Time Warner, AT&T, Comcast, and other ISPs are experimenting with metered usage, charging by the amount of information the user reaps from the network. They argue that high-volume users slow speeds for others and should pay more. Some compare the plan to mobile telephone bills.
Information garnered from the Internet includes emails, website browsing, videos (youtube/hulu), and purchases from iTunes, as well as downloads.
Time Warner’s proposed charging plan, however, has outraged many, as users will decide on a 5-40 GB per month plan (40GB = $55), well over all current standards for even medium-volume users. Beyond that, users will have to pay $1 per extra gigabyte, or $150 for unlimited consumption. After criticism, Time Warner proposed a 100GB/month plan.
Many reject the mobile telephone comparison, arguing that charging based on Internet speed and then usage is redundant. High-volume users already pay more for faster speeds. Many others argue this is Time Warner’s way to boost their dying cable television business, and stop people from watching television online.
Representative Eric Massa (D-New York) demands that Time Warner prove that their costs necessitate these prices, and has offered legislation, the Broadband Internet Fairness Act (HR 2902), that would allow the Federal Trade Commission to prohibit unfair usage-based billing proposals. He is working with stopthecap.com to involve as many people as he can in fighting Time Warner. Those interested can help fight at http://stopthecap.com/take-action-2/.
A 56kbps modem, always on, allows for 138 GB; at eight hours a day, the modem provides 45 GB.
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