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Old 2009-10-06, 00:53   Link #21
Gin
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It doesn't surprise me that Verizon is doing this.

About a year ago I was a subscriber to Verizon's Sattelite Internet service, (At that point DSL/cable wasn't available in my area) I signed up for a 2 year contract with unlimited usage which would cost me $60 per month (there was a 1g cap per month available for $40 per month)

The first few months it worked pretty good, everything buffered fast, dl and ul speed was good.
About 2-3 months into my contract, my internet slowed way down and I got an email from Verizon telling me that I was 7.5g over my bandwith allowance and I owed them $400. Needless to say, I immediately called Verizon and told them they made a mistake and that I had unlimited usage. They told me they had never even offered unlimited bandwith and I had a 5g cap (their highest cap available) I argued with 4 people for 30 minutes until I got to speak with a manager who basically told me to shut up, and he was only going to charge me a $50 fee since it was my first offense, he also said that no one had ever gone that far over.

For the next couple months I inadvertently went over my allowance and they charged me 10 cents per mb, which really hurts when its a 1g+ over.
I kept calling Verizon and telling them I signed up for unlimited and they kept telling me they never offered it. I was finally fed up with that so I called AT&T to see if I could switch to them instead, the rep asked me why I was switching and I told him my story and he told me that up until recently, all Sattelitte Internet providers had offered unlimited access, until they had been ordered by whoever controls the internet (idk what org it was) told them to put caps on their bandwith (apparently the networks were being overused) He said he used to work at Verizon and their policy was to deny that they ever offered unlimited bandwith.

Luckily, dsl was made available in my area and I now have unlimited bandwith.

My biggest problem with Verizon is that they weren't honest with me, they didn't lower the price I payed even though they gave me less, and they didn't let me opt out of my contract (which should be illegal since their entire service changed)

tl ;dr
Verizon is a shady company and they will definitely overcharge everyone when they make the shift to metered internet.
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Old 2009-10-06, 01:21   Link #22
0utf0xZer0
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I think a bigger issue than whether ISPs should be allowed to cap bandwidth is what sort of prices they should be able to charge for it. There's really not a hell of a lot of competition in the North American broadband market - and I don't know about the US, but in Canada telecom company profits are rather spectacular.
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Old 2009-10-06, 01:23   Link #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Ok... now teach "grandma" how to do that....
Psh, I was barely able to teach grandma how e-mail works. However, that doesn't mean I can't do it for her.

I'm not suggesting it's a perfect solution to the problem, but it is a solution. If people are too stupid or stubborn to ask for help with things they're unable to do themselves then, in my opinion, they deserve to pay the extra fees.
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Old 2009-10-06, 04:43   Link #24
Ichihara Asako
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Tracking usage isn't an issue if your ISP offers a web usage meter, because there are firefox plugins that can parse the majority of them. I have one made for Australian ISPs, though a few others from around the world have been added to its default list and you can always request more and the developers will try to parse xml feeds etc that the meters work.

My usage is always displays thusly;



Not too hard. Though it is obviously a third party solution, which isn't optimal. My ISP offers Vista/W7/Mac widgets or gadgets or whatever they're called, a few others do, too. This is the approach most of the US providers will take, I imagine.
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Old 2009-10-06, 09:53   Link #25
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So far, no such movements in Singapore. Like many other issues, Singapore's a greenhouse on this one.
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Old 2009-10-06, 12:21   Link #26
chikorita157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ichihara Asako View Post
Tracking usage isn't an issue if your ISP offers a web usage meter, because there are firefox plugins that can parse the majority of them. I have one made for Australian ISPs, though a few others from around the world have been added to its default list and you can always request more and the developers will try to parse xml feeds etc that the meters work.

My usage is always displays thusly;



Not too hard. Though it is obviously a third party solution, which isn't optimal. My ISP offers Vista/W7/Mac widgets or gadgets or whatever they're called, a few others do, too. This is the approach most of the US providers will take, I imagine.
There are routers out there that tracks usage automatically depending on what firmware you are currently using and you can track how much you use of download and upload every day...

The point is, the United States is behind in broadband ratings and have recently dropped to 17th place while everyone else ranked higher in this report

The argument is, is bandwidth should be metered like electricity? Metered internet would only make bandwidth a artificial scarcity since the capacity of bandwidth increases only when there is technological developments for faster capacities. If you compare bandwidth to fossil fuels like gas and coal, you can see that fossil fuels will get scarce in the future once it's used up.

