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Look Forward To Per-Service, Per-Page Fees 400

Posted by timothy
from the wireless-exemption dept.
An anonymous reader writes with this excerpt from Wired: "[Two] companies, Allot Communications and Openet — suppliers to large wireless companies including AT&T and Verizon — showed off a new product in a web seminar Tuesday, which included a PowerPoint presentation (1.5-MB .pdf) that was sent to Wired by a trusted source. The idea? Make it possible for your wireless provider to monitor everything you do online and charge you extra for using Facebook, Skype or Netflix. For instance, in the seventh slide of the above PowerPoint, a Vodafone user would be charged two cents per MB for using Facebook, three euros a month to use Skype and $0.50 monthly for a speed-limited version of YouTube."
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Look Forward To Per-Service, Per-Page Fees

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  • by alain94040 (785132) * on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#34600054) Homepage

    One wireless carrier alone like Verizon couldn't implement such a net-killing feature: their customers would abandon them cold. And if all the US carriers adopted that together, that would be the best case to start an antitrust investigation and shake the wireless landscape once and for all.

    That being said, you got to look a slide #6: it's one of the best expression of greed I have ever seen.

    --
    Foundrs.com: have you signed up your co-founders yet? [foundrs.com]

    • blame DPI.

      its everywhere and it gives power to greedy bastards that never deserved to wield such power.

      with DPI in ever router and switch (its getting to that point, in the enterprise and certainly backbones) there's no end of how ABUSIVE carriers and network ops can be, now.

      I have not heard a more compelling argument FOR net neutrality than the mere existence and aggressive use of DPI.

      because they 'can' and because we know what human nature is, we should stop this before it gets any worse.

      then again, with

    • Why would their customers abandon them? This won't be marketed as "We charge you more depending on what you do", it will be marketed as "and now, your favourite sites cost less per minute!"

      • Consumers generally favour all-you-can-eat plans over this nickle&diming for separate items. They like to pay 50 euro/month every month instead of paying 30 some months and 70 on other months. And thankfully we have enough competition... a few carriers have tried to introduce metered traffic, low data caps and/or bandwidth throttling, but each time there has been such a consumer backlash and people switching en masse to the competition that to date, internet traffic (either wired or mobile) is cheap
    • by Graff (532189)

      Queue the conspiracy theorists.

      You know, stuff like this CAN be used in a way that consumers might like. Maybe you you'll be able to sign up with a plan that gives you free internet but you're charged a usage fee on certain popular sites. That'd be great for someone who doesn't use those sites enough to justify paying a monthly fee.

      I see this going one of several ways:

      • provides customers more choice, everyone wins including the provider (more customers)
      • one provider tries this in an "evil" way, loses customer
    • by camperslo (704715)

      One wireless carrier alone like Verizon couldn't implement such a net-killing feature: their customers would abandon them cold.

      One would think so, but I never expected people would actually pay for ring tones or watch reality tv. It seems if one isn't boycotting slime you're helping it grow.

      The greed is sickening. Or is this the Verizon way of dealing with more traffic on getting the iPhone?

      As poor as the pricing/bandwidth ratio is for much U.S. home net access, many mobile plans still give people lower caps for a month than many home users eat in a day. If not using WiFi, some of the new owners of these mobile devices will be i

      • "Or is this the Verizon way of dealing with more traffic on getting the iPhone?"

        Probably. The mobile networks are in the same position with smartphones as the fixed broadband ISPs are with P2P and video streaming. They hugely oversell capacity, on the assumption that the vast majority of customers would use only a tiny fraction of what they have paid for: Most of the time the phone just sits in a pocket, waiting. With smartphones (Or p2p/video) this assumption becomes invalid, and the business model collap
    • by Wannabe Code Monkey (638617) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:37PM (#34600666)

      That being said, you got to look a slide #6: it's one of the best expression of greed I have ever seen.

      The entire slideshow makes me want to throw up. But I really think slide 18 takes the cake:

      Use Case: Split Billing

      • First 15 minutes of the movie streamed for free to user as a promotion
      • If user doesn't purchase movie, content provider is billed for the 15 minutes of network consumption
      • If user purchases movie, revenue is shared between operator and content provider

      Are you kidding me! So someone else actually creates content worth viewing and for some reason Verizon gets a cut no matter whether I buy it or not? I just have to preview it. Verizon already benefits from there being interesting things on the internet, it makes people buy network connections. And it's not like they're hurting if you use your connection for high bandwidth content because a user gets the speed they pay for. If there are more interesting videos on the internet then users will pay for faster network connections.

