Metered Bandwidth Isn't About Stopping The Bandwidth Hogs; It's About Preserving Old Media Business Models
from the stifling-innovation dept
For years, we’ve spoken about why metered broadband stifles innovation, by adding serious additional mental transaction costs and limits to anything you do online. If you look at the history of various online services, you know that AOL didn’t really catch on until it went to a flat-rate plan from an older metered (by time) plan. It makes a huge difference in how people use the internet, and putting gates and fences around them doesn’t just keep the bandwidth down, but it limits all sorts of innovative services that rely on the fact that end users have no limits on their bandwidth. In the end, metered broadband always appears to be a way for ISPs to squeeze more and more money out of people.
However, as Canadian regulators seem prepared to let Bell Canada force all DSL providers into offering metered broadband, some are pointing out another reason for metered broadband. Not only does it stifle basic innovation, but it also protects the legacy media/entertainment industry and their business models. If downloading becomes more “expensive,” then, in theory, fewer people will use services that require higher bandwidth. And this isn’t just file sharing services either, but things like Netflix, which many studios still wish to limit and control when it comes to its online streaming plans. None of this is about “bandwidth hogs,” at all. It’s all about putting up barriers to anything that might be disruptive to legacy industries.