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One of my favorite movies is The Princess Bride. Remember when the character Vizzini, played by Wallace Shawn, notes the two classic blunders — one of which is never get involved in a land war in Asia and the other, never go in against a Sicilian when death is on the line? There’s probably a third, which is to never go “blog” vs. “blog” with organizations like Free Press that cut its teeth on this medium.
So, it is certainly not a surprise that the Free Press response to my last post smoothly skips over some fundamental points. On the Free Press homepage, the first thing you see is a technicolor box blaring “Tell Congress: Investigate the Unfair Internet Penalty.” In the Free Press response, this has now turned into a mere “inquiry.” Who could be against that? Especially when these plans are rolling out “under the radar.”
Huh? Time Warner Cable couldn’t have possibly been more transparent about their thinking over the last year, including repeatedly briefing members of Congress and reaching out to interested groups like . . . oh, Free Press. And they have repeatedly made clear that they were listening to constructive comments and views.
Thus, Time Warner Cable’s announcement today that they will spend more time on engaging interested parties, members of Congress . . . and most importantly, their customers by deploying metering tools that help all us become more educated consumers . . . is completely consistent with how they have approached this from the beginning. Bottom line: they have been and are engaged in exactly the kind of outreach and transparency interest groups profess to want.
And I have a lot of personal respect for Ben Scott, but I had to chuckle at the very lawyerly but ultimately inadequate attempt to explain why they were really against usage metering before they were for it. But I suppose I will end on a note of agreement: Ben now says, “As for whether metering is fair — it can be.” Right.
None of us knows with certainty what works best for consumers. As broadband providers, we face daunting and ever-changing challenges in ensuring that we do our level best to provide consumers with what they want, when they want it. But our goal has been, is, and will be to communicate with our customers in an open and transparent manner; to try new models that can be used to attract new broadband users and more equitably spread costs among high and low volume users, and – at the end of the day – to let the consumer make the ultimate choice of whether new models survive and thrive or are thrown into the dustbin of history.