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Is the Internet "flat-rate era" coming to an end?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Time Warner Cable, Comcast, and AT&T want to charge "bandwidth hogs" more, according to this NY Times article: Charging by the Byte to Curb Internet Traffic

I don't consider myself a bandwidth hog, as I rarely download videos, music, etc., but I do spend a lot of time on the Web, and have flat rates for my home DSL "light" and mobile Internet that I really take advantage of.

What do you think? Are the "bandwidth hogs" going to ruin it for everybody else, and actually induce ISPs to abandon flat rates?
post #2 of 8
My internet is metered and charged for overages and has been for some time. They have three choices, and all have slightly different speeds. I control a few websites so choose the medium package with medium speed have while I have come close to my bandwidth cap, I have never exceeded it.

They just raised the bandwidths, they are now at 10GB bandwidth for lite at 640kbs d/l spped, 60GBs at 10mbps for standard and 100GBs at 16mbps for pro users - I doubt I will ever use 60GB in a month, and most months wouldn't use 10GB, but I like the faster internet speed when sharing it with another computer and a VOIP phone so it is worth the extra $10 a month than spending it in overages or getting a bad phoneline because the bandwidth is being shared by 2 computers and the phone at once
post #3 of 8
The telecommunications industry is an interesting beast. I've worked in it for 15 years including time deploying high speed networks, and working with FCC policy. I've watched the cable companies get their starts in broadband offerings.

Cable companies are going to lead this effort, as their network infrastructure is simply not as sound as true telecommunication providers. Think about it - telephone companies have to give you good enough service so that you will always have E-911 service. Cable companies are not held accountable when their service goes down. Cable companies don't have to play by the same rules as telephone companies, therefore they are the first to jump on top of these rules. Of course they want to charge more for their services. And if this goes into effect for cable companies, it will go into effect for telephone companies. Why AT&T is in the mix is confusing. It must be their cable division that is supporting this.

Monitoring bandwidth on a per use basis by customer is not deployed in most networks. What this law would do is force telecommunication companies to upgrade their networks and software at a cost in the billions of dollars. Cable companies only provide the last mile of service so have no internal cost to upgrade their network. Their cost would probably be for software changes only which is no big deal.

What it will ultimately do is raise the price of service to telephone customers. Cable companies make a lot of money with no additional cost to them. Telephone companies and telephone customers lose. People who work at telephone companies like myself can lose their jobs because the company can't afford to keep them.

It's a stupid proposition. Look into the eyes of my Scarlett (siggie) and tell her that momma can't afford to feed her anymore after she lost her job due to bad cable company profit.
post #4 of 8
This doesn't make any sense considering Time-Warner's current marketing. They're trying to sell "Turbo" internet connections (ie faster speed) and VOIP service, BOTH at flat rates. On the other hand, maybe it's a sneaky and under-handed move to get customers signed up to the higher service and then hit them with metered service. I don't know. Judging from the new call center building they're putting up in this area, they must already be just rolling in the dough. A few bandwidth hogs here and there aren't going to bother them much. And it's been my experience that the biggest bottleneck is not the "pipes" but the servers. So you're going to end up paying for waiting and sitting looking at a white screen while a server somewhere is over-extended and can't serve up files as fast as the connection can take them.
post #5 of 8
Eh-- I would be a fan if they charged people like me who barely use bandwidth less, but you know they'd just tack on extra charges for the 'hogs' and not just charge us all fairly.
post #6 of 8
I remember years ago (12?) AOL charged you according to how many minutes you were online. They still show you how many minutes you were online after you signoff. I now have ATT boadband (much better) and wouldn't be surprised if some providers go back to charging according to your usage. It'll be how much you use instead of how long I hope for myself.
post #7 of 8
I started online in 1983 with CompuServe. There was a metered access charge, plus a line charge if you didn't have a local access number. If I remember right the metered charge was $3.00 an hour. Some months I hit in excess of $300.

I hope it stays flat rate, but then I guess the "fairness" arguments make sense to me....you should pay what you use for. And why don't we extend that principle to everything else while we're at it? Mileage on public roads, children in public schools, library books and services, public parks, mail received in your mailbox, streetlights, stoplights, fire departments, police departments, and on and on, all of which I help pay for and most of which I use little or none. Yessireebob, I'm in charge of metered service all right, so long as we meter everything else we use.....now that would be FAIR (and I'd come out way, way ahead.)
post #8 of 8
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Eh-- I would be a fan if they charged people like me who barely use bandwidth less, but you know they'd just tack on extra charges for the 'hogs' and not just charge us all fairly.
They would find a way to get a few extra dollars out of everyone.
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