Recently I noticed a new charge on my Comcast bill. “Data Overages, billed at 10 dollars for every additional 50 gigabytes used.” Or language to that effect. I’ve been on the internet for a long time, our first family modem was a 300 baud, that made those wonderful screeching noises as it connected me to a new world.
Back at the beginning of the internet (CompuServ and AOL), there were usage charges. The billing model for these early services was that you paid your monthly fee to have an account, and you also paid a certain amount of money for hour / minute / second that you were connected to their servers. There wasn’t yet a tremendous amount of content out there on the internet, but I still managed to spend hours checking out Gopher, and engaging in conversations with people all over the world (#Undernet4Ever).
I remember the day when we got service that allowed for unlimited connection times. This was revolutionary! I could surf 24 hours a day 7 days a week and my family wouldn’t be put into the poor house (Just ignore those long distance bills if you could please). Now seeing the bill from Comcast I’m having a strange deja vu. Are we back in 1995? Ultimately this decision by Comcast is a consequence of shrinking competition. This coupled with the push to remove “Internet Neutrality” really makes me wonder how the freedom that I remember waking up to many years ago with “Unlimited Bandwidth” will be passed on to future generations, while our government continues to grant more and more power to these massive Telecommunication companies. I hope I’m wrong. Comcast used to be my favorite internet provider (since Mindspring went away). I hope that this data limitation in their customer’s homes is a short lived experiment that they’re trying, or my monthly subscription to them will come to and end.