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AT&T's CEO said that his company isn't about to let the iPhone get away, despite network performance gripes from customers.  (Source: The Huffington Post)
AT&T risks falling behind yet again in the cell phone technology race

Metered internet pricing is a controversial suggestion, both in wireless and wired form.  Basically, most iterations of the plan boil down to low-usage users' costs remaining similar to current costs, but high usage users having to pay much more than their current rates.  Customers by and large hate the idea since they feel they already pay too much for their internet (major service providers in the U.S., like Comcast and Embarq, have fought to outlaw municipal Wi-Fi services that would offer cheaper internet to citizens).  Internet service providers, though, oft seem to see dollar signs when they dream of metered pricing.

In the U.S. a handful of companies have conducted wired or wireless meter pricing trials -- AT&T and Time Warner are two of the biggest.  Time Warner dropped its plans after backlash, but AT&T is lending serious consideration to plans to increase the fees of its busier users.  AT&T Inc. Chief Executive Randall Stephenson on Tuesday said that he feels an eventual rollout of a metered wireless billing plan is an inevitability for his company.

In a multi-topic presentation at a Morgan Stanley conference in San Francisco Mr. Stephenson stated, "For the industry we will progressively move towards more what I will call variable pricing, if you will. The heavy consumers will pay different than the lower consumers."

The announcement leaves customers with a somewhat mixed signal, considering AT&T's recent indication that it was turning away from considering tiered pricing and instead stepping up Wi-Fi partnerships.  His consideration of metered pricing is not unique, though -- Verizon Wireless, America's largest carrier, recently indicated that it was eyeing trial deployments of tiered pricing as well.

Among the other interesting topics Mr. Stephenson hit on was the company's relationship with Apple.  Despite some gripes from iPhone owners, Mr. Stephenson is convinced that iPhone will be a "key product" (hinting at exclusivity) for "quite some time".

He also remarked upon the company's plans for Apple's long-awaited iPad tablet.  He stated, "When you think of the iPad and how that correlates with pricing, the iPad -- it is going to be interesting to see the customer reaction to the iPad. Our expectation is that it is -- there's not going to be a lot of people out there looking for one more subscription revenue stream to put on our network, as a result of an iPad. We think it is going to be a largely Wi-Fi driven product. And that is why you see the pricing of the model to be one that is prepaid in nature."

AT&T will sell iPad usage plans on a monthly basis (no-contract).  The carrier will offer $15 and $30 one-month service plans, depending on the level of usage.

Mr. Stephenson and other AT&T executives said that the company is working to correct the highly publicized shortcomings of their network in New York City and San Francisco.  They are beefing up infrastructure in these regions that were swamped by the growing legion of iPhones.

There's some concern on the advanced technologies front that AT&T may be letting itself slip behind in infrastructure, though.  Verizon, and Sprint have both announced ambitious plans to deploy faster 4G networks, but AT&T won't begin substantial deployments until 2011.  It says that deployment won't "accelerate" until 2012.  AT&T is currently deploying HSPA 7.2 a "3.5G" technology.

AT&T slashed its infrastructure investment in 2009, but this year plans to invest $2B USD more to prepare for the iPad and iPhone demand.

Update 1: 3/3/2010 4:19 p.m.--
An AT&T spokesperson contacted us with some more details about the presentation.  Among the points he raised was that T-Mobile had not announced plans to trial true 4G in 2010.  While it may still do so, it currently has only announced the mass deployment of HSPA+, a more advanced version of HSPA 7.2 (but still 3.5G).  The spokeperson also notes that T-Mobile upgrade is merely a software update, not a new infrastructure installation like LTE 

AT&T's spokersperson says that while AT&T is "about a year behind" Verizon and Sprint in terms of 4G deployment, the company feels that its technology will hit the market at about the same times as smart phones that can take full advantage of the tech hit the market (in 2011).  AT&T's best selling smart phones, the Blackberries and the iPhone, are only equipped with 3G tech.  A 4G iPhone could be coming this summer, but it seems more likely that the iPhone will get a 4G refresh in 2012.

AT&T's argument is that it provides customers with the best data network on the market, currently.  Recent performance tests, such as one at Gizmodo and one at PC World do seem to confirm that.  Of course that doesn't speak to call quality, signal strength, or dropped call rates (that's the voice network), but AT&T tells us its improving in those areas as well.

The spokeperson also notes that there's no concrete plan in place for a tiered pricing scheme, but that the management at AT&T does view it as an inevitability for the entire industry, as this article indicates.

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No thanks, ATT.
By Virtual Conan on 3/3/2010 11:08:48 AM , Rating: 5
Talk about taking a step backwards. If I wanted metered Internet service I'd dig up one of those old AOL junk mail disks. This is 2010 and it's ON or OFF when it comes to Internet service - I'm not interested in any kind of metered or pay as you go service, especiall on a smartphone. If ATT can't provide this SOMEONE else will. Straight Talk here I come.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Connoisseur on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By bobcpg on 3/3/2010 11:58:51 AM , Rating: 4
I'd love to see another smartphone come close to that kind of loyalty.

Loyalty to the iPhone...More like loyalty to Apple or loyalty to being cool or hip or what your friends have...

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By TheRequiem on 3/3/2010 12:09:29 PM , Rating: 2
Send a message... my contract is up in June and then I'm gone!

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Adonlude on 3/3/2010 12:48:46 PM , Rating: 3
Yep me to. Ill be voting with my wallet. If you won't give me what I want then your competitor will.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By antimatter3009 on 3/3/2010 4:18:19 PM , Rating: 2
Same. And I really do like my (jailbroken) iPhone. It does most things really well with the jailbreak filling in the rest, and where I live I've had no problems with AT&T's network. However, between Apple's ridiculous restrictions and AT&T's mix of stupidity and evil, I'm thinking a Nexus One (or other Android phone) and T-Mobile will be in my future come June. I simply don't want to keep handing my money over to these companies.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Motoman on 3/3/2010 1:32:56 PM , Rating: 1
...yes, they will still have all the subscribers they want if they keep a lock on the iPhone.

People are stupid enough to believe the iPhone is worth putting up with inferior service for. Even blatantly inferior service. Not that I'd put up with an iPhone under any circumstance - nor would all but one other person in the company I work for (which is a company built on mobile phone application work).

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By cmdrdredd on 3/3/2010 3:56:28 PM , Rating: 2
Well, if my bill goes up I will drop my iPhone and ATT. I mean, if I am going to be paying more for less service than someone else can offer even though I do like the iPhone, then to me it's not worth keeping.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By retrospooty on 3/3/2010 11:23:03 AM , Rating: 4
unbelieveable... simple unbelieveable. Talk about giving Verizon fuel for their ads claiming ATT has inferior internet.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Samus on 3/3/2010 12:56:37 PM , Rating: 3
not just inferior internet, but clearly inferior plans. and i used to think verizon was expensive...

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Misty Dingos on 3/3/2010 12:02:13 PM , Rating: 5
I have a cell phone from ATT and while my options may be limited I will dump them like a stinking dead skunk infested with ebola if they implement this policy.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Eris23007 on 3/3/2010 1:16:57 PM , Rating: 5
"like a stinking dead skunk infested with ebola" wins the award for analogy of the day!


RE: No thanks, ATT.
By MozeeToby on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 12:50:40 PM , Rating: 2
Problem is that we won't see a drop in price. They are not going to see their current revenue drop. So we'll pay the same and if you use more you'll have to pay more. People that think this type of billing will save them money are complete morons.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 4
You can't repeal the laws of economics with wishful thinking. Supplying bandwidth costs money. When 5% of the user base consumes 75% of the bandwidth, the other 95% DO get hurt.

I know how emotionally appealing it is to just say "eat it, carriers!" but it doesn't work that way. Carriers are going to make money no matter what. The rest of us are going to pay for it, either through higher prices or lowered service quality.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 3:01:09 PM , Rating: 3
How do the light users get hurt? By paying for the bandwidth the heavy users consume, that's how.

If everyone should pay the same for internet access no matter how much they use, then why not do the same with gasoline, or electricity, just figure how much the nation uses as a whole each year and divide it out among the entire population, or at least every car owner or homeowner? Those that drive SUVs or even small cars but travel 100 miles to work each day would love that plan, but the person driving the fuel efficient car or walks to work and only uses the car on weekends would be getting a bad deal. Having someone pay for someone else's excessive gasoline consumption would be just as unfair as having them pay for someone else's excessive bandwidth usage. In the end the cost has to be paid, but is it going to be paid proportionally to usage or spread out evenly across the user base regardless of individual usage?

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/10, Rating: -1
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 4:51:14 PM , Rating: 3
I wouldn't equate it to buying a game and not paying full price if you don't play it, that would be like not paying full price for a car you bought even though you don't drive it much. Those are purchases of items, the internet is purchase of a service or commodity. It is an ongoing expense, now a game with a subscription would be similar, and honestly if you are not playing a game but paying for a subscription to play it then you are wasting money each month.

If the ISPs are looking at tiered services then they aren't truly going to metered service. I do agree that the way Broadband providers are currently doing business is a complete sham, and I imagine what they are calling metered service will also be just as much a sham and money grab as their past models, but I was not addressing that in my original post, I was addressing the mentality that many have that everyone should pay the same price while utilizing different amounts of bandwidth.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Wellsoul2 on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 4:42:15 PM , Rating: 3
But I don't download and stream movies, why should I not pay less? In other words you are saying I should pay the same as someone who does do that so that I can subsidize their enjoyment of the internet.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 5:19:55 PM , Rating: 1
You're not covering anyone else. On average it cost an ISP $2-4 a month to give you service. Just because they don't make as much profit off of a heavy user doesn't mean you're paying for their service.

Also to think you're going to get a cheaper option is a pipe dream. We saw what they did in the trials. The prices stayed the same but if you used more than say 50GB you started getting charged per GB you use more. No one paid less. You pay the same and get less. These companies are not going to do anything that would have them lose money.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:37:20 PM , Rating: 2
I don't know where you get a ridiculous figure like this. Verizon just posted a $650M loss in its last quarter. Even if you ignore their one time charges and other incidentals, their operating margin runs about 27%, meaning if they charge you $50/m for service, its costing them nearly 3/4 of that, or about $37.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 7:21:46 PM , Rating: 1
I can't find the exact article I read the average price but even this is not too far off from what I stated. Remember that our ISPs are bigger run national networks and have peering agreements that drop their 1Mb/s cost down a lot. compared to the link I am showing.

and this is also useful though it is out of date. The cost to infrastructure ratio is still about the same today.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 7:48:42 PM , Rating: 2
Thanks for proving my point for me. Your own link puts the cost at roughly $300/month per 1mbps line.

That means that, if carriers had to assume everyone used 100% of their capacity, they'd have to charge $3,000 per month for a 10Mb connection, just to break even.

Care to try again?

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 8:07:17 PM , Rating: 1
Where did you get $300 from? I just looked over the articles and didn't see what you were referring to. If it really is/was $300 per month for 1Mbps then ISPs wouldn't even exist so you are just talking trash.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 8:13:20 PM , Rating: 4
"Where did you get $300 from?"

150 lb Sterling = $300

" If it really is/was $300 per month for 1Mbps then ISPs wouldn't even exist"

As the article AND common sense tells us, they exist because ISPs rightly assume that not all people use their connection full speed 24x7.

