Right now broadband ISP’s are just looking at the idea and while, from a business standpoint, it does sort of make some sense, it will be bad news down the line.
I understand that some broadband networks are being negatively affected by file-swapping. That’s to be expected from a technical standpoint. The problem is, however, that if you put a meter on bandwidth, suddenly there’s an extra cost to everything you do online, because it takes more of your bandwidth. Even legal downloads of video content are going to cost more than just the fee to the content providers for the download. You want to get broadband so you can catch some streaming video or audio? That’ll cost you more than just regular web surfing. You want to download Linux ISO’s? You want to run a website? You want to make some software you wrote freely available on your web server? Every one of these things starts to cost more, because it puts a dent in your bandwidth cap. Pretty soon all the stuff we take for granted that has nothing to do with file-swapping, is gone because very few people can afford to do it. You want to talk about a digital divide? This is going to cause one much bigger than the one we have already. Only a few people will be able to afford to do more than very basic web surfing. Forget interaction, forget email, (spam will take up so much bandwidth that people will stop using it.) forget downloading software updates, (oh won’t that make for great security!) forget internet radio and/or video. None of it will be worth paying the extra $$ for most people.
Sound crazy? Maybe it is but that’s the way I see the internet headed, right out of the mainstream because of costs and annoyances (spam, popups, spyware, etc.) that are out of control.
Let’s face it, most people already aren’t paying for broadband because they don’t feel it’s worth it, putting caps on bandwidth isn’t going to help that, is it? Let’s see I can use a slow dialup connection with no bandwidth limits, or I can pay three times as much for a broadband connection and then even some more if I use too much bandwidth. Heck, I might even go back to dialup!