Hard not to laugh at news that internet providers are complaining about the impact the BBC’s successful iPlayer service is having on their business model.
I’ve been using, involved in, and commenting on the internet for well over a decade and in that time have witnessed first dial-up and then broadband providers claim to offer ‘unlimited’ web access, only to bury usage caps in the small print, safe in the knowledge that few read the terms they sign up to.
The ‘unimited’ advertising model served ISPs well when there was nothing for users to actually download but the industry’s finding it hard to keep up with demand now that music, film and TV downloads are an every day commodity.
Those who complained in the early days over the obvious misuse of the term ‘unlimited’ were left shaking our heads as the advertising regulators waved it through, so I’ll permit myself some satisfaction as the ISP industry finally gets a reality check and finds itself having to invest in increasing and improving capacity.
Thanks to their own deliberate advertising strategy, ISPs now have customer bases conditioned not to think of their web usage in the same metered terms as their other utilities.
Exploiting their customer’s lack of technical knowledge and charging for an ‘unlimited’ service which had very real limits buried away in the too-small print probably doesn’t seem such a good wheeze in light of today’s digital economy.