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FCC Boss Backs Metering 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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FCC Boss Backs Metering the Internet

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  • Who loses out (Score:5, Interesting)

    by isorox ( 205688 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:28AM (#40084885) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:41AM (#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.

  • by awjr ( 1248008 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:50AM (#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. :(

  • American idiots (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:52AM (#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.

  • by Zocalo ( 252965 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @05:56AM (#40085033) Homepage
    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?
  • Old money vs... (Score:4, Interesting)

    by yoshi_mon ( 172895 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @06:06AM (#40085079)

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


    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!

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:07AM (#40085301) Homepage

    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.

  • by l3v1 ( 787564 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:13AM (#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.
  • Wonderous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:52AM (#40085541) Homepage

    So, I take it the US has decided to lock in its technological gains from these last two decades, and will be out of the race for the next 40 years? Because that is what this is saying.

    Remind me how ISPs in other countries offer faster speeds, for less? And this is supposed to be an improvement?

  • Re:American idiots (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cbope ( 130292 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @07:56AM (#40085597)

    Hate to reply to an AC, but you have a great point. Too bad you didn't post under your own identity and take credit.

    It's much the same here in Finland, we have a lot of bandwidth and it's cheap. I pay US $12/month for an UNLIMITED 3.5G 21Mbps connection using a mobile hotspot that supports up to 8 devices. No bandwidth caps, no limitations, zilch. I've had 24Mbps ADSL to my home for many years, unlimited. The only reason why I haven't upgraded to 100Mbps at home is my ADSL+ gateway would need to be replaced, and to be honest I have enough bandwidth for what I need anyway.

    I don't want to hear the usual "but the US is too big and sparsely populated" excuse, please. That's a load of BS. Finland has a large landmass for its population size and is only 2% populated by area. The rest of the land is forests. Yet we have dozens of mobile operators and ISP's competing well with low prices, good service and coverage over the whole damn country. The US has put off building infrastructure for so long and raping customers for crappy service, that it's unlikely to be able to catch up to the rest of the world in 10 years. It's falling behind at an alarming pace, and with religious zealots and corporations now firmly in control of the population and government, you are pretty screwed.

    It's equally bad that I say this as an American who left the country more than 10 years ago and has witnessed the country slowly destroying itself from afar. Truly sad.

  • Re:Their wet dream (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nschubach ( 922175 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @08:56AM (#40086171) Journal

    In some areas, higher than average usage is reported to authorities [postandcourier.com]. So, your power may not be packet inspected... but if you happen to be keeping persistent cloud based backups of your data and using up a TON of bandwidth... you may have your house raided in the middle of the night under suspicion of sharing data with people.

  • Re:Their wet dream (Score:4, Interesting)

    by careysub ( 976506 ) on Wednesday May 23, 2012 @09:46AM (#40086845)

    ...So if the USPS goes, so does complete national mail service.

    And is should be remembered that this national universal communication service was viewed as so important by the Founding Fathers that is one of the very few agencies written into the United States Constitution: Article I, Section 8, Clause 7, which specifically empowers Congress "To establish Post Offices and post Roads".

    Bizarrely the "Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act" (in keeping with the tradition of Orwellian bill mis-naming) was passed by voice votes with not record kept of how individual legislators voted in either the House or Senate.

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