Daniel Lyons on broadband pricing and data caps

Daniel Lyon

January 15, 2013 · 1 comment

Daniel Lyons, assistant professor at Boston College Law School, discusses his new Mercatus Center Working Paper, “The Impact of Data Caps and Other Forms of Usage-Based Pricing for Broadband Access.” Describing the system most of us are used to as an all-you-can-eat version of internet access, Lyons explains why it might make more sense for Internet Service Providers (ISPs) to transition to usage-based pricing, a type of metered model for broadband.

According to Lyons, the fixed costs of building up a broadband network are so great that any attempt to create an equitable cost distribution that can recoup these costs forces lighter users to subsidize heavier users. These types of flat rate payment programs often can be a barrier to low-income users. Instead, Lyons advocates for a usage-based system. In response to concerns about possible anti-competitive behavior by ISPs, Lyons further proposes that enforcement of policy transparency among ISPs might be an appropriate role for government.



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