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Internet metering is a service model in which an Internet service provider (ISP) tracks a customer’s bandwidth usage, and the customer pays according to how much has been consumed, effectively likening Internet connectivity to utility services like electricity, water and gas.
Geared toward controlling heavy bandwidth users, the idea of Internet metering is that casual users should not have to pay as much as power users.
Internet metering is a method of bandwidth throttling, as it causes customers to take note of their usage in order to avoid paying more. The usual service scheme for Internet metering is that customers are offered a specific amount of bandwidth for a certain price, and any usage above that limit is charged an extra fee, usually per GB.
There is some debate about Internet metering. Experts say that it limits advancement in technology, as users would shy away from Internet-based services and applications for fear of having to pay more for their usage. Bandwidth also is becoming very cheap because constant technology innovations ensure greater availability, even on current generation lines. The fiber optic bandwidth limit has not yet been reached. According to its detractors, this is a way for cable companies, who, incidentally, are often ISPs, to eliminate online competitors that provide cable TV alternatives, like Netflix and Hulu. Another viewpoint is that metering can make bandwidth usage more fair for all.