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.
Now many of the biggest high-speed ISPs are considering capping the amount of bandwidth that their subscribers can use per month, a move that could undermine subscribers' free swapping ways--something that many lawsuits have not yet been able to achieve. 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.
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.
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