Tiered internet use
June 4, 2008 6:39 AM   Subscribe

Timewarner has set a precedent by creating tiered internet use that is capped at certain levels. Pricing will be about $29.95 per month for a 5 GB monthly cap to $54.90 per month for a 40 GB cap.
posted by ejaned8 (64 comments total)
 
I don't get how this is precedent setting. I have seen ISPs offer different speeds and monthly caps for years now.

Just looked up a random local ISP now, and I can get 288/288 with 10gb, 5M/800 with 200GB, 5M/800 with 250GB, or 5M/800 with 300GB. How is this different from what Timewarner decided to do?
posted by splice at 6:49 AM on June 4, 2008


Is... is this an April fool's joke?

I mean, this is what I was doing some 10 years ago, paying for bandwidth/time online. Lots of companies still sell this kind of service in the UK but it is being fazed out as horrendously unpopular. I don't get what makes this a precedent?

All of this reads like some Bizarroworld article where people are talking about innovation and precedents for shit that has been slowly faded out over the last decade in the rest of the world.

Hey guys, Ford has just invented an internal combustion engine that runs on fossil fuels!
posted by slimepuppy at 6:50 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


My satellite internet provider has a *daily* cap, and if I exceed it, they essentially turn off my access for the following day. Their service is also tiered, but even though I'm on the highest tier (paying nearly twice per month of TimeWarner's highest tier), my cap is so low that regular OS updates exceed it. I hates it, hates it forever.
posted by ewagoner at 6:53 AM on June 4, 2008


It is good to see that the US is finally catching up with Australia.
posted by b1tr0t at 6:55 AM on June 4, 2008 [4 favorites]


Haven't they been doing this a while?
posted by drezdn at 7:02 AM on June 4, 2008


This must be a new generation of tech writers that didn't see this joke the first time around.
posted by CautionToTheWind at 7:02 AM on June 4, 2008


A 5 gb monthly cap works out too about 2,041 bytes per second. Barely faster then a 14.4 baud modem (unless I made an order of magnitude mistake somewhere).

It's enough to watch just 4 hours total video on youtube for the month. Or about 9 minutes a day.
posted by delmoi at 7:08 AM on June 4, 2008 [7 favorites]


Yeah, I think someone must have got their articles mixed up at some point. The majority of ISPs, here in the UK at least, currently offer some kind of deal where you accept a monthly cap, and pay less in return; I can only presume it's the same in many other countries too. For casual "check email and the dailies" use, it's never really noticed - end of the internet this ain't.

Rather more worrying for the future of the net is the precedent set by Virgin Media branding net neutrality "a load of bollocks" (per their CEO) and demanding money from anyone who doesn't want their site put in the "bus lane". (Although I think he has his analogy on backwards there as bus lanes are priority lanes for speeding up buses).
posted by Drexen at 7:12 AM on June 4, 2008


The quotes in the article sound so sheepish. "Yeah, we know, we know. This really sucks. WE don't even think it sounds like a good idea. But what if??"
posted by [NOT HERMITOSIS-IST] at 7:14 AM on June 4, 2008


Critics said the new pricing plan, to be tested in Beaumont, Tex., would discourage data usage and even stifle innovation.

to be tested in Beaumont, Tex.

tested

OP makes it sound like this is being rolled out nationally immediately. Bad post, no internet!
posted by Remy at 7:16 AM on June 4, 2008


A 5 gb monthly cap works out too about 2,041 bytes per second. Barely faster then a 14.4 baud modem (unless I made an order of magnitude mistake somewhere).

I don't think you did, but that would only apply to someone who was using the net every second of every day. 5GB a month is about 170MB a day, or about 240MB a day if you take a couple of days off per week. That's plenty for the average email-checking, MSN-browsing parent.
posted by Drexen at 7:20 AM on June 4, 2008


Right now most of us are getting unlimited bandwidth for $30-$50 a month a pretty good connectivity speed. That was fine as long as there was plenty of slack in the network as broadband penetration and content ramped up. But, the net is running into traffic jams and the current configuration will hit full capacity by 2010, according to AT&T. Something's gotta give, obviously.
posted by beagle at 7:22 AM on June 4, 2008


The end is near! Peak oil bandwidth is approaching!
posted by bjrn at 7:26 AM on June 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


Welcome to South Africa. I pay R70/month per GB plus another R180/month just for the ADSL line. On average I spend R800-R900 (about $120) a month on internet access.
posted by PenDevil at 7:29 AM on June 4, 2008


Oh and I'm on a blazing fast 384kbps line as well.
posted by PenDevil at 7:30 AM on June 4, 2008


Oh well. Back to animated gifs.
posted by hal9k at 7:33 AM on June 4, 2008 [5 favorites]


> the current configuration will hit full capacity by 2010

"In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today."

