I was reading a few of my regular news stops this morning when I was bombarded with these big headlines: “AT&T: Internet data Caps, Overage Charges Inevitable!”, “Time Warner plans to Meter Internet Usage”, and a slew of other ridiculous and at the same time horrifying headlines. I’m someone who spends most all of their free recreation time on the internet. I write on a blog daily, I write articles for gaming sites, I upload podcasts, I play and download PC games, our household has 3 consoles connected to the internet and we regularly download games from Xbox Live, and our household has 4 computers connected to and using the internet at prime time every single night – AND we use AT&T! *facepalm*
“Tiers will range from $29.95 a month for relatively slow service at 768 kilobits per second and a 5-gigabyte monthly cap, to $54.90 per month for fast downloads at 15 megabits per second and a 40-gigabyte cap. Those prices cover the Internet portion of subscription bundles that include video or phone services. Both downloads and uploads will count toward the monthly cap.” – Kevin Leddy, Time Warner Executive
Two months ago I was downloading 32gb every other week for the Age of Conan betas. Both Graev and I bought new PCs and had to redownload all of our Steam games (6+gb per). We’re buying digital content including games on Xbox Live and Wii Virtual Console on a regular basis. According to AT&T DSL (Our provider), 5% of their users are using 46% of the bandwidth. Where does this put a household like ours? I assume that the biggest consumers are those who are constantly downloading and p2p file sharing to get HD movies and things like that, but those with habits like mine can’t be too far down the totem pole.
I’m already assuming the worst. Just like gas prices we’re going to be gouged and overcharged by these companies just because they can. It’s only going to get worse as the years go by and these corporations become even more greedy. Soon ISP’s will start offering digital downloads from THEM that won’t count towards your monthly bandwidth. These caps are just a stepping stone to bigger bags of money.
If you’re like me you probably have little understanding of how much 1gb of bandwidth can get you. I found a nice explanation of how much just ONE GB can get you:
- View 26,000 Web pages OR
- Send 105,000 e-mails OR
- Attach over 2,000 Microsoft Word documents (of about 10 pages each) OR
- Receive up to 1,000 digital photos OR
- Download more than 200 songs OR
- Stream 18 hours of music from the Web OR
- Download 1.5 movies (or 2/3 of a movie in High Definition) OR
- Play games online for 240 hours (or 10 days)
At the top of the list things sound just fine to me. Then as the list goes on my heart started racing faster…and faster.. and faster.. 240 hours of gaming in 30 days starts to get a little scary because that alone starts impeding on the threshold. Add onto that my regular internet usage and my uploads/downloads and suddenly I’m starting to sweat. Then compound that by DOUBLING it because Graev plays/uses a comp in this house too, then compound that AGAIN by the two other computer users here and I’m “losing it”.
From reports that I’ve read the basic packages being offered are all over the place. Comcast is offering 250gb to their users with a $15/per gb overage charge. That’s something I can work with because 250gb is A LOT of usage according to the information above. But on the flip side there is Time Warner offering only 5gb to their users with a POS 768kb/s connection – spiking to $54 a month for 15gb… GTFO Time Warner.
My message to my provider (AT&T) is this: You’re considering a plan that I consider to be heinous abuse. I urge you to also consider the ramifications of any decision you make. If you go the way of Comcast you’re going to anger a lot of customers. If you go the way of Time Warner you’re going to LOSE customers starting with myself. You’re aiming to alienate and exclude a HUGE (perhaps the biggest) market out there that is growing every second. Is that what you want? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.