"... so you are just talking trash."

Try reading the article and actually COMPREHENDING it, dip***t.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JasonMick on 3/3/2010 9:15:27 PM , Rating: 2

As the article AND common sense tells us, they exist because ISPs rightly assume that not all people use their connection full speed 24x7.

Not to interject, but I've noticed you're on site a lot and I must admit your raise a lot of good points, even if I don't always agree with you. If you're interesting in writing some blogs for us, we're always looking for informed voices, shoot me an email.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By amirite on 3/3/2010 9:58:44 PM , Rating: 1
Yes, invite a little child that resorts to name calling when he can't get his point across. That's what this website needs, someone to call his readers idiots or tries to talk down to them.

Time to find a real tech site I guess.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 10:21:19 PM , Rating: 3
"Yes, invite a little child that resorts to name calling when he can't get his point across. "

A survey of Amirite's last few postings, courtesy of DT's post history feature:

"Try again dumbass"
"I guess you were done a long time ago, little girl."
"Look up the word hypocrite"
"You guys suck."

Pot, meet kettle. However, he's right on one thing. I get annoyed with idiocy far too fast to ever write articles; I'd insult too many of my readers. :)

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By amirite on 3/3/10, Rating: -1
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By siuol11 on 3/4/2010 12:15:00 AM , Rating: 2
You have to remember this is Jason Mick talking. He's like the robo-troller of DT.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 2:24:22 AM , Rating: 1
150 pound sterling is no where near $300, which is why I was wondering WTF you were talking about. A quick look at shows it's almost exactly $225. If they really are overselling by that much then they really deserve to have some trouble. That's like 40+ users per 1Mbit, and they say that doesn't even include rental costs, meaning it's probably 50+ users per 1Mbit. That just seems like it's destined to fail considering we're only going to consumer more bandwidth as time goes on.

BTW, this doesn't necessarily apply to the US. I'm sure it costs our ISPs a different amount per 1Mbit though I'm sure the amount of people per Mbit is probably pretty close. A little bit less than trash, but gross overestimates help no one.

Based on the article it seems that ISPs are going to have to undergo some major changes if what they say is even close to being accurate.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By whiskerwill on 3/4/2010 8:22:49 AM , Rating: 2
If they really are overselling by that much then they really deserve to have some trouble
So you'd prefer if it they didn't oversell, and just charged us all ten times as much instead?

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 4:08:49 PM , Rating: 2
Look, you don't see airlines overbooking their planes by 50 seats as they almost certainly not be able to fit everyone on the plane. Yea, they oversell by a couple seats since 1-2 people aren't going to show. That's no biggie. They are overselling bandwidth by so much, at least according to the article, that they have no excuse to complain about how much bandwidth is really being used or if it's being tapped out. I have a very hard time believing that they really oversell by that much though. Basically it's saying that if more than 1 person ever used the line at the same time then you'd max out the bandwidth. Obviously this isn't the case in real life, and yea I know that over the whole line running to our neighborhood (or however many people it services) that 1 person couldn't use up all the bandwidth that'd be insane, but with 6-10Mbit lines you wouldn't need a whole lot to max it out if they oversold it by that much. It simply doesn't seem real as we've never had bandwidth issues like that.

Anyway, I'd like to see them oversell by far less even if it means they'd have to increase prices. Sounds much like the subsidies used to make green tech viable. It's just stupid. Not everything should be viable like that. And if these are the true costs then internet is certainly one of them. Not that people couldn't have it if they wanted, but to have it like this is just retarded.

Just think of sharing a glass of water at a restaurant. It'd be like expecting only 1 person at the table to drink at a time. Even among 6 people you'd run into problems.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 5:47:43 PM , Rating: 3
I know the ISPs are total scams in their service and pricing, and as I have stated in other posts I am not directing these towards the ISPs.

In a sense I am paying for the service of those that use more, not in the costs which I know are very low, but if they want to make the same amount of profit and yet still charge the same to everyone, then they will just raise my rates to cover what they perceive as lost profits from those that use more.

I have no dreams what so ever that my price will drop, I know these companies for what they are. What I do take issue with are people who think that they are entitled to a service simply because it is there, and that if I pay X dollars for enough bandwidth to check my email once a day for ten minutes, then being able to download hundreds of gigabytes of movies each day should cost the same X dollars.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 5:58:43 PM , Rating: 1
If you're logging on to check email or use VOIP for a few minutes a day, then you have no reason to choose a high capacity-high cost option. Buy the level of service YOU need and leave the high priced, high speed, high capacity connections to those who wish to transfer large amounts in a short time.

Dial-up is still available at $9.95 a month and is adequate for email & VOIP. Of course Windows update may take a week of transfers once a month, but you can just buy the CD from Microsoft :P

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By sigilscience on 3/3/2010 6:11:08 PM , Rating: 3
There are lots of people (myself included) who occasionally need to download a large file. We also send picture and video clips now and then, and we don't like to wait for them. I think most people fit into this category.

Then there's the category of people who spend their entire life with a file sharing program or two running. Those are the people that ruin things for the rest of us.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 7:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
Then you pay the additional cost of a high speed connection. The price is based on an estimate of average use across all customers.

Businesses already pay a different, much higher rate for the same connection as that class of user has a higher average usage.

Or you can shop around and get a DSL connection for $15-$25 a month. Fast enough for occasional big transfers and much lower cost than the very high speed connections that would allow extremely large amounts of total transfer.

I actually use DSL since I do occasionally download videos and often download music. I could get it to be faster by buying a faster connection, but by exercising patience, I can pay less for a connection that is more than adequate 90% of the time and for the really big items, I put the transfer in the background and leave the computer running.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Gzus666 on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/4/2010 12:29:37 AM , Rating: 3
"What magic village do you live in where dial up is sufficient for VoIP?"

Oh my. Dialup operates on the same POTS lines that carry switched voice calls for the phone network. Back in the early days of Asterisk, I made plenty of VoIP calls over dialup. Often calls were crystal clear; other times dropouts were a continual problem.

I don't know why you mention latency. Signals travel at the same speed regardless of bandwidth. Latency is only a larger issue on dialup if you're trying to transmit more data than the pipe can handle. Packets queue up, and therefore take longer to arrive.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By rudy on 3/6/2010 2:19:41 PM , Rating: 2
Because the companies will not charge you less they will just charge others more. See my other post which explains this. Most companies do a ton of research to find out what people can afford. Then they stick to those numbers. Don't you think it is odd that you can hardly find any plans that are less than 30$? And most plans hover around 50$? See companies know that there are certain price points consumers will accept and they push their rates up to those points regardless of what people use or how much it costs. If people use less they just make a larger profit margin I run a business and I do the same thing. I have things I could sell for 3 or 4$ but I know that the price point is 4.99 or 5 and so I just set them to that price and 95% of people pay it and I just make more money but sell almost the same amount of product.

Think back to all other metered services extra minutes, text messages and so on and remember how much we were ripped off for those items? Why does a text message costs 20 cents when it is easier and cheaper to send then a minute of calls?

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By rudy on 3/6/2010 2:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
Let me make one other point. The only way metered cell phone plans will be cheaper is if the product is independent of the phone. IE in less developed nations they mostly run cell service like our prepaid phones where you have sim cards and you can purchase minutes in the form of cards from 7/11 or almost any retailer or gas station. In these places minutes are cheaper and get down to a couple cents per minute. But that is because at any time you can jump ship to another provider this is not the case in the US where your phone is locked to your carrier and as an ETF. Once they lock you in they will screw you as much as they can.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By sigilscience on 3/3/2010 4:46:47 PM , Rating: 2
You're [sic] reasoning is incorrect though because the capacity is there even if no one uses it.
YOUR reasoning is incorrect because the given amount of capacity is only there because of the amount of traffic the network has to handle. They have to build the network to handle what the peak traffic will be.

If someone downloads alot at 3AM when no-one is there then it hurts no-one
Yeah, like torrent hogs only download at 3AM. Right.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 4:54:31 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, just like with the water service, the capacity is there, but you still get charged for how much you actually use volume wise.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:23:38 PM , Rating: 2
I think a better analogy is a hotel.

If a room is empty, you can sleep in it for free without hurting the hotel. But if the hotel operator knows 50 people are going to be freeloading every night, they have to design in 50 more rooms when the build the hotel.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 5:41:28 PM , Rating: 2
Nope. They have to pay someone to clean the room and wash the linens and towels. Cleaning supplies, wear and tear. "free" supplies in room, etc.

Many do offer those excess rooms at discount though if you ask and they are not full. Some do not on the assumption that you will need a room even if they don't give you a discount. Usually they build so that capacity is just below demand to minimize unsold rooms.

telcos and ISPs do the same, they estimate expected average usage, supply capacity for that demand, which will be well under maximum demand, and then sell as many connections as they can. If I remember right, dial-up used to allocate 1 server side modem for every 3 to 4 customers on the assumption that rarely would more than 25-30% of their customers try to connect at any given time...these were unlimited 24/7 connections. Yes those always available connections occasionally had busy signal.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 5:32:04 PM , Rating: 2
Yes but fresh water is a finite resource. Bandwidth is not. Once the infrastructure is in place the bandwidth cost nothing. These Big ISPs run their own nation wide networks. They have peering agreements with other large networks that basically say we can send traffic to each others networks freely.

Fresh water on the other hand can run out. Has to be made in some places. Bandwidth does not. Its always there if it is used or not and it can't be used up. Sure you can consume the volume of a line but you can't run out of it you just run out of capacity to move it.

People need to stop trying to compare bandwidth to a finite resource like water or gas.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:38:41 PM , Rating: 1
"fresh water is a finite resource. Bandwidth is not."

Infinite bandwidth is free? Hurrah! The Laws of Physics have been repealed!

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 5:51:37 PM , Rating: 3
Not free, but fixed cost. A 100GB pipe costs the same to maintain regardless of the throughput. There may be a rise in cost for the computers operating the pipe as they use more power under load, but if you're selling "up to" 100 GBps then you had better be ready to supply 100 GBps and that infrastructure will not cost less to maintain simply because traffic is at 10% of capacity. If your normal load is 10% of capacity then you overbuilt and your costs are to high. If your normal load is 80%+ and your promised throughput is 500% of capacity, then you need to either drop customers or increase capacity.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:57:59 PM , Rating: 1
"A 100GB pipe costs the same to maintain regardless of the throughput. "

When you have 100K average users, a single 100GB pipe is all you need. When you have 100K heavy users, you need ten of those 100GB pipes.

Honestly, why are you arguing such nonsense? Capacity planning isn't rocket science. The idea that heavy bandwidth users don't cost more to service is ludicrous on its face.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 6:18:37 PM , Rating: 2
So the proper sales technique is offer the service to customers and charge extra to anyone who uses more than 20% of their purchase :P

A proper estimate of usage will include a percentage of high usage customers. Failure to include the possibility that people will use the service they purchased is poor planning.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Gzus666 on 3/3/2010 7:36:50 PM , Rating: 3
When you have 100K average users, a single 100GB pipe is all you need. When you have 100K heavy users, you need ten of those 100GB pipes.

