The Data Cloud: Will it Rain Money for Service Providers?
The data cloud is the future and where we’ll soon share our data, spread out in all that storage, and use our computers like access terminals. For many, using Google Docs was their first encounter with this virtual storage and everyone seems to be anticipating the “Cloud from Cupertino” with baited breath. But are you ready for your ISP to turn off the tap if you actually use all that the cloud has to offer?
It’s happened to one Seattle man. Andre Vrignaud seems a bit of a “Data Hog,” going over a massive 250GB of data traffic in a month, but service provider Comcast won’t even consider upgrading him to a business account. He’s a gamer who shares video, pictures, data, and music. Sure, he seems like an inordinately heavy user, but is he just ahead of the curve? Will we all be sharing over 250GB a month soon?
Netflix is now 20% of Internet traffic. The streaming service is popular enough that they’re separating it from their DVD plan, leading some customers to a 60% price hike to still get both. They’re now weathering a storm of criticism. They claim the DVD shipping service has a lot of life in it yet, and perhaps the question isn’t if they’ll stop shipping actual DVDs, but when? Considering that 30 hours of Netflix currently consumes 9GB of data, is it any wonder your service provider wants to ratchet down your data?
As more of us adopt smart phones, we can do everything from uploading video to tethering our laptops to them for Internet access. Phone providers are shutting down unlimited data plans. Those lucky enough to be grandfathered in know it’s just a matter of time before their usage will be capped. I’ll be replacing my phone soon, which means a new contract with penalties for going over 2GB in a month in data. While I haven’t exceeded that yet, perhaps it’s only a matter of time until I do.
It’s getting easier and cheaper for service providers to move huge amounts of data. When a service like Netflix offers you unlimited streaming, should it be kicking back to your ISP when it complains about how much of the pipeline that uses? My own service provider throttles my upload and download speeds, but has yet to limit how much data I can use in a month. Are usage caps about insuring there’s access for all of us? Or are they just betting on a future where we all go over? Hit us back…