The days of treating data consumption like an all-you-can-eat buffet are becoming numbered — temporarily at least.
We have become so used to consuming Internet as we wish. But if you go back in time, you may remember in the dial-up days that you initially paid for the amount of data you used. Then AOL came along with unlimited use of the Internet for a flat fee, revolutionizing the industry.
Over time, people migrated away from dial up to cable modem and DSL, and the Internet became part of people’s lives in a big way. In more recent years, we’ve become accustomed to accessing the Internet on our cell phones. But smart phones scarf huge amounts of data.
That’s led Verizon Wireless to announce it’s going to stop unlimited data for mobile phone customers. They want to get everybody on a meter, so you pay for as much as you use.
In the same way, Comcast plans to data meter its home Internet customers. If you’re a customer, you will have an allocated amount of data and then you’ll pay $10 for every additional bucket of data beyond that. It’s like having a base rate, as you probably do on your power bill.
Thankfully, we are right on the edge of where enormous cell phone traffic will travel over the equivalent of wifi. So the move by Verizon Wireless, which follows what AT&T and T-Mobile did before them, is just a temporary hiccup in your life, I believe. (Sprint remains the only of the ‘Big 4’ wireless players that doesn’t meter or throttle its mobile customers.)
I promise you that new technology and new players will solve these problems. Temporarily, though, you’re gonna have some indigestion in your wallet!