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FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the deposit-seven-cents-to-continue-reading dept.

The Internet 515

An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski has publicly backed usage-based pricing for wired internet access at the cable industry's annual NCTA Show. He makes the claim that it would drive network efficiency. Currently most internet service providers charge a flat fee and price their packages based on the speed of the service, while wireless providers are reaping record profits by charging based on usage, similar to the way utilities charge for electricity. By switching to this model, the cable companies can increase their profitibility while at the same time blocking consumers from cutting the cord and getting their TV services online."

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Their wet dream (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084855)

By switching to this model, the cable companies can increase their profitibility while at the same time blocking consumers from cutting the cord and getting their TV services online

Re:Their wet dream (2)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 2 years ago | (#40084905)

That's the way it used to be thru some providers, and the reason for off-line e-mail readers like Eudora. Download everything in a minute, and spend the next half hour reading and replying to your e-mail, then upload in batch, only being connected to the net for brief periods like 1 minute at a time. Maybe we can get back to ten cents a minute - maybe the kids would no longer be so fat, when they were forced by economics to go out and play basketball and baseball for entertainment rather than being glued to the innernetz...

10 cents a minute would likely cost me... $900 a month. Not to bad, eh? Just go back to reading books and watching the tube for entertainment, and downloading e-mail once a day. Hey, this might even save the post office...

I may be wrong ... (5, Insightful)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about 2 years ago | (#40085029)

... but I get this feeling that under the current administration America is actually going backwards on a lot of things

Ever from the start of the so-called "Information Hiway" the users had fought hard to get the flat-rate package from ISP

It has been that way for decades and suddenly officials from the Obama administration supporting the metering of Net usage

It is also under Obama administration that the MAFIAA tried (and fortunately failed) to push their SOPA bill - and if my memory served me right, the Obama administration was supporting the bill, and only after stern objection from millions of Net users that the Obama administration changed their mind

I am afraid to think what will happen i4 years from now if this administration is to win the upcoming election

Re:I may be wrong ... (5, Insightful)

letherial (1302031) | about 2 years ago | (#40085167)

So Mr Romney is going to do better? you want to see a HUGE sell out, look at him and is multiple stances on every issue depending on who is paying the most

Seriously, blaming this on one administration, one congress, or one party is utterly ignorant. Fact is, the rich have far to much control and mr rich guy himself taking the mantel of presidency will lead our country back to double down bush era, less taxes and more power for the rich; more hardship for everyone else.

And if you think the recording industry will have less control with a republican in the white house...well then i will take back my statement that your ignorant, instead ill just call you plain stupid.

Lets just be clear, i cannot imagine the American people will accept romney as a president, i think he will lose and lose big. If the right wing was serious about anything, they would put up electable candidates...huntsman was a good choice, but retards herd the stupid in that party, in turn, the right wing has gone from a political party to a cult.

Re:I may be wrong ... (0, Flamebait)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 2 years ago | (#40085213)

It is also under Obama administration that the MAFIAA

God, you must be one of those Teabag cultists. Everything is Obama's fault. Don't forget your fuckin' kool-aid!

Re:I may be wrong ... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085323)

Yeah OK idiot, go back and kiss Obama's ring. I see OWNS is so superior to the Tea party. Man up and stop being s dirty commie. PS In case you kids on this site didn't notice because your 3rd grade teacher didn't tell you, there really is no difference between Republican/Democrat, they play us all for fools, fool.

Re:I may be wrong ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085339)

To be fair, republicans cater to the demands of big oil, and democrats cater to the demands of big media. You don't have to be a rabid Obama hater to take that point of view.

Re:I may be wrong ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085231)

Internet pricing and digital freedoms are frankly not important issues in US politics at the moment. If you're going to vote, vote for something that actually matters like large scale economic policies, healthcare, or human rights issues.

Re:I may be wrong ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085283)

Digital freedom IS a human rights issue.
Internet pricing IS a large-scale economic policy.

Re:Their wet dream (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#40085121)

Hey, this might even save the post office...

The post office business is booming. They might not be delivering many letters, but they're delivering many, many more expensive parcels. If they go bust, it'll be due to their own internal inefficiencies, not because the market vanished.

Re:Their wet dream (4, Informative)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | about 2 years ago | (#40085141)

it will be due to Congress forcing them to make bad business decisions through legislation.

Re:Their wet dream (5, Informative)

SlippyToad (240532) | about 2 years ago | (#40085203)

If they go bust, it'll be due to their own internal inefficiencies,

They have been forced by Congress to fully fund their pensions 75 years out. That means pensions for employees who haven't even been born yet.

It's the GOP's way of killing the USPS so they can drive business to their asshole buddies. SOP.

Re:Their wet dream (3, Informative)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#40085155)

10 cents a minute would likely cost me... $900 a month. Not to bad, eh? Just go back to reading books and watching the tube for entertainment, and downloading e-mail once a day. Hey, this might even save the post office...

They're not talking about per-minute billing, they're talking about per-gigabyte billing. Your cell phone is connected 24/7 as well, but they bill you for the amount of data you actually send through the network, rather than the speed tier you're on. All cell phones are on essentially the same speed tier, which is "whatever the maximum your phone will support at the moment".

It's a ridiculous assumption though, because once the capacity's there, it costs about the same regardless of whether you use it or not.

Re:Their wet dream (5, Insightful)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | about 2 years ago | (#40085363)

Based on the evaluation of the effect of ths in the UK, it will mean people divide into two camps:

Those who pay over the odds to buy a deal for a large amount of data they dont need, to ensure they dont exceed their budget limit.

Those who are too terrified to use the service at all for fear of "bill shock".

Over a period, most users end up in camp 2, and the usage collapses, until one or more ISPs revert to the "unmetered" model, and collect all the users.

Re:Their wet dream (1)

Potor (658520) | about 2 years ago | (#40084919)

If they go this way, they may lose money on me.

