Last Week, David Isenberg posted a graphical clue to what the Big Providers’ dream of the internet would be like: get yer basic internet for $29.95 a month, with free access to AOL, Disney, Go.com, msn, and so on. For $39 a month, you can use Google, Wikipedia, and Yahoo! If you want to blog or watch YouTube, that’s $49 a month.
Meanwhile, Tim Bray lays out the trajectory to setting the mobile net on fire; it’s a shade counter-intuitive, it’s quite antithetical to the BigTelCo vision of net partiality, and it’s dead-on right. First, you eliminate flat-rate data billing. As Tim points out, with a flat-rate plan, the provider has no incentive to innovate on the back-end to serve more bits faster down bigger pipes. Contrariwise, the fixed-rate plan provides an incentive for the provider to discourage you from using the network, since they get the same income regardless of how much you use the system. Grampa McGillicuddy who only logs on once a day to see how the Wildcats did pays the same rate as
Cory Doctorow, who derives nutrition from the bits that he digitally assimilates by the terabyte. (By the way, is this the first online public indication that Cory’s engaged? Congratulations to you both!) If the online companies bill by the bandwidth you use, though, they have an incentive to induce you to use more bandwidth and to serve it more efficiently.
And as Tim likewise points out, if they cultivate a cooperative relationship with developers who can piggyback on their billing system, open the window, Aunt Minnie, here it comes!