In what might be the first big test in the "net neutrality" debate for the Obama administration, consumers are protesting a plan by Time Warner Cable Inc. to "meter" customers’ internet usage, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. Consumers have attacked the plan with a web site, www.stopthecap.com, and protesters packed two town hall meetings in upstate New York, where Time Warner Cable said it would test internet metering. Opposing the metering, or consumption-based billing, are Rochester-area consumers, including doctors and college students, who say Time Warner Cable’s plan would increase monthly bills for those who download movies and other information files online. Freshman U.S. Rep. Eric Massa, D-N.Y., has vowed to introduce federal legislation to regulate the practice.
"This is bigger than a college kid surfing the internet," Massa said. "Anything that limits access to the basic internet is a threat to the economy." Time Warner Cable, based in New York, has delayed implementing the plan after protests, saying consumers need more education on the topic. Cable companies claim heavy users degrade the internet experience for others. Comcast Corp., the nation’s largest residential internet provider, does not meter internet usage but has an "excessive use" policy. A customer violates that policy by using more than 250 gigabytes a month. After warnings, the customer could lose internet privileges for a year…

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