Democracy & Technology Blog Proliferating pricing plans?

Scott Wallsten of the Progress & Freedom Foundation says we should experiment with new broadband pricing plans. I agree.
With vast differences in broadband usage from one consumer to the next, and with video moving to the Internet, telcos invading the cable TV space, the Net disaggregating traditional content companies, new advertising and subscription paradigms bursting onto the scene, and ill-advised calls for Net Neutrality to regulate (and stifle) this fast-changing landscape, new pricing schemes can accommodate the diversity of the exaflood and leave Net Neutrality in the dust. New network processor technologies from the likes of EZchip are incorporating sophisticated OAM (operations, accounting, and management) capabilities to monitor and price fine grained flows if needed.
We don’t know what pricing schemes will win. What will the various mixes be along the many axes of the mediasphere? Flat-fee vs. per-bit, per-use, or per-view … advertising vs. subscription … consumer pays for bandwidth vs. content company pays for bandwidth … bundling vs. a la carte … content aggregating middle-men vs. total content disaggregation? But to find the best solutions in this new era, we should, as Wallsten says, let service providers, content creators, and consumers experiment.
Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson

Bret Swanson is a Senior Fellow at Seattle's Discovery Institute, where he researches technology and economics and contributes to the Disco-Tech blog. He is currently writing a book on the abundance of the world economy, focusing on the Chinese boom and developing a new concept linking economics and information theory. Swanson writes frequently for the editorial page of The Wall Street Journal on topics ranging from broadband communications to monetary policy.