The recent UBB controversy gives us reason to revive this stale thread.
Long story short, the story for internet customers on UBB sounds mostly positive and progressive.
Here's a recap of what Access Communications' representative explained about their current and planned practices around usage:
They have implemented a measurement system that meters the usage per modem. Each day is broken into 'peak', 'middle', and 'off-peak' periods, each with different weightings based on whether the bytes are for upload or download. Customers can view details for the previous 30 days, and summaries for the previous 5 months.
They feel that a weighted score is better than simplistic byte counts and would still meet the interpretations of 'usage based' if they are forced to implement UBB.
The weightings are a little funny though, with upload bytes being counted as double during peak periods. Middle periods see bytes downloaded discounted by 25% but uploaded bytes get a 50% penalty. Off peak periods are weighted at zero for both upload and download.
If they are forced through UBB to apply a weighting to off peak usage, they said they have the ability to apply a tiny fraction of a percentage (a quarter of one percent was the amount suggested)
So under the current system, 100 GB downloaded during peak times (evenings) would generate a score of 100, but just 50 GB uploaded during peak would also generate a 100 usage score.
The threshold for usage is a score of 100 in any rolling 30 day period, at which time a modem becomes a candidate for possible throttling if the score is especially high or persistent. Throttling is only applied during the peak time period and the modem is then unthrottled during the middle and off-peak periods.
My interpretation is they built this to deal with heavy peer to peer usage to provide some balance but without having to employ heavy-handed traffic shaping. It allows heavy peer to peer users to continue their usage habits while reducing the impact on other customers.
They said for the future they have no plans or desire to institute any caps, and if forced to implement UBB they would point to this system as their form of usage based billing and control. They also said the 100 score was an initial setting and they are planning to raise the threshold in consideration of the increase prevalence of media streaming.
I had the impression these weightings are arbitrary at this point since I can't see a lot of foundation for penalizing the uploaded bytes so heavily, especially in what is supposed to be a fully 2-way system. It also doesn't take into consideration neighborhoods like mine where the distribution system is heavily over-saturated and usage is effectively bottlenecked even if the modem itself isn't throttled.