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Consumers Say No Thanks To Metered Internet

In June, I wrote a post focusing on how Internet service providers are looking atattitudes_internet_cap.gif ways to curb the use of high-bandwidth Web technology such as online video via metered pricing.  I suggested that “the advent of the metered Internet [could] put a damper on efforts to ensure that people with the greatest need have access to the best online health information.”

Now, eMarketer reports that consumers are not very open to the idea of a metered Internet.  According to the company, 81% of US consumers said they dislike the idea of ISP service changes "that would eliminate unlimited broadband.”  In addition, very few people believe “those who use more bandwidth should pay more.”  Finally, 51% of respondents said they would drop their current Internet provider if it capped their Internet use.

eMarketer suggests that “consumers might [come to] resent all forms of Internet advertising, since those ads will consume some of their metered service.”  However, I’m not sure about that.  Based on what I’ve read about Internet providers’ plans, they would focus most of their efforts on those using large amounts of online video.  Banner advertisements and other low-bandwidth online content might not tip the scales much. 

It will be interesting to see how this saga plays out.  However, as I mentioned previously, it is critically important for those interested in disseminating information via the Internet to understand this issue and think about how it may impact how people use the Web to find health content.  


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