"The leaders of three of Australia's largest ISP's have declared the Net neutrality debate as solely a U.S. problem--and further, that the nation that pioneered the Internet might want to study the Australian market for clues as to how to solve the dilemma..... "The (Net neutrality) problem isn't about running out of capacity. It's a business model that's about to explode due to stress." [CNET]Basically they are saying that someone has to pay for the plumbing, which is exactly what Verizon's Ivan and AT&T's CEO were saying last year (but a lot less diplomatically). As prices start to decline for bundles, DSL, and wholesale IP (down to under $10 per MB), the business models are having a problem catching up. Consumers are using the Internet more, especially for entertainment - whether that means video, music, streaming, or what have you. All of that is taxing the US ISP broadband network. Cablecos want to do preferential network management and the FCC says no. Now there are caps.
Here's where I differ. We in the US pay more than Korea, Japan or France for broadband - and get less of it. (2007 data here or directly from OECD). How come these telcos don't have network issues?
Here's the problem with caps: No one understands what they mean -- And the ISP's are still advertising it as Unlimited! You can't say Unlimited and then have a cap. That's dishonest.
People are encouraged to use the web. It's the communications medium - email, VoIP, IM/chat. Companies would prefer to support you via the Internet - web, IM/chat, email or forums. The average page size is over 1MB though. Add interlaced videos, pop-ups, flash intros, animated banners, and the like makes for heavy use just with surfing the web. People will switch back to phone use for support, which will tax the corporations to hire more bodies. It will also tax the cellular network as more folks go all cellular.
How about Apple TV, TiVo, and iTunes automatically downloading podcasts and shows in the background? Or Microsoft updates? Those are 300MB a pop at times. If you have more than one PC, that's a GB per update.
In these tough economic times, families getting hit with overage charges will have problems - as will the ISP's with bad debt collection.
I don't think consumers want something for free. I think consumers want what we pay for - and what is advertised to us.