To interject on this, it is of negligible additional cost to go from 1 to any number of pipes when dealing with one point to point link. For example, when dropping fiber, the cost difference between dropping one fiber line or 8 is almost non-existent. The only real price difference is the physical fiber and the terminating device has to have enough ports (rarely an issue on any high end equipment).

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Gzus666 on 3/3/2010 9:36:59 PM , Rating: 2
Not even close to correct of course. For longhaul backbone, there isn't one "terminating device". There's usually a whole room of them. Why? Because one single DCS/DSX/router/whatever doesn't have nearly the capacity needed. AT&T and Verizon have entire multi-story buildings devoted to nothing but holding this equipment.

Apparently you aren't very familiar with provider level equipment. They usually run in blades with redundant everything inside the chassis. The blades afford numerous fiber termination points in different slots. They can be bundled together and used as one logical link if they see fit and also provide redundancy.

Also, you seem to confuse the type of equipment that is doing what. You must remember a provider will have numerous long haul links going to different networks, but they are still point to point links. Long haul links are point to point, the rest of the network is what usually is being housed in those multi-story buildings. You can't just terminate a link and run it nowhere, you need a large mesh to have a proper backbone.

While I am not working for a service provider(but I have before), I am a network engineer and this is what I do all day, every day. Basic design principles still apply and must be followed at least somewhat to produce high availability networks.

My point was that the cost is still a drop in the bucket after the digging is done. The digging is probably one of the most expensive parts of long haul networks by a considerable margin. Also, I'm not sure where you get that fiber breaks down over time, since they are made of plastic or glass(which in the scheme of things and purposes of the time frame we will be using this technology, it basically doesn't break down). Fiber pretty much works forever until some jerk his it with a backhoe.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 10:14:16 PM , Rating: 2
"Fiber pretty much works forever until some jerk his it with a backhoe."

Wrong again. Over time, longhaul fibers develop PDL (polarization loss) from a variety of source: dichroism, fiber strain from earth upheaval, temperature-change bending, and a number of other sources. And even when the fiber itself is OK, you have to remember that very few longhaul cables don't have one or more junction splices in them...and splices degrade over time much faster than the cable itself.

I don't know of a single 100+ fiber cable that has every single fiber working for more than a year after initial install. Switching over to dark fiber within the same cable is an INTEGRAL part of service fact, most of the big players have systems in place to do this automatically.

"Apparently you aren't very familiar with provider level equipment. They usually run in blades..."

Sorry, chippie, but it turns out I am VERY familiar with said equipment. You think a 5ESS or a DACS IV runs in blades? The equipment used for, say, an OC-192 SONET Ring is not the rinky-dink crap your local ISP or college campus runs.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Gzus666 on 3/3/2010 10:48:49 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, chippie, but it turns out I am VERY familiar with said equipment. You think a 5ESS or a DACS IV runs in blades? The equipment used for, say, an OC-192 SONET Ring is not the rinky-dink crap your local ISP or college campus runs.

Boy, that looks like a blade, wouldn't you agree?

What does that look like to you? Possibly a blade? But your right, those rinky dink providers like Nortel and Cisco clearly aren't up to the mighty OC-192 challenge. I think you spend too much time with google. "Chippie"? You are a pompous tool.

As for the fiber, the temperature changes cause changes in light flow through the fiber, I think no one would disagree. This would not require replacement as it is inherent to any fiber design to some degree. Clearly the temperature changes are not going to cause it to deteriorate, merely change shape. Maybe you used a misnomer, I can't say. This would be like saying they replace copper lines all the time because of the weathering and they see a lot more wear when compared with fiber. Even unburied copper sees very little replacement, just splices occasionally. I worked for AT&T, some of the East coast copper we used for DSL had been there for well over a hundred years.

I will grant you the splices, but they can just be respliced, that is part of the maintenance of keeping their networks alive and the only reason I have ever seen a carrier splice fiber is because of a jerk off with a back hoe and I have seen it quite a few times. DSL and cable networks deal with insane amounts of attenuation and signal degradation every day and work reasonably well for the most part. Optical networks even on their worst day don't come close to this level of degradation and can support much higher throughput, I highly doubt they are frequently replacing their long haul fiber links or they would be broke by now.

The point still stands, the most expensive part of their job is the initial digging and this is rarely done more than once, then splices are done in the meantime.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 11:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
"As to fiber...clearly the temperature changes are not going to cause it to deteriorate, merely change shape"

Clearly incorrect. Fiber bending causes signal attenuation. When you're working with short runs of a few km or less, bends may not be an issue. For longhaul fiber, though, its a very different matter. Furthermore, seasonal temperature changes cause earth upheaval, which can cause bending sufficient to actual damage or even break the fiber itself. When this happens, not all fibers in the cable are affected equally. It can break half the fibers outright, and leave the other half nearly untouched.

Then you have cable intrusion issues, anything from an excavator near miss up to moles gnawing on the cable sheath. In this case again, some fibers can be taken out entirely while others survive unscathed.

AOTDRs (my particular area of work) can analyze the return spectrum of a cable run, and predict failure points before they even happen...based largely on just these macrobend attenuation points that you claim don't exist.

Longhaul fiber performance deteriorates over time. Learn a little about the subject before you attempt to say otherwise.

"I will grant you the splices, but they can just be respliced"

Yes, and that takes a truck roll and an expensive dig...and if other buried assets are in the neighborhood (they always are) you have to call in a dig ticket and wait a couple days. And that assumes you can even localize which splice is the problem (here's where the OTDRs come in).

Worse of all, without dark fibers available in the cable, every little issue becomes an outage, with thousands or even millions of customers affected...all because you didn't have any spare fibers to roll to.

""Chippie"? You are a pompous tool"

If you don't want to be insulted, don't pretend to understand things you clearly don't.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 6:24:04 PM , Rating: 2
Running out of the capacity to move data is the same as running out of bandwidth, actually the capacity to move data is the very definition of bandwidth. So bandwidth is not infinite, only so much data can be transmitted over the lines at any given time. That limit on the main trunks is huge in comparison to the lines coming to your home granted, but there truly are limits. And to say the bandwidth cost nothing after the infrastructure is in place is also wrong, unless you can move the data without electricity or people maintaining the equipment constantly.

This is the very idea that I have been talking about, that people believe that the data on the internet just magically travels to their computers with no involvement of anything in between them and the source. Thinking that internet bandwidth is "free and unlimited" is not true at all. Two bits of data can not occupy the same slice of time on the same switch or line. Just as a 1gb network can send 1gb of data per second across the cable, you can't cram 2gb of data into that same second(compression does allow more end data to be sent at once but the amount of physical data is the limiting factor). You have to use a second line or wait until the first gb has been transmitted. Do a "trace route" sometime and see just how many hops your data takes to get to you, and remember that each of those hops involves a router that uses power and someone to maintain it.

People who did not have to work back in the time of computer terminals attached to a mainframe through a multiplexer switch don't understand what bandwidth limits are like. I remember when the labs would be packed near finals and you could type an entire line of code then have to wait for it to appear on your monitor because of the lag between you and the mainframe, but at the first of the semester when hardly anyone was there it would appear instantly. The internet is just like that, right now the capacity most of the time is more than what is being used in most places, but if there is a locally heavy usage, it can slow down everyone on that section of the line. If the line coming down your block is a 1gb/s line, and 30 people on a 6Mbs connection are downloading, there is plenty left over since it could support 166 simultaneous connections at that speed. But have 200 people on that same line trying to download at once and you will no longer get 6Mb/s speeds since that is beyond the capacity of the line. Bandwidth is not like the amount of fresh water available, it is like the amount of water the pipe can push through at one time.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 7:04:56 PM , Rating: 2
I know all about how the Internet infrastructure is built. Sure power and up keep has some cost but those are very very low compared to the initial build out.

What you seem to be missing is the insight as to what kind of backbone infrastructure is already in place. Many Backbone providers still have millions of miles of dark fiber. Why is it dark? Because their just isn't enough usage on the currently lit fibers. Level3 is one such backbone who is still in massive debt because they over build capacity that they still can't sell.

The line limits that you speak of are the last mile links. Lines that connect the ISPs CO to a backbone. Or from the CO to a Switching station. These last mile connections is where the limitations are coming into play. ISPs didn't design their networks to be symmetrical but that is the kind of connection that makes P2P work best. They designed their networks with the idea that consumers are not content providers. P2P changes that. They wanted to maximize short term profits and didn't build our the extra capacity that would be needed in the future.

New tech comes out all the time for new fiber transceivers that can send more data over the same fiber. No line infrastructure has to be changed. Just a new module for the router needs to be installed or in most cases the router has to be replaced because again they build a network that operated at 80% capacity from the start.

That is what I was saying but maybe I didn't explain it well. Bandwidth is capacity and that is correct.

If a lake has 1 million gallons and you consume 100,000 gallons a second you'll run out of water in 10 seconds. Finite resource you run out of it. You pay for the amount you use because there is a limited amount of it.

Bandwidth on the other hand isn't limited like that. You can fill the capacity of a line and run it 24/7 forever But you'll never run out of more data to keep your pipe filled.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By afkrotch on 3/3/2010 9:57:01 PM , Rating: 2
Let's say heavy users make up 5% of the customer base, but use 75% of the bandwith. I really have no idea what it is, but this is all an example.

Imagine those ppl are no longer around. You just freed up 75% of your bandwith. Now you can make a grab at more light users to fill that.

You can charge less to the customers and make the same amount. That or simply charge the same and make even more money. Which of course, a huge chunk of profit would go towards upgrading their networks.

Personally, I really don't care what any of them do, as I don't really do data on my cellphone.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Lazarus Dark on 3/3/2010 10:13:11 PM , Rating: 2
"How do the light users get hurt? By paying for the bandwidth the heavy users consume, that's how."
The reverse could be said. Why punish the heavy users in the name of people who aren't using the bandwidth they paid for? ATT promised unlimited and the so-called heavy users are just using what they paid for; the "light users" still paid for unlimited, why aren't they using it to the fullest? I say a "heavy user" isn't abusing the network, it's the "light users" who are wasting thier money.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By EricMartello on 3/6/2010 10:27:49 PM , Rating: 2
You can't repeal the laws of economics with wishful thinking. Supplying bandwidth costs money. When 5% of the user base consumes 75% of the bandwidth, the other 95% DO get hurt.

Nice analogy except that your missing a critical gas station ever advertised "unlimited gasoline $50/mo" and due to the volatility of that commodity something like that could never exist.

Now if the cellphone provider advertises "unlimited usage" (which AT&T does with their $100/mo IPHONE plan) then by law they are required to provide what they advertise. I cannot imagine the bandwidth demands of data over a cell network are going to be so substantial that our current technology is fact, I'd say it is not even close to running at full capacity.

How many people are seeding torrents or file sharing with their iphones? That's the biggest chunk of consumer bandwidth use on computers, but there's no equivalent on cellphones yet. Most people just check mobile websites which are probably 200-300K at most, use email or send SMS messages. Nothing bandwidth-intensive here.

But what about rich media like videos and music? Hey, guess what, customers are being charged to access and download most of those videos and music files anyway so the cost of bandwidth is largely irrelevant since it is being offset by selling access to the media.

Or maybe people are using their phones as modems to connect to the net. Yes maybe...or not...let's not ignore the fact that almost anywhere you can find a McDonalds you can find a free wifi hotspot - so most laptop users are going to be using wifi and not their cellphone to connect to the net.

