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Time-Warner Considers Per-Gigabyte Service Fee, After iTunes 557

Posted by Zonk
from the isn't-this-a-step-in-the-wrong-direction dept.
destinyland writes "Time-Warner is now mulling a plan to charge a per-gigabyte fee for internet service. A leaked memo reveals they're now watching how many gigabytes customers use in a 'consumption-based' pricing experiment in Texas, which we discussed early last month. The announced plan was that they were considering a tier-based approach, as opposed to per-gigabyte fees. 'As few as 5 percent of our customers use 50 percent of the network,' Time-Warner complains, with plans to cap usage at 5-gigabytes, and more expensive pricing plans granting 10-, 20-, and 40-gigabyte quotas. Steven Levy at the Washington post suggests Time-Warner's real aim is to hobble iTunes, raising the cost of a movie download by $10 (or $30 for a high-definition movie). Eyeing Time-Warner's experiment, Comcast cable also says they're evaluating a pay-per-gigabyte model."
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Time-Warner Considers Per-Gigabyte Service Fee, After iTunes

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:26AM (#22306116)
    When the same company provides your cable service (including your cable pay-per-view service), your internet service, AND produces media content themselves; is there any doubt that this will cause a serious conflict of interest that will harm the consumer? Time-Warner has EVERY incentive to keep you from using movie download services instead of their own pay-per-view service and EVERY incentive to stop movie/TV pirate sites (to keep you from pirating Warner movies and TV).

    This is why consolidation in media is such a BAD, BAD, BAD thing for consumers. When one single company (or even small group of companies) owns your newspaper, television stations, internet service, telephone company, cable company, etc. they basically own *YOU*.

  • by CRCulver (715279) <crculver@christopherculver.com> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:27AM (#22306128) Homepage

    Spending much of the last several years in Eastern Europe, I've admired how ISPs there offer Internet connections for cheap even by local standards and are tolerant of heavy P2P usage. The technique used by one ISP I've used in Romania to reduce bandwidth usage was setting up a DC++ server where people could trade music and films at lightning speed with people from the same city.

    In the U.S., meanwhile, Internet connections are pricey and companies like to poke their nose into what you are doing with it. How ironic that a country which was a major force behind the creation of the Internet is lagging in many respects to poor former-Soviet states.

  • Users Used (Score:5, Insightful)

    by _Sprocket_ (42527) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:27AM (#22306134)

    'As few as 5 percent of our customers use 50 percent of the network,' Time-Warner complains...
    So does that mean only 5 percent of their customers are making good use of what they paid for?
  • by Neil Watson (60859) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:28AM (#22306148) Homepage
    Charge me for bandwidth usage or charge me true unlimited bandwidth usage. I think that either method could be accetaple provided there was no throttling, blocking or hidden charges or caps.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:31AM (#22306182) Homepage
    It will make it really easy for another broadband technology to take hold and utterly destroy them.

    That's the biggest problem, Most cable areas have ZERO competition for broadband. DSL is not available as telcos like to drag their feet upgrading the infrastructure to get DSL working everywhere.

    As soon as there is some real competition out their for broadband forcing time warner and comcast to quit playing their rape the customer games.

    Also, the effect to people with open accesspoints will be chilling. Clueless people in their homes will be slapped with a shutoff or higher bill that month when a bunch of kids discover their accesspoint to download their stuff. It will create a underground "internet stealing" activity as people get their downloads without exceeding their own cap.

    Cable companies dont give a rats ass, as long as they find a way to charge you more for what you already get and not upgrading their equipment, they are incredibly happy.
  • by MonoSynth (323007) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:33AM (#22306216) Homepage
    that has much more to do with the less sophisticated law enforcement in those countries...
  • Hello Comcast. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:34AM (#22306230) Homepage Journal
    If you implement this I will drop you for Internet and cable TV in a heartbeat.
  • by webword (82711) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:36AM (#22306246) Homepage
    Look, are they trying to lose customers? Are they trying to force people to switch to DSL or satellite? (Devil's advocate: Maybe this will spur competition, so it's a good thing?)

