A recent Forbes article suggests the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may mandate that broadband providers redesign modems to have bigger backup batteries so customers can “surf the web for up to 8 hours during a power outage,” said author Fred Campbell. The plan may sound good in the abstract, Campbell said, but customers will pay the price in the end. The FCC’s decision to put broadband providers in charge of how devices are powered means consumers won’t have a choice in the type of backup system they want, if they want it at all.
“It would take us back to the days when the monopoly telephone company was responsible for providing every customer with a phone and could force you to use only the phones it decided to provide,” Campbell said. Most consumers opt not to buy dedicated cable modem batteries, although there are many choices and options available, he said. FCC rules already require broadband providers to provide backup power batteries for voice calls, yet few consumers buy these products as well.
One reason backup power is important is the ability to make 911 calls during power outages. But nearly 70 percent of such calls are placed from wireless phones, a percentage that’s growing, Campbell said.
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