Iphone users may utilize more bandwidth than an average smartphone user...but they're not bringing the network down to its knees as AT&T would have you believe - after all, they're making money from all the downloads on Apple's store thru revenue sharing deals.

I know how emotionally appealing it is to just say "eat it, carriers!" but it doesn't work that way. Carriers are going to make money no matter what. The rest of us are going to pay for it, either through higher prices or lowered service quality.

Yup...and as luck would have it they already are making money. There is no reasonable justification to roll out metered plans when the mobile industry is migrating toward unlimited data/voice plans with no restrictions on features like SMS/MMS. Metered pricing was what you had when cellphones looked like bricks. Today this kind of plan just isn't going to fly so AT&T can either be competitive or bow out and let a competitor take their place.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Mint on 3/4/2010 7:34:50 AM , Rating: 3
We're morons? It's already saved me a bundle. I'm on PagePlus prepaid, and I pay $1.20 per megabyte of 3G (which is overpriced, but prepaid data is a new model).

Most people pay $40/mo for their unlimited connection, but I pay a couple dollars per month for my email and mobile google maps use.

Voila. I'm a low volume user paying a lower price than high volume users. The same thing happened to me with voice.

For wireless internet, usage charges are a GOOD thing.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By kmmatney on 3/3/2010 5:21:49 PM , Rating: 2
As a Medium/Light AT&T 3G user, this is fine by me.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By Targon on 3/3/2010 5:35:22 PM , Rating: 2
When the cost of providing bandwidth to customers ends up exceeding the overall network capacity, then the company will need to either pay out a ton of money to increase that network capacity, push customers not to use excessive bandwidth, or a combination of the two.

Now, we know that 4G is going to provide more bandwidth to consumers, which in turn means more of the network backbone will be demanded by the "high usage" crowd, those using Google Maps rather than using a true device based GPS where the maps are saved on the local device as an example. This just drains the network resources.

So, complain all you like, but if you use a TON of bandwidth on the network and don't pay more than a MODERATE user, you really are just adding to the problem of limited network resources. If people jump to Verizon, how long do you think it will be before Verizon runs into the network problems and has to limit users as well?

When network capacity is virtually unlimited, then flat rate prices work. When network capacity is limited, it makes sense to limit users, or to charge more.

One fair solution would be a tiered approach, but instead of just throwing penalties at people who go over their "plan", just bump people to the next price point when they exceed their current plan. So if you have a 500MB/month plan and you use 501MB, your bill jumps to the price of the 2GB/month plan which may be $20 more, but wouldn't be excessive. You will remain in the new plan until you request to be moved back, but if you exceed it more than three times in an 8 month period, you will be locked in at the higher plan for the next 1.5 years or would avoid those $1000 bill at least.

RE: No thanks, ATT.
By darkblade33 on 3/4/2010 1:16:32 PM , Rating: 2
Metered use seems unfair to me in most ways, but it could possibly work .. 'IF' .. and on IF prices were fair..

Whats the definition of Fair ? Well lets say Highest users payed the 'SAME' or only five more dollars then now.. people like me who rarely use the web would pay a lower tier.. instead of what i do now .. which is I pay for now data plan.. and when i do use the net I get raped because I have no data plan..

Ok so i said my piece.. yes i dont think its fair in most aspects.. but only by playing devils advocate can you see the other side of the coin.. if there were to be tiered pricing.. people who dont use the web but would like to more.. might have more options.. and people who use it excessively might realise they can surf on there pc instead of the iphone when they are five feet away from the pc in their own bedroom

Its the end of the Internet
By GruntboyX on 3/3/2010 1:01:40 PM , Rating: 4
Metered Internet is a big threat to the Internet as we know it.

So much is based on the idea that Bandwidth is Free. Internet Video will die, as Watching one High Definition movie is enough to push you over the measly 5 GB Cap. It reduces the cost effectiveness of VOIP. Online Cloud Storage, or Cloud based computing is in danger as every I/O operation with the Cloud Application uses Bandwidth. Obviously it would kill File Sharing. But It puts a huge hole in the security model. Software companies dont think anything about pushing out a 100 meg patch to update their program. To have no way of managing this or to be connected to the internet and scared to update because it uses your bandwidth is a serious threat to the security of the internet. Every time I reload windows, I download about 6 Gig of updates for Windows, Office and Other stuff. It will halt the gradual movement to digital distribution and lock us into a state of physical media. This whole thing is very very bad, and its very anti-consumer and anti-trust. The conflicts of interest are obvious and something needs done. Bottom line, is companies are tired of racing each other to upgrade there networks to win customers, they want to fix the system so they can turn it into Plain Old telephone infrastructure that runs and maintains itself and requires no investment. All they have to do is collect the checks. The real thing that infuriates me, is that bandwidth caps don't scale with connection speed. They want to give me 12Meg speeds but only offer 5 Gig of data. That is totally worthless. So much hardware that is currently out there doesn't support bandwidth caps. Without flashing your router to void its warranty to load Tomato or DD-WRT. There is no way to monitor your bandwidth. The ultimate insult to injury is I have to pay for Flash Ads that use my bandwidth. What happens when a bot net attaches to my computer and starts using my bandwidth to spam people and decimate porn and other crap.

This is a bad bad deal.

I regularly monitor my bandwidth and I use 60 Gigabytes a month without even thinking. I do absolutely no file sharing. But I do watch a lot of Netflix on demand. As media moguls purchase ISPs this is a way of them protecting there current business models, by creating and artificial scarcity. It also protects High Margin video distribution services that all the big ISPs now offer.

the corporate world is fighting the dumb pipe. Its time for government intervention, otherwise there will be catastrophic hindrances to development and innovation.

We dont need overbearing big brother. A simple bill to require all data to be unlimited. Much like the law preventing the taxation of the internet. If the government cant tax bandwidth why should ISPs be able to charge by the KB.

There is absolutely no good reason to go to bandwidth caps, that is unless your a fat cat at a Telco.

Screw you AT&T. Screw You Verizon. Screw you Comcast. You can go suck start a diesel motor and sodomize yourselves with a cactus.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2010 1:13:44 PM , Rating: 2
You do know that there is no such thing as "free" bandwidth.

And why should you be charged by the KB? well guess what, it's because it costs them money to send you the data. Networks aren't free you know.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 2:50:12 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds like they are picking up the plans used in Russia. A friend lives over there and they pay more or less by the byte for data. You purchase internet service in packages of data volume not speeds. But guess what, if you purchase 1gb of data and you hit that limit, you are instantly cut off and have to buy more before you can proceed.

If you broke it down by how much it costs per Gb, and charged everyone evenly from 1byte up to 1Gb for that volume, then the ones who rarely use the internet would come out pretty good as their bills would be next to nothing.

The flow of data is just like the flow of water, you pay your water bill based on how many gallons of water you use each month, not in tiers of 1000 gallons/5000 gallons/ unlimited gallons. This is just looking at doing the same thing. So many of the commentors that are asking for the internet to be unlimited for everyone are not taking into account what it costs to operate the internet, or they want those that use very little bandwidth to pay for the ones that use the most by paying the same amount and spreading their cost out to those light users. While I don't like how most ISPs operate, I also don't like how some people seem to expect the internet to just be there for their use like air for breathing. This is not to be confused with freedom of internet access. But like freedom for a group of people to gather and share ideas in a town square is guaranteed, their transportation to the meeting is up to them to provide themselves. You are free to talk and express your ideas (freedom of the internet) but you have to get there the best way you can (picking your connection plan).

As the previous poster said, there is no such thing as "free" bandwidth, and please don't expect "me" to pay for "your" bandwidth usage by suggesting all users should pay the same whether they use very little or highly excessive amounts of bandwidth.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 5:12:58 PM , Rating: 2
So you're saying that telephone service should be fully metered? After all if it is the heavy users that put the most load on the network. Actually some telcos do offer metered usage, but they do not advertise it. Low usage metered customers pay less than flat rated low usage customers after all :)

You can get metered cellphone service, but the "unlimited" plans seem to be more popular as users don't get as many billing surprises.

Computer modems were metered at one time. You could pay by the hour or by quantity. Unmetered service uses exactly the same infrastructure and for most users is cheaper than the metered options that are available. ISPs would definitely be in favor of metering, their average revenues would skyrocket :)

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:31:31 PM , Rating: 2
"So you're saying that telephone service should be fully metered?"

The difference between a light and heavy phone user is not nearly as huge as the difference between a light and heavy internet user. A phone line is one channel matter how much you use it. But an internet connection can have hundreds or even thousands of channels active.

Phones also don't get faster over time. Internet does. If all our 10mbps connections suddenly changed to 100mbps overnight, most light users would still download about the same amount of data. Many of the heaviest users would be downloading 10X as much to match. They'll consume whatever you give them, just because its there.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 6:09:22 PM , Rating: 2
Yep people tend to buy the level of service they need. If the ISP isn't prepared to provide the level of service sold, then they lose customers. This happened to many dial-up providers who didn't provide enough server side modem connections.

Telephone service is connected via shared lines. In cases of high demand this causes the telephone service to fail. I often hear "All circuits are busy-try again later" during the holidays. That message tells you that the capacity was oversold.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By mcnabney on 3/3/2010 5:23:57 PM , Rating: 2
FYI - it costs the ISP about THREE CENTS PER GB.

That's it three pennies. So a customer paying $45/mo for a DSL or cable connection would have to download 1.5TB (bytes, not bits) to actually cost more than he/she pays in a month.

A one megabit download stream would fill 324GB in a month - so it would take a constant 5 megabit download stream to actually be unprofitable.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2010 6:52:10 PM , Rating: 2
3C per GB? Really? where are you getting this? And this is for a 3G mobile/wireless connection too?

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 7:36:47 PM , Rating: 2
I think you misread as he didn't mention wireless/3G anywhere. He mentioned DSL and cable. IDK if what he said is true, but that's a very bid distinction.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/4/2010 4:52:39 AM , Rating: 2
Yeah, I'm aware there is a big distinction, which is why I asked. It seems that any comments are flipping between referring mobile and traditional wire/cable ISP services, although many of the same arguments apply to them both. However, this article is about mobile internet after all.

Still, I doubt the 3C/GB claim, as the calculations seem to rely on an infinite supply of bandwidth and ability to supply the data, with a fixed cost of supply. Therefore making so that the more you download, the more cost effective and profitable the connection is, which is a complete nonsense of course.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Mint on 3/4/2010 7:19:15 AM , Rating: 2
I think that number is lowballing it a bit, but it's not based on infinite BW or fixed cost of supply. Two years ago, ISPs in major markets used to get charged around $20/mo for a 1 Mbps connection:

Let's say that it's $10/mo now. If it is always saturated, it can provide 324 GB/mo, working out to $0.03/GB. But demand is not uniform, so when they buy enough BW to satisfy peak hours usage they get unsaturated usage during off-peak hours, and they also have per-Mbps costs of their own when routing data to customers. So I wouldn't be surprised if it was up to 10 cents per GB.

