Wow, and how much are they charging you for that? Also, when listening to Tek syndicate, there are some pretty dubious ideas in the planning for your networks, such as charging companies (like Netflix) for the traffic they generate, and other more evil stuff in the making. In a way it makes me think of the internet of today as a bit of a time bomb in a sense -- it could explode any minute now -- yet I can't help but to feel that it's probably too late for ISPs to become evil and greedy at this point in time. The internet is already too wild, and trying to fence it will probably lead to more startups digging their "free" versions of fiber, and other crazy projects like the 'loon'. It's a shame that sometimes it feels like your ISPs are actually counter productive, but the bigger shame (imho) lies in the elephant in the room: whole industries whining about teens stealing their stuff instead of trying to provide sustainable, working alternatives that actually are prized accordingly. Because, I can't shake the feeling that piracy is partly to blame for ISPs trying to monetize traffic -- however, I think piracy is only partly our fault, but also "their's", for not knowing how to step into a new millenia with a new channel to provide entertainment.
I only wish the internet is here to stay as free as it is, without governing agencies and ignorant and suspicious decision makers getting too much to say in this matter, however the way we're headed: it's only a matter of time before we're all affected by stupid, counter productive regulations.
It could be worse. We used to have 3 mbps down. The 12 mbps is an upgrade for an additional $10 per month. I think we could get up to 20 mbps on the AT&T U-Verse package. I seem to recall seeing that 105 mbps is available for something like $100 a month, but it's an ala carte thing and I might be confusing it with Comcast, which is our only other option for Internet or line-based television service. Either way, we're never going to get it, so it's kind of a moot point.
Your suspicions about the ISPs' intentions are probably pretty close to accurate. There's the whole "net neutrality" debate going on, and the ISP and TV providers are dead set against it. They want to be able to categorize and prioritize different kinds of traffic, for all the usual marketing BS reasons (e.g. "an optimized experience"), meaning they have another, more lucrative agenda they're not telling us. For one thing, they are under a lot of pressure from the likes of the MPAA and RIAA, and so they figure the best way of placating these groups is to throttle any traffic that might be infringing. The real goal, however, is to degrade the quality of, and eventually stamp out, competition like Netflix, so that they can instead offer their own fragmented, unintuitive, and inferior streaming services, at whatever price they decide you should pay (with obligatory price hikes over time). What they also ultimately want to do is move everyone to a metered, pay-as-you-go system so they can charge us up the yin-yang for our data use, and setting up arbitrary limits for specific big bandwidth traffic (e.g. you can only stream so much Netflix before you have to pay a set fee for each additional gigabyte) is the stepping stone they want to use to get us there.
If they can justify being able to prioritize traffic by claiming that they're defending artists' rights (by curbing piracy) and by feigning infrastructure limits and turning everybody against the "big data users" (i.e. Netflix users) who are, like totally soaking up all the bandwidth; they figure they can get us used to the idea of throttling and a metered pay structure, and then they can roll in the megabux for all of time with no threat from competition.
Bastards. I hope every single one of them steps on a Lego.