Will a cap on broadband users slow song swapping?

High-speed Internet service providers are considering adopting new pricing plans that if widely adopted could take a bite out of file swapping.

For the past few years, many broadband ISPs have been frank in saying that file-swapping services such as Napster and Kazaa have been among the most popular activities on their networks. This has led to a small proportion of dedicated file swappers, known as "bandwidth hogs" within the industry, who account for a hugely disproportionate amount of network traffic.

According to Michael Harris, president of Kinetic Strategies, a research company that follows the broadband marketplace closely, the ISPs can't help themselves. "Every major broadband provider is seriously weighing pros and cons of bandwidth consumption caps," he said.

The ISPs are essentially saying that if people know they have a limited amount of bandwidth available, the thinking goes, they'll be less likely to download voraciously or allow people to upload songs and music from their computers, thus depleting their available monthly bandwidth.

Bell Canada's recently introduced 5GB and 10GB monthly cap on their high speed internet services seems to be a hit with the ISP. The company has placed the limits high enough so that white noise of the caps has affected just a tiny fraction of subscribers. Bell Canada, does however provides it's subscribers a bandwidth-monitoring tool that lets each user see how close to the cap they might be at any given moment.

News source: CNet News

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