We don't usually take much stock in proposed legislation -- Schoolhouse Rock left out the part where lobbyists gut all the good bits -- but we're willing to root for the Wireless Consumer Protection and Community Broadband Empowerment Act, currently on the floor in the House and Senate. The bill, sponsored by Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey, would require carriers to sell contract-free phones, provide rate plan information in a "clear, plain, and conspicuous manner," disclose any phone subsidies hidden in the plan's price, and offer price-comparable plans with no subsidy or early termination fee. That means you'd finally know exactly how much a plan would bill you every month including taxes and fees, it'd be easier to see how much devices like the iPhone are marked up, and most importantly, it'd be way easier to switch carriers to get better deals. The House Subcommittee on Telecommunications and the Internet, of which Markey is the chairman, held a hearing on the bill this morning with reps from both the wireless industry and consumer groups present, so progress is being made -- we'll see how things go.
Read - Markey's statement to open the hearings
Read - Proposed bill [PDF]