I’m getting a preview of Time Warner’s doomed idea to charge internet access based on usage.
At the hotel here in Munich, I’m getting criminally overcharged for internet access by the hotel and Swiss: They’re charging me 27 euros for 24 hours to get supposedly unlimited speed (ha! I tested and it’s slow; I can’t even watch a YouTube video worth a damn and it almost took longer to download On the Media than to listen to it) and downloading. They’d charge me a bit less if I agreed to getting lower priority for my packets — the hint is that at the slower speed, I couldn’t be able to use Skype or watch videos — and an unspecified limit on my bandwidth. Being forced to pay a premium to get acceptable service makes me mad enough; not getting acceptable service makes me resent them even more.
It’s not as if cable and telephone companies care about being resented, but this is sure to make us hate them even more. And it moves in exact opposition to the history of internet usage since the mid-90s. That’s when I say that Tom Evslin, then head of AT&T Worldnet, made the internet explode when he set flat-rate pricing of $19.95 a month. Then the peole didn’t care about the ticking clock; they became addicted to the internet; the internet exploded; and we have Tom to thank for that. And since then, whenever we have had more bandwidth, we have found more good reasons to use the internet more and bring more value to it. On the internet, more is more.
Now we have Time Warner and Swiss to thank for trying to put a meter back on the internet. It only makes us hate them more.