Uncle Sam, Tear Down Those Data Caps…

Ask not what Uncle Sam can do for your internet, as its just a passing fad...

It appears that our ISP (Internet service Providers)  are arguing their need to impose monthly data caps on us is justified as it seems there might be some  bandwidth hogs running wild like feral pigs on an episode of American Hoggers (no relation thankfully, at least I hope so).  As here our ISP friends are pointing out that these “pigs” are using their “data tusks” to  gore the living “data” out of us “ordinary users” who just want some quality Facebook time (is that even possible?) after spending a hard day in the salt mines (i.e. working from home) .

Yet is this concept really fact or maybe better put a work of fiction in that a monthly quota will drive us working stiffs to reduce the amount of network congestion during peak hours. No question it’s one of those things which make you go Hmmmm…   As in “fact” there is a piece of new research which supports the idea that this is a wet dream on the part of the ISP brain trust as Benoît Felten the chief research officer for Diffraction Analysis  writes “Our analysis confirms that data consumption is at best a poor proxy for bandwidth usage,”.  As about two years ago, both Felten and Herman Wagter issued a challenge to Internet providers: SHOW US THE BEEF (Ops meant to say “show us the evidence”).

To make a long story short, seems a midsized DSL provider came forward with their data over the course of a single day from one link which served 5,138 users. Its here the dynamic duo of Felten and Wagter went to work strapping on their statistical utility belt and crunched the daily data consumption down into five-minute increments and what did they find you ask?  Well I hope you won’t be surprised when I tell you they found “48 percent of active Internet customers “are amongst the top 10 percent of bandwidth users at one point or another during peak hours.” Controlling real-time congestion by going after just a few high-data monthly users, then, is unlikely to be effective”.

The point here is that data caps harm, and they harm everyone as while there is a valid argument that (in the United States) companies operate in a capitalistic environment and therefore companies need recover costs.  Agreed, however since the government’s role is to support the people which includes making them “attractably” employable as well as promoting commerce.  One will find the openness of the internet key, as the government is in the business (like it or not) of subsidies and legislation.  Just look at the fast food industry, all basically 100% subsidized as why do you think a Big Mac is so cheap.

As its here with cloud services, streaming music, cable cutting and the death of the DVD that the down load cap will hamper the economy.  As more and more people work from home (both my wife and I do as an example) the need (importance) for the internet rise as both of productivity is now linked to the net.  Second is the death of media as look at Apple, no more DVD.  So how to you buy software and get updates, yes over the internet.  Then there is Netflix, as in so long DVD and hello streaming!  Content and not hardware is the key to the coming decade and we are letting big brother limit us to a kinked straw when we need to have a garden hose…