The Cable Show Michael Powell, a former Federal Communications Commission chairman who is now the cable industry’s top lobbyist, said yesterday that cable companies “should be moving with some urgency and purpose” toward implementing data caps.

After serving as chairman of the FCC under President George W. Bush, Powell is now president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association.

At the Cable-Tec Expo in Atlanta, he was asked about data caps, or “usage-based billing.” Multichannel News has the details: Powell was also asked about usage-based broadband policies, which are permissible by the FCC.

He disagreed with arguments that the window for usage-based broadband is closing or that it’s too late for MSOs [multiple-system operators] to implement usage-based policies when consumers have grown accustomed to unlimited access. Cable, he said, “should be moving with some urgency and purpose” with respect to usage-based billing. Powell said operators have sound economic reasons to pursue a new model but acknowledged that the industry faces perceptions that usage-based billing is viewed as an anti-competitive move designed to disadvantage over-the-top video providers. “I don’t think it’s too late,” Powell said, noting later that the wireless industry has been acclimating consumers on the concept of usage-based Internet access. “But it’s not something you can wait for forever.” There was no transcript of Powell’s remarks, the NCTA told Ars, but the organization pointed us to a page on its website that makes the case that usage-based billing can be good for consumers.

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