Describing a bandwidth hog is a matter of point-of-view and here is more to it than simple computations of amounts of usage. If someone uses a lot of bandwidth, but does so in off-peak hours, is that person any more of a hog than another user who uses less bandwidth but does so during peak usage hours? ISP’s are making big noises about bandwidth hogs, but some feel that is just a cover for raising rates. Price increases are seemingly inevitable, and, of course, it will be the consumer who bears the brunt of any price increase. Below are some of the debate points, along with a few ideas on more equitable distribution of costs.
- Comcast – The communication giant has come under fire for the way in which it has handled bandwidth issues, and there is talk of a class action suit, though nothing is concrete. Angry customers have said that bandwidth problems are being dealt with in a secretive and arbitrary manner by Security which doesn’t seem to communicate with Customer Service.
- Phones – Internet phone use can use a lot of bandwidth, which worries people who use their phones extensively; they are afraid tiered pricing might force them from their phones.
- Verizon – A spokesperson for Verizon said that the company has not experienced any bandwidth problems, nor is there any set “cap” to which patrons must adhere.
- Fairy Tale – Analyst Benoit Felten challenges the very existence of bandwidth hogs, and says they are figments of ISP imagination, simply tools with which to control their market.
- The Office Pool – On a small scale, office use of the internet can raise problems. As an example, when popular sporting events are transpiring, office use of the internet can rise dramatically, but without any corresponding rise in productivity to show for it (by rodriguez). Office managers play the role of the ISP, and monitor and even restrict amounts of internet use.
- Time Warner – Without being specific, Time Warner executives say that they don’t disconnect a customer’s service for excessive bandwidth use, but that they use alternative in-house managerial strategies to combat usage that could degrade the experience of others using the provider.
- Track your Usage – Sites like www.pitstop.com can measure your usage, and let you judge your various upload and download speeds.
- Schooling – There is still a lot of room before we are actually forced into a 4G world, but people need to be taught about conserving their usage and/or spreading some tasks out to be performed during off-peak hours.
- Change – Customers have come to expect flat-rate broadband service, which makes it harder to foster the notion of tiered pricing, although that might be a more equitable way to price service.
- Netflix – Movie rental biggie Netflix is doing battle with ISP’s that would like customer’s to switch over to their own video programs. Problems with bandwidth are not genuine, say Netflix personnel, and are simply ploys to snag Netflix customers.
Do bandwidth hogs really exist? It probably depends on your definition of a hog.