While bandwidth capacity might not be high today, it might go higher in the future which can stop the need for limiting the connections. I feel that companies that wanting metered internet is just creating a artificial scarcity for an excuse to charge higher prices for internet with outrageously low caps and high markups on overages. The truth is, bandwidth is actually getting cheaper to deliver than years before because of better technology.

With the trend of more people working at home, people are going to need alot of bandwidth if they need to connect to a terminal server for work or video conference with coworkers. The problem is, that working from home would cost more since video conferencing and connecting to a terminal server can take alot of bandwidth which can easily eat up 10GB of cap in their plan and be charged a high price at the end. VoIP is another service which replaces the phone line with cheaper calls, but eat up alot of bandwidth. Even though metered internet might not hurt anyone that isn't using alot, but it's going to hurt companies alot more since less people are going to use less or switch to alternative like Cable TV opposed to streaming video and land lines compared to VoIP. Although metered internet by the GB isn't nearly as harsh as $12 per hour for dialup back in the day before unlimited internet came along, it's still going to cause more billing headaches and confusion and most customers in the United States wouldn't want these headaches when they want to use the internet.
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Old 2009-10-06, 12:28   Link #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Vexx View Post
Quote:
I'm unalterably opposed to allowing the carriers to discriminate among the packets they carry.
I'd qualify that a bit with quality-of-service shaping... but yeah in no way should a packet be discriminated against because it has a particular source or a particular destination. A packet should not be dropped or blocked based on protocol. True common carrier...
I'm even dubious about QOS standards; in general, I think they just open the door to abuse. Unless you have strict governmental regulation over what services may be prioritized and how, you'll never be able to restrict the ability of operators to "adjust" their traffic for reasons of "professional network management." The solution to QOS issues is more capacity throughout the network.

I'd also argue that the FCC should ban the use of "deep packet inspection" equipment except to comply with existing laws about court-ordered monitoring. Otherwise we'll all have to turn to encryption if we want to preserve the privacy of our communications. Even then we reveal a lot of information about ourselves to ISPs every day. For instance, I'd bet many carriers run transparent HTTP proxies between their customers and web content. There are certainly good technical reasons for this; it enables the ISP to cache frequently requested items locally and deliver them more quickly to their customers. Nevertheless the proxy's logs contain their customers' complete browsing histories. These can be of great interest to law enforcement officials and marketing departments.

Quote:
(I'd really prefer ISPs be totally divested from "content creators" as well just to keep it clean.
If anything we continue to move in the other direction since Comcast wants to buy the NBC/Universal division from GE. Universal has an enormous catalog of programming the rights to which will suddenly belong to Comcast. I wonder what Verizon will have to pay to carry the UniversalHD channel on its FiOS systems. Less than Comcast pays itself?
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Old 2009-10-06, 13:41   Link #28
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Sounds to me like broadband providers are looking for a way to make more money then they already are without bothering about the consequences. They'll end up losing clients like this because they're inconveniencing them and make a loss on the long-run.
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Old 2009-10-06, 13:50   Link #29
0utf0xZer0
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Originally Posted by Yoko Takeo View Post
Sounds to me like broadband providers are looking for a way to make more money then they already are without bothering about the consequences. They'll end up losing clients like this because they're inconveniencing them and make a loss on the long-run.
The question is where those customers go. There's not much competition for broadband in most North American markets, which to me opens customers up to a lot of price gauging.
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Old 2009-10-06, 15:32   Link #30
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If they were to start metered internet, probably small ISPs will get into the competition providing unlimited internet access at a flat rate, which will cause alot of customers to switch to the competitors so that they are forced to drop the metered internet pricing because alot of people canceling their service.

The problem is, there is not much of choice for competition in the US. All you have is Cable internet and also the Phone companies DSL or Fiberoptics (depending on the area they provide it) unless you put in satellite internet and mobile broadband (like 3G, EVDO, WiMax and LTE) but they don't count for competition of internet service around the area.
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Old 2009-10-06, 15:41   Link #31
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Originally Posted by chikorita157 View Post
If they were to start metered internet, probably small ISPs will get into the competition providing unlimited internet access at a flat rate, which will cause alot of customers to switch to the competitors so that they are forced to drop the metered internet pricing because alot of people canceling their service.
I'm not entirely sure that this will happen. At least, any such "unlimited use" plans would likely end eventually.

