supposed to ensure wireless companies make sufficient disclosures to help consumers make informed choices about service offerings. 

"Yet consumers continue to be given poor and sometimes misleading information regarding the actual price, speed and limitations of wireless services. These type of voluntary commitments that are intended to avoid government rules have proven over and over again to be inadequate at protecting consumers and the public."

About OTI
New America Foundation's Open Technology Initiative promotes affordable, universal, and ubiquitous communications networks through partnerships with communities, researchers, industry, and public interest groups and is committed to maximizing the potentials of innovative open technologies by studying their social and economic impacts – particularly for poor, rural, and other underserved constituencies. The Open Technology Initiative has long urged the FCC to enact strong rules to require all broadband providers to disclose accurate information to consumers. OTI has developed a sample 'broadband nutrition label' that if enacted would allow consumers to more easily compare broadband service across different plans and providers.

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