Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Ides of March II

Needed to do that first one.

And I need to do another one on another subject.

If you have a big-name ISP at this point, you probably are already aware of this. If you aren't, it's time for an education:

Various ISP's (including AT&T, who announced it this week) are imposing usage caps on their users, as an offshoot of the end of "Net Neutrality".

AT&T's changes take effect May 2nd, and involve the following:
  • Their regular DSL customers will be capped at 150 GB for a month.
  • Their U-verse package customers (phone, Net, cable) will be capped at 250 GB a month.
  • Once you go over three times in three separate months, you are billed an extra $10 for every 50 GB you go over.
They claim this will only impact about 2% of their users, in that their average user only uses about 18 GB a month.


This is a blatant extortion by AT&T (and the other companies involved) to push customers into their higher end service, which also includes them getting off the Internet for much of their movie/sports/etc. content and back onto the television where they can be simply ad-ed and product placed to death!

This is, of course, right about the same time AT&T announces that they now will offer people to see MLB Network content on AT&T accounts. This is also the time that AT&T plasters their sponsorship of the March Madness On Demand stream - a great service.

But I went ahead and got a usage meter installed on my computer this afternoon, to show how ridiculous this is:

I turned the meter on about the time that the first game was about to go into overtime. Just the last :30 of the first game and the five-minute overtime (which took maybe 20 minutes total)... 300 MB.

I turned the second game (in progress, and a rout for Clemson at this writing) on. Two-thirds of the way through the first half: Another 430 MB.
  1. This is blatant extortion of people, like myself, who are sick of "Five Hundred Channels, and Nothing On", and cut our cable about a year ago. Just the short time I've had the meter up shows me just how ridiculous their claims are -- and stories are that they will eventually constrict the caps further as time goes on.
  2. This is a blatant effort to silence people considered "dangerous" (more simply, "opponents") from the Internet, pushing large-scale Internet users off because they can't afford the overages. I've always said that, as we head to TSHTF, they were going to try to silence people that TPTB did not like. Easiest way to do that? Charge through the nose for the Internet so people can't get it any more. I would fully expect further limitations on public Internet places like libraries and Wi-Fi cafes to be coming as well!
  3. This is a blatant effort to end the YouTube/Ustream/JustinTV/ESPN3/MMOD/Netflix/etc. and so forth Streaming Video Revolution. I can understand anyone who wishes to make the claim that piracy needs to be squashed, but, as I demonstrated above (about 85% of the first half of Clemson-UAB: almost half a GB), this effort DOES NOT discriminate between legal and illegal content. No secret has been made that the Internet has basically allowed people to get their own opinions and formulate their own beliefs without being controlled by the Main$tream Media without choosing such control. Limit the options for opinions, and you can more easily shape the sheeple. Just imagine how much people are trying to get information about the earthquake and nuclear crisis in Japan -- so much so that I had trouble getting on to Ustream this morning!
  4. This is a blatant effort, in the guise of that control, to make the television networks and the Main$tream Media important again. Well, the M$M is bought, CNN is more concerned with that asswipe Charlie Sheen "winning" than any real news, and I don't want to listen to Limpballs, Hannity, or anyone else who openly wants me and all around me dead! With streaming video, the television networks are dying -- it's been admitted. So why not shove people back to television by pricing their Internet out with ridiculous overage charges. Then, when the average is reduced, lower the caps... More people to get "Fair and Balanced" on.
  5. This is a blatant effort to punish gamers too. This is why I posted it here. Imagine how much bandwidth you're taking up for a four-hour Dynamis run. A multi-hour Abyssea run... God knows what on the PS3 and the XLax and all that stuff... I have no use for most American gamers, but, again, this does not discriminate on the basis of conduct. The only way, frankly, that one would hold to the "average" AT&T claims for their customers is to NEVER stream, up or download. NEVER download anything of much consequence. NEVER game. Effectively, to shut off the computer except for the occasional e-mail and websurfing (which, when it does not involve intensive stuff like YouTube, etc. uses almost no bandwidth -- ON EDIT unless someone either jacks into your network or ads are on the pages you do which DO stream or use video....). Now, imagine if you're The SpeedGamers Live, and you're trying to make gaming into your job in this economy, and you get stiffed with this! (Not saying he is or isn't, but just imagine that for a second.
(Three side comments: First, was that Charlie Sheen on the fucking Capital One commercial I just saw?

Second, for the first half of Clemson-UAB?? 550 MB.

Third, congratulations to the aforementioned Speed Gamers for a $15,200 Classic Pokemon marathon fundraiser for ALS research! Next marathon of theirs is Metroid for Mother's Day.)

If you have a capped system (now or announced in the future) and any degree of a limited income, GET THE FUCK OUT IF YOU CAN. Some won't have an option, and that's probably going to mean basically no gaming, no downloading, no streaming.

Shove them back in front of the TV, where you believe they belong.

AT&T and all other ISPs doing this: PLEASE FUCK OFF.


Caateryna said...

Unfortunately, this has been the norm in Canada for a few years. Our rates are even worse, we get charged per GB for going over, and some of our highest tier plans are capped at 60GB. Consider yourselves lucky that you had a few extra years without this "horse-shit". Something is terribly wrong with the FCC & CRTC in North America. :(

Starcade, back on Leviathan said...

I know. I've been reading some word as to such.

How do you game at all under those types of restrictions? Some players (if the games ever come back up) are probably going to need to know...