I have no cable TV subscription, and the only way I watch TV is on Hulu (etc.).

If they meter me, I'll simply revert to my earlier Web activities, which are largely text-based.

Mud! (4, Funny)

captainpanic (1173915) | about 2 years ago | (#40084991)

It's bye bye World of Warcraft, and hello text-based mud!

Re:Mud! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085317)

It's bye bye World of Warcraft, and hello text-based mud!

telnet avatar.outland.org 3000
I've got a lvl 39 Harpy Monk!

If you're on Windows Vista/7 you'll need to go into "programs and features", add features, and turn on your telnet client.

Re:Mud! (3, Insightful)

way2trivial (601132) | about 2 years ago | (#40085321)

do you know how WOW works?

it's all in the client- the actual bandwidth the game uses in play is nothing- it can played via a dialup modem.

patches on the other hand- take a fair bit o bandwidth..

welcome back- software on disc that you hand from buddy to buddy....

Re:Mud! (1)

Necroloth (1512791) | about 2 years ago | (#40085387)

come and play on Razor's Edge :-D (razors.speakgeek.org port:4000)

Re:Their wet dream (-1, Offtopic)

YouShallUseGamemaker (2645837) | about 2 years ago | (#40084999)

You.
You disgust me.
You disgust all of the Enlightened Ones.
You belong to the most vile species in existence.
Do you want to know the name of that species, trash?
Gamemakerlessnesses.
I had originally thought that the idea that there were those that don't use Gamemaker was preposterous.
Absolutely absurd.
After all, Gamemaker's the greatest.
How could anyone not use Gamemaker?
But I now know that there are, in fact, those that don't use Gamemaker.
And now, I am here to tell you to return to Gamemakerdom!
Do it right now!
Do it without fail!
Zero fail in returning to Gamemakerdom!
You can return.
You may return.
You must return.
You shall return.
You can, may, must, and shall return to Gamemakerdom!

Return, return, return, return, return to Gamemakerdom!

Re:Their wet dream (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085043)

And that is fine. By preventing you from using web based "TV" they still help achieve their goal of locking in people who do watch entertainment content. What you personally do is irrelevant as long as it's not helping to build a model that excludes or reduces their profit and power.

Who loses out (5, Interesting)

isorox (205688) | about 2 years ago | (#40084885)

If cable companies take more money from their customers, with little extra investment in new technology or staffing, it means another sector of the economy loses out. Pay an extra $20 for internet access, that's 1 less dvd you're buying from a MPAA affiliated company.

Re:Who loses out (1)

runeghost (2509522) | about 2 years ago | (#40084907)

You're right, but the corporate behemoths are likely far to stupid to understand that. And even if they did, corporate America seems perfectly fine with making the pie smaller, as long as they continue to have the most pieces.

Re:Who loses out (-1, Offtopic)

UseGamemaker (2645829) | about 2 years ago | (#40084923)

You piece of garbage! Human trash! Lower than feces is what you are!
Not for a single second has one such as you used Gamemaker!
Wow! Now that is truly pathetic! How comical! How comical! I can only laugh at such a pathetic existence like you!
What a piece of garbage you are!
You... you! A mere sandwich that has never known and will never know bread!
Return to Gamemakerdom you breadless sandwich!

Re:Who loses out (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084959)

Surely we can make up the difference in pirated downloads, using that terrific broadband service.

Re:Who loses out (1)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40085093)

If cable companies take more money from their customers, with little extra investment in new technology or staffing, it means another sector of the economy loses out. Pay an extra $20 for internet access, that's 1 less dvd you're buying from a MPAA affiliated company.

the beauty is that you'll be buying your internet from a MPAA affiliated company! SWEET!?!?!?!?!? so you'll be paying extra 20 bucks for less service which you can download less and the money goes to the same company who thinks you'll be buying their download services and dvd's more since you're getting less of them from the internet even when paying more..

Re:Who loses out (1)

Z00L00K (682162) | about 2 years ago | (#40085117)

Don't forget that you run the risk of paying for all the junk traffic that exists on the net, all the way from spammers and intrusion attempt to spanning tree data and routing information.

Re:Who loses out (4, Insightful)

firex726 (1188453) | about 2 years ago | (#40085191)

I got a feeling, stuff like AdBlock will be much more popular then, who wants a video ad eating up their BW on a site, especially since the ad is larger then the entire site itself.

Re:Who loses out (3, Insightful)

letherial (1302031) | about 2 years ago | (#40085253)

I think the metered result from the wireless companys will look back as a failure. When the technology was new they could justify a metered way of doing things, the internet started in similar fashion, you remember 250 hours free from AOL? yes i know, nightmares of AOL, but you do remember that right? it was dropped eventually and the same thing is happening with wireless. Currently i pay 50.00 a month for unlimited text, data, and voice, i can even tether it to my laptop.

No, i dont think ISP will go to metered with much results, it was tried i believe and the backlash caused them to pull back..now with so much bandwidth required for free services like youtube, but also paid service like netflix, the company that will try this will lose to other company's who wont touch this; and if they all try this, then its time to start a ISP that wont..it will happen the same way the internet started and where wireless is going, eventually, a ISP will offer unlimited to compete with big money, then big money will need to follow suit to keep themselves in big money.

that being said, if they do this...ill cancel my internet and use a open wifi. (adding another level of problems for ISP)

A message to all Gamemakerlessnesses! (-1, Troll)

KingOfGamemakerdom (2645815) | about 2 years ago | (#40084887)

You're disgusting.
Merely thinking about such pathetic beings as yourselves causes me to vomit.
Why would someone not return to Gamemakerdom?
It can't be.
Gamemakerlessnesses must be an urban legend.
But... could it be more than that?
It can't be.
Such a fact cannot be probable.
Gamemakerlessnesses can't exist!
Gamemakerlessnesses would be obliterated by now!
Gamemaker's the best.
Everyone uses Gamemaker.
They should use Gamemaker.
They must use Gamemaker.
They shall use Gamemaker.
It can't be.
It can't be.
It can't be.
It can't be!
How!? How could such pathetic beings as those who don't use Gamemaker exist!?
How is such a fact probable!?
Use Gamemaker! Use it right now! Use it right this minuteness!
Gamemaker can do anything!
There is nothing Gamemaker cannot accomplish!

