I think we're missing the point. They aren't just going to charge
hourly for data service, but for all service.
It really wasn't that long ago they were doing this (US West
stopped in the late 70's or early 80's
All they are going to need to do is notify customers and turn the
old billing procedures back on, they already track hourly usage
The Public Utility Commissions will have to approve it, which (in many areas
at least) will never happen. Even if it did get approved, with local telco
competition opening up now, there will undoubtedly always be some provider
willing to offer unlimited access, regardless of what the Bells try.