      I really can't express my outrage well enough. I want to scream, cry, and throw up all at once after having read through that presentation. The worst part is that we'll all suffer as a result of this. Even if you can find and ISP who wouldn't pull this shit, all the content providers will still have to pay shakedown money to the big ISPs in order to get their stuff in front of people's eyes. This will create monopolies where only the big boys can afford to pay for play. The smaller guys, or the ones who refuse to pay extortion will suffer and probably not be able to compete. So even if you can find an ISP who won't play these games, and even if there are content providers that don't want to pay up, they'll be few and far between because the youtubes and the hulus and the ABCs of the world will pay for better service and the others will go out of business.

      I love slide 5 which shows the ISPs valiantly trying to carry popular services on their backs as money flows out of their pockets and sweat drips off their brow. <ispviewpoint>Yeah, what jerks facebook, youtube, and skype are for creating popular services that our users actually want to use, that actually make the service we provide useful. We'd have it so much easier if only there weren't popular services on the internet. Why can't everyone just buy expensive connections, and then not use them, that would totally be the best.</ispviewpoint>.

    • Like so many others, you don't seem to understand what Net Neutrality is actually doing. The regulation as I understand it is about controlling the speed and access to various hosts - as in, they al need to be able to be accessed at exactly the same speed (no traffic shaping for VOIP for example) and you will not be blocked from any host (well, except possibly the ones the government doesn't like - that would come later though).

      Net Neutrality doesn't say anything about the ISP's altering what you are charg

  • Inevitable (Score:5, Funny)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:25PM (#34600058) Homepage Journal

    I think we all understand that bits from some sites clog up more of the tubes than bits from other sites. I know netflix bits are much heavier than fluffy fark bits.

    We all new the free ride couldn't go on for ever, shoving our super dense bittorrent bits down the pipes to the detriment of all the innocent cnn.com users and their non-obstructive bits.

    Finally my telco can start making real money, like they deserve after all these years of selflessly giving away bandwidth.

    • Obviously there is no issue of "bit density" as you describe it, but what are the telcos supposed to do as traffic increases significantly? Does it really make more sense to increase service charges uniformly for everybody? If you can clearly identify the 1% of users that create 20% of the traffic, then isn't it best for everybody to charge those users appropriately?

      Don't get me wrong, I'm no fan of these companies, and I absolutely dread the day that practices like this start to go into effect. But I ha
      • Re:Inevitable (Score:5, Insightful)

        by swrider (854292) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:43PM (#34600720) Homepage
        Bits is bits! Bandwidth is not free, but it is only bandwidth that the carriers should be selling. They should not be charging different rates for different flavors of bits. They should not even be aware that the bits are reaching my phone from Google, or YouTube, or my e-mail server. All, they need to know is that I requested a specified number of bits to enter their network to be relayed through to my mobile device.

        This is why the cellular carriers should not be omitted from any type of net neutrality rules put into place by the FCC. And this is why the Republicans actions to prevent the FCC from issuing net neutrality rulings needs to be prevented. See http://slashdot.org/story/10/12/17/2045244/Republicans-Create-Rider-To-Stop-Net-Neutrality [slashdot.org]
  • by nysus (162232) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:28PM (#34600074)

    ...where corporations are free to fuck you in the ass.

    • by Zumbs (1241138) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:42PM (#34600182) Homepage
      No, no, you don't get it: Corporations are free to fuck you in the ass, but you are also free to disconnect from the internet and go live in a cave somewhere ... if someone will rent you a cave, and that someone will accept cash payment and snailmail correspondence. And you can get your employer or bank to accept cash payments as well.
      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:02PM (#34600340)

        No no no!

        You misunderstand libertarian thought entirely.

        You are free to disconnect from the internet and build your own internet. This is obviously fair, and your freedom to do this will clearly keep folks who want to gouge you from doing so.

        • You are free to disconnect from the internet and build your own internet.

          Not when the FCC has sold exclusive rights in all usable spectrum to the incumbents. If spectrum is to be treated like land [wikipedia.org], then how does libertarianism deal with exhaustion of land?