Return, return, return, return, return to Gamemakerdom!

Re:A message to all Gamemakerlessnesses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084927)

Hey troll, could you let us know whether your your little marketing campaign has increased sales?

I'd be interested in hearing about that.

Re:A message to all Gamemakerlessnesses! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085047)

Sorry, captain herpaderp, but according to the wikipedia entry, it is limited to one OS (MacOS), and has a fairly limited scope in what it can do.

Open your eyes, look at the world, there's variance and wonder in it in it, which are lacking in that little tiny hole under a rock, in which you live.

A license to exploit the consumer (5, Insightful)

yesterdaystomorrow (1766850) | about 2 years ago | (#40084889)

The problem with this model is that it's very hard to control your usage. There's no practical way to know in advance how much a particular click will cost. Of course, the providers love it for exactly that reason.

Re:A license to exploit the consumer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084925)

I bet you one would arise if such a model became common place :)

Re:A license to exploit the consumer (5, Interesting)

Zocalo (252965) | about 2 years ago | (#40085033)

Wide spread use of ad-blocking for one. A vast reduction in the amount of time spent on social networks and aimlessly surfing YouTube for another. Less impulsive downloads of media and apps from the likes of iTunes/app stores for a third. I can think of several others, but the gist is the same; savaging the profits of other markets to boost the flagging fortunes of another.

Let's not forget that, like certain other industries, the ISPs and carriers only have themselves to blame for getting into this mess in the first place. Be honest; connectivity costs have been unsustainably low for at least a decade now. Being overly competetive with each other and sacrificing upgrades necessary for future growth in order to cut another few bucks off the monthly fee has ultimately helped remove most of the smaller players. What's left is looking more like a cartel in all but name every day, and you know what happens with cartels and pricing, right?

Re:A license to exploit the consumer (1)

ByOhTek (1181381) | about 2 years ago | (#40085107)

I doubt it.

It didn't arise last time. What arose last time was companies offering unlimited internet, because it was one of the rare cases where there was a large block of consumers with a similar/unified desire, and it actually had a successful push.

If they try this route again, then some companies will find that they can get more customers and generally increase their profit, by getting rid of the competition, and offering unlimited plans. The companies with pay-by use will again migrate back to offering these plans as well. The prices will again drop through competition, and we'll be back to the mediocre state we are in now. Unfortunately, between now and then, it will probably suck a bit.

Normally, when it is a company vs. a group of individuals (consumers) the company wins because the variety in the individuals, and their inability to have a cohesive opinion and exert a reasonable market force to change, except in the most extreme cases. This situation has been shown in the past to be an exception to this pattern/trend.

Re:A license to exploit the consumer (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 years ago | (#40085173)

Yes and no. But regular web-browsing is nothing compared to half an hour of Youtube. Per-megabyte pricing, though, would maybe help to discourage pagebloat and Web 2.0 gimmickry. And discouraging the people who torrent petabytes just because they can would do no harm.

To those who disliked Bush... (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084897)

To those who disliked Bush...how is the Obama admin different again? This guy wants to limit your freedom to download - I am shaking my head in disgust (at both Bush and Obama!)

Obama still crap. Bush still worse. (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085059)

What, precisely, is your area of confusion here?

This one is black?

(actually, the USA couldn't actually go for a black president, they could only manage a half-tone one. Can't be doing with revolutionary ideas in the states...)

Re:To those who disliked Bush... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085367)

They don't start wars for oil for one, though they have been known to continue them. They don't talk out their ass about how awesome God is all the time and act like uneducated jackasses. Obama spoke out in favor of gay marriage, albeit years too late. they actually tried to push through universal healthcare, although buckled under pressure from repug jackasses as per usual because they have no backbone.

You know the difference between the Obama admin and Bush? Obama has good ideas that they don't have the balls to implement. Bush had terrible ideas and giant balls yellong FUCK YEAH MERICA while screwing us over the whole time.

And yes they are both awful on copyright, the difference being that Obama actually understands how to use a computer while bush thought it was a magic box.

UBB Crashed and burned in Canada (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084911)

after UBB was such a hit in Canada the USA tries it. See bad ideas don't always go one way across the border.

Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's at. (5, Insightful)

g0tai (625459) | about 2 years ago | (#40084931)

So, cable companies failed to innovate, and depsite seeing this coming, didn't change.

Now their entire world is threatened by the internet, and the FCC are attempting to apply a band-aid to help keep their business model going. This will also be to the detriment of the consumer, and ultimately progress.

Sorry, but his application of the 'band-aid' is fundamentally wrong. In business, if you fail to innovate and keep ahead, you will eventually be surpassed by someone else/another business whereby they are ahead of the curve or willing to change. This is happening, and frankly, the cable industry has no-one to blame but themselves for failing to innovate.

They didn't innovate, and now they are realising that they are fast becoming obsolete.

Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085019)

That was my thought, the reason he's touting for UBB is precisely why it's a bad idea. Unlimited is good for consumers and tech companies as it provides a meaningful incentive to keep updating the equipment and increasing capacity.

I'm not wholly opposed to UBB, but until there's more than just 2 valid options in most areas, it needs to be killed with fire.

Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (5, Informative)

XellDx (737289) | about 2 years ago | (#40085169)

*Disclaimer: I've worked in Cable for years*
They have been innovating. You can only fit so many channel frequencies into a line before you have to upgrade the line your using or find a new way of transmitting over the existing infrastructure. Any innovation that would allow for an exponential addition of channels to the existing infrastructure would be a gold mine. They're trying, and they're all in it together. When was the last time you heard of any one cable company inventing anything? They don't. They have a group dedicated [cablelabs.com] to research which helps all of them.. Anything that the group comes up with is made an industry standard, basically IEEE for cable.

