Internet Providers Want To Meter Usage

internet-mapIf Internet service providers’ current experiments succeed, subscribers may end up paying for high-speed Internet based on how much material they download. Trials with such metered access, rather than the traditional monthly flat fee for unlimited connection time, offer enough bandwidth that they won’t affect many consumers — yet.

But as more people use the Internet to watch TV and stream movies, they could bump up against the metered rates’ caps, paying expensive over-use fees. Watching a movie may then require paying two fees: one for the movie, another to the cable company.

Most consumers probably don’t realize how much bandwidth their Internet usage consumes, because they’ve never had to care. Time Warner, the nation’s third-largest Internet service provider, in its five experimental markets is offering 5 gigabytes of downloaded Internet content for $29.95 per month. That translates to 15 hours of viewing standard-definition video, or 350,000 e-mails, or 170 hours of online gaming, or some combination of those activities, according to the company.

Others among the nation’s largest ISPs are also experimenting with caps and tiers.

Both Time Warner and AT&T stressed that the trials, though they have no announced end dates, are just that: experiments. They’ll be modified, or even abandoned, if they meet too much hostility, Dudley said.

OK, Bloggers, they need to see some hostility!



Filed under Economics, Media, Music

4 responses to “Internet Providers Want To Meter Usage

  1. Damn, you guys are good! And fast!

    “Time Warner shelves plan to cap Internet use

    Capitulation doesn’t bode well for the future of metered billing

    Time Warner Cable Inc. is shelving its plan to bill customers based on how much Internet traffic they generate, following mounting public and political outcry.

    Time Warner Cable’s capitulation doesn’t bode well for the future of metered billing of the Internet, in which people who use more bandwidth pay more.

    Frontier Communications Corp., a Time Warner Cable rival in one key test market, Rochester, N.Y., also has dropped its plans for metering Internet use.”

  2. Here is what I think will happen.

    Most internet providers’ agreements provide for service of a certain kind, but do not guarantee that the speed offered will always be available. The providers will monitor usage, and after a user has used, e.g., 5GB d/l capacity in a month, the speed of the connection will decrease, perhaps approaching “dial up” speeds. Note carefully; there is no additional charge, there is no limit on usage; only the speed available for the usage drops.

    Thereafter, the ISP will offer a new, higher priced service, which magically doesn’t suffer any speed drop-off until, say 10 GB d/l ; this will be attributed to different servers available to the new service.

    Then, another new, higher priced service will be offered, again providing even more d/l capacity before a speed decline, again attributed to the newer, upgraded servers available to that service.

    No matter what particular service one chooses, there will be no additional charges made for usage, regardless of the level of use; only the speeds available will be affected, and the ISP will be smart enough to vary these things.

  3. Thunderchild

    Well, I would like to see the day when basic use of the internet like email, blogging, information search etc. would be a free service provided by the Government. The fact of it is, if you are not connected to the internet you might just as well be living in a cave and I think humanity is diminished when even one voice can’t be heard or one idea shared. The newer uses of bandwidth like watching full length movies or long videos is something we already have widely distributed support in place for. Probably those uses SHOULD come at a premium and be relegated to private providers and subscribers who want them.

  4. tosmarttobegop

    In my time on line I have seen this type of thing happen with a number of my ISPs.
    I started out on WEBTV and it served the purpose but in a sense it was limited for that reason.
    You got the cheapest forms of access but at dial-up speeds. Next was Netzero I liked it until they finally decide it was time to make money off of it. You could still get a limited service for free but forty hours a month was gone in like a week with a family.

    After the beginnings each ISP has in time slowly moved to a slower limited access. OH you could have better faster access for a little more! The creators of the net stated that the net should be free to use and not limited. (FYI in case you did not know, all internet traffic passed through one central computer. I had my doubt when I hear that. But I have been assured it is true, it sets in a bomb proof shelter and has 24/7 armed guards. PRIVATELY supported it not a government function . )

    The day will come when the net is taxed and controlled for content it will be a bad day when it comes.