    Maybe I'm wrong, but customers using more bandwidth don't add additional cost to the infrastructure, do they? The network is a sunk cost and customers are simply utilizing what's there. (Do I have that right?)

    Here's what's worse. How do "stupid" consumers know what it high and low bandwith? Even many programmers and engineers would have a hard time knowing this, unless a monitoring tool or widget was on your desktop.
  • by BVis (267028) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:37AM (#22306256)
    So of course they'll lower their pricing for the 95% of their users that use the other 50%, right?

    Of course not. Yet Another Money Grab. Oh well, if they do change the terms of the service I'm getting, it means I can get out of that 1 year promotional package I have from Comcast.

    Anyone know if Verizon is going to do this with FiOS? I'm fortunate enough to have a choice of high-speed internet service, so at the very least there's SOME market pressure here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:40AM (#22306288)
    1) per byte pricing
    2) penalty for excessive latency and delay
    3) detail billing on paper for free
    4) 99.99% uptime
    5) intelligent 24/7 technical/billing support (not the reset this, reset that, I don't know nothing support)
  • by Retric (704075) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:44AM (#22306340)
    The price per GB in competitive markets is around 6c/GB so their 40g plain should cost 30 *.06 = 1.80$ more than the 10GB plain. If they implemented this FIOS could start advertising 100GB, 200GB, and 400GB plain for the same price. Which would cause most people with the option to quickly switch.

    So I know they want to do this but my guess is they are afraid to do it without:

    A: Losing customers in competitive markets.
    B: Becoming regulated in non competitive markets.
  • by jskline (301574) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:45AM (#22306358) Homepage
    There are almost a whole cottage community of people who work from home and tele-commute via VPN into their offices. This; if allowed to proceed, would chase everyone over to DSL which to date does not have this intention, and for those that do not have access to DSL, they would be forced out of capability to work at home.

    Most likely, Comcrap and their friends Roadrunning, Timewardoff and the like will ultimately say that if you are using a VPN, you must purchase a business account at most likely $200 per month or more not including cable TV. This will place internet out of the reach of many who cannot afford the costs associated with a price per gig system.

    Lets remember people that the cable conglomerates are in this to make serious money at any expense.
  • Re:5GB?! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LiquidCoooled (634315) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:45AM (#22306362) Homepage Journal
    Listening to the web radio cuts into it.
    Automatic Updating software (Windows/AV and all others) cuts into it.
    Skype cuts into it.
    Playing games cuts into it.

    Your 2-3gb is gone very quickly without ever opening a webpage.

  • I have a pile of machines at home. If Microsoft's Patch Tuesday puts me over my limit, who's going to pay for it? Am I even going to allow my boxes to auto-update anymore? Thus the Internet Pollution, all those unpatched boxes, will grow worse.

    Are they going to count all the incoming connections from bots trying to hack my network? Like an incoming cell call, will I still have to pay for unwanted incoming connections?

    If I don't like what they're doing, where the heck am I supposed to go? Back to dial-up? Oh, wait, I'll do my movie downloads at work. Just like health insurance, the burden will start to be placed on the employer. Expect office internet filtering to start to become more draconian.

    The concept of competition and free markets in the US is only important until someone gets enough lobbyists. Sometimes this country really pisses me off.
  • by Thirdsin (1046626) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:48AM (#22306400)
    I could not agree more. However, when we let elected officals pander to these conglomerates it only gets worse... If you don't like it, write a letter to your state's Senators [senate.gov], Representatives [house.gov], and most importantly... VOTE [usa.gov].
  • the only problem with your neighbor choosing to go after the easy deal is that if they manage to shut out the competition, and they quit dealing in his neighborhood, one year from now, he'll be getting the regular priced plan, and that plan might cost more than he used to pay
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Brian Gordon (987471) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:56AM (#22306486)
    Yes it is bad that an ISP charges by bandwidth. They justify it by saying that 5% use 50% of the network.. but the other 95% of users aren't even using the internet- 95% of americans only use it for checking yahoo webmail once every 2 weeks and automatic windows updates. The 5% of us shouldn't be penalized- we're the reason jacked-up American broadband has to cost $50 a month, and it makes absolutely no sense to penalize us for that when Americans are already paying the premium! They should be exploring new plans to offer broadband at $5/month for that 95% of people and the same old $50/month for high bandwidth users.
  • Re:5GB?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @10:59AM (#22306524)
    Podcasts? Youtube? Even if you don't use BitTorrent etc., it's easy to go over 10 GB/month.

