Thursday, July 3, 2008

Eight Reasons...

PC Magazine's website has an article up concerning eight reasons why we should have metered internet.

So, without further ado, here's my personal rebuttal on just why he's wrong on those reasons.

Elimination of bandwidth caps, restrictions, and throttling.
Ultimately, that's what metering is. It's bandwidth caps, restrictions and throttling, except that if you happen to go over, you get slapped with huge fines.

Promotion of higher speeds.
Only if the user is willing to pay for it. A weak argument if you ask me, especially in light of the fact that it fails as a possible model. If a user is being charged for length of time online, then why would the network providers be willing to increase the speed?

Moderate users would pay less than they pay now

Download junkies would pay for their habit
I actually pay for my habit now. I pay more for higher bandwidth speeds than those that don't want that. And the all-you-can-eat buffet fails here as well. The costs associated with a few people who consume extreme amounts, is more than offset by those who consume moderate (or less) amounts.

Spammers pay more for junking up the Web
No. Those people who are not knowledgable enough to not have their machines turned into zombie-bots (or any other type of bot) end up paying more for junking up the web. Additionally, this would curtail such efforts as SETI@Home or the Human Genotype project which used excess bandwidth and CPU cycles for processing large information sets.

Elimination of the net neutrality issues
The author of the article believes that all these issues will go away, and he's right, they will be because all the reasons for having net neutrality will have been implemented. Net Neutrality insists on all network traffic being the same. Once you have metered internet it is a simple jump to having different tiers of which types of bandwidth you can use. You can have 100 Megs of UDP traffic, and 1Gig of HTTP traffic, with it coming from ABC Domain at X speed, and everywhere else and Y speed.

Development of IPTV mechanisms
Yes, I only get 10Megs of Internet a month, so I want to spend it on internet television.

Energy savings (aka "green")
Now, this is just stretching for things. If I don't turn off my PC or Modem now, and I'm considered a moderate user, why would I change that behavior if moderate users would not be affected by going to metered access?

Additionally, one needs to define a moderate user? As an IT professional, my definition of moderate usage may be different than someone who works at a general store, and just uses the Internet to check their email. I need that bandwidth, especially if I work from the house, and have connected to either my office's network, or a client's network via VPN. And would a VPN connection get metered twice? Once on my end, and then again on the other?

No, unlimited connectivity is not an unsustainable concept, nor should it be looked to as an answer to any of the issues raised by the article in question. And in fact makes some of the worse (I'm looking at the SPAM and the Net Neutrality bits right there). Metered Internet is just another effort by the Cable Companies to change what has become the standard way of accessing the internet into something more like their current customer-hostile business model which provides packages of a hundred and fifty channels, of which the customer really only wants a dozen or two of.

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