. . . Quoth Baghdad Bob

I don't think I can imagine a more inaccurate, misleading statement. Never trust the warnings of a self-interested, under-performing player in an industry with better alternatives. AT&T is free to not upgrade their infrastructure. Their are many other tier 1 providers who will.
posted by datacenter refugee at 7:35 AM on June 4, 2008 [11 favorites]


My local ISP has had pay-by-the-megabyte ever since I became a DSL subscriber. I love it. The number of gigabytes offered in the base package has been steadily increasing while prices have remained steady -- today it's 30GB up + 30 GB down per month and $0.0005 per MB after that.

While that's not a huge sustained bandwidth (about 90 kilobit/second), it's enough to download updates on 6 separate machines, run several modest websites, do CVS hosting for a free software project, and still have enough left over to download porn 'til the chafing forces me to take a break. If I just have to steal the latest movie in .iso format and I go over my limit, it'll apparently cost me about $4.50 for the additional 9GB transfer.

If this allows my ISP to keep overall costs down while I can almost always get my rated transfer speeds on uploads and downloads, I'm all for it. The people who want to transmit stolen intellectual property at 6Mbps all day every day can go to a different ISP and bitch when that ISP implements hidden caps or slows certain traffic according to secret rules.
posted by jepler at 7:38 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


(I should say, monthy prices remain steady. The price per extra MB of transfer has also been steadily dropping. It was more like $0.01/KB when I first became a dsl subscriber)
posted by jepler at 7:40 AM on June 4, 2008


>>But, the net is running into traffic jams and the current configuration will hit full capacity by 2010, according to AT&T.

Also according to At&T: Domestic spying? What domestic spying?
posted by SaintCynr at 7:41 AM on June 4, 2008 [8 favorites]


Will MetaFilter be on Basic or Premium? What about Pay-Per-Comment? Will I get a byte credit if I favorite an FPP? Will AskMeFi be scrambled?

Will there be muzak in the background of MetaTalk?
posted by hal9k at 7:46 AM on June 4, 2008


5G / month is a joke. It's fine if you're just watching Internet, but the moment you want to stream or download video you're screwed. 5G is about 5 hours of video. And in a shocking coincidence, the company proposing video-unfriendly limits is a cable TV company. Who woulda thunk it?

What kills me is this doesn't even solve their problem. I get that they can't support unlimited bandwidth to all their customers. But they need some notion of congestion pricing, not a crappy monthly cap that serves no purpose other than to undermine Netflix's online business model.
posted by Nelson at 7:48 AM on June 4, 2008 [6 favorites]


Conversely, if you live in Tokyo, you can get NTT's FLET's ADSL, which is their cheap option, and gives you 5 Mbps up/47 Mbps down for about $35/mo (if you also take phone service with it). No caps. If they had a 5 GB cap, it would take all of 14 minutes to reach it running at full bore.

Their faster service is 100 Mbps up/down and about $50 (less if you're in a big building with neighbors also on the plan). I get the impression it's similar in S. Korea.

What passes for broadband in the USA is a trickle from the garden hose by comparison. Caps like these add injury to insult.
posted by adamrice at 7:48 AM on June 4, 2008 [10 favorites]


It seems like for $55, you could go find a local ISP that would give you ~768 DSL service for the same price, with unlimited downloading/uploading.

Is there any evidence this is an industry trend? I.e. will this affect the little ISPs who pay for infrastructure from the big guys? To be fair, BusinessWeek is the one who called it a "predecent." That seemed silly to me, too. It's how ISPs used to work.
posted by mrgrimm at 7:52 AM on June 4, 2008


Well said, Nelson. When it was just people downloading music, cable companies were all "eh." Now that people are downloading full movies ... "hey, we're congested!"
posted by mrgrimm at 7:53 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, if I'm paying $54.90 for 40 GB, and I don't use up my 40 GB, can I roll those GBs I have left over into the next month?

