Get ready to pay more for all the video you’re watching on the Internet: The days of all-you-can-eat Internet access are growing scarce.That’s the REAL reason that Comcast is trying to get Level 3, a telecom company, to pay extra for the Internet video traffic it’s pushing onto Comcast’s pipes — which Level 3 is now publicly complaining about.
As web video — which uses a lot of bandwidth — grows in popularity, Comcast will want to get paid more. Especially because web video is eventually going to replace a lot of the video you’re currently watching on cable TV, and that you’re paying Comcast a fat monthly bill for.
As more people replace part or all of their cable subscription with Internet video, Comcast is going to need to get its money somewhere, whether it’s directly from consumers, or via a middle man, like Level 3.
Perhaps Comcast is first trying to make Internet video more expensive for Level 3 (and its customers like Netflix) to deliver, by charging more for bandwidth on the back end.
This would make business more expensive for streaming services like Netflix and iTunes, who may then have to charge consumers more for their video services. That would be extra sweet for Comcast — more money, and weaker competition from iTunes and Netflix.
But if that doesn’t work, because of either market or regulatory forces, Comcast may have to go after its own cable modem customers next to get that extra revenue. And that may mean an Internet bill that’s much more than $45 per month.
Either way, don’t expect this issue to go away — and don’t expect your all-in entertainment bill to go down.
Just because Internet video is the future, doesn’t mean it’s going to be cheap.