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And to the extent to which that is false advertising, I agree with you: I even mention so much in the talk. However, you aren't paying them enough to actually get that service, and it isn't because they are screwing you. ...and no, I'm sorry, but the fact that the carrier in question is prosecuting your friend is off-topic and entirely irrelevant to this pricing problem.

You thereby have to frame these kinds of things inside of the larger framework: you can't just say "oh yeah, Apple is evil because they are allowing this FaceTime charge thing" unless you are willing to also accept things like "everyone should be paying more for bandwidth" or "users should be paying for bandwidth in much smaller slices": this is a complex issue.




I don't know why techies aren't more accepting of paying more for bandwidth or paying in smaller slices rather than having most people pay for far more than the use. I mean, I guess I do know why techies are against that sort of thing, because they're more likely to be heavy users, and the current situation subsidizes heavy users to a pretty substantial degree. But still, basic fairness would seem to dictate that this stuff ought to be a little more sane.

Nobody seems to mind paying for precisely metered electricity, gas, or water. But the moment you want to meter internet usage, it seems like people swarm out of the woodwork to shoot it down, even though it seems that the current "unlimited" model is responsible for a lot of our current problems.


Electricity, gas, and water all have something critical in common: they are heavily regulated, so you're paying more or less cost for them.

When Internet usage gets metered, it's because the carriers think it will allow them to massively overcharge everyone, and take more profit; and they're right.

I'm not opposed to an Internet-as-utility model, where it's metered but there is _some_ mechanism to ensure that the charges are related to cost, and not just made up.

The market _ought_, in an unregulated industry, to be that mechanism, but in consumer internet service provision we have a sort of half-regulated industry, where there is never more than about a duopoly of providers in any given market.


No; in fact, when AT&T switched from unlimited to metered bandwidth pricing for iPhone plans, 95% of customers (including me) saw that they had to pay less per month. The private market is simply not so broken for cellular telecoms right now that AT&T can charge a lot more than their costs for things like bandwidth: they are actually in fierce competition with Verizon, and for the vast vast majority of users the only thing they care about when choosing between these two companies is price.

Five years ago this was not as true as it is today, as at the high-end of the market (so only people with a lot of money to burn) people would sometimes select carriers based on what phones were available (hence the value of the AT&T-exclusive iPhone), but with a world where handset manufacturers carry most of the power (and in fact get even a good percentage of the money paid to carriers, due to the subsidy) and all of the best phones are available for every major carrier, this no longer matters: carriers are now dumb pipes to everyone but a small percentage of people living in an area with a major coverage disparity.


Ahh, when I wrote that comment I was thinking of residential ISPs. I agree that there is more competition in the wireless ISP space, and I don't think we're getting shafted _too_ badly by the pay-by-the-byte plans there, compared to what I would expect if residential ISPs got into the pay-by-the-byte business.




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