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Verizon CTO Argues For Metered Pricing

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the what-happened-to-all-that-fiber dept.

Communications 99

CNet is reporting on a press conference and speech given by Verizon's CTO, Dick Lynch, at the FTTH Conference & Expo in Houston, in which he advocated for metered broadband pricing. "Lynch said during that press conference according to reports that in the future broadband service will likely be sold in packages based on how much bandwidth a person consumes. This metered approach is similar to how the wireless industry has operated. ... 'We're going to have to consider pricing structures that allow us to sell packages of bytes, and at the end of the day the concept of a flat-rate infinitely expandable service is unachievable,' GigaOm quoted him as saying. ... Lynch didn't say that Verizon had metered broadband plans in the works today. And he was quick to point out that the company is not shifting its pricing, But he did say that he hoped the that the Federal Communication Commission's plans to make Net neutrality principles formal regulation would not hurt broadband providers' ability to offer such premium bandwidth offerings, Telephony Online reported."

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99 comments

Horrible idea... (3, Insightful)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589579)

Sounds like a good way to kill, just about everything one would use for entertainment on the web, streaming videos, games, etc etc

I know this has been talked about before by other providers, but it's still a bad idea for the end user. Just yet another way for them to offer less and make more money, typical corporate greed mongering, nothing more.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

masshuu (1260516) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589745)

Yeah, talk about huge fucking bill when Blizzard makes a patch for WoW
"wait what, o, yay, 2 gigabyte download again, that means ill only 1 gig left before i cross the $60 mark. Well at least its no fap September, thats saving me money"

So if they do this, customers who watch lots of streaming "Media" or play online games 24/7 will probably not move over to the dynamic price. But the people who do move over will probably be the people who don't use any bandwidth, or are easily swayed by advertisements (But you can also sell them dog shit if Billy mays says it will clean there windows)

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589913)

Blizzard does pay by the byte when they release a patch, the difference is that the end consumer does not (directly). They alleviate some of the cost by using P2P, but they still use a CDN to distribute it as well.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

pha3r0 (1210530) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589803)

first off the the obvious. if you go with this plan they will literally lynch your dick

secondly and more seriously who the hell (with a brain) thinks following the power companies pricing structure is a sound business practice unless you have the guys dick in a noose.

Re:Horrible idea... (3, Insightful)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589817)

Actually I disagree. I think it's crazy that I pay per KWh of electical power I use, I pay per minute of phone time I spent, I pay per BTU (or is it volume?) of natural gas I use, I pay per liter of petrol I use, etc, etc...

But with bandwidth I pay for a certain number of GB/month, and I get throttled if I go above that. What if I want to use a little more, or a little less? There's this bizarre situation with bandwidth where, to make the most out of what I pay for, I have to always keep tabs on how long before my quota resets, and how much I've downloaded.
I have to try and guess in advance what I'll use, and so inevitably either end up paying for more than I need or get less than I want.

Imagine if you had a certain distance you could travel in your car per month, or you had a certain amount of power/water/gas/phone time you could use, and you lost out if you didn't use exactly your allocated amount; it'd be madness.

I think the reason providers aren't rushing to implement this is because they know they'd make less money; because people would stop buying more than they need. Either that or because they think (perhaps rightly so) that the average consumer wouldn't understand the concept of paying per unit of data (why iPod storage is advertised in terms of the dubious "song" or "movie"), but I think that'll change as time goes on.

Personally I hope metered pricing comes as soon as possible.

Re:Horrible idea... (4, Interesting)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589829)

Also I think doing things this way will make consumers more aware of how insane the cell network prices are. "What, I'm paying 0.25c/text? But a text is a couple hundred bytes and I pay a millionth of a cent for that at home." Wherever an ISP also runs a cell network they won't like this prospect.

Re:Horrible idea... (2, Insightful)

snookums (48954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589931)

Please stop with the "$/byte" calculations for SMS. It's not a data channel, it's a messaging service. It costs 55c or whatever to send a letter in the post. If you write a short letter to your grandma it costs a silly amount per byte too.

If it irks you, get a phone with Internet and send email.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

kestasjk (933987) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591023)

I do understand that my analogy isn't right because it costs more (I would guess) to maintain wireless connections for everyone over a wide area than to maintain a wired connection to a single person, but a digital message is digital data. It does irk me, but I think the reason it doesn't irk most is that they don't equate e-mail with messages or voip with phone, so they don't ask why data transmitted one way costs so much more than data transmitted another way.

Because of this they don't get a phone with internet and send e-mail, which means I can't get a phone with internet and send e-mail. They use text messages, I have to use them too.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591585)

oh, sorry, you're right. We, the consumers, should be charged outrageous prices because the phone companies implemented their system very poorly, and use that as an excuse for charging so much.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Zencyde (850968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591899)

But that 55 cents is being used to pay the people that sort it, carry the letter, etc. Those SMS messages are being tacked on to a part of the protocol that wasn't even in use. In short, it costs them NOTHING extra (mild power costs?) to send your "lol no u?" That's where the issue lies on this one, sir.

Re:Horrible idea... (2, Insightful)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589873)

Actually I disagree. I think it's crazy that I pay per KWh of electical power I use, I pay per minute of phone time I spent, I pay per BTU (or is it volume?) of natural gas I use, I pay per liter of petrol I use, etc, etc...

You are actually consuming those services, where as data is not really consumed, it is not gone/used up when you are done, there is still a virtually unlimited amount (as long at there is electricity there can be data).

