UPDATED 14:45 EST / OCTOBER 14 2010

FCC Pushing Bill Shock Propsal. Can Customer Service be Regulated, and Can the Cloud Help?

The Federal Communications Commission has unveiled the details behind its Bill Shock Proposal, one that would force wireless providers to alert customers when they’re approaching limits on voice, text and data usage.  The proposal cites that bill shock is among the top consumer complaints for the wireless industry.

It was a unanamous decision to explore the regulatory bill, reached by all five members of the commission.  It’s the latest in a process that’s lasted for some time, and will eventually lead to another vote on whether or note wirelss providers should be forced to provide such data to consumers.

In a data-driven world, this is exemplary of two sides of the coin that need to be addressed.  Consumers will demand direct access to their own data, with everyone more accountable for their own action.  Much of this boils down to data analysis, which is a quickly growing sector in the cloud space.  For wireless providers, this is data they’re already looking at.  Incorporating it into the billing information and customer communications system is what could also come into question.

The Washington Post cites two opponents of the FCC’s regulation on this level, with one pointing out that restructuring billing information is an added cost for wireless service providers, ultimately increasing the bills for consumers.  The other opponent questions the stats around the FCC’s data, noting that the small number of complaints compared to the entire population of wireless users isn’t enough to regulate the industry as a whole.

I genrally think these two points of opposition don’t hold much weight.  Most carriers already offer alerts when you near your data plan limits, free of charge.  This is also an opportunity for wireless providers to improve relationships with customers as demands for data usage are still on the rise.

Pushing through regulations like this, however, open up new cans of worms, inviting customers to bring more lawsuits against service providers, and generating more cause for regulation.  How far customer relations will need to be regulated is the real question here.  The wireless industry can take a few cues from the world of finance, which has been through the ringer a twice or two in the past year.

In other FCC news, the organization is also pushing a fund for mobile broadband expansion.


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