Didn't all the market kill all of these cap-schemes a few years ago as everyone fled them for unlimited transfer plans? Why do providers like TW think such schemes will do any better now?
posted by moonbiter at 7:54 AM on June 4, 2008


I had something like this eight years ago when ADSL was first being rolled out in Austin - I had a 1.5mbps/128kbps connection, but had a 5G/month *upload* limit - anything more than that and I got charged extra.

Now I have 6mbps/768kbps from ATT/SBC for *less* than I paid for that 1.5/128 connection, with no limits or throttling (although I do throttle my BitTorrent client).
posted by mrbill at 7:55 AM on June 4, 2008


I can see the RIAA/MPAA using tiered pricing as an excuse to label certain users as infringers, and while that's stupid, it's something that would catch the ear of a legislator, possibly resulting in additional fees tacked on to the upper tiers to compensate copyright holders.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:10 AM on June 4, 2008


I remember when AOL had time limits, but it's been a long time (before highschool).

The post, yes, should have noted testing (among a few other word changes). Thanks, Remy.
posted by ejaned8 at 8:13 AM on June 4, 2008


Here in the UK, Virgin Media has just started limits. I'm on the XL service (highest) and I believe if I go over 3gb during peak times (10am - 3pm or 4pm-9pm), they lower my speed by 75% for five hours. When this happens I can still browse the net, watch youtube, etc. so it's not that big of a deal. But 5gb per month? That's just ridiculous.
posted by gfrobe at 8:29 AM on June 4, 2008


> It seems like for $55, you could go find a local ISP that would give you ~768 DSL service for the same price

Too bad very few of those "local ISPs" exist anymore.

Back in the good 'ol days (prior to 2004), there were lots of companies -- called Competitive Local Exchange Carriers, or CLECs -- that leased copper and switch-space from the incumbent (Baby Bell), in order to give consumers choice. They also did stuff like offer DSL over the copper pair running to your house. This was how Speakeasy and a bunch of other "alternative" DSL providers got their start. You'd call them up, tell them you wanted service, and they'd arrange to lease the line (or at least the high-frequency part of it) running to your house, and provide you with Internet access. This was called "Local Loop Unbundling" or LLU.

Think back -- unless you're in one of a few rare markets, it's probably been a while since you've seen one of Speakeasy's ads for DSL, isn't it? I mean, who do you see advertising DSL these days? The phone company.

There's a reason for this. In 2004, the Baby Bells (who by that point had recombined themselves back down into three huge companies) sued the FCC to have the rules forcing them to share facilities with the CLECs voided. The DC Circuit happily obliged, and the Supreme Court never took up the issue. Practically overnight, you went from being able to have lots of different DSL providers giving you service on leased copper to only one -- Verizon, AT&T, or Qwest, depending on where you live.

The case was USTA v. FCC (2004). There's not a ton of information about it, because frankly a lot of people didn't realize what was happening when it did. (Not everyone -- some people tried to sound the alarm.) But it is one of the many reasons why broadband access and choice sucks so much in the U.S.

We had the opportunity to make the telephone and Internet providers fight for every individual customer, by offering better products, services, and price. We had the beginnings of a relatively level playing field, where the entity who maintained the lines was separated from the service provider running stuff over those lines. But the Bells didn't like it, pulled some strings, and Washington danced like a puppet.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:30 AM on June 4, 2008 [22 favorites]


I really hope we get the technology for a much more decentralized internet infrastructure somewhat up and running before the governments/corporations get around to destroying the fundamental goodness, but it's gonna be hard. There's the rumor now that the current internet gets taken out back and shot by 2012, and I don't think by then we'll be ready to tell Comcast and Verizon to fuck off and die since they're no longer necessary.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 8:58 AM on June 4, 2008


It should also be noted that this is an experimental program, and one that is completely at odds with other major projects that they are currently rolling out like HBO on Broadband (just released here in Milwaukee, for example.)

Where the company ultimately goes with this depends on the popularity of these other ways of providing content. My best guess suggests that this will probably fail, or be added as a tier in between Road Runner light and normal Road Runner for customers who need a limited amount of bandwidth and would like to see some savings.
posted by quin at 9:06 AM on June 4, 2008


I don't think by then we'll be ready to tell Comcast and Verizon to fuck off and die since they're no longer necessary.

and you'll get connected to this amazing new internet how?
posted by quonsar at 9:37 AM on June 4, 2008


Hahahahaha! In Bulgaria, Bulgaria of all places, the Internet is 5mb/s and all you can eat for about USD25/month. When the guy came to install, my buddy asked just to clarify, "Is it really unlimited? No limits at all?"