Nonetheless, 10 cents per GB is far less than the overage fees that ISPs actually do charge the customer.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Targon on 3/4/2010 7:09:59 AM , Rating: 2
This is where a lot of the confusion comes from when it comes to cell phone data. The cell phone system itself is not nearly as mature when it comes to data transfers as normal cable/DSL, and as a result, there are still limits. Once they move to every cell phone tower having multiple fiber links, that would eliminate ONE problem, but the actual capacity of each cellular tower may be a big part of the problem.

AT&T at this point may be running into the limits of what the actual equipment can process, and Verizon may just be lucky that they do not have a single device that is quite as bandwidth hungry as the iPhone to really test the limits of what their equipment can handle.

One measurement that would be interesting to see is how many cellular devices each cellular tower can handle for the different networks based on the equipment installed. It may just be that the data to cellular links are where the limitations are, and I have no idea if a good replacement is even available to increase that capacity.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By antimatter3009 on 3/3/2010 4:36:16 PM , Rating: 2
Networks aren't free, but usage is. To explain, building a network costs money in equipment, labor, etc. That all makes sense. Then it costs money to maintain it (electricity, more labor, and so on). That also makes sense. However, usage costs them nothing. Assuming the network is running anyway, it costs them no more to send me data than it does for them to not do so. That's why it doesn't make sense to charge for usage. It does make sense to charge for capacity, as they do now, but not for usage.

The problem is that they oversell capacity. They sell everyone 20Mbps or whatever, but if everyone were to use it there's not enough capacity to hold all the traffic. This also makes sense, as it's somewhere between rare and nonexistent for even a majority to be using full capacity at once. However, charging by usage is not the solution to a capacity problem. Scaling per-user capacity at times of high traffic is a solution. Adding capacity is a solution. Charging for use is just a way of making more money.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By sigilscience on 3/3/2010 5:00:22 PM , Rating: 2
However, usage costs them nothing. Assuming the network is running anyway, it costs them no more to send me data than it does for them to not do so.
I can't believe people are this ignorant. You think a 10 mbs, 1-channel network costs the same to build and maintain as a 1000 mbs, 100,000 channel network?

Every time usage goes up, the backbone providers have to do major upgrades. New, faster routers, and lots of them. They aren't cheap either.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 6:13:30 PM , Rating: 2
You're confused. Usage going up wouldn't be a problem if they didn't oversell capacity. If I have a 100Mb/s line then I can sell 10 10/Mb lines. Backbones sell service like this. They sell you capacity. You can usage as much or as little as you like because you are paying for a given amount of capacity. Backbones are not considered ISP so much but more of NSP(Network Service Providers)

Now a last mile provider like most ISPs over sell their capacity and that is where the true problem lies. I pay for 10Mb/s line then I should get 10Mb/s worth of bandwidth none stop of a month if I want to use it.

Bandwidth caps don't solve capacity problems. For example if I sell 100Mb/s worth of bandwidth at 10Mb/s to 20 people because the likely hood of them all using the full speed at once isn't very high. Now say they did. The best I could offer them all would be 5Mb/s. Say we add in bandwidth caps so by the end of the month the heavy users are not consuming so heavily because they used their given amount. What about the begining of the month? You've still got the same problem as before.

Simple fact is bandwidth caps don't solve a capacity problem in any way. Caps or to stifle competition to other services these companies offer like TV, and On Demand video. If you can consume all this online then they can't charge you a premium for it anymore.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2010 6:36:14 PM , Rating: 2
I've seen some of the contracts for backbone service providers and they certainly are not cheap. And with all good capitalist systems, everyone wets their beak way before you see how much it costs. You might not deal with them directly, but your ISP does.

Mobile ISPs have been able to offer the internet at a reasonable cost on your mobile phone for a couple of reasons. Firstly, as a loss leader, to get you into the habit of using mobile internet too. Then they have also had a certain amount of spare capacity as people slowly pick up on the mobile internet option.

As demand increases, certain market forces come into play. most obviously, supply and demand. As it decreases, the companies can simply charge more. However, part of the cost increase is because the once spare capacity is now gone and they are left with 2 options. Charge more and who ever can afford it can use it, leaving the network be, and/or charge more and use the money to increase capacity.

Also, caps do help (in pretty poor way, I grant you) the problems with peak time usage. If you are concerned about being close to your cap, you're less likely to be downloading a lot at any time. It's also going to reduce the number of people using their connection for file sharing, which have an all day round usage level which is fealt most at peak times. And yes, at the start of the month everyone might go download crazy, for the first month or so, until their connection is either throttled, or they pay the penalty charges. Then they will be more discriminating about their usage of the internet all month long, from start to end.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Mint on 3/4/2010 7:48:41 AM , Rating: 1
How is that overselling capacity? Would you rather have it so that ISPs charged $200/mo under the assumption that each user saturates his 10Mb connection, or $40/mo under the assumption that most of the time you will get 10Mb/s?

What an idiotic line of reasoning. If you want to bitch about false advertising when ISPs use the word "unlimited" or unreasonable overage charges, fine, but bandwidth caps and tiered pricing LOWER the cost of internet for the masses.

By antimatter3009 on 3/3/2010 9:10:37 PM , Rating: 2
That's not at all what I said. As I mentioned, networks cost money to build and upgrade. That's all well and good, but once built, their maintenance cost remains the same regardless of use. Yes, they may have to add capacity if they have too much use at once, but whether I use 250GB/month or 2500GB/month makes no difference in maintenance cost.

In other words, a bandwidth cap does nothing to address the problem being cited as the reason for the cap. Limiting people to 250GB/month (or whatever) does not in any way stop them from maxing their connections at peak time, causing network slowdown. If they're maxing their connections from 10pm-6am they're not doing anyone any harm because no one else is around then, and that use has no effect on speeds at any other time.

What the cap is really, is just a way to make more money with some semblance of justification. Higher prices may be understandable due to a need for more capacity, and it wouldn't be a problem if they simply raised prices. The problem here is that their proposed solution, while only harming a few in the immediate future, may have a side effect of discouraging bandwidth heavy applications, such as HD streaming video, and therefore discourage certain avenues of innovation.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2010 7:00:36 PM , Rating: 1
You don't like oversold capacity? You do realise that the internet would never, and probably could not exist at a cost that is affordable by the number of people who are online today, without it?

I suppose you demand that the government build you your own personal road and highway network so that you can drive your car wherever you want at any time and the speed that you desire? Of course not, as you could not afford the cost, and the same is true for internet networks too. we all have to share, and the system isn't perfect, but it does mean that because we share, we get to use a network at speeds much greater than we could afford individually, a lot of the time. It's only at peak times that problems occur, but it's not an unreasonable trade off at the end of the day.

As for a company finding a way to charge for a service and make more money. What's going on in the world? It's almost like we live in a consumerist, capitalist, free market economy or something.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 7:43:45 PM , Rating: 2
The difference is that the government didn't advertise that roads would be available 24/7, the ISPs did. They advertise unlimited connections at a fixed speed that had practically no limits on it. They want to change that now which is just wrong. If the government had said I would be able to take a road anywhere in the US at any time I wanted to then I'd be fucking pissed right now with all this traffic and such. Luckily they were smarter than the ISPs and didn't offer something so ridiculous to begin with. It was obvious that they wouldn't be able to sustain what they advertised forever. That shouldn't screw over the people who got in on the deal though, only new members or those who break/cancel/terminate or otherwise nullify the contract.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 7:59:19 PM , Rating: 2
"They advertise unlimited connections at a fixed speed that had practically no limits on it. "

And they deliver it. Now. That doesn't mean they can't offer a different deal, at a different price in the future now does it?

Sears and Roebuck used to sell jeans at 75 cents a pair, back around 1902. Does that mean we force them to hold to that price today?

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 8:09:10 PM , Rating: 1
To new users, no it doesn't. To someone who has already signed into a contract. I call that total bullshit.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 8:20:38 PM , Rating: 4
Did IQs just drop sharply while I was away? They're not going to abrogate existing contracts, laddie. They're going to eventually begin writing new TOS for new contracts.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 2:36:56 AM , Rating: 2
I'm quite sure they'll find a way. Comcast did. Every "unlimited" user now has a data cap, or so they say at least but I've gone over this supposed data cap and haven't heard a word yet. Others have not been so fortunate though.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/4/2010 3:08:31 AM , Rating: 2
I suppose you're the kind of person who goes into an "all you can eat" restaurant and insists that because you paid once, you can go aback there for life, until your stomach explodes, your mouths closes up, or some other reasons exists that means that you have eaten all that you can, and you are no longer able to eat?

By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 3:48:41 AM , Rating: 2
Completely not the same since once you leave the restaurant the "contract" has been fulfilled. Next time you come in you would have a new "contract." Though there have been cases of people getting kicked out of all-you-can-eat restaurants for eating too much at one sitting. That would be very close to what I'm referring to, which I believe is just plain wrong BTW.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Jalek on 3/4/2010 4:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
I saw just today that Comcast has a meter in the account area you can see as well as the last three months.

Haven't heard a thing from them, though I apparently went over in December. In any case, it's good to have a meter to reference.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By antimatter3009 on 3/3/2010 9:17:13 PM , Rating: 2
You don't like oversold capacity?

I never said anything even close to that. In fact, I specifically said that overselling capacity makes sense. That doesn't change the fact that it's the root of the problem.

As for a company finding a way to charge for a service and make more money. What's going on in the world? It's almost like we live in a consumerist, capitalist, free market economy or something.

Again, you're putting words in my mouth. If they want to make money, raise prices or create a new service to charge for. Don't, however, add caps that threaten to discourage high-bandwidth services, such as high quality streaming video, especially when the reason you cite for doing so is unrelated to your "solution".

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 10:24:43 PM , Rating: 2
"I specifically said that overselling capacity makes sense. That doesn't change the fact that it's the root of the problem"

No, it's the root of the solution . Without what you call "oversold capacity", none of us could afford to use the Internet in the first place.

". If they want to make money, raise prices or create a new service to charge for."

That's exactly what they plan to do. Create a new service tier that charges people for bandwidth consumed.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/4/2010 3:40:12 AM , Rating: 2
Reading back your comment, I see what you are saying. This comment is not directed solely at you, there are many similar threads, which this comment also addresses.

However, the point still stands that overselling capacity is simply the only way that the whole internet is economically viable. It's not the root of the problem, as someone else said, it is the only solution that you (almost certainly) could ever afford. If you want a fatter connection that is always on, doesn't suffer at peak times and such, then you can get such a deal, but it will cost you, that's the way markets work comrade.

As for them just "making money", well that's business for you. And it killing streaming video, and going back on deals. Which seems to be the thing that is upsetting most people here. Well the internet has changed a lot, even in just the last few years. When ISPs were figuring out their pricing many moons ago, streaming video wasn't a big thing. Maybe the odd poor quality short video on youtube. Now they are being expected to provide the infrastructure for a vastly more demanding industry. Where youtude is streaming 720p/1080p video, with companies like netfix and the BBC (with their iPlayer in the UK, international version coming soon) demanding far more than the ISPs could have envisioned. And even if they did have a crystal ball, should they have set prices a few years ago at levels to be able to provide the capacity that is demanded by us today? I doubt that you would have been happy for that to have happened.