        • I would build my own internet if I could. In fact if you could get the government to give me the same amount of money and tax incentives that they have given the telcoms in the last ten years. Then get me the same conditions on land lease and access to public utilities. I would.

      • Corporations are not free to do that, you have to pay them for the privilege.
    • Of the days that were good, of long ago, a fabled past, when...

      - you needed a business line to install a modem
      - data charges were on top of phone charges and it was per KB each way
      - you could make real money on long distance phone calls
      - a number belonged to the company, not the customer

      Ahhhh! Don't all of you YEARN for the past? Of course you do!

      You just don't know it yet.

      • Party lines.
        No third party equipment on the line.
        Rotary dial.
        A telephone heavy enough to use as a weapon.
        300 baud.
        err, 75 baud, it's raining.
        CompuServe
        AOL

        It's so warm and fuzzy here in the past, I think I'll stay here.
        Tuna.
        Taiwan.
        Richard Nixon
        The Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders.
      • Ahhhh! Don't all of you YEARN for the past? Of course you do!

        Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you go back far enough, dinosaurs walked the earth and human beings hadn't even evolved yet.

        It's always possible to cherry pick a point in time where things were worse than they are now. That doesn't imply that every change going forward is necessarily for the better.

        • by dogsbreath (730413) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:03PM (#34600904)

          Ahhhh! Don't all of you YEARN for the past? Of course you do!

          Yeah, yeah, yeah. And if you go back far enough, dinosaurs walked the earth and human beings hadn't even evolved yet.

          It's always possible to cherry pick a point in time where things were worse than they are now. That doesn't imply
          that every change going forward is necessarily for the better.

          Hey.. Not cherry picking at all! Must be my sense of humour I guess.

          Just making an obscure suggestion that this type of billing (per unit, per item, per customer, per service and all piled together) is reminiscent of the days when competition was limited and there was, perhaps, a real need for natural monopolies and heavy government regulation.

          In the Telco/Cable industry there are many who would like to see a return to that level of power and control. This type of billing model appeals to that mindset, and why not? They are in it to make money and the telco industry has had to invest huge sums in technology for limited returns. eg: the company I work for spent over $1 billion last year upgrading DSL equipment while the per month per customer revenue dropped. This just kept us competitive. No tears necessary; its a cost of doing business. However, profitability is not guaranteed from year to year; it is definitely 'swim or die'.

          Problem is that these type of billing plans are predicated on sucking some money off of the services that someone else created. The thing that really sticks in the craw of a telco CEO is that the telco carries all of the data that others get rich off of. This is seen as an unfair burden, hence the desire to act like a vampire and drink from the flow. So the telco adds nothing to the equation and wants to be paid for it. Understand that they are already being paid by their subscribers for the "bandwidth".

          From a telco/cable view, the subscriber has only paid for connectivity and not for the data. This is definitely old school.

          There is no recognition that this train left the station a long time ago and that they need to do something positive/imaginative/creative for the subscriber in order to generate more revenue. Telcos do NOT do positive/imaginative/creative. Telcos are run by CPAs and lawyers; they are not technology/service driven.

          Sigh, I thought I was being funny and creative but obviously not. I have worked in telecoms for too long.

  • Time to abandon ship and roll back the timeline.
  • Money talks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Manfre (631065) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:38PM (#34600160) Homepage Journal

    If my cell provider implements this, I'll switch carriers. If they all try this, then I'll just drop to a pay as you go phone without internet access. Checking my email and surfing the web for those rare moments when I'm not near a desktop or laptop are a luxury I can do without. I can think of many other better uses for the ~$150/mo I'm paying now for multiple lines.

    • Checking my email and surfing the web for those rare moments when I'm not near a desktop or laptop are a luxury I can do without.

      What about checking your e-mail or surfing the web when you have a laptop but are riding in a vehicle?

      • by rhavenn (97211)

        Read a book. It can wait, barring business emergencies and your workplace should be paying for it if you're in the car.

        • Read a book.

          Then how do I check the works that the book cites?

          • by wierd_w (1375923)

            Make a list, check it twice, then go home and see who's naughty and nice.

            I realize it's a shock to many in the slashdot community, but really, there are these things called "Notebooks"-- No, they do not contain ANY technology whatsoever! They are a bound tablet of lined paper, ready for you to store data on, using an old fashioned ball point pen, or graphite pencil! You can even use encryption if you want!

