Metered broadband will kill online video

I have said this before and I will say it again without a second of hesitation – metered broadband is bad for the Internet. It is bad for innovation on the web and it is especially bad for any video business online. This will be especially true as the quality of downloadable, or streaming, video – be it movies or television shows – increases in quality. With every increase in quality you will have larger and larger file sizes being transferred via the web and every single byte of those files will count against your download cap.

Stacey Higginbotham made this point the best today in her post at GigOM where she used the example of downloading the HD version of Twilight from iTunes

Time Warner Cable: Time Warner’s price per GB for its proposed tiers ranges from 75 cents to $15 (unless you max out the overage fees on the 100 GB per month tier and default into unlimited service for $150). This means the bandwidth for “Twilight” would cost between $2.85 and $20.60. After adding in the $3.99 rental fee, the evening at home costs between $6.84 and $24.59.

At a time when just about everyone and their brother is spouting off about how big video is going to be we have broadband providers talking up the supposed need to move to a metered broadband. The only need that I can see is the need to find more ways to gouge their customers.

So it was interesting to see this story on SA Business by David Saleh Rauf reporting that Time Warner is postponing the implementation of their metered broadband program

Officials with the cable company said Monday they are postponing implementation of a new billing format for San Antonio and Austin customers based on Internet usage until October.

A trial program intended to charge varying rates depending on usage was slated to begin this summer. The decision to delay the meter program was prompted mostly by customer reaction, said Gavino Ramos, Time Warner’s vice president of communication for South Texas.

I don’t see how Ramos figures that customer reaction is going to change between now and October. The point is that metered broadband is just a bad idea all around.

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