    I mean, seriously, that's *2 DVDs*. Not exactly a lot of data, is it? At your connection speed, it'd take you less than an hour to transfer (download) that amount of data.

    Of course, if your ISP is upfront about this and doesn't claim to be selling you anything they're not (such as an "unlimited plan", a "flatrate" or so), then there's nothing inherently wrong with it; after all, if you don't like it, you can switch to another ISP. If none offer better deals, that's a failure of the marketplace, obviously, but it's still not necessarily unethical behaviour, even if is unfortunate for you.

    But that doesn't mean you have to be happy with it; I know I wouldn't be, and any ISP who tries to squeeze the most money out of me and give me the shittiest service possible that they can still (barely) get away with would do well to remember that this does not exactly breed customer loyalty.

    There are some business I *like* to deal with; with others, I really despise having to. I still will do so if all corporations in a certain market are like that, but as soon as a better deal comes along, I'll throw them out like yesterday's chicken necks. Any company that thinks maximising short-term profit or shareholder value at the expense of long-term development should keep in mind that they're playing with fire.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:06AM (#22306620)
    The ISPs pay by bandwidth, it's makes perfect sense for them to pass those charges on to us. As long as they don't advertise "unlimited use"
  • by cyberworm (710231) <cyberworm.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:06AM (#22306624) Homepage
    Ok, so what I'd like to know about their statistics, is "what times of day are these 5% using 50% of the network?" I'd like to think that tech savvy users do their heaviest work late at night when fewer people are utilizing the network. Myself, I do most of my heavy downloading late late at night (between 11pm and 5am) when most normal people are fast asleep. I'm sure others set up a download and then run off to bed.

    Assuming that this is the case, exactly what impact on performance is this having on web usage to the "average" consumer? In my opinon, I'd say none. A better option to me, if their numbers are right, would be to shape traffic during times of day. Say, throttling non http/smtp/IM traffic increasing the performance during the day for "consumer" level usage that many small businesses use for communication or what have you. Later in the day, increase the speeds on the throttled traffic up a percentage, creating a "prime time" for those people who use other services like itunes/youtube/whatever file sharing they wouldn't normally use during the day. Then once this "prime time" traffic has died down, open the floodgates.

    Granted an option like this doesn't help with them taking more of your money, but it would be an interesting approach to the problem that doesn't really cost them anything either.

  • Re:5GB?! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MobyDisk (75490) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:09AM (#22306676) Homepage
    WOW.

    An ISP has partnered with various content providers to offer specialized service: Network Neutrality nightmare #1 is here! To everybody who said all this network neutrality stuff was theoretical and we should wait until it happens - here's your example. Now, do we have to wait until this happens in the U.S. before we get some neutrality legislation?

    I know that the parent poster was using this example to be a good thing, but it isn't. It is now cheaper for him to buy stuff from iTunes instead of Amazon. It's cheaper to play games from the companies they've partnered with. I'm sure that non-commercial games with large downloads aren't getting these special benefits. Nor small Linux distros. This sounds like a great way for an ISP to slip non-neutral policies into place: 1. Create some sort of cap that applies to everyone. 2. Make exceptions to the cap. Now, instead of it looking like they are penalizing Amazon's music download service, they can say they are doing something helpful to the iTunes users. Same thing, different spin.
  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:15AM (#22306756)

    The minimum speed that I am guaranteed to get.
    The maximum speed I will get under optimal conditions.
    The percentage of the time I can expect to be within n% of the maximum speed.
    The maximum amount of downtime allowed before I am compensated.
    The maximum transfer I am allowed per month and the cost per GB of going over.
    The problem is they're not competing for you as a customer, but for people who don't really understand what they are buying.