            What you do, is write down the list of sources in your book, write down the page numbers in your book t

            • by tepples (727027)

              write down the list of sources in your book, write down the page numbers in your book that cite those sources, and continue reading. When you get home to your landline internet, THEN you check the sources, and re-read the content.

              A lot of people pay for mobile Internet access because they don't have time to copy fully one-tenth of a book to lined paper and then start reading the book all over again when they get back to the Internet. One might as well wait to read the book in the first place until back at home, when one will actually understand what one reads after having familiarized oneself with the cited material.

          • By waiting until you are near a computer with Internet access? Is it absolutely necessary to check citations the very moment you see them?
            • by tepples (727027)

              By waiting until you are near a computer with Internet access?

              Then why not wait until one is near a computer with Internet access to start reading the book in the first place?

              Is it absolutely necessary to check citations the very moment you see them?

              In order to understand the passage containing the citation, yes it is often necessary.

              • Then why not wait until one is near a computer with Internet access to start reading the book in the first place?

                Because one is traveling and wants to have something to read while traveling?

                In order to understand the passage containing the citation, yes it is often necessary.

                I do not find this to be the case at all. Frankly, I have wonder, how do you think people managed before there was an Internet, citations could not be instantly located?

      • by Manfre (631065)

        You could always have a conversation with the driver or other passengers. If you're driving by yourself, don't fiddle with the phone.

    • Switch now. We were paying $220 for two lines and no internet. Now we pay $50, and it's only $5 for each additional line.
    • by patro (104336)

      What if ISPs will do the same thing?

      • by kimvette (919543)

        Then communities should build their own local ISPs and revoke the monopolies they granted, and if the telephone company, cable company, etc. complains about using their rights of way, use eminent domain since this is a rare case where eminent domain would actually be for the public good.

        • by tepples (727027) <tepples@nOSpAM.gmail.com> on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:06PM (#34600374) Homepage Journal

          Then communities should build their own local ISPs and revoke the monopolies they granted

          The incumbent ISPs have sued to stop communities' efforts to provide Internet service and have succeeded in getting the courts to shut down many of these efforts with a preliminary injunction.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by swrider (854292)
          You have it backwards. As noted by tepples, the incumbents have sued many localities to prevent them from creating their own service provider, even when the incumbent had no plans to provide service in that local. In many case, the big telcos and cable companies have lobbied state legislators to pass laws making it very difficult, if not impossible, for localities to create a service provider.

          And, it is the telcos and cable companies who want to use the city's right-of-way without paying for that use. T
    • Virgin mobile! If you can put up with their small phone selection, plans with unlimited data/sms/mms start at $25. I switched from T-mobile, while I miss my Treo, it was just too cheap to pass up.
  • That's the best way to push full encryption for all internet communications, something that all governments want to avoid at all cost.
    • That's the best way to push full encryption for all internet communications

      If you don't use an anonymizing proxy, you can't encrypt the IP address itself, and the ISP can perform traffic analysis. If you do use an anonymizing proxy, you'll get blocked from sites you're visiting for using a proxy that has been abused in the past.

  • Disneyland Analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by webdog314 (960286) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:44PM (#34600206)

    There was a time, not so long ago, when a good business strategy was to make you product as appealing as possible so that everyone would want to buy it. That's exactly the opposite of today. Today, the business models for the major carriers all focus on just how much they can screw us for before we yelp. They are literally destroying their own market. The reason the internet has been so successful is that once you have paid for access, where you go has been mostly free. This is like Disneyland going back to a ticket system. The only real question is, who will be the "E" ticket rides...

    • by ffejie (779512) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:57PM (#34600306)
      The internet might be free to you and me after a flat monthly charge, but it hasn't been free for a long time. There are billions of dollars flowing into online advertising that are supporting nearly every site you go on. Aside from Wikipedia and state run sites (think *.gov) I can't name a site that I go to that doesn't have ads or a monthly subscription. Can you?
      • The internet might be free to you and me after a flat monthly charge, but it hasn't been free for a long time. There are billions of dollars flowing into online advertising that are supporting nearly every site you go on. Aside from Wikipedia and state run sites (think *.gov) I can't name a site that I go to that doesn't have ads or a monthly subscription. Can you?

        Slashdot. Once you create an account and regularly post comments that get modded up, you'll eventually get a checkbox on the front page to disable advertisements. And I've seen a lot of sites all of whose advertisements are SWF, and all I see are boxes with a button to click to start Flash Player. Can't they at least detect that I'm not using Flash Player and put up text ads or still image ads or something?

