A Troubling Vision
While putting my new Etch-a-Sketch through the paces, I came across a troubling vision of the future of mobile broadband in Wired Magazine.
I was one cool mobile telephone caballero when I bought my first generation iPhone in New York a few years back. I was wowed by the sudden ability to surf the mobile internet on ATT's monthly flat fee plan. Then I left the US and bam, I was hit by international roaming fees based on the amount of bandwidth consumed. International use based roaming fees sucked all the broadband fun out of my iPhone. I quickly deactivated my ATT account and unlocked my iPhone for a local sim card and a WiFi plan. My how easy it was to put a damper on the fun of mobile broadband.
Here is the vision I came across in Wired.
This was prepared by a net neutrality advocacy group to demonstrate what it would be like to have to pay your fixed broad band provider toll fees for access to specific internet destinations. Does this remind you of somebody you already know? How about your friendly neighborhood Cable TV company. The one with the horrendous billing plan that is driving record numbers of customers back to terrestrial broadcast TV.
This is what your ISP billing plan would be like if they could have things their way. Parasitic broadband is what I call it.
As it happens, the FCC is getting ready to pass a revised set of net neutrality rules this week which will apparently allow tiered pricing plans by fixed wire ISP's. Comcast is already duking it out with Netflix.
As you know, the long term trend for internet use favors wireless devices. Here is a power point presentation obtained by Wired from an unnamed source. It sets forth the recent vision of two providers of wireless equipment to providers like ATT and Verizon.
According to Wired, in this vision "it will be possible for your wireless provider to monitor everything you do online and charge you extra for using Facebook, Skype or Netflix. For instance, in the seventh slide of the above PowerPoint, a Vodafone user would be charged two cents per MB for using Facebook, three euros a month to use Skype and $0.50 monthly for a speed-limited version of YouTube. But traffic to Vodafone’s services would be free, allowing the mobile carrier to create video services that could undercut NetFlix on price."
I am going to stop right here. You can worry about why APPL is the poster darling of the robotraders or you can worry about whether Google and Microsoft are going to somehow euchre Steve Jobs in the mobile space.
But you know what, this slide show is what you should really be worrying about. Because the people who want to do this to each of you really don't give a rat's ass in heaven whether you prefer an iPhone or an Android, just as long as you sign on their dotted line.
How much extra would you be willing to pay for utube and Facebook?
How about Zero Hedge?
It won't make any difference in the end. The phone companies are not like 2Big2Fail banks. You won't be able to withdraw your money from ATT and take it your you local mobile carrier. You will pay through the nose or go cold turkey.
Next stop, phones instead of credit cards. Sound familiar?