Monday, January 21, 2008

Metered Internet - It Depends on More than the Meter

As noted previously, Time Warner is looking at a test run in which certain U.S. customers will go to a tiered Internet access system, in which the cost you pay is governed by the bandwidth that you use.

Jeff Jarvis isn't too impressed with the idea:

I’m getting a preview of Time Warner’s doomed idea to charge internet access based on usage.

At the hotel here in Munich, I’m getting criminally overcharged for internet access by the hotel and Swiss: They’re charging me 27 euros for 24 hours to get supposedly unlimited speed (ha! I tested and it’s slow; I can’t even watch a YouTube video worth a damn and it almost took longer to download On the Media than to listen to it) and downloading. They’d charge me a bit less if I agreed to getting lower priority for my packets — the hint is that at the slower speed, I couldn’t be able to use Skype or watch videos — and an unspecified limit on my bandwidth. Being forced to pay a premium to get acceptable service makes me mad enough; not getting acceptable service makes me resent them even more.

However, the problems that Jarvis encountered in Munich were not necessarily caused by the existence of a tiered Internet system in and of itself. This is illustrated by a comment posted by a United States user using a non-tiered, unlimited service:

At the NCAA basketball tournament, they charge $30 per day for a [wireless] hook up in the media room, and they forbid any sort of sharing the connection. If they find more than one machine using the login assigned to your account, they will terminate the account.

Overcharging and bad service do not necessarily result from the adoption of a tiered system.

[mrontemp business] | [mrontemp politics] | [mrontemp technology] | [mrontemp tags]

Sphere: Related Content