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NBC Olympics: On the Go… Somewhere Else

Phillip Dampier August 3, 2008 Broadband "Shortage", Internet Overcharging, Online Video 3 Comments
Viewers may have to stick with TV to watch the Olympics for free.

Viewers may have to stick with TV to watch the Olympics for free.

While the rest of the wired world gets ready to sit back and enjoy Olympics coverage from China, Americans are being told you can have the Olympics online, but you better not have metered broadband access.

When NBC partnered with TVTonic to provide NBC Olympics On The Go,  it had to specifically warn viewers with metered broadband access not to bother.   Streaming high quality video feeds can consume a significant amount of bandwidth, and can easily allow unassuming viewers to win the the gold in the Biggest Bandwidth Overlimit Fee competition.

TVTonic's warning to broadband users to not use the service if they are using a broadband provider with usage caps.

TVTonic's warning to broadband users to not use the service if they are using a broadband provider with usage caps.

Content providers are starting to wake up to the real threat of the imposition of usage caps across the United States, limiting cable and DSL broadband customers from accessing content that was developed specifically for the broadband platform.

TVTonic is just one of several online services that could effectively be shut out of doing business in the United States because of broadband usage caps.   The company provides access to over 100 broadband Internet TV feeds, many transmitted in “high definition” quality, all of which would bring viewers ever closer to hitting their monthly limit.

Other providers such as Hulu and Joost provide legal access to hundreds of TV series, movies and specials at no charge to viewers.   But with bandwidth usage caps, will you be willing to spend your limited bandwidth watching?

Suspiciously, the “bandwidth crisis” that the industry continues to blame for the imposition of unreasonable usage caps stops at the water’s edge.   Customers in Japan and Korea enjoy broadband connections often a hundred times faster than what is available in the United States, at much lower prices and no restrictive caps.   In fact, outside of North America, nobody has heard of a bandwidth crisis.

While many broadband providers continue to reap handsome profits from their broadband services, demands for higher shareholder returns and struggling quarterly results from their other product lines in a stagnant economy have led many to decide investing in a lobbying scare campaign is a better use of their money.   It’s easier to try and convince Americans they are the problem, and limit service accordingly.

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