Thursday, June 26, 2008

The Price Of Speed

I heard a rumor. I don't usually comment on rumors, but the source is pretty informed and reliable and has no history of relaying bad information.

It seems that some ISPs are going to start identifying "bandwidth hogs" (users who do a lot of downloading, uploading, streaming of video and audio, etc...), throttle their available bandwidth, and then inform them that they can reclaim their original performance for an additional premium.

Say what? For example -- If I pay WhizBag Cable $40 a month, I get about 1 MB per second download speed no matter what I do or how much I use the service. I'm a higher end user, so I stream video (think CNN, YouTube...) and download music. A lower level user is paying the same $40 a month, but only uses email and occasionally surfs the web.

Of course the price that the lower end user pays will not go down, but in order to continue using the bandwidth that I've been paying for, I now have to pay a premium as the penalty for making full use of what was available to me. Apparently my usage has been subsidised by the folks who don't use the Internet as much.

The argument was made that it's going to be like the Turnpike -- the more you drive, the more you pay. That analogy doesn't work for me -- even if it's applicable from a certain point of view. I just see this as yet another way to be nickel and dimed to death by the service providers (any service). I realize this is all an intrinsic part of free market capitalism, but it doesn't mean it's right.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Me no like.
I would think it's an average thing, where the person who barely uses it and still pays is more using approx $20 worth, where you might use $60 worth, and thus you have a $40 bill across all customers. Charging you more for using the services that they offered you in the first place seems shady. And I know I don't have good grammar on here... what do you expect, I'm not being paid to write this. I save it for the surveys.