We pay for other utilities (electricity, water, phone services) by the amount utilised, but usually a flat rate for broadband depending upon the bandwidth. I have earlier compared this to paying for water based on the diameter of the pipe, instead of liters consumed.
The following letter by a reader to USA Today highlights similar concerns – may be in another context.
WHY SHOULD BROADBAND BE FREE?
James Lakely – Chicago
Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin’s reference to the phone industry exposes the weakness of his argument to provide free broadband access in the USA.
Yes, copper phone lines were, for decades, “the main means of communication for millions of Americans.” But the government didn’t invent that technology, nor give it away for free. The market provided, and Americans paid for it via private transactions. Even if one views broadband as a public utility, why should it be free while Americans pay for basics such as water, garbage and, yes, phone service?
The FCC’s proper role is to regulate as lightly as possible so the market can develop innovative technologies while competition keeps prices affordable. Just as there is no free lunch, there is no “free” broadband.
(Open to comment)