    ISP A:
    - Minimum speed: 1MBs/5MBs.
    - Time over certain speed: 99% time over 5MBs-25MBs. 90% time over 5MBs-50MBs
    - Max non-compensated downtime: 4 hours.
    - Transfer limit: 1GB.
    - Cost for extra transfer: 0.05$/GB.

    ISP B:
    - Minimum speed: 1MBs/5MBs.
    - Time over certain speed: 90% time over 5MBs-25MBs. 5% time over 5MBs-50MBs
    - Max non-compensated downtime: A month.
    - Transfer limit: 1Gb.
    - Cost for extra transfer: 5$/Gb.

    ISP C:
    Supermegaoffer!! 50MB MAX connection!
    Sign up now! Don't put up with the slow ISPs!

    Final customer cover result would probably end up like:
    A: 25%
    B: 15%
    C: 60%
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sudnshok (136477) * on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:22AM (#22306836)
    That's fine as long as people who barely use any bandwidth see their prices REDUCED. Someone using 50MB per month should certainly not pay more than $5/mo.
  • by AKAImBatman (238306) <akaimbatman.gmail@com> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:23AM (#22306856) Homepage Journal

    Why should you hate to say the truth? The people who pirate brought this whole mess upon themselves and they don't have the balls to take responsability for it. Leaving the honest to suffer and clean-up after them. Phoeey! They're no friends of ours.

    I downloaded the entire first season of Lost from iTunes at one point. That single download was (IIRC) over 9GB. I have rented several movies from iTunes in the past few weeks, each one around 1.5GB in size. I have taken an active interest in history and archeology as of late and have downloaded as many as 5 History Channel shows in a single weekend, each between 450MB and 1.5GB in size. (The History Channel has some special feature shows which are basically movies.)

    I'd easily trample 5GB for my entertainment before you even START looking at my bandwidth usage for getting Solaris 10 & OpenSolaris downloads; evaluating the latest Linux version; playing video games online; downloading the latest OO.org, Netbeans, Seamonkey, Firefox, Opera, Safari, iTunes, GIMP, and other software that I need to keep up to date on a regular basis. Oh, and then there are free videos like Star Wreck, YouTube, Starship Exeter, New Voyages, Hidden Frontier, Java Gaming Vidcast, watching the lastest Macworld Expo, the JavaOne presentations, the Sun announcements, etc., etc., etc., etc.

    Oh! And let's not forget about my day-to-day tasks of obtaining libraries, SDKs, documentation, and other tools I need for my work and hobby. (HTML & PDF documentation can easily exceed hundreds of megs for many projects. Some exceed several GB. Don't even ask me about the time I tried to get a copy of MonoDocs by spidering the MonoDoc website.)

    As if that isn't enough, taking my game console online to play web games, watch videos, and otherwise interact over the web with the console easily chews through a significant chunk of bandwidth. A 3-10 MB Flash Game or a 20MB video clip might not seem like much, but it starts to add up after a while.

    Am I a power user? Sure. And I'm more than willing to pay for quality service that provides me what I need to use my connection to its fullest potential. But don't think for a moment that using your connection implies illegal activity. There's more than enough data churning around the 'net before you even touch the illegal stuff. And when I'm paying upwards of $50/mo for broadband, you had better bet that I expect to be able to transfer as much as a hundred GB a month. As someone already mentioned, bandwidth is more than cheap enough to make that much transfer cost-effective.
  • by Drakin020 (980931) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:24AM (#22306868)
    I could see what these guys at TW are thinking.

    "If we implement this cap, the 5% of our user base will pick up and use another provider thus solving our infrastructure problems."

    There just going to ward off the heavy users, and your typically dumb home user will continue to pay for their service. They are probably thinking that no one else will care but the heavy users, thus eliminating their infrastructure problem.

    Sad thing is...it will probably work to.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by narsiman (67024) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:25AM (#22306882)
    Regulators ought to and to think that this is the crowd that cheers Ron Paul in every breath. Whatever happened to common sense and do it yourself. Buy your cable from a source different from your high speed. Tell yourself that you are not tied to one vendor for everything and you are promoting diversity.
      I am that regulator - for me it is

    TV - Dish
    Phone/DSL - Verizon
    wireless - T-Mobile.

