Re: David Lazarus' consumer column "Just a plan to Net more money?" April 15:
I don't understand the hue and cry against Time Warner Cable for their plans to charge Internet customers based on the volume of their usage.
I pay more for my daily Los Angeles Times subscription than I would for Sunday-only service. And I pay less to Cox Communications for my basic cable subscription than I would if I took every channel offered.
This amounts to the "consumption-based billing" that Time Warner was forced to take off the table. I see nothing wrong with this method of billing as long as the charges are reasonable. In fact, I would be pleased to see spammers pay more for their heavy usage of e-mail.
I just got back from my native Germany, where the Web was exceedingly regulated as long as the only Internet service provider was Deutsche Telekom. When that monopoly fell to EU market rules, a very balanced regulatory approach was adopted that opened the last mile of wire, mostly owned by Telekom, to competitors.
As a result, today most municipalities have five to 10 prime Internet service providers. My host in Hamburg had just signed up with an ISP named HanseNet, and I could only marvel at their 20-megabit-per-second, unmetered connection for 19.99 euros (about $26) a month. An additional 10 euros buys free voice service within Germany with a regular phone number and regular handset and modest international long distance rates.
I think this proves that the U.S. providers are just after a massive extra buck.