But going back to the infrastructure: cable companies are obviously bound to this. And it costs a lot to both maintain and upgrade. The first half of the 2000's many companies used cable internet and later cheap phone service to multiple advantages.
1 was generating more revenue by increasing the amount of services their customers subscribed too. This also lead to increased customer loyalty, since its one thing to cancel just your internet service if a company pisses you off but another all together to consider dropping a company that hosts your TV, Internet, and phone.In upgrading a system of say, 50k subscribers you could double the amount of money it generated, which means
2 the increased revenue offset the costs of upgrading systems to support the new features. Think back 10 years ago, what was the fastest speed you saw in major cities? 3-5 Mbps if that. Some area's have 50+ Mbps now.
3 by increasing the capacity when HD came around many systems where already ready for the initial wave of channels. They did innovate, which is why many area's have 50+ HD channels available now if you have an HD converter. Without the investment into rewiring many area's, cable would never be about to touch satellite as far as competition in many area's.

Upgrading systems costs an insane amount of money. That more than anything is the reason that cable monopolies exist, the cost of entry prohibits competition. To install a new plant in an town of 50k takes something to the tune of 2-3 million dollars, with zero guarantee on how long it will take to recover that cost, if ever. Cable lines have reached their limit unless someone comes up with a new way of multiplexing, and if its that significant a step up you'll see it deployed very rapidly. Some companies are switching to fiber but the cost is insane. And where as if someone cuts a cable line the service could be back up in an hour, if someone cuts a fiber line it could take significantly longer.

Having said all that, the "Usage Allowance Plan" is a crock of shit. It is exactly what it is being labeled as, a stop gap measure to keep people from dumping the TV service. Because cable companies get charged by the broadcasters based on their install base*, which includes internet only customers in some cases, they're trying to stop the current trend of "Internet for everything" since it inverts #1 & 2: less revenue generated, but now node capacity has to be increased. Does it make it fair for the consumer? Of course not. Are the amounts for the usage plans in use by the larger companies fair? Considering that a large % of the subscribers never come close to the cap, it depends. COULD they offer an 'unlimited' package? Yes. Which is why its a crock of shit, their could be a way to pay more if you use more, but thanks to other industries showing that micro-payments for additional service is a viable model for monopolies that isn't likely to happen. Hence this whole hullabaloo, they're trying to have their cake and squeeze money out of it too.

*ask anyone who's worked for a Cable call center about NFL network. Just don't do it when they're holding something stabby.

Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (1)

g0tai (625459) | about 2 years ago | (#40085195)

Thankyou for your very detailed and informative response!

Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (3, Insightful)

MachineShedFred (621896) | about 2 years ago | (#40085347)

Note that I'm coming from a place where I don't know much about how digital cable systems work, but I'm curious:

What effect would it have on the cable system to convert all available frequencies for use on an IP network, and deliver the channel that you're watching via video-over-IP, rather than having a discrete data "channel" and delivering lots of channels of video simultaneously that you're not watching?

It seems that for the cost of a bit of channel-changing delay, they could harvest a shedload of bandwidth. Unless they've already done this with digital cable systems, then I guess I'm just catching up.

Re:Innovate or become obsolete. That's where it's (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085361)

Thank you for that imformative post, corporate shill.

Now go fuck yourself.

I Know All (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084949)

The analogy is putting a toll on every road and never upgrading them beyond a dirt track.

The business model didn't work then and won't work now.

The providers should be *constantly* investing in infrastructure.

FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski should be renamed to FCC Chairman Julius Smokeawangski.

Looking for nice lobbyist position... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084951)

Nice to know greed is still alive and well in our own government, would hate to think otherwise.

So I guess someone is looking for a position in the future as a lobbyist for the ISP companies.

Wireless Providers Charging (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084953)

"while wireless providers are reaping record profits by charging based on usage, similar to the way utilities charge for electricity."

(By wireless I assume they mean mobile)

If my mobile provider was still charging me by the kilobyte I wouldn't be using it. It's just too much to keep track of and too easy to go awry. I would imagine that it's the same for a lot of users. So effectively I pay a flat fee for mobile internet access*.

Forced to choose, I would imagine that a lot of people would drop their house connection in favour of keeping their phones. And at the moment people are having to choose. At least the phone can be tethered when at home. In the long run any ISP/cable provider doing this is likely to lose customers.

Of course I'm looking at this from a European perspective. YMMIA (Your Millage May Vary In America)

* Over here in the UK, even on a pre-pay phone, I can pay for six months net access up front for £20 (with T-Mobile). It's probably a little slower or more capped then a larger contract price, but I've never had a problem with push email, ssh, lightweight surfing, apps, etc.

Quite correct (1)

bazorg (911295) | about 2 years ago | (#40084955)

He'is quite right, except if he wants to retain customers.

Re:Quite correct (1)

Coeurderoy (717228) | about 2 years ago | (#40085109)

Do not worry, destroying competition will fix this for you, they'll retain customers by removing competition, it's more fun to bribe^H^H^H^H^Hinform politicians than to have to interact with pesky tech people and try to understand why giving them money might make you a better provider than the competition...
Easier to legislate competition out of the picture.

Packets are not like electricity or gas (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40084971)

Used bandwidth doesn't consume more stored resources than unused bandwidth. Idle network bandwidth is lost forever and can not be used to improve the network performance at a later time. That's why data volume isn't a good metric for the consumed good - bandwidth used at peak times is. In a functioning market, volume pricing would result in prices that don't reflect the ISPs costs and therefore in uncompetitiveness for the ISP which uses this flawed pricing model.

Divvy up the bandwidth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085091)

And charge for whatever bandwidth is used over that.