"Unlimited. Go right ahead, get your torrents, movies, whatever. No problem," answered installation man.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:51 AM on June 4, 2008 [3 favorites]


um, will I get a refund on my Netflix player which I just installed last night? or, rather, is Netflix going to step up and subsidize my broadband service bill?
posted by adamms222 at 9:52 AM on June 4, 2008


Your building is connected, wires or radio, to several nearby buildings, which are connected to other buildings you are not directly connected to, and so on. It's harder to pull this off, harder to have high bandwidths, and yes there are all sorts of issues, but I hardly see how it's impossible. Frankly I would rather go back to dialup speed than use the internet as another idiotic TV/ Newspaper/ Magazine/ Propaganda Source/ etc. as the plan is feared to be.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:56 AM on June 4, 2008


Telecommunications needs to be nationalized. If these companies consistently fail to maintain the system and anticipate future demand, then they need to be replaced. I don't see why communications networks are considered any different, at this point in time, than water, roads, healthcare, electricity, (oil & gas), etc etc... But I guess there's a lot of racketeering in just about every one of those categories somewhere on Earth. Fuck corporations.
posted by mek at 10:21 AM on June 4, 2008


"Tiered internet" where people who use tons of bandwidth pay more than people who just check their email -- nothing new. (Like ewagoner, I'm paying $80/month for what is effectively an 11GB monthly cap. Like ewagoner, I hates it forever, but my only other choice is dialup.)

"Tiered internet" where some sites (i.e. those who've paid a kickback to the provider) receive preferential treatment compared to others (i.e. torrents) -- that would be new, and a huge precedent-setting deal.

I hope the terminology for these two very different things doesn't get confused (as in dailykos; "Update 5" seems to take at face value one commenter's unfounded speculation that the bandwidth cap would be applied selectively.) (Which, indeed, would be a smart way for TW to play it; since it makes abandoning net neutrality sound like a benefit for some sites instead of a limitation on all the rest...)
posted by ook at 10:23 AM on June 4, 2008


My local ISP has had pay-by-the-megabyte ever since I became a DSL subscriber. I love it. The number of gigabytes offered in the base package has been steadily increasing while prices have remained steady -- today it's 30GB up + 30 GB down per month and $0.0005 per MB after that.

So how much do you pay a month? You haven't mentioned that. It better be virtually nothing if that's all you can download a month.

Hey, remember when we all used to use AOL over dialup and paid for every minute you were on past the first 6 free hours of each month? That worked fucking awesomely well didn't it?! Yeah! We all loved it! And when ISPs offered us unlimited access for a flat rate none of us jumped at it, right? And when unlimited access broadband internet came along, nobody went for that either, right?

I mean, hey, you guys in the UK can love paying for your downloads all you want. If you're happy, more power to you, but the prices you're describing are ridiculous considering I pay $40 a month (on top of my regular cable bill) to download as much as I want.

For casual "check email and the dailies" use, it's never really noticed - end of the internet this ain't.

I love how apparently the definition of what the internet is used for is still considered "check email and the dailies" to some people.

Never mind that the overwhelming majority of total internet usage in america (I can't speak for elsewhere but I'd imagine it's similar) is kids and high schoolers and college students who email less than they text and youtube and facebook more than they read the news. Hi! The internet is different than it was when you started using it!

As a for-instance: Blizzard recently announced that they now offer World of Warcraft for download over their website instead of purchasing the discs at retail, should that be your thing. Now imagine all these moms and dads that we like to think make up the majority of internet usage: you know, the ones who apparently only email and read the news. Now step away from them, head upstairs to their kid's room. Holy shit it's another computer! And holy shit, Timmy's got permission from mom and dad to play world of warcraft! So hot fuck, he's downloading the client from blizzard to save them the trip to the store, and with the Burning Crusade expansion PLUS all the patches, that fucker's clocking in at upwards of 10 gigs! (I'm guessing how large it is, to be honest. I haven't downloaded it myself, and I'm guesstimating how much dowloading I've done to install patches in the past. I know the base install plus the expansion is over 5 gigs) On TOP of that you have the up and downstream data transfer used while he's playing the game for however many hours a day he chooses to play. But wait it gets worse! Just down the hall, in little sister's room... DUN DUN DUN! It's another computer! And she's watching SNL sketches on Hulu while chatting with some friend of hers on aim and uploading pictures of her birthday party to facebook. She just got a link from a friend of hers to the page on youtube where her friend uploaded the video of her song in the school play last week and she's watched that shit a thousand times just today. Back downstairs, dad's done checking his email and holyfucknoway. he's about to use the internet for something else... and it's not even the news. He's gonna watch an old episode of MASH on netflix, streaming from the site since he doesn't feel like putting the discs on his queue.

