Mike Panic wrote:
Comcast here in the US is already capping their broadband, although they won't say to what, yet. If you go over, tuff, you pay, they suck and I'm glad I don't have them.
This model will fail. They'll get too many calls from angry people who had someone do a ton of downloading off a leached wireless connection, or college kids who didn't read the contract bailing on the bill when all their roommates take off. The cost of handling the calls, collections and bad word of mouth greatly outweighs the amount they'll gain by charging over-bandwidth fees.
I'm not 100% sure it will fail, but they may lose business. Comcast and others will blame the end user for not securing their wifi access, even though it's often the end user's hardware and they should be virtually free to do with it whatever they'd like to. Ironically, you'd be surprised how many of these companies really do want their money when you don't pay them. A friend of mine just went through a horrible experience, his fault, but still. 7 years ago he lived in NYC and ran up a $700 cell bill, don't know how, but he did. Long story short, he neglected to pay it and last month he got a call from his bank stating he was over-drafted by more than $1k and his account was frozen. All they could do was tell him there was a court order to do so. Short version of the story is, his old cell company sold his debt (probably for pennies on the dollar) to a law firm who specializes in getting money back. They used the legal system to get all $700 + $500 in fees and expenses. My friend didn't have that much in his bank account so they actually over-drafted it and then the bank slapped him w/ an over-draft fee. In the end, he got it all figured out, but his $700 oops ended up costing him nearly double when it caught up.
Besides just the "bad" kids who download everything, more and more things eat up bandwidth. I use the video feature of iChat on my mac on a regular basis, a friend of mine pays for Vonage, VoIP phone service, several of my friends run Skype because it's cheaper to talk to people in other countries, most all Linux distro's (which are usually very large files) are available free for download, and coders often download several of them and / or patch kits on a regular basis. Hell the Mac updates I just downloaded last night were nearly 200mb in size.
We now live in an age where nearly everything is digital and / or going digital. These stupid caps need to be set free. Consumerist did an article a few months ago on how the cost to a cell provider is no different if you send 1 text message a month or 10k, yet the pricing difference is huge.