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If you want net neutrality them expect to pay for it
That's fair enough, but then most people I know with broadband were either sold a very large bandwidth limit or unmetered usage. So introducing metering is going to be a hard sell, and I hope there will be some tricky questions for ISPs to answer along the way.
Still, if it's true that "5 percent of the company's subscribers take up half of the capacity" then I imagine ISPs are keen to get the other 95% on a meter before their bandwidth usage starts to rise dramatically too (which seems like an inevitability, the way internet usage is going).
HD is coming, and they know it.
Apple has a set top box (thought not HD), Netflix has on demand (and just started selling a box for $99, although you can use your computer to do the same thing for free).
A lot of people are simply moving away from watching mainstream television.
I think this is the underlying issue. They aren't going to let you dump your $40-$70 cabletv bill and get to watch equal or better quality for free online from other sources.
Phone companies figured this out already. I can see this model working if they follow a similar model that allows consumers to bank bandwidth. Consumers are not fools, if you are going charge them for going over, you damn well better give them something back for being under.
I see a new market for bandwidth monitoring tools (since we won't trust the cable company stats), and then I see a falling market for streaming media services.
And, of course, there are all of those new firms who are working with local TV stations to sell content packages in the sidebands of their new digital signals.
The content play is over for the cable firms. Verizon knows this and is giving up on it (as you can see on the mobile front).
So, can they sell by the bit? Yes and no. It's not really a big deal. It depends on the price. The idea could come back to bite the cable firms because competition is going to control what the price is. If they have tiered pricing, it could lead to discounting as they fight for volume.
But then, there are still major UK ISPs offering less than 10p/Gig.
The problem will be when downloadable HD content is coming down the pike. Cable companies may be a little behind the times, but they're not stupid, and they will get their money.
There is a massive monopoly going on with cable companies. There need to be some alternatives. I think Verizon and their FIOS service is a breath of fresh air, and I hope they will be able to roll out their lines in more areas soon. We need more options like that.
So introducing metering is going to be a hard sell, and I hope there will be some tricky questions for ISPs to answer along the way.
I don't think it will affect as many as we might think. I'm almost certain that the default bandwidth allocations will be more than sufficient for most. I do believe the 80/20 rule comes into play here in that 20% of the users are responsible for 80% of the bandwidth usage. That's the group they want to focus on, the high bandwidth users. They may also uncover quite a bit more with this type of metering such as abuse, etc.
I don't think it will affect as many as we might think.
I've heard quite a few non-tech types who've heard of this talking about mis-selling etc. as this is a consumer issue as well as a tech one. I think it depends mostly on whether the average user's broadband bill goes up.
In the UK I know of a couple of the major 'unmetered' ISPs who still notify (and disconnect) users who go way beyond 'reasonable' limts (whatever that means).
I always wonder how much of the traffic is caused by spyware or a virus running on a PC that is kept on 24 hours a day.
This might actually have a positive impact on spyware and viruses. Otherwise oblivious users will begin to question why their bills are so high, and will have a financial incentive to find out what is eating up so much bandwidth.
I'd rather just pay for 1$ / Gig than have some monopoly try to prioritize what I can see and what I can't based on some weird, and frequently pretty stupid, ideas they have.
This is the model that mobile should go to as well.
Let economics and market forces decide.