    • by cdrguru (88047)

      You are thinking of a model where building market share is the goal. The major carriers have market share now, so they need to change strategy.

      When building market share you can operate with some users at a loss with the hope the loss is made up for by other users. You can even run the entire operation at a loss for a while just to get users or subscribers.

      When that period comes to an end you better hope that people view your service as a "utility" or a necessity. Then you have them. Sure, they can jump

  • Populist Revolt (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ffejie (779512) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @12:53PM (#34600276)
    I never understood the side of the Net Neutrality argument that most commenters are taking here. Why shouldn't a company that has built out infrastructure (in some cases taking enormous risk) be free to charge what they want to access that infrastructure? I understand that your current contract may allow unlimited use of the internet, but the economics are changing and service providers should be encouraged to think up new business models, or there is no reward for them to ever upgrade their networks.

    A small side comment: I remember a few years ago when people were livid that AT&T would consider going to a metered plan on their mobile data access plans. You know what? It worked. The plans they offered were competitive and people used what they bought. The price point for basic data access was lowered, more people got online with their mobile devices and AT&T got more revenue out of it.
    • Re:Populist Revolt (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:04PM (#34600358)

      Why shouldn't a company that has built out infrastructure (in some cases taking enormous risk) be free to charge what they want to access that infrastructure?

      Because in many/most cases, the company did *not* take any risk whatsoever - or if there was risk, it was still highly mitigated at the taxpayers' expense.

    • Cluetrain for you... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Burz (138833) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:08PM (#34600396) Journal

      Its one thing to charge per MB, quite another to be a company like AT&T and add surcharges specifically for using Skype or other competing services like video downloads.

      I wonder what kind of reaction they'd get if they proposed a surcharge for using the iTunes store.

    • I'm sorry, but how have the economics changed? Have cell providers suddenly become less profitable, and desperately in need of new sources of revenue? They are just greedy. Why shouldn't the people look out for their own interests, and use their democracy to ensure they get the best service possible, with the least restrictions?
      • by cdrguru (88047)

        They were in a market share building mode where losses, even system-wide losses were acceptable. They can't operate like that forever and now that the market share has been built it is time to convert over to a revenue generating model.

        Remember when Google was free? Oh, it is still free for ordinary users but they get ads and the ads are not at all free. Google went from a bunch of computers operating on charity to a multi-billion dollar operation after they built market share and "presence".

        Same thing w

    • by zero0ne (1309517)

      Funny, because Sprint has a unlimited data plan for their phones now, and it is simply amazing. I switched ONLY because of the various snapshots of sprint bills that other customers have posted. Some were showing upwards of 100GB used in a single billing cycle, all for only 69.99 a month (or 79.99 a month if you have a newer evo class phone) Sprint + rooted android phone gets you unlimited data on your PC too, since you now can setup a hotspot free of charge

      How many others do you think have switched to S

    • by toriver (11308)

      Because the service they provide is access and bandwidth. It should not matter to the operator what "higher-level" services, like Facebook, that the subscriber uses that data bandwidth for. Subscribers pay $x for y GB of data, period. If the provider starts charging extra fees depending on what third party services you access, they are moving into becoming a leech on the services that are the real reason they have customers.

      This tech enables something like if you have a toll road, but drivers pay a differen

    • Re:Populist Revolt (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jerry (6400) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:54PM (#34601322)

      Your comment demonstrates an obvious lack of historical knowledge. Read The $200 Billion Rip-Off [pbs.org] by Cringely, to get a brief introduction to what you were too young to understand or over looked.

      Fifteen years ago my community, after their repeated requests to the cable and telcos to build a Fiber Optic cable system to bring affordable HIGH BANDWIDTH to every citizen were rebuffed, decided to begin building it themselves as a public utility. (Our electricity is owned by city and we pay 6 cents/kwh). I watched as they trenched their way through my yard and buried FO cable. The cable and telcos lobbied Congress whining about "unfair" competition. Congress agreed and passed a low preventing local and state governments from "competing" against the cable and telcos. Cringely explains the rest, but failed to mention that while Congress FUNDED the cable and telcos to complete the FO project, they did NOT put performance clauses in the bill, so the cable and telcos took the money and stuffed it into their greedy pockets. To help the cable and telcos extract even more profits from their ancient Copper wire technology Congress REDEFINED "high" bandwidth to include any connection that was 200Kb/s or faster.

