With the aid of Mozilla and the Open Source Democracy Foundation, Public Knowledge Friday launched a Web site, www.whatismycap.com, to educate consumers, particularly Verizon customers, about how streaming video can exceed data caps and lead to overage charges.
Announcing the site, PK said it was just in time for the NFL wildcard game playoffs this weekend, which the NFL for the first time is streaming to Verizon mobile phones, along with the Super Bowl and Pro Bowl.
PK has asked the FCC to investigate data caps in general and is using the site to help generate support for that investigation and its opposition to those caps, which it calls an ineffective way to manage network congestion.
"With the new Web site, consumers will be able to better understand what their cap really means, and avoid expensive overchargesm," PK attorney Michael Weinberg said in a statement. "At top advertised speeds, consumers can use up an entire month's worth of data in well under an hour. It also means that using your device in ways your carrier touts in advertising will quickly drive you into expensive overcharge territory."
Debi Lewis, a spokesperson for Verizon Wireless, said that its NFL app has specific tools to help customers manage their usage, including reminders during streaming and points at which they have to affirmatively continue to stream. She also said there was disclosure when they load the app, and an option to enable Wi-Fi. "We have lots of different tool specific to the NFL app as well as in general to help them manage their data use, including text alerts on usage-based plans," she said, "but it is always their decision how to use their phones."
Coincidentally, the CTIA: The Wireless Association, this week was highlighting a record-breaking week for apps the last week of December, the first week that more than a billion apps (1.2 billion) were downloaded, with almost half of them (509 million) in the U.S.
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