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Obviously sympathy for residential ISPs is in short supply, but I do not envy their situation when it comes to pricing models. The pricing model which most closely matches their cost structure, peak hour usage billing, would get them eviscerated regardless of how fairly it was priced. We know this because it happened to cell carriers who tried peak hour billing. People don't want to have to think about peak hours at all, even though they are critically important to the ISP's bottom line.

So we get these wonky billing schemes that the ISP can't really defend because they're not about to come out and say that their customers aren't rational enough to handle a more sensible scheme.

To be fair, I'm sure the fact that it kneecaps Netflix doesn't hurt their enthusiasm for usage caps, and residential ISPs are overpriced in general, but there is an element of customer behavior which pushes ISPs in this direction.

"Not rational enough"? What are you talking about?

I don't want to think about what time it is when I go on Facebook or whatever, because I have more important things to think about. There is nothing irrational about that (though the premise that increased rationality is something to be desired in this context is deeply questionable to begin with and maybe slightly creepy.)

When an ISP can offer a plan that requires me to think as little about it as possible, that simplicity is a valuable service.

This would be cool. Netflix could offer an automatic daily batched download at 2:00am to get around peak times.

Your computer can already do that.

Really? There is a program to batch download Netflix?

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