Sunday, April 10, 2011

Capping the Net: AT&T T-Mobile deal spells bandwidth caps, captive users, and rising costs

IMHO: If the AT&T purchase of T-Mobile goes through we will see a new era of rising prices for bandwidth, the expansion of bandwidth caps and captive users. I have been saying for some time that the future of the 'net is looking bleak, at least from the point of view of the average user.

The days of cheap and seemingly limitless bandwidth are coming to an end. Maybe not tomorrow, or even this year, but the writing is on the wall and it says you will have to pay a lot more for bandwidth, and you will pay by the gigabyte. No more all you can eat for X dollars per month. Try 5 gigabytes for $50 and $50 a gigabyte for overage. No rollovers, no exceptions, unless you opt for the platinum plan, a mortgage payment priced top tier of connectivity affordable only to the few.

The golden age of surfing without thinking about the bandwidth you are burning, the salad days of unlimited movie watching over the web, through your Xbox and onto your HD flat screen? It's about to end. Get ready to sit around the hearth and reminisce about the good old days of unlimited data plans and all the online gaming you could eat.

Melodramatic? Only time will tell. Set a reminder to check back here in 12 months (I use the calendar on my iPhone). But before you bet against these dire prognostications, checkout Stop the Cap, a great website that I've been watching for some years now. The have a wealth of material on many aspects of broadband pricing, service levels, and telecom lobbying:

Many companies in the broadband industry are engaged in a high-priced lobbying campaign to manufacture a “bandwidth crisis/exaflood” or “shortage,” suggesting that consumers are abusing their broadband connections at such a rate it threatens the integrity of the Internet and its distribution platform...[but]...most of the companies complaining refuse to open their records to independent verification “for competitive reasons.”

If you do visit Stop the Cap you will see where I got the inspiration for the graphics in this post. Anyone who wants to raise awareness of cap-creep and other net-farious telco activities is free to re-use or link to my images. However, use of these images by any telco without written permission is prohibited. (Okay, so it's highly unlikely anyone from AT&T or T-Mobile or Comcast or Time Warner or Verizon is going to read this, but I'm just saying, you've been warned, right.)

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