Re:Horrible idea... (4, Informative)

snookums (48954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589943)

You are actually consuming those services, where as data is not really consumed, it is not gone/used up when you are done, there is still a virtually unlimited amount (as long at there is electricity there can be data).

No. The capacity of the network at any given time is finite. You are using a fraction of that available bandwith for some period of time.

Bandwidth x Time = Bytes Transferred.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589995)

If you use a higher frequency you can have more date

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590583)

I think what you meant was "if you use a higher frequency, you can have more data". The important thing here is... If the ISP uses a higher frequency, and installs new kit to deal with it, and new cabling, and sends out new kit to all its customers, and upgrades it's upstream situation, and helps pay for the backbone to be upgraded *then* you can have more bandwidth. Point is: Higher bandwidth tubes are not free... This is why we pay ISPs for the service they provide, paying for using a fraction of their capacity sounds absolutely perfect to me.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590779)

I think crap like this is just more proof that we are gonna HAVE TO seize the last mile away from the duopoly and allow true competition. There is simply no other choice. We even have a legal reason to seize, as we paid them over $200 billion [newnetworks.com] (yes that is billion with a b) to give us nationwide broadband, which instead they stuffed into their pockets and gave us the finger in return.

We should give them 90 days to pay up WITH interest, or seize the last mile. You want a monopoly, Mr Cableco/teleco? Then run a minimum 10Mbs line to those that have no high speed access now and we'll give you x number of years, double if you run fiber at better than 50Mbs to their door. But I think it should be pretty obvious by now what allowing a monopoly/duopoly has gotten us: a decaying infrastructure, ever higher prices for ever worsening services, with a few being "cherry picked" by the duopoly and the rest being left with ever shittier service, or like my mom with no service at all.

So while I usually am not a fan of government intervention the one place I have seen that government intervention is nearly always needed is the case of monopolies. Once the large monopoly gets set up it becomes too easy to burn the competition (or simply buy them out) and screw over the consumer thanks to the lack of any real choices on their part.Which is pretty much a textbook example of what we have here in the USA with the cableco/teleco situation. My local cableco hasn't moved a foot in any direction in a couple of decades, likewise with the teleco, because both have "cherry picked" the most populated areas and seem to have an agreement not to increase speeds or even to compete on price, so either one equals being gouged. This situation also hurts innovation in other areas, as for example if I were to run Linux every single update would count against my cap, but Windows updates do not.

So ultimately i truly believe the ONLY way the situation is ever gonna change is if we bust the duopoly and bring in real competition by seizing the last mile and making it open to competition. Sadly with treasonous bribery being SOP of our elected officials the more likely scenario is that we will fall further and further behind the rest of the world thanks to the backroom bribes....err I mean intense lobbying of the very same teleco/cableco duopoly. I have a feeling things are gonna get nothing but worse.

Re:Horrible idea... (2, Funny)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590929)

Yes, that was a well reasoned argument against what I said. Wait no, the other thing, it was a rant with no relevance to what I said at all.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591539)

You already pay for using a fraction of their capacity. Capacity that is already many times over-provisioned before it even reaches your node. So essentially, you are already paying for something you'll rarely, if ever, get anyhow.

Why? Because at least in the USA, those fucktards took our generous public investment and gave themselves nice fat pay bonuses and extravagant marketing campaigns instead of upgrading their shitty networks like they were supposed to.

And those asses STILL HAVE THE GALL TO BEG CONGRESS FOR MORE TAX MONEY.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592629)

And why is this an argument against paying in a metered way?

If you pay on a meter, then you pay for exactly how much bandwidth they provide you with... If their service sucks that month, you don't pay much, because you didn't get much data.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29623709)

No, if their service sucks so bad that month, you don't get to use what you expected to use, they still make bank, and have even less incentive to upgrade their shitty networks than they did before.

Remember, these jerks will charge as much or more than they do now monthly, on top of whatever you'd have to pay for using. That's just insane.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29625119)

No, if their service sucks so bad that month, you don't get to use what you expected to use, they still make bank
Pardon?

If you're paying by how many gigabytes you download, and you can't download many gigabytes, you don't pay much...

They have enormous incentive to upgrade their network, because the more data they can provide to people, the more the people can download, and the more they can charge the people. The *only* way their profits go up in this scenario is by increasing network capacity.

Remember, these jerks will charge as much or more than they do now monthly, on top of whatever you'd have to pay for using
That's a rather large assumption, and impossible to bring in in any market with any competition. That's possibly true in america though.

That's just insane.
Yes it is, it's commercial suicide for them.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

thejynxed (831517) | more than 4 years ago | (#29665137)

The point I was making with that is: If you download 0 bytes of data or up to and over their "data cap", they still make massive profits, and you still lose. Either way, you still pay, you still don't get what you want. You. Lose. They. Win.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29704945)

Pardon? The whole point of metered pricing is that if you don't use data, you don't pay for it, and if you do use data you do pay for it. If you download nothing you pay nothing for your data. You may still pay your line rental (as you do with many metered contracts - you have to pay a basic charge for having service at all). You do not lose by using no data, you pay very little, and end up better off than you are now.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591587)

The ISPs already got billions from the government to upgrade their broadband infrastructure. The big ones took the money, used it, and raised rates to "reclaim upgrade costs."

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29593267)

I think the only thing metered pricing should do is lower the cost for the low end users, the ones who don't do anything but check email and watch the occasional youtube vid. Unlimited data should remain an options with a ceiling no higher than our current prices.