People here need to start to be more realistic. The internet has changed, and will keep on changing. The infrastructure was created in the past is not sufficient to cope with the future indefinitely. It's just not how private companies work and make money. You want an infrastructure that starts off at a high level and has massive over capacity, then that's the sort of thing that only governments can provide. Is that what you want America? Because there's no way that a private/shareholder funded company will ever sign off on something that doesn't make money right off the bat, or within a reasonable period of time. They will always demand a return on their investment, asap.

As more and more companies start to offer more demanding services and products on line, someone is going to have to pay. It'll either be you, direct to your ISP, or you via the service provider who will have to pass on the charges levied by the ISPs. Else the hole thing is going to collapse in on itself as it's frankly ludicrous to expect ISPs to keep increase their network and not make money just so that other companies can make more and more money and you can enjoy those products without paying more.

And the metered "solution" which is not "mine" is one way that ISPs can discourage people from using files sharing, which is something that creates a constant demand on their networks. You know it, I know it, we all know it. And if you are on a capped service, then you might think twice about downloading that service pack again, perhaps you'll download it once and save it before installing it on all your PCs/laptops in your home? think twice about watching that video at peak times. Unless you pay more, then the companies make more money and have more to invest in the infrastructure for the future. Also, please get the idea of " once it's built, it costs them nothing" out of your head, It's not true or relevant. The financing that the companies had to raise in order to build their networks still needs to be paid back. That is a large part of what "costs" them money, as well as the usual overheads and administration and maintenance, oh and they need to make a profit somewhere. That is capitalism for you, and you know what. It's their network. They can charge you whatever they want to use it. Again, that is capitalism for you. If one company gets greedy then they will soon disappear, don't worry, but what you might find is that theses companies are not being overly greedy. It's not like their founders are the richest men in the world. Oh, just look up market forces, "free" markets, capitalism, capitol investments etc, then get back to me.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By rs1 on 3/3/2010 4:53:12 PM , Rating: 5
You do know that there is no such thing as "free" bandwidth.

Given the way most providers market their connections, that doesn't really matter. If an ISP sells you a 6 Mbps connection at a monthly fee of $40, then that means you should be able to download 6 million bits from the connection every second, for however many seconds are in a month, for $40. If those bits cost them more than $40 to deliver, than that's their fault for marketing "6 Mbps for $40 a month" and not plainly and clearly stipulating any other terms or limitations. The customer purchased a bandwidth of 6 Mbps, for a span of one month, and limitations on throughput were never mentioned. Thus, the customer should be entitled to use the full 6 Mbps for the full month, as that is what they paid for.

If ISP's want to change that, then they need to completely change how they market their services to users. For one thing, they should stop talking about bandwidth, and start talking about throughput. After all, a bandwidth of 6 Mbps is not all that useful if you can only download at that speed for a few hours out of the month before running over your allotted throughput for that month.

And why should you be charged by the KB? well guess what, it's because it costs them money to send you the data. Networks aren't free you know.

Well guess what, because the ISP's are currently marketing bandwidth to their users, it doesn't matter what the throughput costs them. If they wanted to charge for throughput, then they should have sold throughput. But they didn't, they sold the bandwidth, and it's their job to provide said bandwidth, and cover whatever costs are associated with doing so. The cost of the throughput is moot. The customer made no agreement to pay for throughput, so they're under no obligation to do so.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Aloonatic on 3/3/2010 6:49:47 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe things are different in the states but here in the UK traffic limits have been about for a long time, and for "unlimited" accounts, fair usage terms are pretty ubiquitous.

Yes, people did pedantically try to run with your argument, but really, let's be honest, any sensible person would realise that that is never going to happen. The same thing happened with "unlimited texts". The fair usage text is usually not the most prominent thing in the add, but it's usually there.

Sure, they perhaps shouldn't be able to market in quite the way they are, but hey, that's marketing for you. There is a lot of stuff that they come out with that should make any sensible person realise that it's not quite what it seems.

Anyway, why shouldn't people who use a service more than someone else be charged more for it? It's something called a market opportunity, and as it's the ISPs business, they can try to make money from it. To use the silly argument that people here always use whenever anyone dares to question MS, and the MS fanboys here quickly say "go write your own OS then" and other such useful comments. Go out there and set up your own ISP, that offers unlimited full speed downloads. Market it however you like and I'm sure that you will get a lot of subscribers, but you will be in business for a very short period of time, not making any money, and probably owing a lot of people a lot of money.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By StevoLincolnite on 3/3/2010 2:29:35 PM , Rating: 2
Metered Internet is a big threat to the Internet as we know it.

No it's not! Many countries around the world employ metered internet usage and they are still very much alive and kicking (Plus the internet is much bigger than the United States).

So much is based on the idea that Bandwidth is Free. Internet Video will die, as Watching one High Definition movie is enough to push you over the measly 5 GB Cap.

Again, where there is a will there is a way.
Here the majority of data caps range from 2gb to 12gb what happens there however is that ISP's start un-metering content to specific websites/services as a differentiators to other providers or peering agreements.

For instance an ISP might provide full speed unlimited access to Xbox Live! Whilst another provider might provide unlimited access to Youtube.

It reduces the cost effectiveness of VOIP.

Voip actually uses a relatively small amount of bandwidth, again some providers might package it as bundle with your internet connection and have it un-metered.

Obviously it would kill File Sharing.

Not really, some providers may implement an on-peak and off-peak system where you can download as much as you want at night time, which is what I do leaving my download limit in-tact.

Every time I reload windows, I download about 6 Gig of updates for Windows, Office and Other stuff.

That's pretty excessive... Why not download the updates and burn them to a disc so you only have to download them once?

Would also work faster than downloading them every time.

Bottom line, is companies are tired of racing each other to upgrade there networks to win customers, they want to fix the system so they can turn it into Plain Old telephone infrastructure that runs and maintains itself and requires no investment.

Bottom line is 90% of the people don't download much and can survive rather fine on a 20gb download limit, it's the extra 5-10% that are hogging up the tubes for everyone else, thus the ISP needs to provision additional bandwidth to compensate for the additional load, which actually costs a fair bit of money depending on where the content originates from. (Costs more to capture something over seas on someone else's network than it is for a provider to do so on there own network).

So much hardware that is currently out there doesn't support bandwidth caps. Without flashing your router to void its warranty to load Tomato or DD-WRT. There is no way to monitor your bandwidth.

Again this is false, you do not need to adjust anything router-side as it's all handled on the ISP side when throttling and what-not is concerned, no need to alter a routers firmware at all.

To monitor usage there are several ways of doing it, download a usage meter, or a usage gadget which updates every 10-15 minuets which captures your usage from your provider. (Lots of those exist in Australia for every ISP).

The ultimate insult to injury is I have to pay for Flash Ads that use my bandwidth. What happens when a bot net attaches to my computer and starts using my bandwidth to spam people and decimate porn and other crap.

That's pretty much all your own fault... Ad blocking is your friend, and you should already have your computer covered with the necessary security measures to prevent such a thing from occurring in the first place.

There is absolutely no good reason to go to bandwidth caps, that is unless your a fat cat at a Telco.

There are several good reasons for bandwidth caps, and I shall list them now.

1) Additional bandwidth will be made available.
2) Potentially lower latencies because of the reduced load.
3) Cheaper pricing as more connections can be provisioned under the same current bandwidth with no extra cost outlay.
4) ISP's may introduce additional features for the consumer (Un-metered bundled Voip etc'.)

Don't get me wrong I hate bandwidth caps as much as the next person, but after being with an "All you can eat" ISP here and then moving to a provider with caps... the network performance difference was night and day (Connection always maxes out, and a 50ms drop in latency), and to me that was worth having a download limit imposed. (Used to be with Dodo Unlimited a few years back, Now with Internode on a 75gb cap).
How much benefit you get out of download limits will be purely on how the ISP implements the scheme.

By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 2:54:00 PM , Rating: 2
A lot will be dependent on pricing, of which we know nothing yet. Still, you sir are crazy. I use a crap ton of bandwidth getting stuff that I can't really get any other way. The OP was right, this would keep physical media around for a long time if implemented across the board. In short you'd end up paying more to get less, since digital stuff should be less expensive than physical stuff. And even if you end up paying a little less for internet somehow you're going to end up spending a lot more money buying stuff you'd otherwise get on the internet for a much cheaper price.

I have an unlimited (very loosely defined since they supposed have a cap at 250GB though I've used way more than that and not heard a peep from them) plan through Comcast, not the best ISP I know, and other than intermittent dead service, a few minutes long perhaps once every two weeks, I get incredible service. I get speeds faster than what is advertised, at all times, and if I even had a ping of 50ms I'd go shoot myself (not really but you get the idea). Only time my ping sucks is when the host has a crappy connection, and your ISP wouldn't even matter if that's the case.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 3:07:16 PM , Rating: 2
"Obviously it would kill File Sharing."

It would kill those people who leave 100 torrents active 24x7, continually downloading entire libraries of rips, half of which they'll probably never even watch in the first place. (I'm sure we all know at least one person like that).

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Magius on 3/3/2010 4:11:45 PM , Rating: 2
You do realize that most of what you mention would only exist in a world where ISPs strive to offer the best service for their customers?

In reality metered service will only serve as a way for the ISPs to nickel & dime you. You want more speed? Pay. But wait, the speed is just for regular sites, streaming video optimizing costs extra!

I agree that something needs to be done with abusers of the current system, but metering the internet is a highly suspect solution. As it stands it simply opens the door to abuse from the ISP side.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Lerianis on 3/3/2010 4:21:45 PM , Rating: 5
Actually, there isn't anyone 'abusing' anything.... when I get something, I expect to be able to USE IT TO IT'S FREAKING FULLEST 24/7! If these companies cannot deal with that? Stop selling 'unlimited' service.... and take the hit when tech savvy people like myself REFUSE to buy services from them!

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By JediJeb on 3/3/2010 5:32:26 PM , Rating: 2
I think that is exactly what they are wanting to do, stop selling "unlimited service" and start selling what they can supply in a way that they can supply it.

My earlier posts may sound like I agree with what the ISPs have done, but I don't. I think they should never have marketed "unlimited service" in the first place. They totally underestimated how much bandwidth would be used and were never prepared to provide the service they sold.

The question is, once they stop offering unlimited service, are you going to REFUSE to buy their services and no longer use the internet?

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By cubby1223 on 3/4/2010 2:52:09 AM , Rating: 1
The dirty little secret is, they'd be glad to get you off their networks. By doing so, they are able to provide better service to many more people who don't abuse bandwidth.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Fritzr on 3/3/2010 5:28:46 PM , Rating: 2
A PC connected through an ISP seeding 100 torrents will use whatever bandwidth was purchased. Maybe more if the ISP doesn't throttle connections to make sure you only get the service you pay for. If the infrastructure cannot handle the load being sold then the ISP needs to lower the service level offered or upgrade the infrastructure to provide the service they sell.

Saying that metering is required to lower usage due to the ISPs being unable to provide the service they are selling... wait a minute, selling unavailable service is illegal isn't it???

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 5:52:09 PM , Rating: 2
"If the infrastructure cannot handle the load being sold then the ISP needs to lower the service level offered or upgrade the infrastructure to provide the service they sell"

That's just the POINT. Lowering the service level hurts the average user. Upgrading the infrastructure costs enormous amounts of cash -- which translates into higher costs for the average user.

