4G has become more of an advertising buzzword for wireless providers than an indication of their network's actual speed. So Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal, Amy Klobuchar, and Al Franken have introduced a new bill that will force providers to be more honest about what kind of 4G performance subscribers will actually be getting.
The 'The Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act' comes hot on the heels of California representative Anna Eshoo's similar HR 2281 bill which was introduced back in June. Since consumers are often coerced into signing multi-year contracts to take advantage of handset subsidies, the bill will force providers to disclose their guaranteed minimal 4G data speeds, pricing options, coverage maps, the actual hardware employed and network reliability. It even goes as far as to require carriers to admit to region-specific issues like population density and the local terrain. The bill will also force the FCC to create a comprehensive guide for consumers, comparing the 4G speeds and pricing of the top ten wireless providers in the U.S.
Not surprisingly there's already opposition to the bill, with the CTIA releasing the following, not-so-encouraging, statement:
"As we have said before, this bill proposes to add an additional layer of regulation to a new and exciting set of services, while ignoring the fact that wireless is an inherently complex and dynamic environment in which network speeds can vary depending on a wide variety of factors, such as weather, terrain and foliage. Congress should not impose new regulations. Instead, they should focus on the real issue, which is making sure that America's wireless carriers have sufficient spectrum to lead the world in the race to deploy 4G services."