Higher Fees for Heavy Bandwidth Users?

Posted on February 1, 2006

An article from MediaChannel.org says the Internet is probably going to become a toll road with high bandwidth users charged higher fees.
Tom Copeland knows first-hand about the additional costs. Copeland is the chairman of the Canadian Association of Internet Providers, and owns Eagle.ca, an ISP in Cobourg, Ont. Copeland purchases his high-speed services from a third party that charges him a per-customer rate as well as a per-gigabyte rate for what his customers download. Copeland says he has one customer who uses $250 of bandwidth monthly.

The problem isn't that Copeland has to deal with that one customer, it's that he has to maintain the bandwidth to deal with that high volume -- regardless of whether it's being used.

"Certainly the bandwidth costs do have an impact on our bottom line," he says.

The same issues impact carriers large and small. Telus spokesman Shawn Hall says three factors come into play: the size of the Internet pipe and access speed, amount of data being downloaded in a month and priority access during high-demand periods.

"The industry has to move toward different charges for Internet customers with diverse needs," he says.
That would be a step backwards toward the days when ISPs like AOL and Prodigy used to charge hourly usage fees except this time it would be based on bandwidth overages instead of hourly overages. Downloading large files like movies and games uses considerably more bandwidth than browsing the Web and reading email.