I never quite understood the moral panic that seems to appear when this comes up. Asking people to pay for what they use doesn't seem like *that* radical a concept to me.
* If you run more appliances, your electric bill goes up
* If you drive a longer distance, you need to buy more gas
* If you make a lot of cell phone calls, your bill goes up
* If you eat more, you pay more for the groceries
Why is Internet use seen differently?
Which one of those things is not like the other? The cell phone bill example, and imo its because its much more like the broadband issue we're discussing here than any of those other examples.
Drive until your gas tank is empty and that gas is completely gone forever.. it's a resource that can no longer be used by someone else. The same goes for food after being consumed and electricity.
Broadband is slightly different. If I use my current max (which is only the amount available that is not currently in use by others sharing the connection) for five or ten minutes to download a large file and then go back to my default level, that broadband is available for use by others. You could argue that those that use higher amounts more frequently are "hogging" the pipe but they WERE sold x amount of broadband per second with or without caps. It's not the consumers fault that the cable companies chose a model where they over-subscribe lines to save money. If they're paying for a resource they should be able to use it as advertised. Furthermore, are they really "hogging" it for extended periods of time? Most situations involving high bandwidth usage seem to be in bursts, such as downloading a file. I've never seen netflix use enough bandwidth to put a serious dent in what I've been paying for (10mb) and that, besides the occasional multiplayer game, are when I'm actually using substained bandwidth levels.
There is technology out there to increase bandwidth availability but upgrading and building infrastructure doesn't make them money so they don't want to do it. It makes far more business sense to yell at the top of their lungs that the sky is falling, that there is a shortage on bandwidth, so they should charge more.