When Cablevision of New York announced this week it would begin offering broadband Internet service of 101 megabits per second for $99 per month, lots of people took notice. Which was the point.
Maybe the 101-megabit product is a good experiment. Maybe it will be successful. Maybe not. One hundred megabits per second is a lot, given today’s applications (and especially given cable’s broadcast tree-and-branch shared network topology). A hundred megabits, for example, could accommodate more than five fully uncompressed high-definition TV channels, or 10+ compressed HD streams. It’s difficult to imagine too many households finding a way today to consume that much bandwidth. Tomorrow is another question. The bottom line is that in addition to making a statement, Cablevision is probably mostly targeting the small business market with this product.
Far more perplexing than Cablevision’s strategy, however, was the reaction from groups like the reflexively critical Free Press:
We are encouraged by Cablevision’s plan to set a new high-speed bar of service for the cable industry. . . . this is a long overdue step in the right direction.
Free Press usually blasts any decision whatever by any network or media company. But by praising the 101-megabit experiment, Free Press is acknowledging the perfect legitimacy of charging variable prices for variable products. Pay more, get more. Pay less, get more affordably the type of service that will meet your needs the vast majority of the time.Read More