Level 3 Communications Issues Statement Concerning Comcast'sActions

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Mon Nov 29 22:17:25 CST 2010

On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 10:51 PM, Ben Butler <ben.butler at c2internet.net> wrote:
> Then consumer broadband came along, the subs went
> down, the headline speeds went up, service delivery
> becomes impossible in the face of the marketing BS
> ---- and here we are.

Hi Ben,

So you're saying: treat it like electrical service. I have a 200 amp
electrical service at my house. But I don't pay for a 200 amp service,
I pay for kilowatt-hours of usage.

There are several problems transplanting that billing model to
Internet service. The first you've already noticed - marketing
activity has rendered it unsalable. But that's not the only problem.

Another problem is that the price of electricity has been very stable
for a very long time, as has the general character of devices which
consume it. Consumers have a gut understanding of the cost of leaving
the light on. But what is a byte? How much to load that web page?
Watch that movie? And doesn't Moore's Law mean that 18 months from now
it should cost half as much? If I can't tell whether or not I'm being
ripped off, I'm probably being ripped off.

A third problem is the whole regulated monopoly thing. The electric
company had to be slapped down hard by the government to make its
billing process fair. Anything we can do to avoid that fate is money
in the bank, even if it means allowing the occasional customer to get
more than he paid for.

So if we can't bill you by usage, and at a consumer level we can't,
then we have to find another way. Statistics and prayer isn't working
out as well as we'd hoped so we're looking at double-billing schemes.
Bad plan!

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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