      So now, in France, a citizen can pay $30/month and receive a 40Mb/s HIGH bandwidth Internet connection which includes 24/7/365 phone calls to anyone in France (and economical rates to other countries), and 200 channel TV.

      I pay $72/mon for a 12Mb/s Internet connection, thankfully uncapped, but no phone nor TV. I do use Skype to talk for free to other VOIP users, and 2 cents/min to any cellphones or land lines in most of the Free World, and I can watch expried TV shows on HULU for $8/mon, but 12Mb/s is no where near 40Mb/s.

      Now, the ISPs want to charge extra for Skype and Netflix bytes. IF you think it will end there you have a brick for a brain. Greed knows NO bounds. They'll find ways to justify charging for other types of data streams: VPN connections, encrypted data, cloud database data, etc..., then they'll tier the stream types to ratchet up the profit margins even higher, and all of it on ANCIENT Copper Wire technology. In the background their OWN data pipes are being converted to Fiber Optic, but the stuff streaming out to you will have a Copper segment. They need that bottle-neck to justify their robbery.

      You elected your Congressmen to serve you. In the past they formed "watch dog" agencies to keep an eye on the corporations. Now, the corporations bribe the Congressmen to pass laws favorable to their profits, and the FCC, FDA, and DOJ are now instruments of enforcing corporate policy.

      Didn't you ever wonder how President Obama, elected by a LARGE majority to fulfill his promise to clean up Health Insurance and the medical industry, was stymied by his OWN Democrat party members, the majority of whom took bribes from the health insurance industry and the pharmaceutical industry to maintain the status quo, to say nothing of insuring their own re-election so their own ride on the Federal gravy train wouldn't come to an end.

      Welcome to the Corporate State. And you though you were living in a Republic or a Democracy, where your vote counted and the Constituion meant something. Silly you.

       

  • by moortak (1273582) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:02PM (#34600342)
    Jonathon Gordon and Jonathan Downey are terrible people.
  • They'll just drive people away from the net. It would be like opening a shop and charging people to walk down the street it's in. People will just start going elsewhere for their recreation and maybe even back to real world shops.
  • by bradbury (33372)

    OMG, I'm scared to death that they are going to start charging me for this stuff. But, but, but, wait a minute, I only look at my Facebook page once every couple of weeks, certainly don't use it as a twitter substitute (which I also don't use). I only rarely look at a YouTube Video and am unlikely to download NetFlix videos over the net until they support Linux. And then there is the fact that I've only got a Net10/LG NTLG300GB cell phone without one of those fancy displays that is on an expired usage co

    • by molnarcs (675885)
      That's the bitterest post I've read in months! Cool..

      OMG, I'm scared to death that they are going to start charging me for this stuff. But, but, but, wait a minute, I only look at my Facebook page once every couple of weeks, certainly don't use it as a twitter substitute (which I also don't use). I only rarely look at a YouTube Video and am unlikely to download NetFlix videos over the net until they support Linux. And then there is the fact that I've only got a Net10/LG NTLG300GB cell phone without one of those fancy displays that is on an expired usage contract [1].

      So as far as I can tell, the only "newsworthy" aspect of this is that the evil phone companies are attempting to tax (cough extort) money from those wealthy enough to own (or have a contract) that supports a "fancy phone" habit and/or those who have nothing better to do than waste time updating their Facebook pages or watching NetFlix on their phone [2].

      God, I hope that some liberal congressperson gets wind of this and arm twists the FCC to stop this evil corporate activity which would apparently discriminate against those in the 10-20 y.o age group.

      My net. This appears to be a "lottery"-like tax on those who don't have better things to do with their time/money. YMMV.

      1. Means I have to go down to Walmart or BestBuy and buy some minutes to reactivate it. 2. Because surveys have found that most "engineers" (aka those who have better things to do with the time like actually build something) view Facebook as a complete waste of time and the only Netflix videos they are interested in watching would be the new update to Tron to see if it lives up all the money being spent advertising it.

