Internet usage cap from service providers?? Scary!
I don’t normally do posts that are commentary per se, but I figured I’d make an exception here. There has been murmurs, rumors, whispers, etc. of ISP’s (Internet Service Providers) like Time Warner, AT&T and Comcast as putting caps or ceilings on the amount of usage the average customer can get in a particular month. I see this as bad for consumers, bad for their customers and bad for business.
The idea in and of itself sounds fairly innocuous, but the ramifications are potentially very large (at least in my opinion). I can see these companies wanting to clamp down on people who are ripping movies from bit torrent or songs, etc. but my support of the providers here is because I don’t believe people should be stealing stuff from the rightful owners.
BUT…what if I’m an avid movie nut and like to watch movies online like Hulu.com and suddenly I am paying for this supposed free content? How? If I pull down content via streaming that exceeds my usage, I’m going to be hit with a penalty – meaning money. More to the point, how is hulu.com going to recognize revenue if people are seeing the embedded ads? Another question is whether this cap is upload only or upload and download? If it is upload only, then the hulu example doesn’t work, but what if I upload a lot of photos to flickr or kodak?
You might not think that this is a big deal, but I for one see it as impacting the economy. More and more business is transacted on the web. One of the things that I have thought to be absolutely astounding is the rapidity with which the world has embraced the Internet as a means to do business. Ten years ago, most people didn’t know what the Internet was much less were they connected to it! Now, imagine the Internet being out tomorrow and what it would do to the economy. ouch!
I think that putting the ceiling on usage is ignoring the larger problem of maintaining and improving the Internet infrastructure and recognizing the importance of it in our daily lives, I mean after all, how many people are using the Internet just for email these days?
So, enough of the soap box for now. I certainly hope that America and the rest of the world are working on improving the Internet infrastructure so that this problem doesn’t have to happen, since we know that Internet usage isn’t going to go down.
Below are a couple of links that are representative samples of what I’ve looked at.