    Nobody else provides DSL or phone in my region. Or else I would have decoupled that too. The impact is the same as coding. Once you tightly couple all these products, you lose flexibility. And that is a bad thing.

  • by Happler (895924) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:32AM (#22306976) Homepage
    I often wonder if the average user even knows how much bandwidth they use in a month....
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by kegger64 (653899) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:34AM (#22306994)
    Try a little math on your argument... You're saying that ISPs should reduce the price of internet service by 90% to 95% of their customers?!? Wow, it's amazing what the mods consider insightful these days!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:36AM (#22307016)
    No, 100Mbit connections for servers tend to run around 2k per month. T1's cost around 6$ / month for bandwidth and 350$ per month for your SLA.

    If your want to understand how bad T1's are compare a T1 with an OC-3 line in terms of bandwidth per dolor.
  • Re:5GB?! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by edmicman (830206) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:38AM (#22307030) Homepage Journal
    Ugh, that is wrong on so many levels. A partnership with iTunes? What if I don't want to get my music from iTunes? What if I want to download from emusic or Amazon? POP email for free? What if my primary email is via my own host, or gmail? Mirrors are great and all, but they don't have everything. What if I'm a YouTube freak and want to watch that all day? Or something like Joost? Why the f- should the ISP be telling me what I can or cannot do with my connection? And depending on the ISP for content?!? Insane!

    This whole idea of bandwidth metering or tiered pricing is bad, bad, BAD. We're sitting on the edge of a revolution with streaming video and other multimedia, and it's getting neutered before it even takes off because the telecom companies won't see the light that they need to build the infrastructure to handle it.

    No worries, though....*someone* will come along with the infrastructure (Google and their dark fiber?), and win ALL of the consumers.
  • by Happler (895924) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:47AM (#22307154) Homepage
    I agree, I also do not really keep track. But I think that many of the "average" users user more bandwidth per month then they think. Just like how many people did not pay much attention to how many minuets they talked on the phone per month till cell phones came along with that billing style. At first people where amazed by how much time they really did spend on the phone. I think that something similar will happen here. I just hope that people catch quickly and try to take their business elsewhere.
  • by BiggerBadderBen (947100) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .nebreddabreggib.> on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:48AM (#22307172)
    I've been a happy Verizon broadband customer for a long time (DSL for 5 years, FIOS for 2.5). So far, so good, but Verizon's hardly a benevolent company. What makes you think they won't go to per-GB pricing if everybody else does?
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Smidge204 (605297) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:51AM (#22307240) Journal
    I think you missed the point of what he was trying to say.

    If 5% of subscribers use 50% of the network's bandwidth, then those 5% should be pay 50% of the costs.

    The other 95% who, by comparison, use very little should also be charged proportionally less. To use completely arbitrary numbers:

    If the network of 100 users goes through 1TB of bandwidth a month in total at a cost of $1000, then the top 5 of users should pay $100 each in fees (5 out of 100 use 50% of the bandwidth and thus should hold half the cost.) The other 95 people each pay $5.26 for the bandwidth they use, on average.

    The OP is saying that's not going to happen - Broadband will still be $50/mo regardless of how much you use, PLUS a bandwidth surcharge. It's the total use of bandwidth that (supposedly) makes thew service cost $50/mo in the first place, so those who use the bulk of it will only be charged twice.

    I would be very interested in using REAL numbers for the above example, because if that 5%/50% ratio is true I'm suspecting the overcharge for the rest of the consumers more than makes up for the overuse of that 5%. That is, presumably, the whole point of charging so much.

    As someone use DOES use bucketloads of bandwidth from time to time, I can say that I wouldn't completely mind being billed-by-the-byte providing: a) There was no quota ceiling (I should be allowed to buy as much bandwidth as I want/need) and b) The base rate was cometitive enough that, if I used minimal banwidth, services like Dialup and DSL would be viable alternatives.

    That, of course, is never going to happen.
    =Smidge=
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Schraegstrichpunkt (931443) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:58AM (#22307350) Homepage
    That's why the last mile should be controlled by the government or by a non-profit public-interest organization.
  • by Sleepy (4551) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:10PM (#22307516) Homepage
    >If BOP would really work, why do we still have human meter readers? Why doesn't the meter transmit its usage back over the same lines it's pulling power?

