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Back in March I wrote about Comcast using data caps to try and preserve their monopoly. The cable company abandoned enforcement of data caps after a public outcry; but now a group called Public Knowledge are petitioning the FCC to prevent Comcast from instituting similar schemes in future.
Even the UK House of Lords can see how the future is going to turn out for TV: it’s going to be on the Internet, and it’s time for TV stations and content providers to stop fighting that future.
The Lords point out that as a bonus, all the spectrum released could be used for wireless communications. With demands on cell phone networks ever increasing, that’s no small matter.
As mentioned earlier, Viacom wants to hike prices dramatically, and DirecTV isn’t playing ball, so Viacom have removed all their channels from DirecTV’s lineup.
There’s just one problem, though. People might just watch their favorite shows on the Internet. So now Viacom have shut down all the legal ways to watch their shows on the Internet too.
So if you want to watch The Daily Show, you know where to go.
Viacom wants to hike prices by 30%. DirecTV knows that it’ll only accelerate the exodus of customers towards Internet TV, and won’t play ball. So DirecTV might lose 24 Viacom channels this week.
Hulu started out with a simple mission: to try and reduce illegal copying of TV shows, by providing a way to watch the most popular shows online legally, after watching some ads.
It was a tremendous success. So much so that the TV companies tried to cripple it, introducing mandatory waiting periods before you could watch popular shows. But even that hasn’t been enough to stop the site from growing in popularity and revenue. The TV networks have decided it’s time to take the next step: no more Hulu unless you pay for a bundle of cable channels.
They hope that this will be enough to force customers to keep paying for cable bundles. I think they are deluded, and it will just drive people back to illegal copying of TV shows.
Comcast has launched an Internet-based video-on-demand service on Xbox 360. They have also put download caps on their residential Internet customers.
And as predicted, they have decided to exempt their own commercial service from the download caps, while subjecting competitors like Amazon and Netflix to the caps.
This is how the ISPs plan to battle against Internet TV: by using caps to maintain their monopoly. It’s why we needed net neutrality rules.
Usage-based billing is back for Time Warner customers in South Texas. The new plan is described as optional, and gets you a $5 discount per month if you’ll agree to a usage cap of 5GB. Overages are still an utterly unreasonable $1 per GB.
There’s an associated promise: “Time Warner Cable customers will always have access to unlimited broadband at a flat monthly rate.”
Of course, exactly what that rate will be in a year or two is anyone’s guess.
Now, how about some IPv6?
I’ve been waiting for an ISP to do this since the whole data cap saga started. Finally, one of them has. Canadian ISP Shaw has announced its own streaming “Movie Club”, and declared that its data caps don’t apply to data from its own service.
This is what it’s really all about. The cable companies know that the Internet is the future of TV, and don’t want to become just a data pipe provider. Data caps allow them to cripple services like Netflix, Amazon Unbox and the iTunes store, and make their own offerings look cheaper and more useful.
WIRED reports that AT&T starts capping usage on Monday. DSL and U-Verse customers will be limited to 150GB and 250GB respectively, and charged $10 per 50GB after that.
As caps go, that’s pretty reasonable–$10 per 50GB is only about a 100% markup. Still, I’m glad I’m unmetered.