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FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans 414

An anonymous reader writes "As details emerge about the Federal Communications Commission's controversial proposal for regulating Internet providers, a provision that would allow companies to bill customers for how much they surf the Web is drawing special scrutiny. Analysts say pay-as-you-go Internet access could put the brakes on the burgeoning online video industry, handing a victory to cable and satellite TV providers. Public interest groups say that trend will lead to a widening gap in Internet use in which the wealthiest would have the greatest access."
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FCC Approving Pay-As-You-Go Internet Plans

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  • by kenj0418 ( 230916 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:02PM (#34492706)

    [The Congress shall have the power] To regulate Commerce with foreign Nations, among the several States, and with the Indian tribes

    Article I, Section 8.

    The interstate commerce clause is frequently misused - but telecom and the Internet seems to clearly be interstate commerce.

  • by zentec ( 204030 ) * < minus painter> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:35PM (#34493250)

    There's two reasons for consumption based-billing:

    1. Make Netflix a lot less inexpensive in order to keep the profit line strong on their own video offerings.

    2. Raise prices. Consumption based billing won't be less expensive for people who are light users because broadband service will be $50 for the privilege of having the coax terminate at the house, and *then* you pay what the meter says. And it won't be cheap; I would not rule out several dollars per gigabyte. By doing so, the ISP has a nice fat recurring revenue stream for doing absolutely nothing, and a service pricing structure that encourages you not to use the service.

    I don't have a problem with consumption based billing. I have a problem to the GOTHCA! capitalism of having Wall Street and its corporate minions finding yet another way to fleece the public.

  • by jd ( 1658 ) <> on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:42PM (#34493360) Homepage Journal

    You pay for a specific pipe already. If the ISPs and core routers enabled fair-service curve, each pipe would get a fair chance at the upstream pipe. Heavy users would then not swamp lighter users and lighter users would not subsidise heavy users. This eliminates all of the (somewhat technologically ignorant) objections raised by ISPs and by some of the posters here. Then you add in ECN, which instructs a machine to throttle back if it is behaving badly on the network (and blocks machines that won't play fair). Packet-dropping schemes like BLACK and PURPLE deal with

    This isn't rocket science. Hell, these days even rocket science isn't rocket science. Neither of these suggestions would be difficult. They've been discussed in depth [] since the 1990 and have reached an amazing level of quality control that is fair to all users and equitable to all providers. Without raising costs.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @05:48PM (#34493458) Homepage Journal

    I'm looking at it and it says "to regulate commerce", not "to regulate trade wars".

    Trade wars are about commerce.

  • by vlm ( 69642 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:02PM (#34493720)

    ISPs don't pay per volume. The most common metric is a base price depending on the maximum throughput plus a variable price based on the 95th bandwidth percentile. []

    A pretty accurate summary of buying transit. On the other hand, peering is a fixed monthly fee (usually quite low) to trade local traffic with your immediate physical neighbors almost always at zero per byte cost.

    And of course ALL the other expenses of an ISP are constant per month. Electric, salaries, rent, equipment loan interest, private line interconnects, property taxes, etc ...

  • by ( 245670 ) on Wednesday December 08, 2010 @06:57PM (#34494546)

    Then don't live in the boonies if you want the infrastructure benefits of an urban area. My grandpa spent thousands on a huge satellite dish and receiver system back in the 80s and never bitched about the cost because he felt the high cost of bringing in all those television channels was far outweighed by the benefits of living in a beautiful, rural area. If you're gonna live in the sticks, paying more for services and having less choice is reality.

    But even that doesn't hold so much any more. The cable company wired his area back in the 90s and he's been on a cablemodem for 5 years. There's also a wireless provider that's been there for years (some sort of 802.x system), satellite for over a decade (from as many as 3 B2C providers at one time, in addition to the B2B providers), and, most recently, 3G service from several cellular carriers.

    Honestly, with consumer grade two-way satellite available at a starting price of $50/month from multiple providers, there are very, very few areas in the US that only have a single source of entartube access.

"I prefer the blunted cudgels of the followers of the Serpent God." -- Sean Doran the Younger