The internet we currently have is riddled with malware ads for revenue, network neutrality is threatened in the name of profit, and little headway has been made on reforming copyright.
Could we use the way internet service pricing is structured to change that? I think so.
Instead of one figure covering everything, an ISP should charge a flat rate for the actual connection, a tiny per-MB fee for data usage that the customer initiates, and credit the customer an even tinier per-MB fee for data usage that someone else initiates from the customer.
Such a pricing model would acknowledge the value of data as being the reason people connect to the internet at all. It would provide a revenue model for websites that doesn’t involve advertising. It would encourage filesharing. It would even encourage internet service to be thought of as a utility like electricity or water, framing the net neutrality issue in a sane way.
Problems with the idea include that it encourages website size bloat, the potential difficulty in determining who initiates data usage without being too invasive, and getting the ISP industry to adopt the model to begin with.
I’ve been turning this idea over in my head for a while, but I’m not really in a position to do anything with it. So I’ll settle for spreading it around. What do people think? Is there a major flaw I’ve missed? Any obvious improvements?