Level 3 Communications Issues Statement ConcerningComcast'sActions

Ryan Finnesey ryan.finnesey at HarrierInvestments.com
Tue Nov 30 05:54:36 CST 2010

On the subject of marketing for years the wireless operators sold unlimited data plans.  Now they are coming back and saying well unlimited is really 5 GB.  

-----Original Message-----
From: William Herrin [mailto:bill at herrin.us] 
Sent: Monday, November 29, 2010 11:17 PM
To: Ben Butler
Cc: NANOG list
Subject: Re: Level 3 Communications Issues Statement ConcerningComcast'sActions

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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