The reason for this is we already pay monthly based on the size of our tubes. The cost of your internet depends on the maximum amount of bandwidth you can use. IE people with the 256kbps DSL line pays a lot less than the dude with the 5mb cable line who pays much less than the guy with the fractional T1. So in order for the ISP to justify charging more for upgrading to higher bandwidth backend tubes is when they actually need it because people are requesting bigger tubes at which point their upgrade costs are covered by the people now paying the much higher monthly costs.

As people have said in the past, you can not charge based on data usage since unused capacity in this case is wasted capacity unlike gas/eletricity where the unused can be kept for later usage. Unless the metered plans offer lifetime rollover and non-use constitutes 0 cost (if I go on vacation for a month and never touch the home internet, I get charged nothing), then the plans are fundamentally inconsistent with the way gas/eletricity are billed.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592509)

No. The capacity of the network at any given time is finite. You are using a fraction of that available bandwith for some period of time.

Bandwidth x Time = Bytes Transferred.

The difference is that bandwidth that isn't used is wasted, so the ideal situation is 100% utilization (yes, I know that in reality you get better utilization with less than 100% saturation). For something like fuel, whatever doesn't get used by the end of the day can be used the next day instead.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

vegiVamp (518171) | more than 4 years ago | (#29595361)

Correct. So, it would actually be a good idea to multiply a portion of the price per byte with the fraction of usage in the pipe at that time.

Say an MB of transfer costs you 15 cent. Of that, there's 5 cent fixed price (infrastructure et al). If the pipe is only used 10%, at night for example, your MB will cost you 5 + 10 * 0.1 = 6 cents.
If you want to transfer that MB during lunch hour, when everyone is surfing and the pipe is 95% full, it'll cost you 5 + 10 * 0.95 = 14.5 cents.

Yes, I realise this is hell to implement from a technical point of view, but it'd be a good way to both get cheaper downloads, and to get infrastructure usage less peaky.

Electricity companies already have a very simple implementation of this: night tariff.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Espinas217 (677297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29596075)

No. The capacity of the network at any given time is finite. You are using a fraction of that available bandwith for some period of time.

Bandwidth x Time = Bytes Transferred.

And that's why you pay for bandwidth, you pay for a slice of the network capacity to use as you wish. You pay for the resource that is limited, bandwidth, not the unlimited one, data.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

TooMuchToDo (882796) | more than 4 years ago | (#29597315)

True. But Capacity - Used Bandwidth = Unused Bandwidth. Unused Bandwidth = Wasted Capacity.

Disclaimer: I own a hosting/infrastructure company, and encourage my customers to use all the bandwidth we give them, and try to provide more as cost-effectively as possible.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589981)

I'm with you but I doubt it will come soon, if ever. They make far more money charging granny $40 to check her email. The few people who know what a torrent is don't change that. The bellyaching is a show they put on so that they can continue to cap & filter without the government getting on their backs.

Re:Horrible idea... (1, Interesting)

mrbill1234 (715607) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590495)

You can't compare bandwidth which is 100% recycled electrons to electricity or gas which is a finite resource subject to the pricing of the open market.

Electricity doesn't have anything remotely like Moore's Law - whereas bandwidth availability will most probably continue to expand in line with moore's law.

The statement by the Verizon CTO is just him thinking of ways to squeeze more money out of his customers.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29591435)

I semi agree with you. But the flaw to the issue is if they set the pricing they are very unlikely to lose money. If I have a bottom line of $5 per month and I see you are using less bandwidth, then I can simply raise the per unit price to achieve my bottom line again.

One can make the argument to switch to another provider, but if they are all on a similar metered model, you'd be right in the situation you are in now with unmetered.

As the provider, it is an ideal situation. I make my bottom line with a certain amount of supply. you cut back on your usage, I raise my price to get back to my bottom line, and I now make the same money providing LESS supply.

Naturally there are more factors, this is just watered down to make the point.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591557)

I think it's less than 5% of ISP customers who download a lot. The ISPs switching to charging per gigabyte downloaded would maybe get more money from the 5% powerusers, but the 95% who only use it to check their email and maybe get rickroll'd will be paying so much less that it won't ever be worth it.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

GeckoAddict (1154537) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592319)

the 95% who only use it to check their email and maybe get rickroll'd will be paying so much less that it won't ever be worth it.

I'm hoping that this was an attempt at humor, because you have a lot to learn about the world if you honestly think they'll ever charge less for those 95%.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29591577)

I don't pay more for my cable for how many shows I watch?

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29591661)

But you won't know how much BW you used w/o some pretty nice equipment. A 5 MB file takes more than 40 Mb to download. There's TCP overhead, dropped packets that have to be resent, etc.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

shicaca (899698) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591699)

I unfortunately have to disagree. While they see it as "unsustainable", I see nothing but profit for them. Granted you will have a lot of people that will go way above and beyond what others use in bandwith, HOWEVER, many people will have a data package and hardly use ANY. Take, for instance, my parents and txt messaging. They just signed up for unlimited. They DEFINITELY don't use $15/month in text messages, however they like to have the ability to send as many as they want and not be nickle and dime 'ed because of it. I can see this happening with data, as well. They won't use it for much, but when they do they're glad they have spent $150 this year so far for a data package they have used twice. I think it's a horrible idea, and would be surprised if it did. With Sprint offering unlimited EVERYTHING for $69/month, something has GOT to give, and I hope it is the wireless providers' cheap a$$es... They make WAY too much money off of what they don't provide, and even more off of what they do!

iPod storage ads (2, Informative)

anomaly (15035) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592531)

iPod storage is advertised in terms of "song" and "movie" because normals don't know (or care) about bytes!