The faster the network gets, the larger the differential becomes between the average and the heavy user. Should averge users have to pay for the clown who uses his cell phone as a hotspot for him and his friends to download torrents 24x7? Should the rest of us get screwed so you can abuse the service as much as you want?

Personally I think a better solution is to just throttle down anyone using excessive amounts But I don't believe cell phone infrastructure offers that capability at present...and there's probably legal issues involved as well.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Alexstarfire on 3/3/2010 7:54:19 PM , Rating: 2
Exactly what are they abusing? Using the service that they pay for to the fullest? I simply call them those that get their money's worth. On the other hand, if you're not really using your connection at all then I call you a fool for having it. That said, they have different tiers. Perhaps they should make a special tier just for you people who use jack shit for their internet connection. The way I see it that'd be like a guy buying mayo at Costco and throwing away half every month rather than just buying a jar that's half the size at WalMart. You pay for what you need, or in this case expect to need, not pay for more than what you need. That just makes no sense.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By porkpie on 3/3/2010 8:30:32 PM , Rating: 2
Try to think clearly. Let's say I need to download a 1GB report from work each morning. Now I could get a 500Kb line and wait 6 hours for it. But since my time is valuable, I choose to get a 10Mb line, and get it in 15 minutes instead. It makes perfect sense...and I'm still "using" my connection, even if I don't use every last ounce of bandwidth I can wring out of it, 24x7.

With a little practice, logical thought really isn't that difficult. Try it out.

By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 2:50:33 AM , Rating: 2
And if you're getting a 1GB file every morning at work then that's about 22 GB per month by itself which is far more than an "email and VoIP" user could hope to use and that doesn't even include whatever other activities you do on the internet. Clearly not a light user and probably not even a moderate user. If you're whole argument is centered around this huge important file that you have to download every day then you should say something to the company you work for as you would be a very small minority. BTW, that 500Kb line is barely useful for streaming even low quality videos over the internet. It's meant for the light users you are talking about, of which you would not be one in this example.

You seem to be dead set on proving that those who actually use their connection as advertised are "abusing" the service they were offered. I don't see how anyone could support that. If you want to disagree with what they advertise then go ahead. Everyone on here already knows that their ads are fucking retarded anyway.

I think we have another Pirks/Reader1 wanna be, granted you are a bit smarter than they are.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By kroker on 3/3/2010 7:10:21 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that something needs to be done with abusers of the current system

Yeah, something must be done about them: build a better infrastructure and increase the network capacity!! There is no such thing as an abuser, there is only such thing as person who doesn't fully use what they're paying for! But that is their usage habit and they shouldn't preach to others how to use the Internet.

But it's not even about the unlimited bandwidth part. Some time ago AT&T were saying that 3% of their users were taking up to 40% of their bandwidth, and this was somehow a problem. What would happen if significantly more users than that, regardless of metered on unmetered data plan, would try to access the Internet at the same time? Your network would crash? Then why are you selling the service to so many people in the first place, regardless of data plan?!! I'm no expert but I'd say THAT is your problem, not that some users are using what they payed for!

Stop blaming users, it's only the ISP's fault!

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Jalek on 3/3/2010 10:32:52 PM , Rating: 3
Isn't America like number 12 for broadband penetration these days? No sense in getting ahead of anyone else, we can just pay more for lesser service, that seems to be the American way.

There's almost as much dark fiber as there is lit fiber in many areas. Billions were spent building it out, then companies went broke when it wasn't needed so it was bought up at liquidation prices and still waits for demand.

This story was about cell networks though, and until I was compelled to get an unlimited plan for my iPhone, I had like a 10MB package I rarely used. They're whining about circumstances they themselves created, as usual.

RE: Its the end of the Internet
By Wellsoul2 on 3/4/2010 3:58:30 PM , Rating: 2
I agree that something needs to be done with abusers of the current system
Yeah, something must be done about them: build a better infrastructure and increase the network capacity!!

Exactly. The point is that we all are going to be using
more capacity as we use the internet for more.

In any case..if I have cable tv on aren't I using just as
much bandwidth in a day just in another way?

Is Metering really a way to retard the internet and kill
HD video and IPTV service to preserve the cash cow of cable TV?

I'm just saying..we're going to need lots more bandwidth for
the internet to use it's full potential. Why punish people
that are ahead of the curve everyone will soon use?

Screw you, AT&T
By lamerz4391 on 3/3/2010 11:25:42 AM , Rating: 2
As soon as my contract is up, I'm out. Already too many dropped calls and locations where 3G falls back to EDGE. Verizon + LTE is lookin better and better. I just hope they get a Windows Phone 7 device out this year, and don't implement the metered bullsh*t.

RE: Screw you, AT&T
By DanNeely on 3/3/2010 11:31:53 AM , Rating: 1
Haven't verizon's wireless data plans always been metered? IIRC the top tier plan is 5GB.

RE: Screw you, AT&T
By legoman666 on 3/3/2010 11:54:04 AM , Rating: 4
Data Cap != Metering

RE: Screw you, AT&T
By Mint on 3/4/2010 7:28:59 PM , Rating: 2
Data caps and tiered pricing is the same thing as metering. It's just discretized in large chunks.

If a company offers a 1.5GB cap for $30 and a 5GB cap for $40, that's roughly the same as $30/mo plus a meter charge of $2.50/GB.

RE: Screw you, AT&T
By Alexstarfire on 3/4/2010 8:04:46 PM , Rating: 2
And yet not even close.

RE: Screw you, AT&T
By cubby1223 on 3/4/2010 2:49:01 AM , Rating: 2
That's why they are metering the service, so the high trafficers don't each up the network any more, giving you *better* service.

Once everyone who is with AT&T switches over to Verizon, you'll all be screwed once again, because now Verizon's network will be over-taxed while AT&T's will be fast and trouble-free.

By meepstone on 3/3/2010 11:11:00 AM , Rating: 4
Metered internet... Talk about a horrible plan. Their execs trying to run the company into the ground?

RE: really??
By Mitch101 on 3/3/2010 11:22:40 AM , Rating: 5
There are morons in every line of work. Some just get paid more for their stupidity.

RE: really??
By Aloonatic on 3/3/10, Rating: 0
RE: really??
By Bateluer on 3/3/2010 1:12:01 PM , Rating: 3
I think they want the AIG deal, 182B from the tax payers to stay in business because they're too big to fail.

Just a matter of pricing
By Austriandude on 3/3/2010 11:56:12 AM , Rating: 5
I would actually be fine with metering as long as the price is OK. In Europe my ma is paying 10 Euro (13 USD) for 6 GB of 3G data. ATT is trying to charge USD 15 for 250 MB. This is a joke.

Keep the USD 30 unlimited and introduce some nice metered plans like in the rest of the world.

USD 15 for 6GB (fine for my kids)
USD 20 for 10 GB (fine for me on the road)
USD 30 unlimited

Metering is not bad per definition. The prices in the US combined with a 3rd world coverage are the issue. I drive on 680 every day and I am on the phone constantly. Over a 30 min drive I have 2 dropped calls in one of the most dense populated areas of the world.

ATT needs to get their act together. Than we can talk about different pricing models

RE: Just a matter of pricing
By 3minence on 3/3/2010 12:29:33 PM , Rating: 4
I agree. I only need to use the internet occasionally, mainly when I'm in the car, to look up info. If they could offer a 5GB tier for $10 I would be all over it. But they won't. It will start at $30 and go up.

AT&T reminds me of the airlines, you pay big dollars for crappy service.

RE: Just a matter of pricing
By acase on 3/3/2010 2:33:01 PM , Rating: 3
God I hope the airlines don't start crashing this much!

DSL also?
By pityme on 3/3/2010 11:22:08 AM , Rating: 2
Does this include DSL?

RE: DSL also?
By MrPickins on 3/3/2010 12:12:43 PM , Rating: 2
If it does, I'll be dropping mine after more than 7 years of service.

RE: DSL also?
By cornelius785 on 3/3/2010 12:26:25 PM , Rating: 2
If it does, I'll be pissed. The only other viable option for were I live is comcast, and well I'm not sure I trust them with ~$50/month (correct pricing??) considering their past and present.

RE: DSL also?
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 12:26:55 PM , Rating: 2
That is what they are generally talking about from what I can tell. They mentioned the TWTC and At&t trials of metered billing. So I think they're going to roll it out on DSL and then wireless next.

RE: DSL also?
By lainofthewired on 3/3/2010 1:49:10 PM , Rating: 2
FFFUUUUUUU I hope not. I like my 6mbps for $39. Especially since my only other choice is *shudder* Charter.

By tviceman on 3/3/2010 12:05:33 PM , Rating: 5
And my unlimited data/text/mobile calling on sprint with my Palm Pre keeps on looking better and better each day. I can't wait for the Flash update!

RE: Sprint
By DEredita on 3/3/2010 7:52:55 PM , Rating: 2
How is the Pre? I have regrets that I was not able to hold out longer for the Pre, and instead went to the iPhone last February. I had a phone that had completely died, and sadly, made the jump to the iPhone because the Pre was not available at that time yet.

I get e-mails from Palm in regards to their WebOS SDK, which I been meaning to download and write a quick app for.

How is the WebOS in everyday use? It seems like a better set up than the iPhone, with multitasking, Flash support, etc...

Not Surprising
By Xplorer4x4 on 3/3/2010 5:26:00 PM , Rating: 2
The idiots at AT&T wanted to charge me $100 to set up a DSL modem from BestBuy to work on there network. I understand they want me to pay, while I dont like it, but I understand it, but $100?

RE: Not Surprising
By sigilscience on 3/3/2010 6:15:30 PM , Rating: 2
You have any idea how much an CWA union member costs AT&T? Direct pay is about $45/hour, plus overhead costs take that to about $55. Then you have the costs to maintain, insure, and operate their vehicle, pay their supervisor, etc.

That $100 charge is probably assuming a 1 hour setup, which is probably what it would take, counting their travel time.

RE: Not Surprising
By cubby1223 on 3/4/2010 2:56:00 AM , Rating: 2
But this is America where we are entitled to everything we demand, lest we complain on a blog!!!

Metering is unnecessary
By amanojaku on 3/3/2010 11:24:01 AM , Rating: 1
It just means you didn't have a proper business plan to begin with. Try telling a T1/T3 or OC-48 customer that they're going to be metered because you don't have the bandwidth you promised. Oh, that's right, you won't because those guys would sue your asses off for false advertising.

We need to sue companies that meter.

RE: Metering is unnecessary
By lamerz4391 on 3/3/2010 11:28:03 AM , Rating: 2
A lawsuit for metering? Pointless. What people need to do is realize that metering is bad for them, and that the network sucks. There are alternatives. Hopefully as Android matures and Windows Phone 7 comes out, people will see that there are alternatives to iPhone+AT&T and ditch these corporate losers.

RE: Metering is unnecessary
By cubby1223 on 3/4/2010 2:44:54 AM , Rating: 2
Ignorance and stupidity never cease to amaze me...

Depending on many factors, a T1 line can still run up and over $500 per month, for a 1.5mbps connection. Are you paying that much per month for your iPhone service? I didn't think so.

Golden ticket?
By DEredita on 3/3/2010 11:44:17 AM , Rating: 2
If they change the plans for metered internet, does this mean I have a golden ticket to cancel my AT&T service contract penalty-free?

