The demand for data is vast, and with millions of new users compared to just 15 years ago. In 1995, Internet providers like Prodigy and America Online would charge $9.95 as a base fee for 5 hours of online access and $2.95 for each additional hour per month.
Nowadays, monthly billing with the 1995 standard would be extremely expensive considering Americans in the present-day average over 23.6 hours a week online!
Fortunately, we don't foot this bill today due to successful innovations and efficiency, but under net neutrality laws, internet providers have no choice but to rely on consumers for the bulk of their revenue. A business model emerges where consumers pay a fixed monthly subscription rate for their internet services, and this makes up the lion’s share of the providers' revenues. In a study conducted by the American Consumer Institute, it was found that customers could lose up to $69 billion in potential benefits over the next ten years, with lower-income broadband consumers seeing the highest increases in cost.
Returning to the idea of average time spent online, there could even be discrepancies between consumers in cost under the Net Neutrality Paradigm. Naturally, some consumers, who extensively browse the web, will be undercharged, and others, who browse less, will be overcharged.
Clearly, with such a one-size-fits-all policy, the nuances of internet use and services are not fully captured.