Roku Asks FCC to Deny Charter’s Data Cap Petition




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Roku is asking the Federal Communications Commission to deny a request from Charter Communications to add data caps to its Spectrum broadband plans.

The response comes roughly a month after we reported on Charter’s efforts to remove a ban on imposing data caps that was put in place as part of its 2016 merger with Time Warner Cable. The current ban prevents Charter from imposing caps or employing usage-based charging for residential broadband services for a period of seven years.

In last month’s petition to end the ban, Charter argued that its competitors aren’t being limited by similar restrictions and told the FCC that lifting the ban early would help the company better meet the needs of its customers.

In reply comments submitted to the FCC, Roku said the Commission should, “remain vigilant against any efforts by internet service providers to weaken constraints on their power to implement anti-competitive measures.”

The streaming company later said, “As more Americans stream more content, and especially more high definition content, broadband providers have the power to interfere with consumer demand by artificially capping the amount of bandwidth available. Data caps, along with a variety of other tools, remain an avenue for anti-competitive conduct by broadband providers while there is insufficient competition to constrain anti-competitive behavior.”

The FCC, Roku said, should focus on fostering broadband competition instead of endorsing what it called “barriers to fulfilling consumer demand.” It also warned that lifting Charter’s ban early could also act as a signal to other broadband providers who might also adopt similar practices.

“Data caps,” Roku concluded, “should become a relic of the past.”

We’ll continue to keep an eye on Charter’s petition and report back as we learn more.

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