longacre (1090157) writes "Glen Derene at PopMech defends AT&T's new pricing plan: "AT&T's move away from all-you-can-eat pricing on June 2 has enraged many in the tech press--most of whom, I assume, own iPhones. I agree that some aspects of AT&T's pricing plan are unfair and even nonsensical. For example, charging an extra $20 a month for tethering, on top of an existing data plan, means that you are essentially paying twice for the same data usage. That being said, AT&T is taking its first, albeit clumsy, step toward a more equitable and sane way of moving data around the country--one that may end up solving the largely misunderstood problem of net neutrality."
He compares bandwidth to electricity: "Imagine, for a moment, if we bought electricity the way we buy data in this country. Every month, you would pay a fixed amount of money (say, $120), and then you would use as much electricity as you wanted, with an incentive to use as much as you could. That brings price stability to the end user, but it's a horrible way to manage electricity load."
And says that the current system gives no incentive for carriers to improve service: "There's no extra revenue generated by all that extra usage, so they are content to offer a quality of service that is only as good as their customers will bear (and many of those customers are trapped by multiyear contracts). If customers pay by the megabyte, then bad service directly equates to lost revenue for the carrier. This becomes especially important as we migrate toward 4G networks. Because on 4G networks, everything is data--including voice calls, which are handled as VoIP. Dropped calls equal undelivered bits, and undelivered bits should mean less revenue.""
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