While reading this article about AT&T decision to introduce usage-based pricing, I couldn’t stop thinking if the American ISPs were hit by the same bug which Indian ISPs have been infected with. And its not just AT&T, previously Time Warner and then Comcast made similar claims that charging customer who use more bandwidth will help ease pressure on other customers. And for the record, we in India never know what “real” unlimited broadband means.
If you think like a communist, probably what the US ISPs are doing is correct. Obviously due to a lot of usage from some users, the network feels the pinch and congestion results in low speeds for a few users. You would think that these customers should be charged more because they are using more than others. But the deal in the first place suggests “unlimited” broadband access. You opted for a service that meant you can use the internet as much as you want. Why would you suffer if someone else is using less, its not your problem!!
We have had a similar issue in India with ISPs not offering such “unlimited” broadband services. There is always a data cap, above which more bucks have to put on the table depending on how much you’ve used. The point of such “caps” is to make users use less of the network. But then shouldn’t the ISPs improve the network first before getting more subscribers. Shouldn’t they first upgrade the networks, provide good service and then increase their charges. Wolfang Gruener (TGDaily) puts forth his experience with broadband in the US and his opinion on this usage-based pricing. I have to say, its the Indian ISP bug which has hit the American ISPs. I have received letters from my ISP (Hathway Broadband) twice earlier that I’ve been downloading too much on my 256Kbps unlimited broadband connection. How much more can you download on a connection that works at 150Kbps, when the advertised speed is 256Kbps??
AT&T today said, “a form of usage-based pricing for those customers who have abnormally high usage patterns is inevitable…” I had received nearly the same quote from my ISP. Comcast on the other hand said that it will give “delayed response times for Internet traffic only for those customers who are using more than their fair share of available Internet resources at the time.” Comcast then added that “most customers will notice little to no change in their Internet experience when the new network management technique is working”… Its interesting to note, how the ISPs are playing with words to say that they don’t want to provide good service.
India and US are big markets and both the countries have great software/services sector. India is growing into a big online market and online services and applications require good broadband connections. Democracies are good places where government can get in and listen to the customer needs… Hope some politician can medicate the ISPs from this madbug!!