I.e. if you have a 650MBit line with 1000 people using it, that's 0.65MBits/set. Over a month, 200GB. Nobody wants it saturated, so call it "nominal" 100GB. If the line costs $20,000/month, then for your $40 (50% of that for paying for the line) you get 100GB. Every GB beyond that, $1. In theory, if it were all used up, they'd get $140 per month of which $20 is taken by the cost of the line. A 100-700% mark-up isn't bad, is it.

Re:Divvy up the bandwidth. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085123)

You didn't read what you replied to. Bandwidth that isn't used is gone for good. If everybody gets 100GB a month on a shared line, then everybody will transmit/receive their allotted data volume when it's most convenient. For most people, that will be the same time of day, the time of peak usage. In consequence, even though the network is able to transmit 100GB per user per month and nobody goes over 100GB, the network is still going to be extremely congested exactly when most people want to use it.

Volume pricing isn't "stupid", because it certainly allows for excellent price gouging in a failed market, but it's not a good way of ensuring efficient use of network resources.

Translation? (3, Insightful)

korgitser (1809018) | about 2 years ago | (#40084973)

the cable companies can increase their profitibility while at the same time blocking consumers from cutting the cord and getting their TV services online.

Does this mean that the current motivation behind mr. chairman is cable tv being worried about customers preferring internet video to their subscriptions?

He makes the claim that it would drive network efficiency.

This 'efficency' would then mean 'compensation for the loss of profit'?

Re:Translation? (2)

2phar (137027) | about 2 years ago | (#40085003)

LightSquared Fiasco Puts Harsh Spotlight on FCC's Genachowski

"A friend of President Obama's from Harvard Law School, Genachowski has brought a culture of wheeling and dealing to the FCC, on whose decisions billions of telecom dollars ride."

Re:Translation? (1)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40085243)

"A friend of President Obama's from Harvard Law School, Genachowski has brought a culture of wheeling and dealing to the FCC, on whose decisions billions of telecom dollars ride."

When they lead with the guy is a "friend of Obama" you know they are more interested in playing politics than in a meaningful examination of the problems.

Works great if you don't have competitors (1)

satuon (1822492) | about 2 years ago | (#40084995)

How would they expect to compete against those providers who do offer unlimited internet? People would just abandon them and move to those who offer unlimited internet. Isn't that how unlimited internet started in the first place?

Re:Works great if you don't have competitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085181)

That's what I'm wondering. However, in some areas, there may be little to no choice in who your ISP is. What we need is protection in areas where there are ISP monopolies to guarantee people aren't financially bled dry.

Here's what I assume it is. Cable companies are losing profit. Customers are either ditching cable TV or not opting for higher cable TV subscriptions. Either way, the cable companies are losing. Are the cable companies staying in the black or are they dropping into the red? I don't know. Excessive profit seems excessive, and I don't think it's necessary for the survival of a company, but that's just my opinion.

What are the statistics? Is the move to Internet-based video a reaction to higher cable prices or just convenience? If the former, not sure what the solution is. But if it is the latter, why not allow tiered or "metered" pricing? Those people, whether a minority or majority of the cable company's Internet users, are using up a lot of bandwidth. Do the math. It's an easy way to see how many are using the Internet for video versus other stuff (assuming the video is HD). It'd be a violation of the concept of net neutrality to charge more for online video services, but given that the higher bandwidth usage probably comes from streaming video, it's a way around it.

Would this be a bad idea? I want feedback as to why it might be.
Drop the speed tiers. Everyone can get what their modem gets them, except in peak hours in which everyone should be guaranteed a given speed.
$20/month for initial 100GB.
A quick search tells me that Americans watch roughly 150 hours per month of TV.
Assuming 6GB per hour, that's 900GB if viewed in like 1080P on the Internet.
If someone drops their cable subscription, what is the cable company losing? Let's just say $80/month for the sake of argument.
Could we just charge $20/month for the initial 100GB plus 10 cents per gigabyte in overage?
If the cable company tends to charge around $40 to $50 per month already for Internet, that's like 300GB to 400GB in usage.
Please tear my idea apart. It's probably a bad idea.

Re:Works great if you don't have competitors (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085319)

The cost for internet + TV is roughly $150/month (Comcast, 20Mb/s, mid-tier TV package). This amount tends to make subscribers think about their options; after all, TV and Internet is really for entertainment purposes and if money is tight, entertainment expenses get cut out of the budget before living expenses. Alternative? Cut the TV, keep the internet, and stream your favorite shows. That reduces your bill to about $80/month (cost of internet goes up if you're not a TV subscriber). If necessary, one could also cut the internet, and use a public library to get connected to the Internet.

The math and prices you presented seem to be reasonable, but are totally unreliable in determining what is a fair price for internet/TV. I think the best way to ensure fair prices is to allow competition. Cable companies are unregulated monopolies that don't have to worry about competitive pricing, just about maximizing profits by raising rates to the point consumers start jumping ship.

The only reason cable companies are putting caps is to kill online video streaming (Netflix, hulu, etc.). Today they're saying 300 GB/month is more than enough for the "typical user" (whatever that means). But, they can change that cap any time they wish; if the consumer doesn't like it - too bad.

Re:Works great if you don't have competitors (1)

u38cg (607297) | about 2 years ago | (#40085187)

Depends on the price. If you don't watch online video, you might well be paying less than under a flat rate.

Then what happens is the unlimited providers get left with the higher usage customers, and they then have to raise their prices. Customers at the bottom end realise they will pay less under usage-based pricing, and leave. Rinse, repeat.

Re:Works great if you don't have competitors (1)

KillaBeave (1037250) | about 2 years ago | (#40085331)

Depends on the price. If you don't watch online video, you might well be paying less than under a flat rate.

Then what happens is the unlimited providers get left with the higher usage customers, and they then have to raise their prices. Customers at the bottom end realise they will pay less under usage-based pricing, and leave. Rinse, repeat.