That's just off the top of my head. Whatever internet you guys are using that's just email and the dailies? That's not what everybody else is doing. This test in Texas is retarded and it'll go over like a lead balloon. The problem is that it won't matter how badly it does, because there's no competition in the service provider market anymore so we won't have a choice once all the cable and telecom companies decide to bend us over yet again.
posted by shmegegge at 10:25 AM on June 4, 2008 [12 favorites]


Right now I'm on a 20GB (up + down) plan for around $80 (I forget exactly how much). I get a bit of a discount off of that for bundling digital cable.

This is a recent change. It used to be that 10GB for $60 was the max you could get. I have a friend who had two cable modems and had to physically switch them mid-month in order to have double the usage. We pay $15 per gig a month for any overages.

The cable company here is owned by the phone company. Consumer DSL started to be offered, but was killed off because it was competing with cable (that's a wild guess on my part. It could have been unprofitable).

We also have a wireless broadband option, but it is 5GB for $60 and has higher latency than cable.

(yay, Yellowknife!)
posted by ODiV at 10:39 AM on June 4, 2008


jeez... I'm on a 3 Mb dsl connection (with 6 if I felt like paying extra) in the pacific northwest, and usually transfer 500 GB up and down a month for about $45. I went to dsl after getting one of those super unpleasant calls from Comcast for violating their inviso-caps. If cable goes this route, I expect a large percentage to eventually flee to dsl or fios (where available). Anyway, the broadband gap between where the US is and Japan & Korea are is just a travesty.
posted by Auden at 11:11 AM on June 4, 2008


I don't mind paying for internet. I don't think $40/month is unreasonable to pay. I will for damn sure raise a stink if the provider starts demanding more money for full access though - especially considering that at no point does the average customer ever approach the theoretical speed offered by the provider. Not in the US, anyway. Blazing fast broadband! Unless your neighbor is also online. Amazing bandwidth! Except it's so limited that we're downsampling the HDTV service you are also paying us for.

At any rate I'm not surprised that Time Warner is the company testing this right now. My experience with the bastards makes me thank the universe that I am now living in Comcast country. Yes, that's right, TW was so effing bad that I am HAPPY to be using Comcast instead. Ouch.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:18 AM on June 4, 2008


that would only apply to someone who was using the net every second of every day.

i.e. MeFi readers.
posted by rokusan at 11:23 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I gots that BS super Roadrunner and if they try to jack me up with tiered service I will drop them like I dropped AOL for Roadrunner.
posted by zzazazz at 11:25 AM on June 4, 2008 [2 favorites]


I don't think caps in general are an issue. I think the problem comes in when the caps are set unreasonably low as TW is doing. 5GB and 40GB? No freakin way. More like 60GB and 200GB, for the moment. More as time goes on and speeds increase.

Why should I, someone who rarely exceeds 60GB, pay the same as someone who blows through the better part of a terabyte a month?
posted by wierdo at 11:39 AM on June 4, 2008


Fuck Comcast, and fuck all the DSL providers in the NW for not being willing to extend their service area a half fucking mile to where I actually live. I hate them and I want horrible things to happen to them, but I would still rather get fucked in the ass by them rather than what I have.

My satellite company has a cap of 1.7 gigs down and .5 gigs up (and that's with their top package), and in addition to a ridiculously low upload (~40 kbps; they claim they go up to a whole 256 kbps, but I've never seen half that), we have a 1000 ms latency. Our down is 1.5 Mbps, so I can, you know, watch videos, but any gaming beyond simple flash games is beyond me completely. Compared with what other parts of the world have when it comes to Internet access, the American market is just completely fucking ridiculous.
posted by Caduceus at 11:47 AM on June 4, 2008


> Your building is connected, wires or radio, to several nearby buildings ...

