from the more-money-for-the-same-shitty-product dept
"...Regarding the metered data plans; we are considering that for second half of the year. We think it is important and our competition is using the metered plans today and we think that explore those starts and trials later this year is our expectation."According to CenturyLink's "excessive use policy," the company has capped customers on 1.5 Mbps or slower lines at 150 GB a month. Customers on lines faster than 1.5 Mbps enjoy the luxury of a 250 GB monthly limit. And whereas ISPs used to provide bullshit justifications for such restrictions (the network congestion bogeyman! it's only fair!), as those excuses have been shown to be nonsense over the years, ISPs have just stopped offering any. Here's how CenturyLink's website justifies these glorified price hikes:
"CenturyLink is committed to providing an optimum Internet experience for every customer we serve. To accomplish this, CenturyLink needs to ensure that customers are on the rate plan that meets their data download requirements. Of the millions of CenturyLink High-Speed Internet customers, a very small fraction has exceeded the download usage limits provided with their monthly plan. It is for this reason that CenturyLink has made the decision to place download limits on residential plans.That's not really a reason, that's just words arranged to look vaguely like sentient logic. Of course the real reason is because they can.
In most markets CenturyLink enjoys either no competition at all, or they face a cable provider that also has usage caps in place. That's why with the exception of a few cherry picked markets in places like Seattle, CenturyLink users still enjoy speeds circa 2001 or so. And why not add insult to injury, and combine pathetic last generation broadband speeds (which cost very little to actually provide already) with aggressive restrictions and cutting edge, next-generation overage fees?
Like Comcast, CenturyLink calls this a "trial" to keep regulators at bay, since "creative pricing experimentation" sounds so much better than "price gouging uncompetitive markets and erecting unnecessary obstacles to innovation and streaming competitors." Given the FCC has yet to bat an eyelash at the practice, this logic appears to be working. The FCC's also apparently blind to the fact that nobody is confirming whether usage meters are accurate, or that ISP's are now exempting their own services from unfair competitive advantage.
So while you'll hear a lot of media hype about cherry picked gigabit broadband deployments paving the way to our glorious connectivity future, a lack of competition, usage caps and zero rating are ensuring that for broadband customers in most markets, the reality is going to look decidedly less futuristic.