Originally Posted by ljocampo
The "all you can eat" model doesn't work well for a finite product such as wireless broadband. Consumers enjoy this model when dining at the Chinese buffet because they get to choose from many different types of product for relatively little money compared to buying individual product.
At every Chinese buffet you'll surely see those groups of morbidly obese people gorging down all the good stuff for hours at a time. It drives the sellers nuts and raises the price of product for everyone else. However, it still works for Chinese buffets because they can control the hours of operation.
Broadband wireless data networks have the same problem offering unlimited data plans, but without the luxury of prime time minutes. They hope the lure of unlimited usage bring in the customer but pray they don't use it. This model worked in the past when consumer data networks were young, hard to use, and lacking content and customers. Those days are over and the holdouts are dwindling faster than the crab legs at a Chinese buffet.
We are rapidly moving into a media rich society for all its members. Broadband networks have only two choices. Make a network large and cheaply enough that consumer usage can't reach its limits. Unlikely. Or, meter service per some unit price.
Heavy users don't have a right to be financially subsidized by lite users. Lite user's data service shouldn't be degraded because of data hogs. Data networks should not be legally able to sell data plans, just data transfer by the unit.
I think a more sane approach would be to ensure that content providers never own the pipe the content is being pushed over. That ensure that the pipe owners would never oversell their product for fear of missing SLA. As it is right now, with content and pipe bound together, they can oversell and simply hope no one notices or cares.
I'm still of the belief that internet should be treated like a utility. Hell, I wouldn't even mind too much of the price per megabyte was a sane value, but we're talking about the same folks who charge 20 cents a text. I have little hope that they wouldn't gouge the hell out of people. I simply can't trust them.
On top of that, end users often have to download huge bundles for all sorts of things that aren't even related to 'entertainment'. Blu-Ray player updates, PS3 updates, OS updates, service packs, security fixes, ad-nauseum. This also bodes ill for applications as well unless they want to force all apps onto the phone via WiFi.
The whole point of monitoring a networks capacity is to not oversell it, which AT&T has obviously done. They aren't keeping up with demand and their blaming the end user. Take a look at Asia and you'd be amazed at the pipe size and prices they pay for broadband. 10 times faster than ours, and for dirt cheap. We need far more competition, and I think a separation of content providers from broadband providers.