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AT&T: What's new is old
As the article points out, this is just like the 800 numbers from years ago. Consumers demanded them because long distance (LD) was incredibly expensive. Because of technological advances, the FTC and regulation, today LD fees are a relic about which few concern themselves. Most of us pay for an unlimited plan that does not distinguish between 15 or 1500 miles.
The same will be true of data and that's why AT&T, Verizon and the rest are running scared. Technological advances will eventually provide plenty of data bandwidth and the need to constantly upgrade networks will fade. When that happens, data connectivity will end up as a low-margin commodity business. AT&T desperately seeks to write a future where OTT service providers funnel cash in their direction.
However, if there's competition, how will AT&T distinguish itself? If there's plenty of bandwidth and coverage, what will they provide that makes consumers choose them over Verizon, Sprint or other providers? The only thing left will be to remove the tolls paid by service providers. Won't service providers then wage immediate war on those networks it still has to pay? They'll immediately incent customers to move to "free networks" through lower prices. Defection will be massive until all carriers drop the fees.
In my opinion, as long as there's competition, isn't this just a flash in the pan on the road to getting us to the ultimate network destination?
Given the decades that AT&T held us hostage with horrible service and unbelievable phone bills, perhaps I shouldn't discount the power of a monopoly and it's ability to grease palms to maintain the status quo. I hope we're all smart enough to demand competition and network neutrality.
I'd rather pay for metered service than head down this hidden cost/fees road. At least then those doing the metering will have to justify what they charge. If the margins remain incredible and get better as the network costs less and less, that will make it very profitable for others to enter the market and compete. That means we should arrive in a future where data connectivity ends up a low margin, commodity business. Of course this is theoretical capitalism.
·WOW Internet and..
What if I do not want to provide doubleclick, clickthru, clickthrough, akamai, yads, zedo, servedby.advertising, yimg, atwola, or dozens of other sites that I did not put on the address line any information about me, my browser, my operating system, my ISP, my computer, the time of day nor do I want any of their clients to bombard me with junkmail that I do not want?
And those are not the insidious ones...
I'm not following your comment on my comment. While I too don't want privacy-invading parasitic HTTP requests making the meter spin, that type of stuff helps cover the cost of the content site and keep it free.
I still believe metering the consumer is better than extorting money from OTT service providers/content creators. When the consumer is involved, it's out in the open. Hidden fees remove the consumer from the equation and immediately grant carrier-provided services a cost advantage. We should seek a regulatory environment that discourages this.