updated 10:10 pm EDT, Fri October 14, 2011
New Senate bill should bring better 4G definition
The Senate has introduced a companion bill to the Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act that could reduce indiscriminate labeling of newer mobile broadband network technologies as 4G. Currently, 4G is attached to HSPA+, WiMAX and LTE networks, even though all have key differences and offer different speeds. If the bill passes, it will require all providers to clearly specify what their networks will offer, including minimum and maximum data speeds.
The bill was filed by Senator Amy Kobuchar and Al Franken from Minnesota, together with Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut. Democrat representative Anna Eshoo on the US House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Communications and Technology commended the Senators for bringing this forward, stating it should require a simple task: truth in advertising.
If providers can't deliver on promises of speed, reliability and prices, they should be held accountable, Senator Franken added.
The bill would require all providers to detail the guaranteed minimum data speeds, network reliability, coverage area maps, pricing, the type of technology used to provide it, and the network conditions that can impact the speed of applications and services used on the network.
It would also require the FCC to evaluate the speed and price of 4G wireless data service provided by the top ten US wireless carriers. This way, consumers could get an unbiased reference and comparison of the services they are considering in their area. [via BGR]