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Re: Reasonable I respectfully disagree, and here's why.
You are comparing apples to oranges.
The costs that are incurred in your toilet paper example include, but are not limited to, gasoline, cab maintenance, cab purchase, etc.
Gasoline, which is refined, is a finite resource. Cab parts are a finite resource. The "ingredients" to make toilet paper are finite resources.
Data is not a finite resource. Electricity can be argued to be a finite resource, however that is not what we are talking about here. We are talking about "limiting" data because apparently it's a "finite" resource.
The real issue is that many ISPs base their business model on a certain level of oversubscription. That's fine and dandy. With enough data, oversubscription can be a viable alternative because usage patterns can be observed and used in planning and designing an efficient network. However, these "caps" have nothing to do with "managing" a network as we have seen so far. Why does Comcast, or any ISP for that matter, cherrypick where they "enforce" said caps? Because of competition? We have plenty of user testimonies here that prove that Comcast doesn't enforce these caps because of other "ISPs" in the area.
The sad fact is that many do not have the option to "choose" ISPs, so this whole "free market wins" is false. There isn't a free market, and there never will be in this country.
"We will evaluate these integrals rigorously if we can, and non-rigorously if we must".
---Victor Moll, invited talk, Tom Osler Fest (April 17, 2010)
The capacity of the PHYSICAL plant is finite and due to the cost envolved every ISP has built on a "oversubscribed" model.
so back in the analog/telephone modem days 8-10fold was a common number, because that was close to real time useage and NO ONE would pay 8-10 times as much for the service, had they built on a 1 to 1 basis
The jump to broadband was affordable because everyone could be connected at once, but the conention rate was now hundreds to one (obvisously NOBODY expected people to use the WAN like the LAN at that point, it didn't even make sense until speed approached a reasonable LAN throughput)
So there is no free market, it is not comcast's responsiblity to break that trend, and supply you with competition, nor is there any reason for them to provide more of this VALUBLE service(it must have intrinsic value , because YOU want it so badly) for less or even as a directly proportional/cost plus service.
in fact the more you NEED it/they higher value you place on it, the more likely comcast or any provider that had the foresight to build a data capable network to your home is to price it higher.
And infact to lower the contention rate down to 1 to 1 would push monthly fees several fold higher.
So comcast (really any ISP) has to balance the existing plant capacity plus a realistic upgrade rate vs keeping the monthly cost at a sustainable level (too high and you lose subs and make less money overall---too low you can not breakeven/finance upgrades to service.