    • by MoonBuggy (611105) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @02:30PM (#34601156) Journal

      You seem to be letting a personal dislike of certain technologies cloud your view. Firstly, net-capable phones are by no means limited to iPhone price territory - a perfectly capable smartphone can easily be found for about £100 unlocked or less than £20/month on a contract. You call Facebook a waste of time, I call it a useful supplement to my other choices of mobile communication (i.e. calls and texts), especially for group conversations or 'broadcast' messaging (think "We're in the pub, feel free to join us", or some such. Not life-or-death, obviously, but a damn useful tool nonetheless). Just because you judge something to be worthless doesn't make it so - plenty of people would consider posting on slashdot to be a waste of time, yet you still do so.

      What's much more important, though is that many of us are of the opinion that (aside from edge cases regarding certain peering arrangements or QOS) a MB is a MB, and thus any distinction places artificial restrictions on net access, almost inevitably leading to carriers coercing content providers to pay more for the use of their network despite the fact that upstream was paid at the datacenter and downstream was paid by the consumer. The fact that the first moves in this direction happen to be on mobile connections rather than fixed lines, and that the services mentioned happen not to be ones that you personally use, surely shouldn't be enough to prevent you from seeing that any kind of restriction will lay the groundwork for you, the consumer, being screwed over.

  • If this comes true, just like the three laws of robotics, this can only come to one conclusion. All the best technology will reside outside of the United States. Move and prosper.
  • by mattr (78516) <mattr@teleb[ ].com ['ody' in gap]> on Saturday December 18, 2010 @01:15PM (#34600452) Homepage Journal

    These guys are stark raving lunatics and they're not too smart either.

    They or their customers have a billing relationship with just about everyone.

    About that greedy slide 6. It also could be read as showing that they are not part of the economy engendered by their lines. Of course phone companies didn't used to make a margin on contracts that were discussed over their phone lines, or products that were purchased over their phone lines.

    But they are in a position to make it easier for people to buy things online without requiring a credit card. In other words, enabling impulse buys to the long tail (maybe it's a short tail but still huge). By adding purchases to the end of your monthly bill they can become part of the economy engendered by the Internet and they should make the lines free to enable more use not less.

    There's no reason why a shifty company like PayPal should mop up the street, shifty companies like these guys whose addresses we can find out are also welcome to join the game. Just imagine the windfall they could make if they ask people to "charge up" their account like Skype. They could make millions a day easily, who needs VISA?

    Instead? Monetizing YouTube by traffic sniffing. Feh! Amateurs.

  • This concept can be turned inside-out to provide "Per-Service, Per-Page" discounts to what would otherwise be hefty fees. So the carrier can jack up the base rate and discount specific sites.
  • by dargaud (518470)
    People will get around this by (1) switching carriers, there are now some rather unknown carriers that charge by the Mb, be it voice or data. And (2) use VPN like IPredator so as to avoid being spied upon by the carriers and also to avoid having to pay extra taxes like those suggested here. All it takes is an IPredator (or similar) cell phone app and they are powerless.
  • Right, right. Like cel phone users aren't being nickled and dimed to death enough as it is. This is the type of thing that keeps me from getting more than just a basic no-frills phone with a minimal plan.

    Besides that, there's a clear conflict of interest here. Don't like a competitor? Charge to serve up their content. Enter into a deal with one content provider, and start charging for their competitors. There's too much ground for escalation here and mobile phone bills can only skyrocket even higher.
  • Since the American prosperity boom ended sometime in the mid-to-late 60s business in the U.S. has been mostly about cutting corners. Outside of the digital industry, innovation has been overwhelmingly about making things cheaper to produce rather than inventing new or better things. For a trivial example, in my lifetime store-bought pies have gotten smaller and flatter and the bases have been flared inward so far that a 9-inch pie you buy today contains as much actual pie as maybe a 7-inch pie 30 years ago.

    Competition can improve things, but there's a Moore's Law type of limit on this when competition is based almost entirely on improving efficiency. When costs have been trimmed as low as they can be, businesses are making the least profit they can operate on, and customers are paying the highest tolerable price for the lowest tolerable value, where do things go from there? I have no idea, but the Internet is accelerating us toward that point, as free flowing information gives everybody access to everybody else's best deal.

  • by Eth1csGrad1ent (1175557) on Saturday December 18, 2010 @07:21PM (#34603088)
    Its about the gatekeepers. It always has been. It always will be. Anytime someone can put a gate between you and your goal and charge you for the privilege of going through it, they will.

For God's sake, stop researching for a while and begin to think!

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