The mesh networking concept is a good one, but it really only works if the protocols and applications that you're using are designed around the mesh-network concept as well. It fails pretty horribly when you try to push conventional point-to-point client/server stuff over it.

Something like Usenet would work well on a mesh network; each node has a big cache, and talks to other nodes periodically for updates. But HTTP, in the form we're used to it now, with big datacenters and a clear delineation between clients and servers, probably wouldn't.

I played around once with setting up a wireless mesh network, a few years back, and it worked nicely for sharing content between the nodes. However, it was a crappy way of providing Internet access, because the nodes providing uplink service to the public 'net just got saturated.

It's not enough to just decentralize the connectivity infrastructure, you have to decentralize the content as well. Unfortunately, since we've pretty much spent the last 10 or 15 years on the Internet centralizing all the content, building datacenters and such, I think that might prove to be a lot more difficult than rolling out wireless access nodes to every house on the block.
posted by Kadin2048 at 11:48 AM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


Is Shaw, and Shaw Extreme the same thing? I have the regualr service at 60gb/month and they don't shut me down or anything if i go over.
posted by joelf at 11:55 AM on June 4, 2008


shmegegge, If I didn't want static IP I'd be paying 30 bucks a month for my 30GB up + 30GB down. (I'm in the US midwest, not in the UK as you suggested) Paying just $10 more each month for a /29 static IP (as opposed to going to rates over $100 a month with any other local service provider, whether cable or DSL) is another powerful reason I'm with this company.

If I believed that anyone near me was paying about the same as me for "unlimited" bandwidth (looks like that comes to about a half terabyte at 1.5Mbps, and I guess that's now a "slow" net connection) maybe I'd feel differently. But all indications are that ISPs providing residential service are divided into two groups: those who admit up front that there are bandwidth limits at a given price point, and those that prefer you think there are none and won't tell you what they are. For example, those on roadrunner cable probably currently have a term like the following:
I also agree that TWC may use technical means, including but not limited to suspending or reducing the Throughput Rate of my HSD Service, to ensure compliance with its Terms of Use and to ensure that its service operates efficiently.
http://help.twcable.com/html/twc_sub_agreement.html
In other words, tread lightly or be sorry.

So, yes, I'd be thrilled if I could get my current level of access for 1/10 as much, or get ten times the transfer at the same price, but what I have is sufficient to my needs and at an affordable price.
posted by jepler at 11:59 AM on June 4, 2008


jepler, I'm not following. are you talking about bandwidth, or how much you're allowed to download? I have no idea what my provider (cablevision. I think they're only out on long island) does with my bandwidth. If they throttled it when I used it for big downloads, I wouldn't be surprised, since my downstream and upstream are fickle as hell and frustrating. but I thought we were talking about caps on how much data you're allowed to download to your computer.
posted by shmegegge at 12:26 PM on June 4, 2008


But HTTP, in the form we're used to it now, with big datacenters and a clear delineation between clients and servers, probably wouldn't.

I definitely agree with you about all that, but I think I have a higher estimation of the chances of a shift becoming feasible. There are things that would be a lot harder to do - me in America playing TF2 with stavrosthewonderchicken in Korea seems like it would be a lot less likely to be an option, but on the other hand I think it quite possible you'd hardly notice the difference using BitTorrent.

BitTorrent seems a lot more cutting edge applied CS than the norm for something that millions use and actually a lot of the experience they've gained will come in handy - distributed methods for enforcing bandwidth contribution, for example.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 12:28 PM on June 4, 2008


I love how they refer to people who need more than 40 GB a month as "overusers" like they're abusing the internet.

Why should I, someone who rarely exceeds 60GB, pay the same as someone who blows through the better part of a terabyte a month?

Whatever, underuser.
posted by katillathehun at 1:19 PM on June 4, 2008


BitTorrent is great for things that are the same for everyone, like a movie or game. It's not useful for personalized content (search results, for example). So you're still gonna need either the current HTTP/datacenter approach, or something entirely new, to do things like Google.
posted by wildcrdj at 1:33 PM on June 4, 2008


Why should I, someone who rarely exceeds 60GB, pay the same as someone who blows through the better part of a terabyte a month?

