Level 3 Communications Issues Statement Concerning Comcast'sActions

Andrew Koch andrew.koch at gawul.net
Mon Nov 29 23:09:42 CST 2010

On Mon, Nov 29, 2010 at 22:17, William Herrin <bill at herrin.us> wrote:

> 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.

Not quite.  Look at mobile data plans.  A very few are unlimited, most
are per byte.

> 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.

Yep, sure seems that way when I get my mobile bill with roaming data
charges.  Consumers learn what it costs per byte, apps are created for
them to manage their download amounts.  Carriers send messages
alerting consumers of their usage.

> 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!

If double billing is such a bad plan, what are your proposed alternatives?

Andy Koch

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