RE: Golden ticket?
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 3:00:01 PM , Rating: 2
Yes if they decide to change your plan. A lot of times they'll let you keep your current plan until your contract is up in which time you can either leave or agree to their new plan.

Metered Internet pricing from AT&T???
By SkierInAvon on 3/3/2010 12:09:10 PM , Rating: 2
Metered Internet pricing from AT&T???
And a delayed roll out of 4G as well?
Time to put some pressure on Apple to allow additional telco's to sell their iPhone.
What advantage to Apple to stick with a telco that wants to increase cost of ownership of an iPhone (metered 3G Internet) and falls behind in technology roll out...late with 4G.

Wake up Apple!

By bodar on 3/3/2010 5:00:29 PM , Rating: 2
AT&T's spokersperson says that while AT&T is "about a year behind" Verizon and Sprint in terms of 4G deployment, the company feels that its technology will hit the market at about the same times as smart phones that can take full advantage of the tech hit the market (in 2011).

What kind of crack is AT&T on? Sprint will have 4G phones out in H1 of 2010, possibly the HTC Incredible. Are they saying the hardware specs will not keep up with 4G? That's some epic spin there, d-bags.

Bring it on...
By tlbj6142 on 3/3/2010 11:35:39 AM , Rating: 1
I hate the current data plans. It seems silly that I have pay $30/month for unlimited (aka 5G) yet I never even come close to that amount. Give me a $10 for 1G and maybe another tier (3G for $20) before you get to the $30 "unlimited" plan.

I really hate how all of mobile stuff seems to be heading toward "unlimited" everything. Bring back tiers!

RE: Bring it on...
By bodar on 3/3/2010 4:52:50 PM , Rating: 2
If you think that the tiers will get you any real savings, I know a Nigerian prince who would love to speak with you. This is just about screwing people who use more data than the norm and make price increases easier to stomach for some users. So likely you'll pay $20-$25 for first tier and upwards from there.

Look at what TWC did with their tier system:

By japlha on 3/3/2010 2:51:36 PM , Rating: 3
I am open to the idea of metered internet billing.
Pay for what you use. Use more electricity, pay more for it. Eat more food, pay more for food. Drive your car a lot, pay more for gas.

What ISP's are doing now is similar to paying $500.00 a month for gasoline. If you need more you'll get charged more. If you don't drive enough to use it all, well, too bad. The lower users are basically subsidizing the higher users. But then the higher users have to pay more again. It's not a fair system for either party.

The problem is what rate per KB to use? I'm sure the service providers would design it so the lowest anyone could pay would be be the current lowest monthly flat rate. It would be great if I used 0 KB a month I would pay $0.00.

Currently someone with a usage of 1GB a month may pay the same as someone who uses 100GB a month. This just doesn't make sense to me.

Pay double
By Smilin on 3/3/2010 3:38:25 PM , Rating: 3
Wanna pay double? There's an app for that.

Way to be on the ball.
By Desslok on 3/3/2010 11:12:55 AM , Rating: 2
AT&T slashed its infrastructure investment in 2009, but this year hopes to invest slightly more to prepare for the iPad and iPhone demand.

To prepare for the iPhone demand? Aren't they a couple years late to that party?

By joe4324 on 3/3/2010 12:09:18 PM , Rating: 2
I currently pay $30USD for unlimited data, I already think this is too high, I used to pay 20USD for unlimited data and they jacked me over a couple years ago and took it away.

I would support metered if it could cost LESS than that if I didn't use a huge amount.

I don't even use that much just a few gb's a month on average. But I swear if my bill goes up, I'm going to leave ATT after all these years.

Good bye At&t
By HrilL on 3/3/2010 12:47:44 PM , Rating: 2
The day this happens is the day I leave AT&T for good. I already have to deal with their lack luster service. I mean going on trips and their network is spotty on the I5 the main freeway in California. You'll be using 3G and the next then you know you've got no Internet at all anymore. Sure you can talk on your phone but they don't seem to let data traffic do any roaming. This makes working on the road troublesome and a I'm sick of it. Now they want to charge us the same and give us less? I'm happy to watch them dig their own grave.

BRB, leaving AT&T
By Chadder007 on 3/3/2010 2:53:03 PM , Rating: 2
In other news, Customers Leaving AT&T for Metered Internet.

Suck on this AT&T
By p05esto on 3/3/2010 3:27:50 PM , Rating: 2
Basically I'll go with whatever ISP doesn't do metered pricing. At&T sucks on every level, at the same time they really all do. We're paying far too much for broadband internet now, we need to be making it more affordable for everyone - not the opposite. Digital is here and is the future, if we eliminate those with lower incomes then what? I almost see a discrimination lawsuit coming when people with low income sue companies for not making their digital services affordable when there is no other way to take advantage.

By MadMan007 on 3/3/2010 5:09:57 PM , Rating: 2
This is what happens when there's a 'gotta have growth forever and ever, no matter what' mentality. When a market matures or becomes saturated it's no longer a growth market. Sorry if that hurts your bonuses execs.

Dear AT&T
By mindless1 on 3/3/2010 7:00:30 PM , Rating: 2
Lower US cell phone bills that correspond with other countries are inevitable too.

By Frallan on 3/4/2010 3:36:51 AM , Rating: 2
That was the joke of the day!

Any company who tries that will go broke at least where i live (scandinavia) we have metered plans as well but for a slight fee you get unlimited and everyone who is on a smart phone uses the flat fee.

This can only succesed if all the phoncompanies get together and change conditions at the same time so noone sells a flat fee plan and there is no possibility for a new actor to break in to the market.

Those conditions only exists in the lawyers wet dreams how ever (why lawyers - bc they know that the court cases will make em rich).

So AT&T is just sending up a baloon to test this - shoot it down quick and hard - take your business somewhere else!

My $0.02

Same Ole stupid stuff
By Belard on 3/4/2010 7:26:15 AM , Rating: 2
Okay... we're going to give your phone (or PC) internet abilities. We'll make it faster and faster.

OMG! too much data... Okay, we'll need to cap you!

Like with home internet, its STUPID to have 12~25Mbps and then say you can only use 1-2 whatever GB per month.

Now You Know Why
By btc909 on 3/4/2010 1:29:02 PM , Rating: 2
Those rumors you have been hearing of Apple not exclusively selling iPhones through AT&T, here is why. Customers were pissed when Time Warner tried to pull this with the cable modem internet service, duh you don't think the same isn't going to happen with AT&T aka iPhones? AT&T needs to spend close to 4 billion to catch up to Verizon 3G cell network coverage. Oh I know, instead of spending the money lets just charge a higher usage fee to reduce the strain of the network. Would this mean AT&T would move faster to upgrade the network? Who knows. But if I were Jobs I'd run from this company.

By paulpod on 3/4/2010 1:48:13 PM , Rating: 2
None of this would be a problem if we had not let a government "Of, By, and For the People" perish from the earth.

Proper regulation would require metering on the low usage side down to a $0 monthly charge is the phone is left off (or is out of the country, etc.) Proper regulation would require people be able to opt out of an internet connection altogether for all phone types. Both of those things would establish a fundamental fairness to justify metering on the high side.

How people have allowed themselves to be brainwashed into thinking this type of regulation costs the country jobs is a mystery for the ages. Of course, these are the same boneheads (Foxheads?) who think taxing the top 400 hundred earners in 2007 (with an average income of $345 Million!) at a recently calculated rate of 16.6% somehow lowered their taxes and created jobs.

No thanks ATT
By kelsonus on 3/4/2010 3:24:21 PM , Rating: 2
Tell him how you feel ATT customers:


CEO : Randall L. Stephenson
TITLE : Chief Executive Officer



Last Updated : 8/1/2009

Google friendly tags

CEO AT&T email address
President AT&T email address

I love how....
By Disenchanted on 3/4/2010 9:02:26 PM , Rating: 2
the random ad shown for me right underneath the first article image (of an iPhone shackled to an AT&T icon) was for a Nexus One. Priceless! (

Look at it this way...
By AndroidSamurai on 3/6/2010 12:29:52 AM , Rating: 2
I am not agreeing with either side in this debate, but I would like to voice my opinion...

I currently pay $167/month to Verizon:
- 1400Mins, 4-Lines, Droid, BlackBerry x 3

I currently pay $125/month to Charter Communications(Cable Net)
- 2 x 20Mb Cable Internet Lines(1-Personal, 1-Business)
- All Channels(Yes, EVERY ONE OF THEM)

I already pay twice for my internet, once for My DROID(Actually 4 x data plans) bc I am forced to get a data plan with the phones I own... Twice bc of me paying Charter for the Net in my home...

If you look at it from my perspective, it is kinda $#!ty for me to have to pay for tiered internet services when I already pay for internet 3 times as it is...

I am more than glad to pay for the bandwidth that I use, but give me some slack. A man in my position cannot afford a total of 6 internet packages and then let my cell provider take a dump on my head bc they want more money...

Enough of my rambling.... :P

By The Way, in my 6yrs with Verizon(YES, 6YRS) I have NEVER! had a dropped call... Also, I use apps on my phones to connect through the VPN at my datacenter to my cisco servers... Have never had a dropped data connection as well.

In my opinion, Verizon will bend over A$$ BACKWARDS to keep their customers. I have been enjoying 15% off my bill for the past 6months already and plan on staying another 6yrs...

Keep up the good work Verizon.... *cough* screw AT&T *cough*

Here is the problem
By rudy on 3/6/2010 2:09:46 PM , Rating: 2
They never make metered plans reasonable. I used to have sprints fair and flexible plan and it was fine. If I ran over my minutes I was charged $5 extra and was given another 100 minutes. But most companies at the time had rip off plans where if you went over your minutes you paid 45 cents per minutes. which would be $45 for what sprints fair and flexible gave you for $5. Internet connections used to be the same. See companies want to force you to buy a higher priced plan then you need by screwing you if you use more.

Basically I have no problem with metered usage of anything but not when the metered rate is an absolute rip off. And with ATT which is the worst company out there for screwing customers I am sure that it will be a rip off. That is why it will fail and or never happen.

You cannot never take people back on a price. You must take them forward. The only way I see them pulling this off is with LTS or 4G. As 4G comes out they make new metered plans and in order to get the faster 4G speeds you must upgrade to a new metered plan. But they will never be able to get most people to agree to metered plans if they are already used to unlimited.

Just say NO to AT&T
By Questor on 3/6/2010 3:14:29 PM , Rating: 2
I dropped AT&T like a hot rock a few years ago when they added wording to their terms of service to the effect that customers are not allowed to complain about services they receive from AT&T or they can be cut off. When I read that article and called AT&T for confirmation, I was stunned. In America, we are supposed to have freedom of speech. Also, customers have the right under consumer laws(different from state to state) to obtain the quality of service promised to them by said company and the right to complain if something is wrong.
AT&T doesn't see it that way though. They think they should be able to do what they want and you just need to like it. No thanks AT&T.

Title Problem
By DaveLessnau on 3/3/2010 11:17:31 AM , Rating: 1
Your title says:

"AT&T Says Metered Internet is Incoming, is Only Carier With no 4G in 2010"

I assume the word "Incoming" is supposed to be "Coming" and "Carier" is supposed to be "Carrier."

"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs

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