Exciting New Internet Business Model: Ream Customers


A gaggle of sleazy telecoms have united their individual minds into a gelid hive mind aimed at bringing about an end to flat pricing on the Internet.

The Progress and Freedom Foundation — a think tank comprised of members of the telephone, cable and media industries — are plotting to charge you extra every time you talk to your Grandma over Skype, roleplay a balding, perverted gnome named HumbertHumbert in World of Warcraft, or download a torrent of every episode of Are You Being Served?

A spokesman for the organization is quick to insist that this isn’t “corporate greed”. It’s “an exciting new Internet business model!” We’re all for exciting new business models. Really. The problem is that a new business model is not truly exciting unless it both allows a company to maximize its profit and allow its customers the luxury of getting more for what they already pay… or at least the same standard of service. But reaming your customers by charging them exorbitant amounts of money for what they have previously been playing a flat price for? That’s corporate greed, plain and simple.

The internet isn’t a finite resource, like oil or Jenna Jameson. It’s a constantly expanding sea of thoughts and information. As technology is created that gives us greater access to draw from that ocean, the price for a bucketful should go down, not up… unless guys like this get clearance to start selling us buckets with a hole in the bottom.

Link: Telecom industry considers a la carte Internet (Thanks, Sara!)

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  1. Danilo says:

    The ‘net’s data may not be a finite resource, but the hardware that provides its bandwidth is certainly not limitless — nor is the power and other infrastructure needed to maintain it. Still, the proposed model is not the answer.

    It sounds like the intent is to charge the customer based on the volume of a given sort of traffic. How will they monitor the traffic? What happens when a 16-year-old-kid in Norway comes up with a means of masking those data transactions to look like something else?

    I’m not opposed to different tiers of internet service. Grandma, even if she needs broadband, doesn’t exactly need a minimal latency connection. Other consumers and certainly businesses do. Paying for quality of service is acceptable and something I think we’ll have to swallow one way or another. But this nonsense of paying by the kilobyte when you Skype someone? Awfully stupid idea.

  2. L_Emmerdeur says:

    I’m gonna enjoy watching the Justice Department wtfpwn them for violating antitrust laws.

  3. AcidReign says:

    …..There are way too many folk out there with unsecured wireless networks. This would absolutely jack their bill into the ceiling! I’ve been tempted to just buy a big antenna and put wi-fi cards in all my PCs, and never pay for internet again… Of course, stealing in your own neighborhood is an example of exceptional stupidity!

  4. GenXCub says:

    Either that or we’ve come full circle. Most ISP’s are now the infrastructure providers (whereas before most choices were NOT the phone company, even though it was using phone lines) and will charge based on access and bandwidth like the old AOL, Netcom, compuserv… then someone will offer the unlimited access for flat fee again, beating their prices, and everyone will change back to keep from losing their business. Hopefully the wireless companies won’t ALL be back to AT&T by that point, since that will be who takes the business.