It seems the only way to get policy-makers to actually put consumer interests ahead of political and financial interests seems to be to combine the two. You see, political fat-cats don’t really care about the little guys, but they want to make it seems like they do when their jobs are on the line. The political buzz on Capitol Hill these days is all about prevent the unfair practice of locking mobile phones to a carrier’s network, and locking customers into a long-term contract – and it’s now in their best interest to crack-down on unfair industry practices to look good for 2008.
The new delivers more regulatory power to states, following a recent ruling to overturn an FCC decision to pre-empt increased state oversight. The new bill would protect consumers by setting federal guidelines for wireless contracts, billing-service quality, and other industry practices (like piling on fees and surcharges disguised as taxes) – and would have the FCC play a larger role in enforcing wireless protection guidelines.
We like the new bill’s emphasis on the consumer, but we just can’t help but think that the only reason this has even come to light is that the senators (Sens. Klobuchar and Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.)) involved are thinking more about the 2008 election than how the little guy fares. But, how will this affect pricing? It’ll most likely result in higher-priced rate plans and equipment. Another way to look at it is that we already pay higher rate plan costs through the hidden surcharges and fees – why not just put those fees right into the rate plan and stop pretending that we’re getting such a good deal?
Either way, we like legislation that explicitly puts the wireless consumer ahead of the corporate interests.