Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Playing With Fire 

Charging for the amount of bandwidth used on the internet is despised in the US. People believe they should be able to consume as much as they need whether one or two gigabytes per month for normal activities or 75 to 100 gigabytes to download movies. That is why Time Warner is risking its reputation in its effort to control broadband usage through metering downloads. Time Warner's position is that it has to pay for equipment to handle escalating traffic -- a reasonable explanation. No one, however, wants to hear it. There are claims that Time Warner is profiting from metering -- a shame in capitalist America.

The fact is that the internet has become an essential utility that users believe they should get for a modest fee at best. No one wants to consider the cost of maintaining the utility. Time Warner is bucking that belief and might get away with it, but it is doubtful. Look for eventual internet commissions like public utility commissions that will dictate rates that bandwidth providers can set. As for now, it is a major public relations issue for the company.

Jim, I totally agree I think they are playing with fire. With the massive growth in the use of the Internet, and how many people use it, Time Warner could really be limiting themselves by doing this. Internet and technology is going to play more and more of a role in peoples' daily lives. I understand Time Warner has to pay for the equipment, but this is something it needs to do to help facilitate the growth of the company. The business model is going to have to change as people use the Internet more and more. - Austin

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