Tuesday, February 12, 2008

A Present and Coming PR Problem 

Internet users in the US are used to flat-rate usage -- one payment monthly and all the bandwidth one can stuff data through. As this article predicts, that may be coming to an end. Bandwidth costs money. Someone has to pay for it. Utimately, it will be users, or companies will not be able to afford the investments to build bigger data pipelines. In other countries, people pay tiered rates for data they ship through their systems. They are deeply unhappy about that and point to the US as the model of what the internet should be. Imagine when US internet users become more like them. This will be a major PR challenge. One cable company already is considering a data fee. Others will follow in time or start to restrict data flow, as Comcast was caught doing. It turned into an ugly reputational incident for Comcast. It will be for other internet service providers as well.

It will be interesting to see the communications programs that prepare users to pay for what they have long expected to get for free.


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