Apple sold their "inferior" device to zillions of people who don't care about how it's technically "less good" than other options, because they value things other than specifications - ease of use, style, etc. Those are valid selection criteria, even if *you* don't value them, obviously the market *does.*

Consumers on the whole will never understand nor care about "data". They will care about music and movies and other entertainment.

Remember "amuse" means
"a" - not
"muse" - think

We love our amusement.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

trawg (308495) | more than 4 years ago | (#29594683)

Actually I disagree. I think it's crazy that I pay per KWh of electical power I use, I pay per minute of phone time I spent, I pay per BTU (or is it volume?) of natural gas I use, I pay per liter of petrol I use, etc, etc...

I guess it's partly because it's quite easy to use orders of magnitude more bandwidth than you intend in very short periods of time without being aware of it. A Windows update might suck down a couple hundred megs. A software glitch might cause something to get auto-downloaded a hundred times in an hour before it completes properly. A non-tech-savvy user might leave a torrent running for 3 days unaware that he's uploading gigabytes a day.

With all those other things though its quite a bit harder to use massively more than you think you're using.

Definitely agree though, metered pricing I think would be great to have, at least as an option for those of us that know how to deal with it.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29603855)

Not quite. In the U.S., you don't pay metered anything with landline phones, and we haven't for a very long time... even stretching back to the days of Party Lines. The metering idea came about due to lack of available bandwidth, which, with fiber, is pretty much a non-issue.
What VZ wants is to bleed us to death a little at a time, like they aren't rich enough yet. We already pay for "fees" which help build and expand infrastructure, then they charge up the gazoo for using it.
It's worse than horrible, but understandable for a CFO to want it.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

bruceslog (1368385) | more than 4 years ago | (#29609081)

I remember when dial up was priced per hour. Competition slowly and inevitably drove the price down further and further, and then some companies offered unlimited dial up at a fixed price. A few even offered unlimited monthly dial up for free !
( NetZero, Surfree, and that little ISP in my hometown, and in hometowns across the country. to name but a few of the inexpensive dial up options that appeared. And that are even now out there, still, to this day ). And they still do a decent business.

So yes, Verizon, PLEASE start charging per Kb or MB or whatever. We've been down this road before. Your prices will all eventually be driven ever downward by the competition, like dial up was. Until the time, in the not so distant future, when your metered service will either become so cheap that that you will run away from the market with your tail between your legs, Verizon, or it will become such an expensive and poor choice for most folks that people will drop your company altogether and go elsewhere.

Ironically, NetZero is still out there, waiting for your next move, Verizon.
I see their TV ads every day, telling people that all they really need is NetZero's basic service at around $10.00 a MONTH, saving folks about $300.00 a year over broadband. They're not free anymore, but they are a real bargain.

Go ahead and laugh, but dial up is really all that most folks really need for checking email and a short web surfing session. Think Grandma and Grandpa, and all of those out there with active lifestyles that only use their home desktops for maybe 10 minutes a day. They are usually out and about, playing and dining, and using their Smartphones all day long. Dial up suits lots of people just fine.
And if Verizon or anyone else starts gouging folks with overage charges with their metered service, as they used to with their cell phone plans, I can see a whole lot more folks going back to dialup. Especially at just $10.00 a month. Unlimited.

I will watch Verizon and their ilk dig themselves another hole while trying to empty peoples pockets with this metered plan of theirs.
Should be entertaining to see if they survive yet another attempt to gouge their customers with overage fees.
Yeah, they'll make a bundle on overage fees for a while in the beginning, at their customers expense, of course. Which leads to them losing customers in droves, again. Which leads to lower prices, and spending tons in advertising and new service terms and lower price points than the competitors trying to get their market share back. Sound familiar Verizon ? And Sprint ?
Life can be such a vicious circle.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

snookums (48954) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589895)

As someone who's lived with transfer limits for some time, I really don't see this as anything but unavoidable in a mature market. We all know that a connection advertised as "8 Mbps" cannot be used at that capacity by all subscribers at all times. It's an 8 Mbps burstable link, but with no indication of what the sustained capacity is. For home use it makes little sense to the consumer to quote a sustained transfer rate, because home users are rarely using data in a slow steady stream. Rather, it's makes more sense to quote the integral -- i.e. total data transferred.

Networks have a finite capacity, and the people who should be paying for capacity and upgrades are the people who are using it. I don't have an unlimited calls plan on my mobile phone. I make maybe 1-2 calls per month, so I have a $0/mo plan (yes, you read that right) with higher call charges. Some people I know pay $70/mo with a lot of included calls. I'm very happy that these two options exist.

Most of the time, when people object to metered usage it's because they're in the top 1% of users, and want to continue being subsidized by others. The other common complaint is that the ISP will charge too much. Well, greedy companies with monopoly or cartel control over the service can always over charge. It's not something inherent in the billing model. In my market, the large one-time monopoly (Telstra) have a history of selling "starter" plans with ridiculously small limits, and then billing obscenely for excess ($150/GB at one point). Other smaller providers provide better packages, perks like unlimited off-peak usage and unmetered game servers, and reasonable excess usage fees (in the $3/GB range).

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

shmlco (594907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590235)

"Most of the time, when people object to metered usage it's because they're in the top 1% of users, and want to continue being subsidized by others."

Or to translate: BitTorrent parasites.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29590345)

I am not a parasite, I seed until at least 1 at most 2 (unless it is anime or I am the originator and then it is till the tracker dies)

Re:Horrible idea... (2, Insightful)

beelsebob (529313) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590555)

It sounds perfect actually. Gone are the days of broadband companies complaining that you're breaking their fair use policy. Gone are the days of broadband companies complaining about the BBC iPlayer. Gone are the days of broadband companies complaining about torrenting (legally ofc).