In the end of the day, bandwidth is king, and there is just so much of it that is available. Laying new "pipes" is not too cheap either. A few years ago, there were fiber optics pipes laying dark, but how much of it is still that way now (and not being locked up in some way), no idea.

Smaller ISPs would not have the cash to lay their own pipes. Instead, they will likely just rent from the real owners, and try to make money off the difference between the rent and their fees. Pipe owners wouldn't want a single ISP (or a group) to take up everything either, so they will limit usage or charge for extra use.
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Old 2009-10-06, 18:06   Link #32
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I'm ok with tiered service, but some people here actually want to "improve" it by capping???
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Old 2009-10-07, 00:17   Link #33
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Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
if this gets waaaaaay out of control then I will move to 1010 Wilshire (some condo), where you can get 100mbps internet because it's connected to networks of datacenters in downtown Los Angeles
There's also http://paxio.com/home.php?link=Internet if you're lucky to be in their area or residence:
unlimited, symmetric 100mbs = $94.50, 1Gbps = $245

I've read reports of how the actual backbone in the US has plenty of capacity right now but a lof of issues arise from the usual business attitudes of ISPs complicated by local politics of franchising and contracts, creating regional monopolies.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
I'm ok with tiered service, but some people here actually want to "improve" it by capping???
Yeah, that makes no sense either. That's like thinking that limiting how many miles people drive a month will reduce rush hour traffic.

I'm totally against caps simply because there's absolutely no need for caps. Caps do not reduce congestion when it is most needed during peak hours. That is handled by QoS.

People need to differentiate between usage and consumption. Unlike natural, finite resources, you do not "consume" bandwidth. The capacity, once built, is always there no matter how much you use it since the transfer of information is fundamentally free. So while creation of bandwidth is not free, its usage actual is.
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Old 2009-10-07, 01:05   Link #34
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I don't really get it as that I didn't read the entire article but the thing is.. I just hope Yakuza 3 will be released as a blu-ray disc with the package as opposed to being download-only as that it would be quite a pain to download 13 gigs in one go, especially if service interruptions were to occur any point in time when I have a 60 gig cap a month. More over, my download speed on average is around 40kb and the idea of downloading 13 gigs is no doubt going to be a huge annoyances, not to mention getting the PSN cards will quite a difficulty in itself.
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Old 2009-10-07, 01:38   Link #35
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I'd just like to point out that here in Australia (at least with my ISP anyway), it's not that difficult to track your usage at all, unless you are visually impaired. All you need to do is log in to your ISP's home page, and you can access your usage meter from there. It is no harder than logging in to check your email. With my ISP, they provide you with the actual MB/Kb usage AND a bar that fills up the closer you get to your limit for the numerically challenged. There is also a bar that indicates how far into the month (or however long your quota lasts) you are. I highly doubt personal monitoring will be a problem if metered internet is implemented in the USA, but trasnparency and trust will be a different thing, as I am not sure about your competition laws. I'm very confident that my ISP does not mess with my meter.
I dont think all (Australian) ISP's monitor usage very accurately. TPG for example seem to have a +10% offset on how many MB/GB has been downloaded that's displayed on their site (when you log in) compared to what client-side monitoring tools have recorded. If you go onto their forum, there's a lot of complaints about how much has been used.

Being more of a gamer than anime watcher (which is expensive entertainment internet-wise) a lot of online games take up a lot of cap as well as having to download patches. Even streaming videos kills it quite rapidly along side various other things. Downloading windows 7 Beta would have drained a lot of Australian's internet cap.

In an age where there is a larger shift towards digital distribution and moving away from buying software off the shelf, adding a cap would undeniably halt this advancement. Purpose of buying digital is to avoid having to pay for a box (and save the environment :P), the delivery and manufacturing costs of the middle man and in turn pay a lot less.

