ISP Data Caps, Digital Censorship?

Written by Frank R on . Posted in The Other Slices

Some of you live with the monthly stigma of a Data (Bandwidth) Cap set forth by your ISP. While many users won't ever use the 250GB (Comcast), 200GB (AT&T) or even 50GB (TimeWarner) of monthly allocated bandwidth, some are actually calling it censorship.

I'm one thousand percent against any form of censorship, but as one user on the Crave blog website put it, in regards to an article about AT&T's plans to double wireless broadband speeds, "Data caps=censorship, just like China here soon just a different topic being censored." [Posted by Clynx]. Is placing a cap on excessive bandwidth usage considered censorship? I honestly don't think so. While I can argue that many companies do falsely advertise their internet products as unlimited, however, many do have limits like the monthly bandwidth caps but to go as far as calling it censorship is knocking on the door of insanity.

The merits of the commenter's argument are there, if you look deep enough and consider all the facts. One could argue that freedom of speech should hold no limit and if for example, you create a video that showcase's your opinion on a particular subject and you upload that video to a torrent site, as a "seeder" with a bandwidth cap, you can only upload that video so many times before you are forced to stop. That is an extreme example but in this day and age, not fundamentally infeasible. I can come up with dozens more examples that are in line with the commenter's argument, but so can I on the argument that bandwidth caps is not censorship.

Logically companies are going to find any way to limit their products in order to achieve maximum return on their investment (or shareholders investment). The ISP's in the United States are way behind in the race of broadband speed and instead of competing with companies on a global scale, need a way to justify an increase of product costs and fees on the same product offerings. Think it about it in this way, wireless phone carriers are very close to offering truly affordable unlimited plans (I have Sprint's Simply Everything plan), but if you look closer, fees are increasing. Most industries that have "unlimited" products are trying any way to move away from those unlimited products to something more "company friendly". The music you buy with DRM can only be used on a limited number of devices, the PC video games are limited to a number of installations and digital movies can be watched a few times before they must be repurchased. Is this all a form of censorship or a way for companies to nickel and dime us to death? I think it is the latter, but what do you think?

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Monday, December 18, 2017
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