We pay for exactly what we get: bandwidth.
They stop complaining when we use it.

It's absolutely, 100% perfect!

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Starayo (989319) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590621)

Sounds like a good way to kill, just about everything one would use for entertainment on the web, streaming videos, games, etc etc

Welcome to the rest of the world, we don't have unlimited net. Which is exactly why cloud gaming like OnLive seems pretty stupid to me outside of the US.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592401)

Sounds like a good way to kill, just about everything one would use for entertainment on the web, streaming videos, games, etc etc

Consider the folks who can't afford a premium cable modem fee and so don't watch HD video streams at all. Now consider a service with a $10/mo connection fee, 20GB included, and 10 cents per GB after that. The average person facing the Comcast 250GB throttle would instead be paying $35/mo. Watching a movie on Netflix would cost about 15 cents. This seems very reasonable.

Charging per byte is the only thing that will encourage the ISP to support things like P2P rather than try to defeat it. They'll have incentives to improve infrastructure. Now, if the government grants a monopoly and does not enforce deflation in proportion to Moore's Law then there's a separate failure, but let's not throw out the free market assuming failed government interference.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Espinas217 (677297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29596161)

As a side effect the heavy bloated sites would cost more to visit. So there will be an incentive for the web developers / designers to reduce the size of their sites.

If the pricing is reasonable it wouldn't be so bad. But as we already know the pricing won't be reasonable so...

Another nice side effect is that it also would be much harder for ISP to oversell because you can always find something else to download to use your paid for bytes.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 4 years ago | (#29596433)

If the pricing is reasonable it wouldn't be so bad. But as we already know the pricing won't be reasonable so...

This is where the monopoly part gets tricky. I'm not yet convinced about whether transit and last-mile ought to be the same provider or not.

Another nice side effect is that it also would be much harder for ISP to oversell because you can always find something else to download to use your paid for bytes.

I understand the words in your sentence, but could you clarify why it would be harder to oversell? They ought to be encouraging people to download more, and have the infrastructure to enable profit.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

Espinas217 (677297) | more than 4 years ago | (#29597093)

I understand the words in your sentence, but could you clarify why it would be harder to oversell? They ought to be encouraging people to download more, and have the infrastructure to enable profit.

Because the amount of data to download is really huge and we always seem to find new ways to use more. Think about hard disks, every time we get a new, bigger one, we think is enough but after a few months its full.

Now they have a limited amount of bandwidth, if you sum up the bandwidth they sell to all their customers you get more bandwidth than what they have because they oversell. With data there is no limited supply. The limit is in the speed

Now we pay for something we don't use, we pay for a connection 24/7 with some speed but we only use it a few hours a day. With data we would be using up to the last byte.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29593945)

Exactly. TW backed down on this because of extreme backlash when they tested the waters. We have to remember that nothing these ISPs do is in our best interest. It's in the name of profit, nothing more. The poster below disagrees, but you have to remember, bandwidth is not a commodity and can't be compared to electricity or natural gas. The cell companies charging for minutes or the Telco charging for long distance is a complete farse as well - doesn't cost them any more to let you talk for one minute than it does for an hour. They sell "time" to us and we happily pay it...

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29600527)

I disagree.

I happen to live in a place where metered pricing is completely normal (New Zealand). It doesn't kill anything. I pay around $1 per GB of data, it's not an "arm and a leg". Some plans here include a certain 'free' quota, some do not.

In the end, though: I usually pay around $5 to $10 per month on top of the base fee, and I do get a lot of email, browse the web extensively and occasionally download a movie or an OS ISO.

Look at it this way: I MUCH rather pay a bit for the bandwidth I use than have providers fiddle around with or throttle some traffic they don't like. I'm very much FOR net neutrality, but I don't think that metered pricing violates that at all. In fact, I think we will have a hard time to defend net neutrality unless metered pricing is allowed.

Re:Horrible idea... (1)

sonicmerlin (1505111) | more than 4 years ago | (#29602025)

If you think $1/GB is fair, I`ve got a bridge to sell you in Africa. On the whole it likely costs them around a cent/Gb.

Re:Horrible idea... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29606239)

Well... Look who's providing the entertainment feeds... Of course they want to charge by the bytes transferred.

It's our own fault for going along with their whole scheme on cell phones in first place I guess.

Premium Offerings (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589619)

Oh yes, it would be a shame to lose such great deals. I mean, it's worked so well for cell phones.

Pay Per Byte (2, Informative)

kikusz (1564701) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589641)

That's why ISPs offer different plans... Slower with limits.... high-speed with limits and unlimited with basically double-price of slower and they still wanna make more... In the end they wanna turn everyone into cash-cows... Whats the point of having websites like youtube and what not if one can't even use it afraid of having to pay more?

Not a bad idea.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589687)

Except it would turn into "how much money can we milk out of consumers before the internet dies". I wouldn't mind if I had to pay more so someone else who barely uses the internet could pay less. It's fair. The problem is that if Verizon could get away with this, it would mean I pay more, and people who barely use the internet pay what I do now. Fuck you Verizon.

Forgetting something? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589727)

"This metered approach is similar to how the wireless industry has operated."

Did he forget that many wireless providers are actually working towards unlimited plans? I pay for unlimited internet and unlimited text... If that wasn't all I used on my phone I'd probably pay for unlimited minutes too.

