Over at the Associated Press they have a report from AT&T which the leading ISP states that 5% of their users, use 46% of the bandwidth. AT&T is now considering charging these folks a higher fee or penalty for excessive usage. It also seems that most of the cable companies have similar plans to charge more for users who eat up bandwidth. In the article it states:

The top 5 percent of AT&T’s DSL customers use 46 percent of the total bandwidth, Coe said. Overall bandwidth use on the network is surging, doubling every year and a half.

AT&T doesn’t have any specific plans or fees to announce yet, Coe said.

Most cable companies have official or secret caps on the amount of data they allow subscribers to download every month. Time Warner Cable started a trial earlier this month in Beaumont, Texas, under which it will charge subscribers who go over their monthly bandwidth cap $1 per gigabyte.

Cable companies are at the forefront of usage-based pricing because neighbors share capacity on the local cable lines, and bandwidth hogs can slow down traffic for others. Phone companies have been less concerned about congestion because the phone lines they use to provide Internet service using DSL, or Digital Subscriber Line technology, aren’t shared between neighbors, but AT&T is evidently concerned about congestion higher up in the network.

It appears that those who merely surf or send email have little to fear. Those who download large amounts of data or movies appear to be the target group.

But I guess the big question will be, will these pricing schemes work?

What is your opinion?

Comments welcome.