Wireless carriers would be required to inform consumers about “guaranteed minimum” speeds offered by their fourth-generation (4G) networks under legislation introduced in the House this week by Rep. Anna Eshoo (D-CA). Known as the Next Generation Wireless Disclosure Act, the bill, said Eshoo, seeks to “establish guidelines for understanding what 4G speed really is and ensure that consumers have all the information they need to make an informed decision.” Although the nation’s top two wireless carriers, Verizon Wireless and AT&T, advertise 4G wireless broadband speeds of up to 12 Mbps and 6 Mbps, respectively, statistics supplied by RootMetrics show that actual network speeds vary greatly. For example, Verizon’s network delivers actual speeds of up to 9.5 Mbps in Washington, D.C. and 19 Mbps in Houston, while speeds on AT&T’s Washington, D.C. network hover at 1.5 Mbps. (Meanwhile, under standards developed by the International Telecommunications Union, 4G is defined as any wireless data service with minimum downlink speeds of 100 Mbps.) In addition to informing consumers about minimum download speeds, the bill would also require carriers to offer marketing materials to subscribers that “clearly and prominently” spell out network reliability, coverage, usage caps, and the technology used to offer 4G services. The FCC would also be required to publicize speed and price information for the top ten U.S. wireless carriers. While Eshoo stressed that the intent is to “ensure consumers are fully informed before they commit to a long-term contract,” Jon Carpenter, the vice president of government affairs for wireless association CTIA criticized the measure as adding “a new layer of regulation” to mobile service, as he lamented that the bill ignores “the fact that wireless is an inherently complex and dynamic environment.”