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[STAFF WORKING DRAFT]

IVumCI-[ 15,2010

I11TI-I CONGHESS 2D SESSION

s.

To improve consumer protection 1'01' purchasers of broadband services by requiring consistent use of broadband service terminology by providers, requiring clear and conspicuous disclosure to consumer's about the actual broadband speed that may reasonably be expected, and for other PUl"poses.

IN THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STA.TES

MARCH --,2010

Ms. K:I~OBUCHAR (for herself, Mrs. GILLIBRAND, and Mr. B1WICH) introduced the following bill; which was read twice and referred to the Committee on ----------

A BILL

To improve consumer protection for purchasers of broadband services by requiring consistent use of broadband service terminology by providers, requiring clear and conspicuous disclosure to consumers about the actual broadband speed that may reasonably be expected, and for other purposes.

1 Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representa- 2 iiues of the United States of Ame't1:ca in Congress assembled}

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1 SECTION 1. SHORT TITLE.

2 This Act may be cited as the "Broadband Service

3 Consumer Protection Act".

4 SEC. 2. FINDINGS.

5 The Congress finds that-

6 (1) the rapid growth and future expansion of

7 broadband services affects an increasingly large seg-

8 ment of the economy and millions of consumers; and

9 (2) the lack of clear, consistent) and easily un-

10 derstood industry-wide standards and terminology

11 and the use of "up ton representations of broadband

12 speed have hampered the ability of' consumers-

13 (A) to make meaningful comparisons of

14 competing plans and providers;

15 (B) to make informed decisions about the

16 purchase of broadband services; and

17 (C) to determine whether they are reeerv-

18 mg the level of broadband service for which

19 they are paying.

20 SEC. 3. FEDERAL COMMUNICATIONS COMMISSION REGULA-

21 TIONS.

22 (a) IN GENERAh-\i\Tithin 180 clays after the date

23 of' enactment of this Act, the Federal Communications 24 Commission shall initiate a. rulernaking proceeding-

25 (1) to assist consumers, before they purchase

26 broadband service from a provider) in making real-

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1 istie assumptions about the actual speeds that may

2 reasonably be expected and how those assumptions

3 may be affected by the hardware used by the con-

4 sumer to connect to the Internet, peale service peri-

5 ods, and other factors; and

6 (2) to assist consumers, after they purchase

7 broadband service from a provider, in monitoring

8 their usage and determining whether they are get-

9 ting the level of broadband service for which they

10 are paymg.

11 (b) TERMINOLOGy.-In the regulations prescribed

12 under subsection (a), the Commission 8ha11-·

13 (1) establish standard definitions for terms

14 commonly used in the advertising and marketing of

15 broadband service; and

16 (2) require that whenever terms for which the

17 Commission has established a standard definition

18 are used in such advertising and marketing, the

19 terms are used in a manner that is consistent with

20 those definitions.

21 (c) ME.ASURElVfEN'l' S1'ANDARDs.-In the regulations 22 prescribed under subsection (a), the Commission, in co-

23 ordination with such other Federal agencies as the Com- 24 mission finds appropriate, shall establish, and revise from

25 time to time as necessary, technical standards for quanti-

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1 tying broadband service measures of performance and 2 other features, particularly with respect to terms defined 3 in the regulations prescribed under subsection (b), and re- 4 quire that broadband service providers apply those stand-

5 ards with respect to measures of performance and other 6 features of the broadband service provided ..

7 (d) PR.1~-p RCIIASE DISCLOSuR8.-In the regula- 8 tions prescribed under subsection (a), the Commission

9 shall require, at a minimum, that any person selling, or

10 offering for sale) broadband service to the public disclose 11 the actual speeds of the broadband service that can rea-

12 sonably be expected from the broadband service provider

13 in a. clear and conspicuous manner-

14 (I) in advertising or marketing materials asso-

15 ciated with the sale, or offering for sale, of the serv-

16 Ice;

17 (2) in the service contract and other material

18 associated with the purchase of the service; and

19 (3) at the point of sale, whether a physical loea-

20 tion or on a website.

21 (e) BnJIJrNG.-In the regulations prescribed under

22 subsection (a), the Commission shall require that-

23 (1) any invoice or periodic statement of account

24 provided to a consumer by a broadband service pro-

25 vider include a description or analysis of the service

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1 provided in such detail) and covermg such param-

2 eters of usage, for the period covered by the invoice

3 or statement as the Federal Communications Com-

4 mission determines practicable; and

5 (2) the description or analysis be pro-vided in an

6 easily understood, clear and conspicuous, format.

7 SEC. 4. NO PREEMPTION OF STATE LAW.

8 Nothing in this Act, or any regulation prescribed

9 under this Act, shall be construed to preempt the laws of

10 any State or local government.

o

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