YOU GET WHAT YOU CAN PAY FOR — “Tiered Internet Access” Possibly the Way of the Future

It has been thought of over the last year or so by some Internet providers that they might switch over from what has been the nice standard monthly flat rate payment system to a “pay as you go” sort of plan, that is similar to the early days of the Internet when dial up was all the rage.  During that primitive time, a person would get a certain number of hours a month for a certain price…but if they went over the fixed time limit they would often get fined a larger sum of money for their minor “offence”

After the epic failure of the dial up system of the 90s, Internet providers came up with the concept of Broadband and  High Speed Internet.  This system was (and still is) great.  Not only did a person get much faster Internet, with no half hour waits to connect to it, he was also able to pay a nice flat monthly rate and use the Internet as much as he wanted to.without having to be charged for overages.  This was the first reliable source of Internet and has been increasing in popularity all over the world.  In the present day, urban and even most rural areas have the privilege of  high speed Internet for a fairly reasonable price.

However, with the increase of access, the increase of traffic on the Internet increases as well.  Increase in traffic is great if you are looking to expose your product or business to a vast amount of people.  However, some Internet providers are experiencing many complaints of slower performance…supposedly due to the increase in traffic that the servers supposedly cannot handle the load anymore.  To combat this minor issue some Internet providers are advocating for a multi level sort of Internet.  The levels would refer to levels of bandwidth allocated to a person each month.  The problem is that, doing certain things like checking email or surfing pages takes up less bandwidth then it does to stream a movie for example so depending on what a person uses the Internet for in a given month, his bill could be much higher than that of someone else.

The big advantage to the current flat monthly billing system is that it is much easier to budget for.  You know what you are going to have to pay per month right away and so you  can plan your finances around that…and all of your other expenses obviously.  The problem with this new version of the “pay as you go” system would be that one’s monthly Internet bill could be unpredictable.  For those with much disposable income, this may not be such a problem, but those who have tighter financial constraints may have much more difficulty keeping up.  Thus increasing the gap of the “digital divide” between those who can afford it and those who can’t.  The Internet companies would see a drop in traffic due to this new more intense restriction, but those who rely on the Internet for their business or for school work, could end up suffering if a large chunk of the population stops using the Internet because of the unpredictable and possibly expensive monthly bills they might receive.

While this new system will most likely achieve the objective of having less traffic on the Internet and having more money in the pot for Internet providers.  I do not believe that it would be beneficial for the world as a whole.  Why not investigate the possibility of building better servers that can handle more traffic with ease?  I believe that with some improvement the current way high speed is managed by Internet providers could still work.

In today’s world it’s all about progress and equality.  Why go back to an ancient idea of a “Pay as you go, Pay big if you go over” Internet plan?

Just something to ponder.

Sources:
http://technolog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2010/12/21/5690191-open-internet-just-a-pipe-dream
http://www.thinq.co.uk/2010/12/21/fcc-approve-two-tier-internet-access-us/
http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/12/21/fcc-net-neutrality-genachowski.html

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