Why on earth shouldn't you? Are you paying for access to the internet, or access to a certain amount of the internet a month? What does his download amount have to do with the service rendered to you?
posted by shmegegge at 1:57 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


BitTorrent is still great however, even if you only want a single file out of a thousand files in a single torrent file, so I could imagine that combined with a free-as-in-beer provider of spidering results, a low-ish latency decentralized search system is possible -see Tor- slow, but it works.
posted by acro at 2:54 PM on June 4, 2008


Why should I, someone who rarely exceeds 60GB, pay the same as someone who blows through the better part of a terabyte a month?

You shouldn't. The fault is the ISP's for its pricing scheme, not yours, and not the 1TB/month downloader's. I'm all for metering, like electricity and water, so long as it's at a reasonable rate. Currently $1/GB seems, roughly, the going rate here: Use 5MB a month checking email through a text terminal - you pay whatever the "line rental" cost is, maybe $5, and your .05c usage is rounded down. Use 1TB a month - you pay $1000. That's a business-level usage. I get 30GB peak and 150GB offpeak (3am-9am, prime torrenting time), for which I pay $80.

The problem with doing this is, unlike electricity and water, bandwidth capacity is still drastically increasing. The prices should be decreasing all the time. They are decreasing with these "chunk" plans, but there's a danger with metering that they wouldn't decrease anywhere near so fast. Next year, we should be paying maybe $0.50/GB. The year after that, $0.25/GB. And so on. But with a metering system, we'd probably be charged $0.80/GB or more.
posted by aeschenkarnos at 4:06 PM on June 4, 2008


Translation: If you want to dump your cable and watch your tv online - we are going to get paid either way.
posted by any major dude at 6:05 PM on June 4, 2008 [1 favorite]


I knew the internet was just a fad.

*turns on the TV, goes vegetative*

Oh, and get the hell off of my lawn!
posted by loquacious at 7:25 PM on June 4, 2008


"In three years' time, 20 typical households will generate more traffic than the entire Internet today."

I don't think I can imagine a more inaccurate, misleading statement.


You clearly haven't been reading between the lines of the press releases from the office of strategic intelligence.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 7:48 PM on June 4, 2008


Just as a datapoint, for the last 5 years my ISP here in Korea has provided an uncapped, unlimited, filter-free 100Mb pipe for the equivalent of about US$17 a month. We have two PCs connecting through my router and have had less than 1 hour of downtime during that 5 years.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:23 AM on June 5, 2008


shmeggege : "Never mind that the overwhelming majority of total internet usage in america (I can't speak for elsewhere but I'd imagine it's similar) is kids and high schoolers and college students who email less than they text and youtube and facebook more than they read the news. Hi! The internet is different than it was when you started using it!

Ehh, I'm not saying capped internet is for everyone, especially not a cap as low as 5GB -- which is at the low end, even here in the UK (20GB is more common). Certainly there's plenty of people who use the internet as you describe and I myself (like plenty of other people) pay about $36 a month for uncapped use. It would be great if we/the US had a decent infrastructure that could support internet at the speeds and capacities seen in Asia. But nevertheless, I do know quite a few people in my parents' age-range who never come near their fairly modest monthly cap and don't feel crippled because of it. Hi! Not everyone uses the internet as much as your family or whatever!
posted by Drexen at 3:25 AM on June 5, 2008


I'm all for metering, like electricity and water, so long as it's at a reasonable rate.

Along these lines, then, people should have their tv usage metered. Why should I pay the same cable bill as the guy next door who watches hours more tv a day than I do? Plus he's got tivo, so he skips the commercials that are paying for the shows he watches! I'm actually watching those ads. Shit, they should be paying ME.

Not everyone uses the internet as much as your family or whatever!

no doubt, but the point is that the internet isn't what it was back when it was just for email and news. not only people, but companies are leveraging broadband access to provide greater services and possiblities to their userbase. If we all have to start worrying about our monthly caps, then that disappears. it suddenly isn't helping anyone to offer WoW for download, or guild wars or gametap or netflix or youtube or hulu or all sorts of things. we have been on and continue to be marching through a cusp in our usage of the internet. much like our music we're doing much less at retail outlets for all sorts of products and the reason for it is that there's a huge market for the convenience. this kind of thing stifles that, and the fact that the overwhelming minority of people don't take advantage of it isn't a strong selling point for the caps.
posted by shmegegge at 1:32 PM on June 5, 2008


I pay two shillings per byte and two farthings per ha'byte. Please sir, I want some more!
posted by mattbucher at 8:46 AM on June 6, 2008


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