Bah (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589737)

As a Verizon dsl user (no fios) I have been quite happy with Verizon's service. If something like this *ever* were to happen, I would probably ditch my paltry 3mb connection and just start going to the local coffeshop/fast food places for my FREE connection... granted security isn't greatest, But I doubt anyone in my small town (pop 1500) is really watching their unsecured wireless network. On the other hand, there is more than one ISP serving my area with broadband, and I doubt all of them would go this route (at least in the short term).

I tried to.. (1)

ZX3 Junglist (643835) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589751)

I tried to put some quarters in my modem, but couldn't get any more bandwidth?! Come on, Verizon, make good on your word!

Yeah... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29589777)

"But he did say that he hoped the that the Federal Communication Commission's plans to make Net neutrality principles formal regulation would not hurt broadband providers' ability to offer such premium bandwidth offerings, Telephony Online reported."

In other words he hopes they dont pass laws that prevent them from overpricing for fast internet in areas with no compatition.
n

How about a customer SLA then? (1)

herring0 (1286926) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589797)

If I'm paying for bytes, I'd like guaranteed rates to start with. I'd also like to speak with at least marginally competent staff when a problem occurs.

I would also assume that my lower bound on my bill is not going to be less than I'm paying right now since these are only going to be options if it will make them more money than any additional billing/administrative overhead will cost. Assuming I'm paying at least as much as I am now, then where is the added benefit for this 'service'?

Perfectly workable (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589807)

Several of the upper-tier ISPs in the UK already operate on this pattern.

  For example Andrews & Arnold offers 2GB peak ( 0900 - 1800 ) allowance as the basis and then charges 6UKP for each increment of 2GB used beyond this. IDNet has several base levels ( mine is 10GB peak ) and charges 1UKP per GB excess. Off-peak basic allowances are more generous but have the same excess charging model.

This permits the ISP to offer unthrottled, lower-contention Internet access to its customers. Yes, it is annoying that I have exceeded my base allowance for September but it's a small price to pay for a better connection and a real-live human on the support line.

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

cawpin (875453) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589825)

That's the problem here. They want to meter speed AND amount. They can't have both. They've been given billions of dollars to build a network, I pay too much for the speed i get already and now they want to make me pay more for the AMOUNT of data I use? I think not.

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

ImYourVirus (1443523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589993)

Well that's stupid I would go over that in a week just in tv shows I watch (the 10gb that is), easy, not to mention playing games, youtube, email, and whatever else comes to mind during the day/week/month. I mean if the cap was something 'reasonable' like several hundred gigs then it would not be such a big deal, I mean I'd rather go dial up for those kinds or stupid pricing, I could probably get several times those limits a week on dial up alone, and pay 1/5 or less than they would try to charge me, and sad to say it but it would (just almost) be more worth it, to be able to download unlimited at 5kb/s than to be capped at 2gb a month as you could do that in a couple of hours at 5kb, sure it takes 100 times as long but you can do 10,000 times as much, the choice is yours...

I'm just glad to see that some companies have found this to be the less desirable way to go. (In charging per byte that is)

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590969)

> I mean if the cap was something 'reasonable' like several hundred gigs then it would not be such a big deal

Unfortunately in the UK there is a race to the bottom amongst ISPs and they just cannot afford to offer such generous allowances. For example, A&A, Titan and IDNet are considered ``rip-off expensive'' at 20UKP ( $32 ) or thereabouts per month. If they can only offer, say, 10GB and 30GB off-peak for that, what hope for the mass-market ISPs such as BT Retail at 6 UKP per month?

I would much rather pay a reasonable per-GB fee for the data I actually grab and get a decent service in return than receive an ``unlimited'' package of which I could not actually avail due to network congestion and throttling.

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592053)

Either you are intravenously hooked up to electronic equipment (and need to get out a bit more, even by slashdot standards or you have waaaaay overestimated your consumption. )

Granted where I am quotas are standard so we're used to it but I have no problems living under a 60Gbyte cap. It lets me download two-three full games, ditto in HD movies, more SDTV movies, a few seasons of TV and more music than I can shake a stick at, and still have enough left over for general browsing and VPN to work. Oh and hosting a left4dead server.

How do you actually watch the 200 gigabytes worth of TV you download?!!

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

CodenameCain (1647235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29593613)

Seriously? The day I set up my HTPC I downloaded an 80 and a 60 gb torrent (one was 4 seasons of Stargate Atlantis, can't remember the other). There is no way you are downloading games, HD movies, and a couple of TV seasons and not going over 60 GB. If you maintain that you are, you must be getting the most compressed, crappiest looking video possible. I am with ImYourVirus, a reasonable cap must be several hundred GB in size.

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

wintermute000 (928348) | more than 4 years ago | (#29602251)

Math is here

3 games @ 6 gigabytes each = 18 gig
3 720p mkvs @ 5gigabytes each = 15 gig
3 seasons at xvid = 12 gigs

total = 45 gigs, leaving 15 gigs for browsing and mp3s. Not great but more than adequate.

And if you don't do hidef then its much more than adequate

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

altek (119814) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590063)

Given that this is Verizon (and every other US provider that is sure to follow suit), who says there will be a real live human on the support line? It takes about 10 levels deep of automated menus just to get to a human, then you still get transferred all over PBX hell until you get to someone who may be able to help, and usually end up getting disconnected in the process. Not to mention that VZW doesn't even staff the phones during non-business hours except for tech support. And if you finally do manage to get someone, they are usually rude AND incompetent.

This sounds like utter hell, my own worst nightmare. I mean, something like this might actually force me to go outside!

Re:Perfectly workable (1)

metamatic (202216) | more than 4 years ago | (#29597519)

Except that £6 for 2GB is an utterly outrageous markup, given how much the bandwidth is costing the ISP...