If American net becomes capped/metered, then I guess all hope for Australian broadband to go unlimited will fall through despite Telscum recently being told to split into two or gtfo, which was supposed to give way for a fairer competition between all the ISPs.
And for everyone else who doesn't know about the situation in Australia, Telstra is the one and only communications giant which partly owns the Australian communications infrastructure and rents out it's lines to other ISPs. The only reason they haven't upped the price to $1000000000 or something ridiculous is because the government owns 50% of it's shares. Many years back, John Howard proposed to sell some shares in Telstra to fund a project and he got shot down very fast. Probably a good thing it didn't happen because otherwise making a single phone call to my friend would probably make me a bankrupt.
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Old 2009-10-07, 01:47   Link #36
Ichihara Asako
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Originally Posted by Blitzfx View Post
I dont think all (Australian) ISP's monitor usage very accurately. TPG for example seem to have a +10% offset on how many MB/GB has been downloaded that's displayed on their site (when you log in) compared to what client-side monitoring tools have recorded. If you go onto their forum, there's a lot of complaints about how much has been used.
I think you'll find that's mostly attributed to ISPs using SI, and Windows using KiB. 1000 vs 1024 adds up to large disparities when you're talking gigs. Though given TPG's extremely cheap nature and near complete lack of quality and support it wouldn't surprise me if their metering is just wrong, too.
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Old 2009-10-07, 01:47   Link #37
LynnieS
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Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
I'm ok with tiered service, but some people here actually want to "improve" it by capping???
Before I misunderstand and make a wrong statement, what is the definition for "tiered service" of which people are comfortable? The definition that I use is that the level and quality of the service provided depend on the cost each user pays. By "capping" one user's bandwidth and usage availability through how much he pays can be considered a form of "tiered service" by definition - despite how the term is being used in the whole "network neutrality" debate.

Quote:
Originally Posted by npcomplete View Post
People need to differentiate between usage and consumption. Unlike natural, finite resources, you do not "consume" bandwidth. The capacity, once built, is always there no matter how much you use it since the transfer of information is fundamentally free. So while creation of bandwidth is not free, its usage actual is.
There is a upper limit on how much data a pipe (fiber, copper and etc) can carry, however. Once built, the capacity of the pipe is bound and cannot be exceeded without an upgrade - in either hardware - e.g., repeaters - or software - multiplexing. At least, I'm not aware of any other way, but feel free to correct. The costs of that upgrade - not to mention general repairs and maintenance - may not be cheap; for example, a break in a cable that was laid at the bottom of an ocean requires a ship to be sent for the repair if I am not mistaken - even if you are able to reroute around the break to reduce the downtime.

With capacity being a limit, how much usage being done on a per-person basis is a concern, IMHO. With an "all you can eat" policy and a growing base of users and an ever-increasing growth in network traffic through downloads, streams, ads and etc, ensuring that (1) your capacity use does not impact everyone else and (2) you have enough spare capacity in case of emergencies should be high on the pipe owners' list.
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Last edited by LynnieS; 2009-10-07 at 02:03.
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Old 2009-10-07, 02:04   Link #38
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Originally Posted by LynnieS View Post
Before I misunderstand and make a wrong statement, what is the definition for "tiered service" of which people are comfortable? The definition that I use is that the level and quality of the service provided depend on the cost each user pays. By "capping" one user's bandwidth and usage availability through how much he pays can be considered a form of "tiered service" by definition - despite how the term is being used in the whole "network neutrality" debate.
well almost a decade ago we used AT&T dial up for $9.99 without caps! I used to leave my computer on 24/7 so I can download the latest demo games online...
3mb mp3s takes 30 mins, 100mb demo games takes the whole day.
The whole point of having DSL/Cable is speed speed speed and ISPs aggresively marketed it as unlimited internet.
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Old 2009-10-07, 03:00   Link #39
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Originally Posted by LynnieS View Post
Before I misunderstand and make a wrong statement, what is the definition for "tiered service" of which people are comfortable? The definition that I use is that the level and quality of the service provided depend on the cost each user pays. By "capping" one user's bandwidth and usage availability through how much he pays can be considered a form of "tiered service" by definition - despite how the term is being used in the whole "network neutrality" debate.
I considered tiered service to be different levels of allocated max bandwidth and prioritization along with service level agreements on downtime or support.

Quote:
There is a upper limit on how much data a pipe (fiber, copper and etc) can carry, however. Once built, the capacity of the pipe is bound and cannot be exceeded without an upgrade - in either hardware - e.g., repeaters - or software - multiplexing. At least, I'm not aware of any other way, but feel free to correct. The costs of that upgrade - not to mention general repairs and maintenance - may not be cheap; for example, a break in a cable that was laid at the bottom of an ocean requires a ship to be sent for the repair if I am not mistaken - even if you are able to reroute around the break to reduce the downtime.

