As you’ve probably heard if you’re a tech news junkie like I am, Time Warner is starting to test out bandwidth caps on home users. The Washington Post has a good article about this here. You’ve probably also seen the outrage that various blogs and websites have shown against this sort of pricing scheme.
The sad truth, however, is that most people would not even come close to using the smallest 5 GB cap. We all know many people like this. For example, the people who are still on dial-up, who would be hard-pressed to download 5 gigabytes if they were downloading 24 hours a day, all month. The people who only use e-mail and occasionally view a YouTube video. This isn’t a criticism, but it is just a simple fact. Some people do not have the time or interest to integrate technology into their lives, which from where I sit is too bad. Technology, computers and the internet have the ability to improve your life, as I hope to show you in this blog. However, if your access to the internet is limited just as some of the best uses for the internet become available this will have a dampening effect on advancement.
The more people that are involved and interested in any given technology, the more that that technology is apt to grow and improve. This cap could be just the thing that stops someone from trying to listen to a podcast or to watch their favorite TV show online. I know that if I have a cap I become much more aware of my usage of a product. For example, I have a pre-paid cell phone that I hardly ever use. The reason is that even though I have over 500 minutes of time on it, I’m afraid of running out of time when I really need it.
I think that the same sort of mentality might apply here. People are liable to here about new technologies, like the NetFlix set-top box or programs that I’ve talked about like Joost and decide against even trying them because of their fears of the cap.
And the fears of people under these caps is pretty justified. If you were to download one high-definition movie, that could easily use up a 5GB cap all at once. As people with cell phones know, overages can be really painful. It still remains to be seen how the Time Warner plan will work, and maybe the doom and gloom being sounded across cyberspace will turn out to be overblown. Only Time (Warner) will tell.