Wireless vs Wire (1)

tagno25 (1518033) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589859)

This metered approach is similar to how the wireless industry has operated.

Did he forget or does he not know that a wireless link (one broadcast sector) is similar to a hub where all the data goes to all the users, but only the one that asked for it uses it, so the bandwidth is shared. Where as a wire (cat3, cat5, fiber, etc) can transmit the full speed to a single user and they do not have to share bandwidth and cannot see each others data.

They have 10+Gb/s [full-duplex] fiber and Ethernet, but the fastest PtP wireless link I have yet to see can only do around 4Gb/s [full-duplex] (Dragonwave [dragonwaveinc.com]) and the fastest PtMP that I know of can only do 103Mb/s [half-duplex / MiMo] (Ubiquti [ubnt.com])

Seems to be a cycle... (1)

bill_kress (99356) | more than 4 years ago | (#29589937)

We started out with some metered services, then many small ISPs started offering connectivity at unmetered rates (they often didn't provide the services). The service providers matched the unmetered rates and many of the ISPs vanished. If they go to metered or raise the price too high, people will find another way to connect.

This is one market where it's really tough to maintain an expensive monopoly. I say if Verizion wants to do that they should. I'll miss my FIOS, but I'll switch over to someone else, no problem.

If they convince Comcast and the others to join them, maybe I'll start an ISP.

What's the problem? (1)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590043)

I live in Japan, and it only cost $60-80 USD a month to have a 100MB up & down fiber optic connection in every room of my house. I know Japan is only the size of California, but come on. Seriously, the US spends millions on beach sand [sundancevacations.com] and damn near nothing on real connections.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

fightinfilipino (1449273) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590059)

main problem is the sheer size of the US, coupled with a much older infrastructure. when you consider how cheaply the major telecoms operate in the US, and their unwillingness to use gov't subsidies to do something like actually investing in infrastructure, you know there's going to be a problem. i gather Japan has a slightly more modern infrastructure, plus an easier geographic area to cover.

Re:What's the problem? (2, Interesting)

iCantSpell (1162581) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590111)

That's probably the reason. You also have to factor that Japan is 90% middle class, 70% jungle, and mountains with 0% deforestation. So technically the whole country isn't really wired for the net, and everyone can afford it in the places that are wired.

Re:What's the problem? (1)

CodenameCain (1647235) | more than 4 years ago | (#29593717)

Problem is that US telcos have received plenty of gov't. subsidies in the past for the specific purpose of expanding and building their infrastructure and the money has been wasted and not utilized for the purpose in which it was intended.

Re:What's the problem? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29590185)

You're assuming the ISPs will use the increased income to improve service and infrastructure?
How long have you been in Japan? cause that's not how Verizon, Comcast, RoadRunner, etc. seem to work.

Nothing wrong with metered usage, but... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590187)

... it ought to be for the right reasons. I doubt that it is this time around. Nevertheless...

Is there anyone who honestly thinks there's something immoral about people paying specifically for what resources they actually consume, whether it's electricity, medical services, or Internet bandwidth? I'm a pretty solid socialist/consensualist, and even I think it's a very rational concept. It was once the way people paid for pretty much everything, until certain entrepreneurs discovered they could amass even more wealth by charging everyone a flat fee based on the "highest common denominator". Insurance companies make their wads of cash in pretty much the same way, don't they? It's potential abuse of metered usage that might make it immoral, not the concept itself.

Metered usage also serves as financial and economic feedback to keep people honest and make them think about the consequences of their choices and behavior. Do I *really* need to download that ISO of a Jenna Jameson porn DVD? Can you imagine how much less people would drive in their cars, or how much slower they would drive, for instance, if there was a cost in personal physical effort and discomfort for stepping on the accelerator, like there would be if they were riding a bicycle?

Metered usage forces people to make economically realistic choices, god forbid.

Re:Nothing wrong with metered usage, but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29590213)

Can you imagine how much less people would drive in their cars, or how much slower they would drive, for instance, if there was a cost in personal physical effort and discomfort for stepping on the accelerator, like there would be if they were riding a bicycle?

Change gears or make your own car that does not shove a red hot poker up your butt.

Re:Nothing wrong with metered usage, but... (2, Funny)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590251)

How about wiring the steering wheel to be electrically conductive, and slowly increasing the voltage with speed?

Re:Nothing wrong with metered usage, but... (1)

SeximusMaximus (1207526) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591053)

Is there anyone who honestly thinks there's something immoral about people paying specifically for what resources they actually consume, whether it's electricity, medical services, or Internet bandwidth?

You can't consume bandwidth, its a fixed amount. That is what people are confusing here. If an ISP wants to charge based on usage, that is fine, but it seems very likely they will charge on speed and usage, which is not fine. The major telecoms have been given billions in tax benefits and grants to build communications infrastructure and now they want to double dip. That is what is immoral about these ideals, not the concept of metered usage itself. If an ISP wants to sell data by the byte, they better well be providing a fixed bandwidth with an SLA, and not a burst able bandwidth model, or else they are once again double dipping.

Re:Nothing wrong with metered usage, but... (1)

macraig (621737) | more than 4 years ago | (#29592433)

Please don't split hairs over semantics I used in one paragraph, when the others that followed make it clear I was referring to usage. We don't disagree. If the basic fee structure is to be based upon actual usage, then there should at most be a VERY small fixed monthly fee in addition; otherwise it would amount to double-dipping, as you said. OTOH, I'm very publicly on record advocating forcing all the telecom companies to give/sell ownership of the wires back to the public domain, which might be too extreme a solution (real network neutrality) for your taste. I say we should make the telecom companies into contractors, contractors supporting and maintaining OUR network! Our telecom infrastructure should be as public as Linux; the telecom companies should then be to the network what Redhat and Novell are to Linux.

