Data is like pizza?

Data is a lot like pizza, or at least that’s what Wide Open West (an ISP with about 800,000 customers) would like you to believe. The company sent an email to its internet users telling them that it was instituting data caps on June 1 because they want everyone to get the amount of pizza they ordered. If this sounds weird or confusing or condescending, I’m not doing it justice. It’s way worse than that. Here’s the story.

In practice, data caps have nothing to do with network congestion or quality of service. Want proof? During the pandemic, while every customer was on Zoom all day and streaming all night, most ISPs dropped their data caps. Guess what? The internet didn’t break. Not even a little. If you’re wondering why we need federal net neutrality regulations, look no further than WOW!

Oh, and before you get all, “let the free market work!” on me, remember: most ISPs don’t have in-market competitors. For most Americans, it’s “their way or the highway.” How do you suggest we rein in de facto monopolies that provide vital services?

Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is the Professor of Advanced Media in Residence at Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications and CEO of The Palmer Group, a consulting practice that helps Fortune 500 companies with technology, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn’s “Top Voice in Technology,” he covers tech and business for Good Day New York, is a regular commentator on CNN and writes a popular daily business blog. He's a bestselling author, and the creator of the popular, free online course, Generative AI for Execs. Follow @shellypalmer or visit



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