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Summary:

While not so uncommon overseas, bandwidth caps and metered broadband are coming to the US market place. Time Warner is the first major cable company to announce its metered broadband strategy & prices for a small Texas market, in what can be described as draconian. We […]

While not so uncommon overseas, bandwidth caps and metered broadband are coming to the US market place. Time Warner is the first major cable company to announce its metered broadband strategy & prices for a small Texas market, in what can be described as draconian.

We have written about Bend Broadband of Oregon resorting to such tricks. Comcast, recently proposed bandwidth caps as well. What it means: get ready to pay more and get less for broadband. Will this spur into action, and switch ISPs or look for alternatives. Take our poll and share your opinion.

  1. Docsis 3.0 offers throughput of 160 Mbs. Why don’t they focus on it.

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  2. @ Rick, I agree with you, but the incumbents are not exactly sharp when thinking about these things. I look at Free.fr and how they have made their game about speed, quality and letting customers do what seems is reasonable. Competition is such a great thing.

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  3. Bandwith caps? Ridiculous! We have been in other countries that have it but we believe there has to be a good reason for it. We would certainly run fast if that occurred our ISP.

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  4. I believe that broadband will have to be metered at a certain point. Many users will not notice. One fiber network builder told me:

    “If it was usage based, I’d open everybody up to full throttle. But customers want to pay $30 per month and not worry about usage. Calculating prices is like doing an actuarial table. People who buy 256 Kbps and are doing a little browsing and e-mail are [subsidizing] the tech-savvy user who has a 3 Mbps connection and is using it full throttle.”

    For the opposite POV, talk to Brad Templeton, who has some interesting points about how bandwidth pricing would harm innovation.

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  5. i only use broadband which is one time fees and unlimited usage..

    else my bills will skyrocket!

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  6. Do most users even have a clue how much they’re downloading and uploading? Shouldn’t ISPs make that info freely available before they start launching bill-by-the-byte schemes?
    http://www.zatznotfunny.com/2008-06/the-internet-gas-gauge/

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  7. Kevin Walsh Tuesday, June 3, 2008

    Although their motivation is understandable, broadband service providers (BSPs) introduce usage caps at their peril.

    Why?

    First, the average consumer doesn’t know how much, say, 250 gigabytes is. How can they be expected to moderate usage (“Buffy, no more iTunes until next month!”) when they don’t know if they’re approaching the cap?

    Second, BSPs have advertise broadband based on one number: peak downstream bit rate (ok, two; they’ve recently started to talk about peak upstream rates as well). This despite the fact that those rates can only be sporadically attained. In essence, the BSP has taught the consumer to believe they’re buying a pipe that shuttles bits at, say, 10 Mbps, 24×7 and now they’re stuck with the consequences. What Comcast is really saying is “Buy our 10 Mbps service but we’ll cut you off after 2.315 days if you really use it like we advertise you can!”

    BSPs need to understand that broadband is just the pipe. Services travel over the pipe. Services are things like high-speed internet (HSI), VOIP, accelerated video downloads, enhanced gaming packages, etc. You can start to charge for new services delivered over broadband. You can’t go back and redefine broadband.

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  8. I would change my provider in a heartbeat if they were to meter my usage. It makes no sense in this world other than admitting that your company has no desire to further invest in their backhaul networks.

    I have recently switched from Comcast to ADSL2+ (10/1) and have had a markedly better overall experience with almost no slowdowns and truly good service. My assumption is that as Comcast, et al., continue to discount the needs of their customers they will begin to lose out to other “High Broadband” services like AT&T’s U-Verse, FIOS and even Covad’s offerings.

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  9. Only one option, couldn’t switch if I wanted to, therein lies the crux of the problem. Lack of competition.

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  10. As Om mentions in his comment, competition is key. Competition used to be fierce in the initial ISP times. But consolidation came, and the investments to deploy broadband reduced the number of players and competition. Now we have less options to choose, and ISPs might try to exploit that. If your ISP tries to do that, resist and switch.

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