Reporting (1)

Dudibob (1556875) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590335)

The harder thing ISP's need to do is set up some sort of reporting to show how much you have used up so far. Nobodies going to believe what the ISP tells them if there's no way to check themselves. Also I'd welcome something like this as long as it's per GB not something daft like per hour (and fairly cheap, aka £1 per GB max)

Re:Reporting (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29590981)

Thankfully the better ISPs already do, complete with projected usage!


During the time period 2009-09-01 to 2009-09-29 your bandwidth use was:

40.83 GB Download - (Peak: 9.87 GB | Off-Peak: 30.96 GB

These figures cover 28 days. If your previous 7 days rate of usage continues for 30 days then the total for the month will be:

40.83 GB Download - (Peak: 9.87 GB | Off-Peak: 30.96 GB)

Used in other parts of the world (1)

abarrow (117740) | more than 4 years ago | (#29591607)

Metered pricing is used in many other places in the world. South Africa is a good example. It's just a great way for the providers to make lots of money and users to get the shaft. It limits innovation and provides zero incentive for service providers to increase capacity or quality of service.

Once metered Internet gets it's ugly, smelly foot in the door, it's nearly impossible to make it go away. Just say no.

Re:Used in other parts of the world (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29593425)

This is true... I live in South Africa and have a 3GB per month cap on a 4Mbit ADSL line. This service costs $65 a month and additional bandwidth costs $9 per GB...

Advice to CTO (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29591841)

get your fucking network to actually WORK. Maybe then you can discuss pricing on something that people can use instead of telling customers to "go find another carrier" as I was told when I moved into a dead zone. Yea, you know - those things that the commercials say DO NOT HAPPEN on their fucking wonderful NOTwork..... Idiots. ALL of them are fucking idiots.

Let me fix that for you (1)

tthomas48 (180798) | more than 4 years ago | (#29593859)

"Lynch said during that press conference according to reports that in the future wireless service will likely be sold in packages based on the speed of service a customer needs. This un-metered approach is similar to how the wired broadband industry has operated."

Fixed it for you. I don't know if you've heard about this "iPhone" and it's unlimited data plan? The traditional model is that customers get more features for less money. We're not really interested in spending more money to get less features. Companies that do that are generally what we call bankrupt.

Go ahead meter me... (1)

ewhenn (647989) | more than 4 years ago | (#29597835)

However, now the burden of proof is on the provider part.

This means I want detailed billing telling me exactly what you are biling me for. When the downloads took place down to the minute/second, how many bytes were transfered. Legally, if they are charging your on a per use basis, they need to be able to document everything they are billing you for.

Dear Telco/Cableco, I'll take my 409 page printout monthly. Thanks, and enjoy the postage.

Another way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29597865)

Another way to separate the haves from the have nots - the haves will get as much Internet access as they want, the have nots will likely not even want the added burden and expense. Imagine, every time you hit a search engine and check out results to decide if its the right one, you will have spent money. If I'm browsing the net, every hit will consume bandwidth and ultimately cost me. What happens to places that offer free web services like libraries, schools and community centers? I'll tell you, they'll start restricting what you can search for on the net. The providers will kick in by providing packages that give you quick access to what "you" want - i.e. prepackaged company approved websites. This is control people. When are we going to realize that it is our tax money that built the tubes? When are we going to realize that it is our taxes that subsidize the development? When are we going to realize that these companies are using lame excuses to profit?

Remember they don't "have to", they "want to". They are looking at the net from a business standpoint and as other posters pointed out they want to make more money for less. They want to control the product.

The question is ladies and gentlemen - are we going to let them?

Verizon Internet vs iPhone Internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29604081)

I am a Verizon customer (the rest of my family) and an AT&T/iPhone customer. I had to turn off Internet on all my Verizon phones because the moment anyone did ANYTHING on the Internet, I was getting charged $5-10 in data usage. I'm obviously paying more for my unlimited iPhone Internet plan but the fact that I don't have to worry about getting socked with overages all the time means that I can do what I want with my phone with no angst. The net result is 85,000 apps, 50,000,000 users and a whole new multi-billion dollar business. Strikes me that people like Dick Lynch are a significant reason why this didn't happen on the Verizon network.

Words mean exactly what I want them to mean (1)

WindShadow (977308) | more than 4 years ago | (#29674589)

It seems that Mr Lynch wants to redefine bandwidth from the current meaning Verizon uses to charge more for faster connections (ie. transfer rate), to meaning usage (bytes transferred), for which they would also like to charge. In fact, it seems that all of the "providers" want to be paid for existing, and then overcharge for anyone who want to actually use their connection.

This is the same Verizon which first dropped all binary groups from their usenet offering, because about 1% of the groups might have contained porn, then dropped the groups completely. In both cases they said that their TOS allowed them to drop any service without lowering price or considering that a a breach of contract. They have terms of service which don't actually require them to provide anything, other than a monthly bill. This is Verizon which now blocks access to non-Verizon eMail providers unless they use a Verizon approved protocol instead of the standard POP3/SMTP protocols.

When I was in server support for Prodigy/SBC we simply whitelisted people for port 25 (SMTP) at the POP, Verizon doesn't seem to care, they explicitly have "no exceptions." Or for $300/mo you can get a real connection to the Internet from them

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