Remember that movie where that guy found out all of mankind had enslaved and kept pacified by being trapped in a virtual world? I forget what that movie was called. Um… Wait, don’t tell me. Right! I remember. It’s called, “The Internet”.
Whether it’s for work or pleasure, we’re all hooked on (Or is it hooked up to?) the information superhighway in some form or another and, love it or we hate it, most of us can’t seem to get enough of the old interwebz. Or can we? US Internet providers like Time Warner seem to think so. They say it’s high time a cap be set on the amount of Internet their customers have been binging on and are testing a new metered pricing system for broadband Internet use.
The idea that, if you exceed the cap, you pay for each additional gigabyte of data you use isn’t a new one. Internet Service providers have offered these types of plans along with unlimited Internet plans for a while now. What’s different is that they intend to do away with unlimited Internet access altogether and set a predetermined cap on all data usage.
The idea of doing away with unlimited internet isn’t a new one either, but companies were forced to abandon past attempts amidst consumer protests. This time, however, it looks like they’re determined to make it stick and it’s got everyone from the FCC, to government officials, to the consumer rights groups talking.
So why mess with people’s internet? Providers say it’s because people use so much of it, the networks have become congested and the watching of online videos is especially to blame for the overload. The fact that a certain music video turned a young Korean man into an international celebrity and made history last year on YouTube for crossing 1 billion views is proof of how the Internet in gradually making the once almighty television take a backseat.
I’m guilty of this, I admit. These days, my TV only comes on when my internet connection is down.
On the flip side, however, consumer groups are saying that companies like Time Warner and others who provide internet and cable access are trying to stifle the online TV and movie competition. Meanwhile, the policy makers are calling for steps to be put in place to ensure the cable companies are just trying to manage the congestion and not simply looking to average consumer foot the bill for some executive’s new yacht.
All arguments aside, the real question is, does the American public have too much Internet? Do consumers need to be cut off and sent outside to play in the real world for a bit. As we look back on last year, we can’t deny that it helped to influence a lot of what we talked about. Heck! A lot of that “talking” was done on the Internet via social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.
Can you stand going outside a little more, or does the idea of being told you can’t have as much internet as your heart desires, fill you with fear and anger? We’s love for you to weigh in.