    Very good point.

    A lot of electric utilities have recently upgraded electric meters with RFID or radio, so the meter worker can simply drive by the house for a reading. This suggests two things:
    a) they know that powerline transfers are not reliable. (Why 'modernize' to radio if you can simply phone home?)
    b) Stock pumping. All those 'powerline trials' occurred.. what.. 10 years ago? This lead to stock bumps, mostly to serve the company and the analysts.

    When Google takes an interest in data over power, then things get interesting, as they tend to look at technology investments from a technology perspective first.

    This technology has gone nowhere, so far.

    But back to the topic, I can't get FIOS where I live. The whole zipcode is FIOS, but our condo association dragged their feet on inviting FIOS to do an install. By the time they did contact Verizon, Verizon had already stopped NH installations (and sent all their NH engineers deep into long Mass commutes to punish them for speaking out on the FairPoint sale...)
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mrxak (727974) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:28PM (#22307746)
    Back when anything over ISDN was considered broadband, you didn't have websites like YouTube, people downloading movies off of iTunes, not to mention practically every website containing all sorts of things beyond simple HTML. The internet has gotten bloated, more bandwidth is needed than ever before. The definition of broadband has to move as well.

    Anyway, in this particular case, it's not a situation where governments are managing monopolies, it's governments creating monopolies. They hand over entire regions to these huge corporations, and then make it harder for anybody else to get in.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:40PM (#22307968) Homepage Journal
    > If 5% of subscribers use 50% of the network's bandwidth, then those 5% should
    > be pay 50% of the costs.
    >
    > The other 95% who, by comparison, use very little should also be charged
    > proportionally less. To use completely arbitrary numbers:

    You're not thinking like today's ISPs. The 5% of the subscribers using 50% of the bandwidth should be paying 50% of the cost. The other 95% should be paying 95% of the cost. A simple, effective plan to get the revenue to 135%. Let's not mix cost and revenue here, I'm just saying the by letting the other 95% get off with only paying 50%, you've left 35% of the potential revenue laying on the floor. Sticking with this attitude further reinforces the idea that the 5% heavy users are really stealing bandwidth.

    More seriously, I'd like to see some sort of time-of-day factored into all of this, like they used to have for on-peak/off-peak electricity billing. I could certainly move some of my bandwidth consumption off-peak with a cron job. (Being a Gentoo user, I suspect a lot of my heavy usage is source code - about the easiest thing to move.)
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jedidiah (1196) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:49PM (#22308092) Homepage
    I'm the customer.

    In a real market, the variety of meaningful substitutes will mean
    that the cost of and product will be driven to it's actual production
    cost.

    Since these ISPs are essentially operating like public utilities, they
    should be regulated in the same manner. They shouldn't be able to use
    their monopoly position to "soak the poor bastards".
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:5, Insightful)

    by arivanov (12034) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @12:51PM (#22308128) Homepage
    Nothing to do with that. 5% will always use 95%. The probability distribution which governs this says so. You remove the offending top 5% and replot the remaining 95%. Guess what, once again there are 5% using 95%. By removing the the top 5% you have changed the numerical parameters of the curve, but its overall shape remains the same.
  • Pay Attention! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:15PM (#22308534)
    Pay attention! The last mile IS controlled by the government, which is supposedly "a non-profit public-interest organization". Your local city/county government controls the last mile and issues/sells limited/exclusive "concessions" to providers. Time Warner can't come to your neighborhood unless your local municipal government authorizes it. The fact that your local government sells monopolies to the first highest bidder doesn't mean that Time Warner is originally in control.

    It all starts with your local Fat Cat and you elected him or failed to prevent him gaining office through voter apathy.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:3, Insightful)

    by gnuman99 (746007) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:17PM (#22308552)
    Infrastructure costs.

    For example, when I pay for electrical power, the pill says,

        Meter cost - $12
        First 200kWh - $0.07/kWh
        Remaining - $0.065/kWh

    So, if I only have my radio on and nothing and and use only $1kWh/mo, I still pay $12 a month for that 1kWh.

