On Testing Consumption Based Pricing Models [CableTechTalk]
NCTA President and CEO Kyle McSlarrow has weighed in on the metered broadband debate and the calls by the interest group Free Press for Congress to launch an investigation into Time Warner Cable's trials of metered broadband. Free Press is circulating a petition for opponents of metered broadband to request that Congress investigate Time Warner Cable's proposal.
According to McSlarrow, here's the most interesting part about the fuss Free Press is kicking up -- in a filing with the FCC on network management and in comments to the press, Free Press has previously suggested that metered billing could be a viable alternative to network management practices designed to limit high bandwidth users from degrading the Internet experience for everyone on the network. A bit of grownup self-regulation on the users' part, if you will.
Apparently either Free Press didn't expect that ISPs would take their suggestion seriously, or they've changed their minds since they suggested metered broadband as an alternative to network management (which I happen to agree with them about). If people are responsible for paying their own way for hugely consumptive activities, I say, "Go for it! Download as much (legally) as you want!"
Last week I offered some thoughts for opponents of metered broadband and why Time Warner Cable is testing this new billing methodology. However, there's been one essential point notably missing from this debate -- the math. It seems to me that Time Warner's plan would increase the cost of broadband to fewer than 10% of their customers, and perhaps considerably less. And by the way, some would even get to pay less!
Believe me. My buddies in the business know that if I thought they were doing something wrong, I'd be the first one to call them to explain themselves. This time, Time Warner's transparency and their willingnes to tweak the plan based on customer input are precisely what the usual critics of ISP business practices have previously called for. Rather than calling for a Congressional investigation, they should be seeing TW's behavior as a model of openness.