I received your email about cable rate changes proposed by Time Warner. Time Warner is my home service provider. They have proposed changing their rate structure so that my Internet connection is metered instead of unlimited access. I strongly agree with you that we should resist this change, and I support the Massa Broadband Fairness Act.
I understand the inclination to treat the Internet as an extension of the telephone and cable networks, but the Internet is becoming something else entirely. Time Warner sees that the future of the Internet lies in ever increasing bandwidth demands from on demand video and communications. They’re positioning themselves to meter their customers so that they can minimize the pressure to maintain and upgrade their network infrastructure. The network building boom of the 90’s is over, and the next round of infrastructure investments will hit Time Warner in the next few years. Time Warner should not penalize their customers for capital investments they have to make as part of their business… especially when they enjoy a near monopoly on Internet access in this area.
The Internet isn’t just a communications or entertainment network, it has quickly become an essential part of our lives. It is almost a utility, like electricity or natural gas. The key difference that makes metering wrong is that this utility carries information. If Time Warner wants to meter the Internet like a utility, then they should be regulated like a utility.
Mostly, I’m against metering because my cable bill would shoot through the roof. I’m not alone, either. There are very few low bandwidth users left on Time Warner’s network, that’s the whole point of getting broadband service.