Nah. They'll keep the current price, just limit it and charge crazy punitive overage charges. Say it's $50 a month right now for unlimited. In the future it'll be $50 for the first (insert arbitrary but low # of gb) and probably $5 for every gb after that.

You didn't truly think this was going to save the consumer any money did you?

usage base'd pricing (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085005)

Usage based pricing violates the first ammendment and is therefore by definition an illegal tax.

(roman_mir, can't login)

Re:usage base'd pricing (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085037)

Yeah. Let's make the ISPs in the US seem even worse when compared to other countries! And these ISP monopolies that the government so charitably bestowed upon us sure are great!

Re:usage base'd pricing (1)

realityimpaired (1668397) | about 2 years ago | (#40085209)

first, I don't think that the US founding fathers had anything remotely like the Internet in mind when they wrote that amendment, and second, even if they did, or even if it can be argued to apply, nobody is telling you that you can't speak on the Internet, they're just telling you that if you want access to this utility, you need to pay your share. it's not really any different than your right to speak in a public space, since you're already paying your share for that through your taxes.

we can argue about whether it's right to be charging for that kind of access until we're blue in the face, but the situation you're proposing is essentially the same as suing a nightclub for violating your first amendment rights because they wouldn't let you in after you refused to pay the cover.

In capitalism (1)

Alworx (885008) | about 2 years ago | (#40085013)

"Cable providers have explored usage-priced pricing, but the idea has not been well received. There have been concerns that the companies were trying to raise their fees."

And instead they're doing it in order to save us money? When the whole debate stems from wireless companies having higher revenues?

By eliminating flat-rate they would be cutting out the main/only advantage wired connections have over wireless.

Lazy (1)

pandronic (1275276) | about 2 years ago | (#40085015)

Or in other words: "My head hurts when I think of new things and I just want to milk the same old cash cow for ever and ever till the end of time. Fuck the customers and what they want or need. I don't want to bother making a new business model out of their needs. And also I eat baby kittens".

FCC doesn't regulate internet AFAIK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085021)

They've turned into another self serving bureaucracy and are no longer a progressive force. The FCC should be shut down.

Corporate greed drives your laws in America (5, Interesting)

awjr (1248008) | about 2 years ago | (#40085023)

You have a very weird system over there. In the UK, one company, BT had a monopoly on the telephone system. This was recognised and legislation was put in place that the last 'mile' of the connection could be used by any company offering services many years ago allowing me to choose from multiple ISPs as long as there was space in the junction box for the hardware. Now there is concern that BT again may be able to monopolise the next 'evolution' as we move towards fibre to house, so there are calls [guardian.co.uk] to prevent this from happening.

In the US there seems to be a focus on the government doing what is good for corporate greed and not what is good for society. :(

Re:Corporate greed drives your laws in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085075)

Doing what is good for society is socialism! ... and that's a bad thing, apparently.

Re:Corporate greed drives your laws in America (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085095)

And the UK is different?

Re:Corporate greed drives your laws in America (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085113)

US is a corporately own and run state, pretty much fascist at this point.

Re:Corporate greed drives your laws in America (2)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 2 years ago | (#40085207)

In the US there seems to be a focus on the government doing what is good for corporate greed and not what is good for society. :(

The problem is access. The corps always couch their arguments in "what is good for society" rationalizations and the people running the government don't get to hear from any other viewpoints because everybody else can't afford the lobbyists. Even with the "revolving door" between industry and government, most of the people who take that obviously corrupt path justify it as doing good for themselves while doing good for the public.

The best we can hope for is that corps with opposing economic interests will also come up with rationalizations for their own benefit. For example, Netflix finally started a PAC to lobby for network neutrality - previously they thought they could avoid playing politics and it would all just magically work out for them.

Re:Corporate greed drives your laws in America (3, Interesting)

Kjella (173770) | about 2 years ago | (#40085301)

It's not easy to make good regulation, we in Norway had that too but the result was that Telenor (our version of BT) wouldn't build out junctions for DSL instead cashing in on old ISDN connections with very little competition. You don't want to make it so that BT doesn't want to convert people to fiber either. Here in Norway now I feel there's surprisingly well working competition, we have power companies, phone companies and cable companies all now looking to provide fiber services and I'd say the biggest player (Altibox) also has the best offer. In the US the problem as I understand it is that there's a lot of exclusivity arrangements so most people have one DSL and one cable service to pick from - or just the one. So they have de facto monopolies without the regulation, the worst of both worlds.

American idiots (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085025)

Here in Sweden and many other parts of the world, we have cheap, fast 100 mbit/s and even 1000 mbit/s Internet connectivity at flat rate.

How about you American idiots expand and upgrade your Internet infrastructure so everyone can have more bandwidth instead of making people pay for using bandwidth?

You guys have slow, expensive, censored shitty Internet. Your Internet connectivity is even worse than Eastern block shit countries like Poland.

Wag the Dog (again) (5, Insightful)

Walt Sellers (1741378) | about 2 years ago | (#40085027)

Over and over we go through this.

Metering has the eternal problem that ends with a enraged customer calling customer support over the shocking bill at the end of the month. AOL used metered services for years. When they finally went flat-rate, their business exploded with more customers than they could handle. When AT&T shifted from metered and offered flat-rate data for iPhone, they got more customers than they could handle.

Metered services can be good alternatives or add-ons to a flat-rate service, but they will be filling specific needs. A serious gamer may want low-latency. A serious file sender may want high-bandwidth on-demand. (I need to get this huge file sent to the office NOW.)

Metered services also have one big sore-spot: the meter itself.
      - when do you get to see the meter? Just once per month at billing time?
      - who verifies the meter is accurate?
      - how are ISPs prevented from abusing the meter? Recall that long ago, laws had to be written to stop phone companies from charging for calls before they were actually answered.
      - how are bytes being counted? Bytes are not counted like phone minutes. Packets are re-transmitted out of necessity. Do they count twice?

