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The Future Of American Cable Broadband
Low monthly caps and overage charges?
by Karl Bode 01:26PM Thursday Apr 10 2008

We just got done saying that one possible future of U.S. cable broadband can be seen on display in Canada. Canadian cable operator Rogers not only offers different tiers for usage (as U.S. providers do), but they recently started charging users between $1.25-$5 per gigabyte for going over their 60GB monthly caps. Canadian Grandma, on her "eXtreme!" ultra-lite 2Mbps downstream tier, enjoys paying $5.00 per additional GB.

Gizmodo notes that at least one American broadband provider already does this. Bend, Oregon based BendBroadband (just one review in our database) offers some nice speeds (8-16Mbps down, 1-1.5Mbps up) but some not so nice caps (10-50GB monthly), and charges $1.50 per additional gigabyte consumed. It looks like modem rental will cost you an additional $10, and at least one tier has to pay $2.95 extra for anti-virus protection delivered for free on higher tiers.

ISP execs from nearly a dozen providers have told us they know it will be hard to sell U.S. consumers on straight per-byte-billing, but it's very possible they could have better luck with low caps and overage charges, particularly if they continue to be successful convincing the public that there's a looming bandwidth apocalypse. We were the first to break the news that Time Warner Cable was already considering imposing monthly caps between 5 and 40GB, likely with overages.


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maartena
Elmo
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join:2002-05-10
Orange, CA
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reply to bent

Re: Good.

said by bent:

Stating an unpopular opinion isn't trolling, it's opening up discussion.

The vast majority of internet users aren't anywhere near 50 or 60 gigs a month, much less the 100 gigs in a month that might get you in dutch with your ISP currently. Maybe those that are in those upper reaches of data consumption should pay a premium?
The idea itself, "pay for what you use" is not a bad idea. But then I don't want to pay $50 for my broadband connection either, I want to pay a $10 flat fee, just as you would pay a flat baseline fee to your electricity provider that is about the same amount, and then pay for usage on top of that.

I don't mind paying $10 for broadband, maybe have 2 Gb of free data included to prevent complaints about spam and un-authorized traffic you didn't ask for, and then pay $1 per Gb. If I download 15 Gb, my bill will be $25, and if I go crazy one month, it may be $100.

I don't mind that. But don't go adding charges to my already expensive broadband. If you offer "unlimited", don't complain if I have a 1 Mbps video stream running most of the day because the cable company don't offer that particular channel on the TV lineup. :P

Having said that, the amount of traffic is ever-increasing. It's not the torrents or p2p that ISP's now are complaining about, it is the bandwidth from online video sites. In Great Brittain the BBC launched its online TV service last year (only for Brittons on a Brittish IP address due to broadcast rights) and it is so hugely succesfull it has ISP's complaining about users actually using it.

Here in the US, more and more channels are putting their TV shows online after they have aired (with built in commercials) and quite frankly, if I forgot to record a show and they have it available, I use those kind of services.

VOIP is becoming increasingly more popular, especially for long distance calls. There are actually people that I know of that have a Vonage line just to chat with their parents on the other side of the country.

iTunes is increasingly popular, just like other legal MP3 websites. Youtube is bookmarked on pretty much every teen's computer and used extensively. My 14 year old niece has answered "I am youtubing" on my question what she was doing on the internet.

If you have a family of four, mom, dad and two teenage kids, chances are you will actually hit 50 Gb of traffic a month just using the internet. My Windows Update just downloaded about 500 megs of updates because of Vista SP1. Two months back it was 300 megs because of Office 2007 SP1. Imagine having 4 or 5 PC's in your house running different versions of Windows and Office or MacOS, all needing updates..... just updating your PC's, including the virus definitions 3 times a week or so, can add up to 2 Gb a month alone.

And it's going to get more and more. Steam sells you games online with 4 Gb downloads. World of Warcraft gives you 800 meg updates and sells the 2 Gb expansion online. Netflix just launched its download service, for a fixed price a month you can download movies that you can burn to DVD yourself, which I can only imagine are at least 1 Gb or so downloads (compressed) per movie, if not more.

If you are a techie like me, you sometimes like to try new Linux distros. 600 megs for the basic CD's, but 4 Gb for the DVD version. I have downloaded as much as 4 different distros on DVD in 1 week.

We are not living in the age of "e-mail and browse the web" anymore. You could get by with 10 Gb.... about 10 years ago. Now, it is not uncommon to have to add a 0 to it if you have an active, online family.

ISP's need to increase their bandwidth, because people are continuing to be hungry for it. Punishing them will only hold technology back.

Who's gonna pay for it? Well, I know for a FACT that bandwidth on the high-end scale is getting cheaper. DS3's are selling for $3k now, about 5 years ago you would have to shell out at least $7k for a DS3.

--
"Any society that would give up a little liberty to gain a little security will deserve neither and lose both" -
Benjamin Franklin, Founding Father.

Lazlow

join:2006-08-07
Saint Louis, MO

2 recommendations

reply to Corydon

Re: What we really need...

Unfortunately that would violate one of the tenants of the internet (traffic is traffic).

There is a far easier solution to the problem: ISPs just need to be less greedy. Just bring their networks up to international standards and there is no problem. They have posted huge profits over the years. Now it is time for them to reinvest some of that money back into the system. Verizon (or whoever it is that is doing the FTTH project) seems to understand this but most of the rest just do not seem to get it. There is a reason that we are falling behind in technology (probably greed). There are a lot of other countries that have much faster symmetrical internet for less money(Japan, Korea, France). For 5meg service I am now paying $60 per month. St. Louis is not exactly out in the boonies either. Yet I have friends all around the world that are paying sub $45 for 50/50meg service. They are not seeing any caps or throttling. The only places that I regullary hear of higher prices are from friends living in "developing countries"(or whatever the current politically corect term is).

Some people try to bring up population density (of the entire country) as a factor but that does not really apply. Very few ISP run out into rural areas. So we should really be comparing metros to metros. In which case there is not much of a difference. Other people will point out that some of these countries subsidized their infrastructure but they forget that the US did the exact same thing.



bent
and Inga
Premium
join:2004-10-04
Loveland, CO

2 recommendations

reply to BosstonesOwn

Re: Good.

Stating an unpopular opinion isn't trolling, it's opening up discussion.

The vast majority of internet users aren't anywhere near 50 or 60 gigs a month, much less the 100 gigs in a month that might get you in dutch with your ISP currently. Maybe those that are in those upper reaches of data consumption should pay a premium?
--
»www.lp.org/issues/family-budget.shtml

"That government is best which governs least" - Thoreau



bent
and Inga
Premium
join:2004-10-04
Loveland, CO

3 recommendations

Maybe when mommy and daddy actually have to pay for juniors file stealing, it'll slow down.