Want to hear an old idea that keeps popping up. An idea that wants households to spend more and depress the growth in online streaming. It is called broadband usage fees and it means that heavier streaming users would pay more, depending on the number of bytes fed through the system. Think utility bills like electricity, gas, and water; this time for broadband. "Some Wall Street analysts have suggested that cable operators could eventually start charging subscribers or broadband video providers based on broadband usage." And John Malone, Chairman of Liberty Media, seems fully behind "'various tiers of connectivity,' possibly with built-in video offerings or bundles." And I am sure that these fees are hoping to encourage cable customers to retain their cable subscription and take advantage of lower cost bundles of broadband service.
Current streaming is already clogging the broadband pipeline and cable operators are charging more for higher speeds. Not happy with unleaded, pay more for ultra supreme. But consumers who find themselves charged by actual usage will want to have a counter attached to their system to keep track of how much cost is flowing out. Hit your peak before the end of the month and you might feel the need to turn off broadband till the new billing cycle starts. And don't forget to password protect your home WIFI; no one wants to pay for non-family members.
It harkens back to the day when we feared making a long distance phone call for an extended length of time. It took some time before we moved to an all you can call phone bill. And no one wants to move backward. We can only hope that through technological innovation and more competition, broadband access becomes ubiquitous and the cost of a stream so low that usage fees won't matter.