Re:Wag the Dog (again) (1)

letherial (1302031) | about 2 years ago | (#40085285)

"- how are bytes being counted? Bytes are not counted like phone minutes. Packets are re-transmitted out of necessity. Do they count twice?"

Not only would they be counted twice, but the ISP will be preforming 'maintenance' every day slowing the internet to a crawl and forcing websites to retransmit over and over again...

I dont think this will happen, but if it did, you can be sure that you are going to be charged for every bit that passes over there network..even if its there fault.

Re:Wag the Dog (again) (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085287)

when do you get to see the meter? Just once per month at billing time?

Of course not. You log into your ISP portal whenever you want and check.

Some ISPs in the UK also provide an RSS feed of usage, or daily e-mail updates.

This is a solved problem.

how are ISPs prevented from abusing the meter?

Do you ask the same about your electricity or water meters?

Consumers getting it deep once again with this. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085035)

I wouldn't mind, if the pricing were reasonable. Right now I pay $66 each month for 30 Mbps with a 120GB cap, so if the pricing was something around 50cent for each GB, I wouldn't mind at all. But then again, this won't happen, this is just a "best case scenario" where the consumer Win, the real world doesn't work that way unfortunately.. ISPs would most likely charge at least $1 per GB, if not more. This kind of usage-based billing is only good for people who only view their emails and overall download less than 10GB per month.

Re:Consumers getting it deep once again with this. (2)

caramelcarrot (778148) | about 2 years ago | (#40085295)

I pushed for usage based charging in my university as an alternate to the previous scheme of free bandwidth except for fining the top 20 users at £2/gig. They now charge by the amount charged per gig by the UK academic network (JANET) of ~15p (23c) and I think that's perfectly reasonable. Usage based charging is not a bad idea. In fact, it's pretty great for the majority of consumers. Why shouldn't people pay for what they use? Where it's bad is where there isn't appropriate competition to drive the price to the correct network cost, but monopolies are a problem for fixed rate plans, too.

hope and change (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085041)

at its best!

Better Yet.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085049)

Consumers can go with a wireless mesh network - like Freedom Box. Why not cut the service providers out entirely; the most efficient solution of all.

Advertisements? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085057)

If that's not going to make everyone who doesn't already use adblockers start using them, I don't know what will. If you're charged by the byte online advertisement is no longer just a nuisance, they are parasites.

Wait (1)

Vulcanworlds (2628215) | about 2 years ago | (#40085063)

I missed the part where we all stand up and cheer. We already pay too much for internet as is.

Money for old fibre (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085069)

I have a better solution, it's called "put new infrastructure in place first". And internet access is sold by speed, not utilization. If consumers are forced to to buy bandwidth, then it must also be made availiable from 3rd party providers. Viva capitalism and the hell with this fascist, pinko-commie FTC dude.

Slow down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085077)

Will I be paying for the commercial banners data ?

I'm truly empathizing with gang-bang female performers/victims now ...

Old money vs... (3, Interesting)

yoshi_mon (172895) | about 2 years ago | (#40085079)

Old content driven, highly scripted, highly time controlled, ads you can't block or skip while live, we drive the narrative money.

VS

New internet you go where you want, sandbox type choice for the user, ads are there but can be dialed down at the user end, DIRECTLY sells stuff to people, lets people connect in multiple ways, old we drive the narrative content still there but also many many other points of view.

Andddddddd, fight!

Maybe they wil call it "SmartNet" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085083)

so all your suckers who got caught up in the Android/iOS phone craze will feel good about paying even more for your internet.

Problem is cable companies have a monopoly (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085101)

Back when dial-up was the only way to connect to internet, customers used their existing phone lines and a modem to connect to the ISP of their choice: AOL, Prodigy, CompuServe, Mindspring, Juno, and hundreds of smaller local providers. With so many ISP choices, customers could shop around and the cost of dial-up service went from 30/month to 8/month in the span of about 10 years. In addition, the dial-up service went from metered hourly connection rates, to a flat monthly fee with unlimited usage.

Cable providers have a monopoly on the coax cable coming into customer's home, and this explains why the price behavior of cable internet is completely opposite the pattern demonstrated by dial-up products. With cable, the prices started out low for unlimited access and gradually increased while at the same time speed and volume gets limited and capped.

Cable providers spend the initial investment money to lay down coax cable to everyone's home; but that cost is offset by subsidies from the government, and in forms of add-on taxes that appear on every subscriber's cable bill. So, in reality the coax cable is paid for with tax payer's money (in part) and with subscriber's money. Yet, the cable provider gets to claim those as their own property, refusing to allow other cable providers to compete.

In other countries, coax cables are not owned exclusively by one cable provider and a healthy competition among internet providers exists. The result: half the monthly fee, 5 times the speed, and no caps. Yet, those providers are still profitable.

Abolish the monopoly cable providers have over the coax cable infrastructure, and prices will plummet as competition flares up.

Good statistics (2)

wisebabo (638845) | about 2 years ago | (#40085105)

(I know, I know: lies, damned lies and...)

Mark Twain aside, if you still wanted to promote laissez-faire economics (not that that's always appropriate), the FCC should ensure that there is enough competition in a given market (far from today's sorry reality in the U.S.), publish GOOD (useful) STATISTICS on speed (indexed by time of day perhaps), latency, uptime, etc. Then let the consumers decide how they want to be billed. Or at least that's how it SHOULD work out, I don't understand how market forces haven't eliminated the insanely complex and restrictive 2-year contracts most people are locked into. Lobbyists perhaps?

If people are provided accurate information they SHOULD choose the most efficient/best product for the cheapest price (except for "Geffen goods"). That's why ratings agencies are absolutely crucial to a properly functioning market; nothing was "wrong" with sub-prime mortgages, it's just that the ratings agencies were giving them AAA ratings (because they were being paid by the issuers). Those guys should be "castrated and blinded" (another literary reference, this one from "The Visit") or at least made bankrupt and their officers thrown in prison!

