Thursday, April 30, 2009

American Cable Association says tier broadband is the future

Surprised? I'm not. The American Cable Association (ACA) is as you expect a cable industry group that supports the notion of tiered, consumption-based broadband billing.

The article written on Tuesday doesn't really give any facts or metrics upon which to base such a claim and they used the tired and false analogy of utilities to get their point across.
[I] would like to pay the same price for heating bills all year round, but [I have] to pay more in those Pittsburgh winters when [I use] more. -- AC President Matt Polka
Do we really have to go over this again? Fine.

If my water service were like my Internet service, every time I turned on a faucet or took a shower or washed my clothes my water meter would leak a little bit of water that would be counted toward my usage. Also my meter would leak (from my 'used' side, not the supply side) constantly and slowly every day.

Why is my water meter leaking you say? Why can't I fix it? Because that's how my Internet usage behaves today, and we're modeling my water usage after my Internet usage. Even when I'm not online, my modem flashes and flickers away constantly talking with Time Warner and constantly being barraged by network bots and viruses trying to break into my system. This is real traffic even though I have no control over it. Additionally, when I do use the Internet for web browsing I get pop-up ads, flashing ads, streaming music and video ads -- none of which I want but all of which incur additional usage. That's why my meter leaks and I can't stop it -- I'm being charged for things I have no control over.

This is why Internet cannot be metered, at least not until there's a way for me to absolutely control my usage. At home, I can turn off every water-using device, every electrical device not on batteries, and every gas-using device and I won't get charged. I cannot do that with the Internet short of unplugging the cable modem every time I stop using the Internet (which is a ludicrous proposal for anyone, especially people with a family in case you're wondering).

I'm still waiting to hear from anyone in the industry as to what is so untenable about the current model. Given that rates always increase, why can't the cost of upgrade simply be included in the standard rate increases?

Why can't users pay for the speeds they want without having a limit on the data they transfer?

Why aren't businesses (one of the heaviest users of bandwidth) subject to this metered model?

Why must residential subscribers subsidize the business pricing model of all-you-can-eat?

Until these questions are thoroughly answered I will be a strong and vocal opponent of any metered data billing plan for Internet use.

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