By Alina Selyukh WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. consumers often incorrectly estimate how much data they consume online and pay Internet providers for more downloading and uploading than they actually do, a U.S. government watchdog said in findings released on Tuesday. The observations were preliminary from the Government Accountability Office’s review of the practice of usage-based pricing, in which consumers pay Internet service providers (ISPs) for a specific amount of data they agree to consume instead of a flat fee for unlimited data. In a study requested by California Representative Anna Eshoo, the GAO, the investigative arm of Congress, found consumers often were unclear about what online activities consumed the most data and paid ISPs too much either for data they did not use or through overage fees for exceeding data caps. Most wireline ISPs told the GAO that usually only 1 percent to 2 percent of users exceeded their data caps.
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