Originally Posted by superstition222
There are a lot of ways to try to use incrementalism to get to/toward the cable model over time.
1) Microtransactions. (Mimicking current video game marketing, especially MMOs.). Want HD Youtube for a week? Pay a small fee. Your ISP will helpfully enable you to pay more per month to bypass those manual transactions.
2) Hybrid walled garden approach. Pay for some "premium" content, other content is free. (Mimicking F2P MMO marketing.) Again, you can choose to have your ISP helpfully manage those transactions and even get a discount by signing up for an on-going fee!
3) Ad-free browsing offered for a fee/deal. (As browsers become more homogenized around WebKit and newer AV-delivery frameworks, it could be possible to kill ad blocking on Windows and Mac. Also, ISPs could have a specific policy that ad blockers aren't permitted.)
4) EULA could state that you will keep your ISP for a period of time in order to retain access to specific sites. (Mimicking ISP early cancellation fees — imprisonment perks.)
5) Classic walled garden approach, modified per ISP plan. This is unlikely to fly because many people don't have choice in terms of which ISP to get. However, if all major ISPs get on board then that helps their effort to squash small ISPs – something that could make the few large ISPs cooperate with each other to agree to a "sensible" policy for popular sites like Facebook. Meanwhile, small ISPs would have to cut deals with big/powerful content providers at a disadvantage.
6) Subscribing to a website package could increase your data cap. Yay, more gigabytes!
7) Subscribing to a website package could get ISPs to enable protocols like torrent and nntp. Many ISPs have dumped the news protocol, causing people to have to pay extra for Giganews. So, people are already paying extra for access to some parts of the Internet
. Some public universities, for instance, have blocked torrents and other file-sharing protocols for many years.
8) Pitching incremental packaging of Internet content as being family-friendly/kid safe. At first, such packaging could be sold as a parental filtration mechanism for schools, libraries, and concerned parents. Never doubt the marketing power of "protecting kids" and safeguarding "the family".
9) A newer flashier search engine could be introduced. (Mimicking the way Chrome marketing swamped other browsers' marketshare.) People are always on the lookout for new shiny. Google search is old hat. Google could cooperate with another company to make a subsidiary brand or just set up its own subsidiary, marketing a premium search engine as newer, better, better-than-Google. We know Google won't hand over search dominance so such an endeavor would have to be either managed by Google or set up in a cooperative manner with Microsoft so that neither company feels their bottom line will be threatened. In any case, remember AltaVista and lots of other once-popular search engines? Even more simply, both Google and Microsoft could separately introduce Google Premium and Bing Platinum.
10) Fake/watered-down/cheesy privacy features could be added to premium services, like useless VPNs that are as fast as the regular Internet.
11) Bringing cable to the Internet subscription model, e.g. ESPN. Never underestimate the power of football. Merging the content of cable and the Internet...
12) Stealth throttling, something Comcast and others have already been doing at times. The Internet has plenty of bandwidth available but it's very possible to funnel data through congested servers to create problems. (Mimicking the New Jersey traffic incident.) Set up subsidiary brands and then, through word-of-mouth, people will switch to the more expensive one that has better performance.