With capacity being a limit, how much usage being done on a per-person basis is a concern, IMHO. With an "all you can eat" policy and a growing base of users and an ever-increasing growth in network traffic through downloads, streams, ads and etc, ensuring that (1) your capacity use does not impact everyone else and (2) you have enough spare capacity in case of emergencies should be high on the pipe owners' list.
Sure, but caps do not solve (1) and (2). In fact QoS already addresses them. Why not utilize your network to its fullest? Again this is what QoS is for: When one person is using your network give him full bandwidth. When another comes on, and your capacity is not yet reached, also give him full bandwidth. Once capacity is reached, then proportionately divvy up bandwitdh. And if someone on a higher tier of service comes on, prioritize their traffic, and so on.

I'm against the model of 'caps' because it addresses consumption and not usage. It's appropriate for things like water rationing. But bandwidth is infinite-use, limited capacity resource. As such it requires traffic management as opposed to traffic capping. Again I refer to the highway example of limiting how many miles people can drive a month to "solve" traffic problems.

It would be possible for everyone to be within the cap limit and the network could still very well suffer from congestion problems. Suppose if every household streams multiple shows each evening e.g. a netflix DVD, a broadcast TV show, ESPN HD, etc. (and the network is otherwise idle during the daytime)

A lot of those problems stem from over selling and under providing. Furthermore when a company grows its customer base it should also expand its own infrastructure (or buy more capacity for a downstream provider).
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Old 2009-10-07, 07:45   Link #40
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Originally Posted by mg1942 View Post
well almost a decade ago we used AT&T dial up for $9.99 without caps! I used to leave my computer on 24/7 so I can download the latest demo games online...
3mb mp3s takes 30 mins, 100mb demo games takes the whole day.
The whole point of having DSL/Cable is speed speed speed and ISPs aggresively marketed it as unlimited internet.
Sorry, but it's a marketing ploy to grow market share from its competitors. Nobody should expect this plan to continue once the company has grown to a "decent" size, and it's not a right enshrined in [consumer protection] law provided a notice is given. Furthermore, if a company is in trouble, changing plans is certainly allowed, esp. if the alternative is to ride the company down in flames.

Quote:
Originally Posted by npcomplete View Post
Sure, but caps do not solve (1) and (2). In fact QoS already addresses them. Why not utilize your network to its fullest? Again this is what QoS is for: When one person is using your network give him full bandwidth. When another comes on, and your capacity is not yet reached, also give him full bandwidth. Once capacity is reached, then proportionately divvy up bandwitdh. And if someone on a higher tier of service comes on, prioritize their traffic, and so on.

I'm against the model of 'caps' because it addresses consumption and not usage. It's appropriate for things like water rationing. But bandwidth is infinite-use, limited capacity resource. As such it requires traffic management as opposed to traffic capping. Again I refer to the highway example of limiting how many miles people can drive a month to "solve" traffic problems.
[...]
A lot of those problems stem from over selling and under providing. Furthermore when a company grows its customer base it should also expand its own infrastructure (or buy more capacity for a downstream provider).
I get the feeling that we are talking about the same thing, but at different points in the "lifetime". "Quality of Service" theoretically allows the provider to provide bandwidth based on different factors like "Application", "User" and etc.; it can also guarantee a threshold for a type of data flow (e.g., video streaming) below which performance will not fall.

I see several issues with the actual implementation.

1. It's not easily visible to the average user. Say you have a contract with your ISP for video streaming, and one night, while happily watching the latest Hollywood blockbuster, the stream became choppy. You call up Customer Service, and they explain that someone else had priority and was allowed to take over more bandwidth. Is the average person going to accept that as a real answer?

2. Quality of Service also doesn't address the possibility of ever growing usage, I feel. You mentioned that bandwidth is a resource with "infinite use" and "limited capacity", and I agree with you in both. However, capacity usage has not dropped that I know of, and with (i) more people going on-line and (ii) more services to send content down to users becoming available, usage will continue to go up.

I see that a limited capacity resource will be sliced into smaller chunks to be sold, given supply and demand, at higher prices. Are consumers going to accept that, or would people (or at least, the average person) want to have a "pay what you eat" model instead?

The alternative is an investment in extra capacity so they can control (but not likely to stop) price increases. Usage of capacity trends upward - although if there is proof otherwise, please post. Capacity in terms of infrastructure, esp. for high demand areas or in major connectivity trunks, is, IMHO, in high demand, and will not be too cheap. Investing in building new infrastructure is also not cheap and runs risks (e.g., Global Crossing) if plans don't pan out.

I am not a huge fan on "capping" based on usage, but I see it as being fairer to consumers - (i) paying for exactly what you use without subsidizing someone else's DL and movie habits and (ii) being much more visible with less "wriggle" room. My thoughts anyway.
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