Data Hogs Are Early Adopters

Blog, Environment, Les Routledge

From the Financial Post, a report that suggests that heavy data users are not data hogs but rather an early indicator of what the typical customer will consume in the future.

The research suggests that the demand of heavy users today will be characteristic of typical users by 2015.  If this situation emerges, we need to ask how UBB will solve traffic congestion on telco Internet services.

There is a similarity between the Internet and electrical power networks in that congestion first emerges during peak periods.  In the electrical utility world, the combination of smart grids and time-of-use rates can motivate customers to shift their consumption to low demand periods and thus reduce congestions during peak demand periods when prices are much lower.  If Bell et al are serious about combating network congestion, they would to would implement time-of-use rates so that downloading a movie during prime time would cost double of triple the cost during off-peak hours.

In my opinion, usage-based billing based on real-time, market rates for bandwidth could be a desirable alternative to the current model where the incumbent ISP acts as the equivalent to a doorman at a popular night club.  The problem is that in the Internet case, the doorman wants to charge you the same amount of money to pass both when the club is full or empty.  At the same time, there is a back door for VIP’s so that favored patrons such as Bell IPTV can get a free pass into the club while everyone else has to stand in line and pay a big fee,

In both cases, the role of the gatekeeper function should be based on transparent competition instead of under the murky command and control of centralized decision-makers in government or the near-monopoly service provider.