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Eshoo Seeks GAO Study of Usage-Based Pricing

Ranking House Communications Subcommittee member Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-Calif.) has asked the GAO to conduct a study of usage-based wired and wireless broadband pricing.

That comes in the wake of the release of the FCC Open Internet Advisory Committee report on the subject (

Eshoo said that the report left her with many questions that she wants GAO to answer given her concern that usage-based pricing, particularly if it is applied discriminatorily or set at arbitrarily low levels, could discourage innovation, competition and consumer choice.

Outgoing FCC chairman Julius Genachowski has said that usage-based pricing can be a legitimate business tool, if not abused.

Eshoo wants to know how widespread usage-based pricing is, the rationale behind imposing data caps, how tier prices are determined, how they change in response to Internet usage, how much data the average wired and wireline customer uses monthly, how they are notified about usage, whether prices vary according to competition, the cost difference between the amount of downloads and what complaints the FCC and FTC have received about usage-based pricing.