It seems like caps are popping up all over. Comcast, Time Warner, Sprint and Verizon Wireless all have talked about or instituted caps that make users weep, wail and gnash teeth. Now that Japanese telco NTT is getting into the business of caps, we have to wonder if it's just trying to make American ISPs look silly. Their plan? Cut you off after 30GB per dayof upload with unlimited downloads.
What the deuce? That's nearly a terabyte of uploaded data each month, more than even a heavy BitTorrent user is likely to stack up. The implication is that some users, who are shelling out a cool $42/month for a 100Mbps line, are exceeding it by enough to be causing a problem. Meanwhile, US ISPs keep on boosting speeds to make you reach the caps even faster than before.
Apparently the secret sauce in avoiding really small caps is to invest in infrastructure. Verizon's FIOS has no caps and neither do French FTTH providers. XMission offers a generous 500GB soft cap per month on UTOPIA. It's time to get on the fiber bandwagon, guys, instead of pretending that you are.
I liked that article from ARS Technica. It truely shows how behind we are in the US (And of course Utah is usually the last place for anything new).
They also posted an article that I thought really applies to UTOPIA, and how internet service has become a utility service, and the country needs rapid expansion to keep us competitive as a country.
John Dvorak makes the argument that bandwidth transfer caps are necessary. I tend to agree that pricing plans based on overall data transfer are fair.
In a utility comparison, Riverton Utah rolled out a ‘secondary’ (gray water) irrigation system. They do not meter this service but only charge by the size of your lot. We’re now running into lots of issues with availability and abuse of the secondary water system.
Clearly water and data are not the same thing but each has a cost.
Transfer caps are all fine and well, but with a few conditions.
First, you must clearly define what is metered and what is not metered. Will a transfer between users on the same network count, or just going out to the public Internet?
Second, the cap can’t be set ridiculously low. Time Warner is dreaming if they think they aren’t going to cheese off users with their 40GB cap. Comcast is much more realistic by setting it at 250GB.
Third, you need to let users monitor their own usage so they can keep from going over. A failure to do so (a la Comcast) would probably get an AG or two knocking at your door.
If the age of “all you can eat” Internet is coming to a close, it had better darn well be done right. I’m fearful that incumbents are going to set low caps (a la Time Warner) in an attempt to create new revenue streams as opposed to engage in responsible network management. We’ll see how it plays out.