    But yes, it should cost per usage to get stuff from Internet. It would fix the bottlenecks. $15 basic charge + $2/GB seems about fair to me at current bandwidth costs.
  • Re:MOD PARENT UP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by sgholt (973993) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:20PM (#22308604)
    ...But you know Time-Warner is going think the the 95% will happily spend the 49.99 per month to check their e-mail and browse the web. The rest of us who want the unlimited bandwidth they promised but never actually provided (TW has capped the bandwidth since day one). They always said up to 100mbs but never let you have it...until they charged more...so now you can get 10mbs for a premium. They have screwed their customers too long. It is time to stand up folks! Time Warner needs to be taught a lesson...dump their cable and internet service.
  • by FlopEJoe (784551) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:39PM (#22308902)
    "Why would any company go so far out of it's way to intentionally anger it's customer base?"

    I don't think you or others are seeing it right. They are not angering their customer base with this move. They don't want the 5% of the people as customers who use a lot of bandwidth. They want more lower end users. It's like the gyms who love customers that pay every month but rarely use their equipment.

    And they even look good to their true base by playing the envy card. The rest of the 1-5Gig usage people are thinking, "Yeah, stick it to those bandwidth hogs... make them pay more!" Even some comments here are saying it. So, instead of angering their base, they're getting rid of the people they don't want and pleasing the rest.

  • by jc42 (318812) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @01:57PM (#22309230) Homepage Journal
    It seems that once again, we have a case of a big company with control of a distribution channel and an effective monopoly in a lot of its market areas, who is claiming the lion's share of the sales price of a "work of art". In an earlier story today, we read about the RIAA's latest attempt to give artists even less of the sales price of a CD. The writer's strike comes from the fact that writers mostly get no money at all from even legal network downloads.

    It's perhaps not so unusual that an ISP/cable company would see this as an opportunity. Why should they let those recording companies and movie studios get to claim all the profits without sharing them with the artists? An ISP also has a monopoly in most localities, so they should also be able claim monopoly rents from the studios, right?

    I wonder if the folks involved in the Congressional "net neutrality" discussion are paying attention? Probably, because they'd see an opportunity for big personal profit ("campaign contributions") from the companies involved. To the detriment of both artists and audience, but they're just a bunch of, uh, customers, y'know.

  • Full Circle? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nurb432 (527695) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @03:01PM (#22310184) Homepage Journal
    Just like the old days where you got x minutes per month. ( CompuServe anyone? GEnie? )

    Unlimited is what brought the internet out into the open and changed the face of the earth because of it, this will shut it back down.
  • by servognome (738846) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @03:23PM (#22310636)

    Why would any company go so far out of it's way to intentionally anger it's customer base?
    Maybe you should learn a little bit about business. It's fine to anger 5% of your customers if you can squeeze much more money out of the remaining 95%.

    Does the Board of either company actually believe this $/GB model would have anything other than a short-term revenue burst? I refer of course, to the people who will receive their statement once this plan has been put into effect (I'm assuming it will be made retro-active for the billing period when the policy is put in place).
    What $/GB does is give more flexibility to hide charges for long-term revenue growth. If you charge $/GB you can lower your support, and it will be transparent to many people. Those who do use more bandwidth will complain and get the message - "Sorry your connection is slow, but of course you chose to continue with the same payments through the economy plan... now if you upgrade for $20 more you can get the deluxe gold star plan where you will receive the same level of service you got last year"
  • by NoobixCube (1133473) on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @08:56PM (#22315708) Journal
    I would just like to say, as has been said may times in these comments already, we in Australia already have to put up with this. So, as the subject says, quit your bitching. I pay $80 a month for a 1.5 Mb/s connection with a download cap of 20 GB, where I live (i.e. anywhere outside of a capitol city) that's the best value you can get. Until every American is forced to pay through the nose for technology that's at least six years old, I don't want to know about any complaints. Whatever crap you think you're being force fed in the US, just spare a moment for a thought that it's three times as bad here.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2008 @11:39PM (#22316924)
    2Gb/s DSL? Uhm, sorry, no.

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