For years the cable industry insisted that they imposed usage caps because network congestion made them necessary. You'll recall that Time Warner Cable insisted that if they weren't allowed to impose caps and overages the Internet would face "brown outs.
" Cable operators also paid countless think tanks, consultants and fauxcademics to spin scary yarns
about a looming network congestion "exaflood," only averted if cable operators were allowed to raise rates, impose caps, eliminate regulation or (insert pretty much anything here).
The problem of course was that real data from researchers like Andrew Odlyzko
repeatedly showed that well-run fixed line networks don't have serious capacity issues, and that looming video growth was easily handled by even modest network investment.
It only took the better part of a decade, but the cable industry has apparently realized they can no longer pretend that caps are really about congestion. Speaking at a meeting this week, former FCC boss turned top cable lobbyist Michael Powell finally acknowledged caps weren't about congestion, though he did continue pushing the myth that caps are about "fairness"
National Cable and Telecommunications Association president Michael Powell told a Minority Media and Telecommunications Association audience that cable's interest in usage-based pricing was not principally about network congestion, but instead about pricing fairness...Asked by MMTC president David Honig to weigh in on data caps, Powell said that while a lot of people had tried to label the cable industry's interest in the issue as about congestion management. "That's wrong," he said. "Our principal purpose is how to fairly monetize a high fixed cost."
Except the argument that usaged pricing is about fairness has been just as repeatedly debunked
. If usage caps were about "fairness," carriers would offer the nation's grandmothers a $5-$15 a month tier that accurately reflected her twice weekly, several megabyte browsing of the Weather Channel website.
Time Warner Cable's "six strikes" anti-piracy measures won't include the filtering of any websites, Broadband Reports
has learned. The six strikes plan, scheduled to launch later this year, will vary from ISP to ISP -- with Verizon last week acknowledging they'll be throttling repeat offenders
to an as-yet-unspecified speed.
Peter Svensson at the Associated Press
notes that phone companies collectively lost broadband subscribers last quarter for the first time ever. According to the AP, the top eight largest phone companies lost a collective 70,000 broadband subscribers on the quarter, while the top four cable operators saw a net gain of 290,000 subscribers.
After selling the company's AWS spectrum holdings to Verizon, Cox is looking to offload additional spectrum to AT&T and U.S. Cellular.
A new survey by Altman Vilandrie & Co.
found that just 3.7 percent of the 1,000 Americans surveyed have "cut the cord" or cancelled their pay subscription TV service. However, the same study also found that 20% of those surveyed are now saving additional cable costs wherever they can as they consume more Internet video. For heavy TV watchers Internet video certainly is no replacement (in large part because legacy industries work tirelessly to keep it that way), though 20% of those under 44 say have "seriously considered" cutting the cord. Right now it appears that cable VOD is taking the biggest punch, with a recent study noting VOD accounts for 1% of all video viewing
. As noted this morning, cable VoIP subscriptions
may be the next to suffer.