Internet 2046

Both Comcast and Time Warner are ready to begin pilot projects which are aimed to cramp the style of high-bandwidth users, either by restricting bandwidth (Comcast) or by charging more for it (Time Warner).

We first spoke about this back in January, so we won’t repeat ourselves.

Today, we’d like to point out that the opposition to such capping has left much to be desired. The cable companies have put out the line, “We’re out to slow down the pigs and/or make them pay their fair share.” So far, the main opposition has come from the pigs, who, as you might suspect, have made piggish arguments.

The piggies seem to think that unlimited bandwidth is a fundamental, inalienable human right. Just in case that pig doesn’t fly, though, they’ll put an end in this nonsense by taking their incredibly self-important and -valued business elsewhere, without a clue that this would make the cable providers very happy.

If this comes down to cable company arguments versus pig arguments, the public is going to side with the cable companies. And that would be bad, because the pigs are right for entirely the wrong reasons.

As we mentioned in the earlier mentioned article, if the Internet is going to replace the video store, everyone is going to become a “pig,” except if the charges for downloading become prohibitive. If the Time Warner $1 per extra GB a month became the standard, you’d end up paying over $20 extra for your cable bill just to download an HD movie once you were over your limit.

We need to frame a better set of talking points on this issue, but before we can do that, we have to know what we’re talking about.

Do you know how much bandwidth you use a month? I don’t know, and I doubt you do, either. Some might have a foggy notion based on the number of very big downloads you make, but you don’t know how much the small stuff adds up to in a month, and if you mostly do smallish stuff, you probably don’t have a clue at all.

If we had a better idea as to what we use, we’d have a much better basis on which to judge these caps.

When I say “we”. I mean we, as in “How much do certain types of users and uses chew up in a month?” How much does Grandma use? How much does heavy surfing amount to? What does gaming do? What’s the impact of YouTube? How much do the small, medium and large P2P porkers swallow up?

Right now, we have no real idea, and the only data in the universe comes from only one side of the argument.

What we need to do is to get a clue, and to do that, we first need a data gatherer. A nice, simple, free, easy to setup and use program that will automatically do this for you.

I’ve looked around a bit, but so far, I haven’t found an ideal program to do this, though this program I just started testing looks promising.

If you know of a better program, tell me about it. If you already monitor your own use, tell me about that, too, or maybe you can try the program I’m trying and tell me what it tells you about your use.

The more we know, the better off we’ll be arguing against caps.


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