While everyone is focused on the fact that Time Warner is testing metered bandwidth in Beaumont, Texas this Thursday, I see another fun thing coming down the pipe.
I believe that if TWC does actually go through and make this test an actual reality, then they’ll actually play into competitor hands. Here’s the thing. In the recent past, the United States has always had the whole DSL versus cable war. While the rest of the world moved to fiber, we’re still wondering if our copper lines can take on coax. Well, now AT&T is slowly moving into cable’s realm by providing television through their FiOS network and also providing a lot more bandwidth. There’s a lot of talk here locally about AT&T (what used to be BellSouth) laying down lines for FiOS.
So if TWC does try this a la carte style of payment, while it sounds great at the beginning, you have to realize that you’re dealing with profit grubbing executives. At some point those prices will rise due to “whatever excuse” to put more money in their pockets. So the savings will be short-lived and you’re out of the unlimited bandwidth.
But the beauty of this, is that it opens up all sorts of opportunities to those competitors that do offer unlimited. I would imagine that customers would be switching in droves since no one would want to be stuck with less, and not more. Don’t forget that we’re the society of super-sizing, not downsizing.
Don’t forget that there are other choices now. Clearwire is a great example. You can guarantee that Google and the rest of the corporations such as Microsoft and other major players would also throw their weight at this. Why? Eventually, this is the slippery slope from another angle that goes back to the tiered Internet philosophy. Guaranteed, if this was finalized, we won’t hear the last of tiered Internet at some point.
But my hopes are that the whole “playing with fire” will burn TWC and other ISPs that try to limit their users. In the age where there are a lot of things that stream, and where the technology just keeps advancing with most of the information traffic on the Internet, there just can’t be limitations such as this to stunt the growth.
So all I can hope is… burn, baby, burn.