A tentative metering survey

When launching CUT I sent out a great number of emails - almost nine hundred - to all the people who had ever contacted me regarding CUT or the Watch.

Many of the email addresses were up to a year old, and some emails bounced back because the accounts they were sent to had been closed in the meantime. I realised that a simple analysis of the bouncebacks would give an indirect indication of the popularity, or otherwise, of unmetered Internet access.

To begin I divided the email addresses into three categories: I discarded the third category. This left the following totals:

  • Unmetered 595
  • Metered 238
Then I waited a few days for the bouncebacks. They were as follows:

  • Unmetered 20
  • Metered 14
I would have expected, pro rata, 35 bouncebacks from the unmetered category.

So I suggest, tentatively, that an unmetered account is almost twice as likely to be kept up, over a period of up to a year, than a metered account. Of course I have made a highly uncontrolled survey - hence the use of 'tentative' - but it is suggestive.

Having said that, the factor of 2 may be an underestimate for a couple of reasons:
  • The unmetered email addresses I have stored are older than the metered ones on average. This is because the Watch didn't percolate outside the 'Videotron ISPs' for four or five months;
  • There are many metered subscribers to the 'Videotron ISPs' and, in the absence of any way of distinguishing them from the unmetered subscribers, I included them in the unmetered category.
And a look at the mailing list is some support for my suggestion; of 119 subscribers at last count, 95 of those have contributed to it at some point. That is an extraordinarily high proportion, and suggests that those who have unmetered calls will fiercely defend them ...
Text by Alastair Scott

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