I Will not go back to cable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085223)

I went DVD/Roku/Netflix about a year ago and will never go back to cable. I find myself enjoying life more and watching TV less. Time formally spent in front of the TV is now spent at the gym, in coffee houses, taking pictures, reading, etc. I even started going to my local Linux users group again [trilug.org].

It's not like electricity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085251)

similar to the way utilities charge for electricity

Ignoring the HUGE difference that electric utilities actually have to GENERATE the electricity, and that fuel costs (at least in areas that rely on coal/gas/oil) are the largest portion of the electric bill and are directly related to consumption. The cable companies are basically just doing T&D.

Re:It's not like electricity (1)

AB3A (192265) | about 2 years ago | (#40085345)

Uh, no. The differences aren't so huge after all.

The cost of GENERATING electricity is actually pretty small. The cost of getting it to your home is significant. Furthermore, fundamental laws of physics would tell you that the cost of higher data rates is more power. Literally. So at some fundamental level, this is not a bad idea.

However we need to recognize some facts: the delivery company of this content is a monopoly. The infrastructure to deliver FiOS was paid for and is maintained exclusively by Verizon. So, as a monopoly, they should not be allowed to "shape" traffic, they should not be allowed to block traffic, or even to inspect it without a court order. But it is not unrealistic for them to meter how much traffic is headed to your home and to bill you accordingly.

This will cause two things to happen: First, people will become somewhat aware of how much bandwidth they're using and what they're getting for that bandwidth. You want to play games at high bandwidth? Have at it. But expect to pay for it at the end of the month, just as someone who keeps their thermostat real cool in the summer and very warm in the winter will pay for it.

in the public interest (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40085273)

My, how far the fcc has strayed from its (now awol) original mission statement. The next argument should involve De-funding and De-activating the fcc. The fuck-tarded communication commission need to get back to regulating power and frequency, and get their fascist punk ass's away from the web where they never had any business sticking their mission creep noses in the first place. Commercial interest in the Public spectrum is 97%, with 3% military freqs, that leaves public access tv the only public interest out of the spectrum the rest is Corporate Owned. Sounds like someone has been metering the FCC's AIR supply.

But like half the fucking /.'ers were brainwashed about net neutrality, and willingly invited the FCC to "save the day." Now the fascism has come back home to roost up your constipated turd holes.

All I can say is you stupid motherfuckers wake up.
Next stop? Fuck the ISP, Fuck Web hosting, Fuck Domain names, Fuck being spied, Fuck storing two year ISP logs, and Fuck owning a mobile phone.
Fuck all communication basically. Then we can all sing Coom by ya to the corporate owned news. Coom by ya I love the police state, Coom by ya, I love deep packet inspection, Coom by ya, I love being targeted by the government I served as a domestic terrorist, Coom by ya I love fema camps, Coom by ya I Love un-declared wars, coom by ya I love the throwing out of the Constitution, due process, habius corpus, bill of rights, gun ownership, the gays, the agenda 21 eco fascists.. Coom by ya, Coom by ya, Coom by ya bitchez

Yeah it's going to be a bright future now. Or was that just another nuclear attack?

Every day you hear me bitch on slashdot, ever wonder the fuck why?

Maybe one day you see I am missing from my daily bitching, that day will be the day the laws went too far. It's doesn't mean I went to full bug out mode, but as far as communications it will be. Really this june 12 thing was going to be it, I was going to shut down the router, stop paying ISP - On Jan 1st, I killed off my domains, webhosting, 5 years of producing music videos. Poof. Fuck everybody only this little isp connection is left. Judging by the crap I'm hearing, I'll be dropping this soon as well. You may sit there and say, "who cares?" A lot of people did.

Now I am going to leave you with a little secret.
Restore the US Constitution, or things will get much much worse--like nazi Germany v 2.0 worse.

Wake up, I'm sorry for calling you bitchez and motherfuckers, just wake up already

Give me an SLA, and we can talk. (1)

Shag (3737) | about 2 years ago | (#40085303)

Given that cable and DSL providers advertise speeds of "up to" whatever, and hardly anyone even gets close to the "up to" speed they're paying for, I think any change to how pricing works should require the providers to include service-level agreements. Want to make more money off me? Show me the bandwidth.

Why charge per MB? (1)

Artea (2527062) | about 2 years ago | (#40085307)

A variation on this model has been in Australia since the introduction of broadband. We pay for a package which includes X amount of data per billing month such as a 30Gb, 60gb, 150gb deal, while the service is a standard ADSL2+ connection across the board. If you go over your alloted quota you get two options: Pay a premium per GB downloaded over your quota or be on the "unlimited" plan where you suffer having your connection limited to 64kb/s or 128kb/s (depending on the provider) until the next billing month. You can still find "connection speed" plans here and there, but they are mostly grandfathered plans from old old contracts.

going forward by going backwards? (3, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | about 2 years ago | (#40085335)

"similar to the way utilities charge for electricity. By switching to this model, the cable companies can increase their profitibility"

This sounds like ignorant idiotism at its peaks. Most of you here will remember (some might still live it...) the modem days, pricing per kilobyte, browsing web pages with ads, images and everything disabled, replying to e-mails offline and sending in batch, no online video, no streaming radios, and sometimes still ridiculously high bills at the end of the month.

That's where you're headed, and they will call it progress.

You people recently seem to try to make those people's decisions increasingly easier who consider moving to the US.

Like, consider regular flat rate dsl prices. There were times when we were looking from central europa with awe towards the cheapness over the pond. Today, a 1.5mbit dsl in PST costs almost exactly what we pay for a 5mbit dsl in CET. And now they're "evolving" you back to usage-based fees. Nice.

Re:going forward by going backwards? (1)

Rhodri Mawr (862554) | about 2 years ago | (#40085397)

...and that's not to mention the fact that they can't even spell profitability.
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