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Really Misleading Ads From Broadband Providers

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the should-have-been-in-the-tos dept.

Businesses 256

Bourdain writes "Gizmodo has put together a good compilation of the — seemingly almost criminally — misleading (largely plain wrong) advertising from our favorite local monopolies. My personal favorite is from AT&T which states you need 3mbps to use social networking sites like Facebook."

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256 comments

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need more speed! (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547422)

Apparently I need a faster connection to use sla

Facebook bloat (5, Funny)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547430)

My personal favorite is from AT&T which states you need 3mbps to use social networking sites like Facebook.

Have you tried to use Facebook recently? Sounds about right!

Re:Facebook bloat (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547456)

How many megs for goatse [goatse.fr] then?

Re:Facebook bloat (1)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547554)

56k loads it fine, its a very simple page with a small jpg so highspeeds aren't necessary. You wanna eat some bandwidth then try rickrolls instead.

Re:Facebook bloat (3, Funny)

Donkey_Hotey (1433053) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547734)

Dad?

Re:Facebook bloat (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548336)

Wait, so you're saying the parent post is masculine?

Re:Facebook bloat (2, Funny)

baka_toroi (1194359) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548072)

Only in Slashdot such a lame meme can survive for roughly a decade.

Re:Facebook bloat (2, Interesting)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547686)

I used Facebook on a 56k modem the other day...didn't take long to uncheck "automatically load images".

I logged into Yoville for a laugh and it took 20 minutes to enter the first room, so, yeah, it's not too far off.

Re:Facebook bloat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547866)

Loads pretty fast on my 3g. But I wouldn't know, I don't have many friends.

Re:Facebook bloat (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548128)

Http://lite.Facebook.com

Re:Facebook bloat (5, Funny)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548300)

Your bandwidth is irrelevant. You just need something on the order of a quad-core i7 to handle the Javascript.

Of course, that doesn't help with the other bottleneck, which is that the entire site seems to be served from a single 486.

You read that wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547450)

You need to have at least 3mbps to host a social networking site like Facebook.

I love some of their plans (4, Insightful)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547452)

"Max"

"Max Plus"

"Max Turbo"

Do these people even know what the word "maximum" means?

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547462)

Max doesn't care.

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548008)

I certainly don't.

Re:I love some of their plans (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547474)

Would you like an EXTRA big ass fries!?

Re:I love some of their plans (3, Insightful)

Rising Ape (1620461) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547570)

Or, for that matter, "turbo".

Although the all-time ridiculously overstated product name has to be the Gillette Fusion Power Stealth.

Re:I love some of their plans (3, Funny)

Beardo the Bearded (321478) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547932)

Wait for the Gillette Fusion Power Stealth Extreme Plus 3000.

Re:I love some of their plans (1)

pipelayerification (1707222) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548112)

You forgot to put Max in there somewhere

Re:I love some of their plans (2, Funny)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547588)

Do these people even know what the word "maximum" means?

They're smart engineers. [xkcd.com]

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547606)

They obviously didn't give 110% in their English studies.

Re:I love some of their plans (5, Funny)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547714)

Yes I am starting an ISP, we have named our plans based on internal combustion engine technology (from slowest to fastest):

- Naturally Aspirated
- Venturi Affected Plenum Chamber
- Forced Induction (Blown)
- F1 (120% Volumetric Efficiency

Sign-ups seem slow...

Re:I love some of their plans (4, Funny)

Osty (16825) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547894)

But can I get your service with a hemi?

Re:I love some of their plans (4, Funny)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547928)

- Forced Induction (Blown)

Give me 20 minutes with an air compressor and one of their marketing executives and I'll show them what forced induction is all about.

Re:I love some of their plans (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548004)

- Forced Induction (Blown)

Might want to skip that one, they all blow.

Re:I love some of their plans (1)

_merlin (160982) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548044)

F1 is naturally aspirated.

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548084)

Sign-ups seem slow...

But isn't that a good thing? You can have like, 800 million megabit speeds and no limits!

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547784)

Max. It's just a name, like Bob.

Re:I love some of their plans (5, Funny)

bobdotorg (598873) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547786)

Do these people even know what the word "maximum" means?

Pffft. My ISP goes to 11.

Re:I love some of their plans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548086)

Not "maximum". They're plans for guys named "Max".

Re:I love some of their plans (1)

orlanz (882574) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548346)

People talk about the race to the bottom when it comes to quality and cost, but I think this is the real race to the bottom. We have so much market speak that pretty much says "Better than what you have" but uses all the extreme words available. We have already crossed the most extreme possible in coherent English so now we just invent random definitions.

Predictable enough, society has evolved to just comprehend such things as everyday "commodities" thou we still expect to see those odd words. Sad part is, in a global scale, most things conveying "Better than..." is actually average or lower quality than the rest of the world (ex: broadband, music, sports, cellphones, cars, renewable resources, math & sciences ...).

0_0 (1)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547454)

To be fair 1.5 plans are really starting to feel sluggish these days.

Re:0_0 (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547476)

To be fair 1.5 plans are really starting to feel sluggish these days.

But do a tracer[t/oute] and you'll find you really do get that speed... to the local router, where you get 80kbps and not a penny more.

Re:0_0 (3, Insightful)

negRo_slim (636783) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547614)

I'd say it has more to do with the continual bloat of the net rather than the link to the router at those speeds.

Re:0_0 (4, Insightful)

Endo13 (1000782) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548342)

I'm not sure if you're trying to be sarcastic or actually serious, but I always watch and I very consistently get my full 1.5Mbps down, from my ISP at least. There are several reasons 1.5Mbps feels sluggish these days though.

1. Websites in general are a *lot* more bloated than they were 10 years ago. Dialup really isn't fast enough for even just basic web browsing any more. Imagine trying to browse nfl.com with a 56K.

2. Many websites are simply overloaded, or intentionally restrict bandwidth. A good example (of the former I hope) is Youtube. Many times I've gone to watch a video, and no matter how much bandwidth I have there, it just doesn't download fast enough to keep up. A great example of the latter is ASUS' driver server. Good luck getting anything over 10KBps from there. (Actually, good luck getting even 10KBps.)

Re:0_0 (2, Interesting)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547498)

Some companies add latency and lag to their lower end connections to get people to pay up for higher speed ones.

Re:0_0 (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547620)

Some companies add latency and lag to their lower end connections to get people to pay up for higher speed ones.

[citation needed]

Re:0_0 (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547764)

Biggest lie in ages

Facebook really should sue them (1)

selven (1556643) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547458)

My personal favorite is from AT&T which states you need 3mbps to use social networking sites like Facebook.

Some people might see that, think their connection is too slow and not use Facebook. That's some pretty clear defamation right there.

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547530)

Yeah, like they're not even going to try to visit it even once.

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547664)

Entirely too many users wouldn't. They just assume that if they try something, they could screw up everything, and so they'd better not try, even though the computer is peppered with "Are you sure?" dialog boxes.

The first steps to becoming truly computer literate are to start actually reading the dialog boxes, and to start screwing around, knowing that you can almost always undo it easily, and you'll almost always get an "are you sure" before you do something stupid, and definitely before you do something irreversible.

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547814)

I'd like that all my relatives did that...

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547902)

you'll almost always get an "are you sure" before you do something stupid, and definitely before you do something irreversible.

Except it's not really true.

An example would be you accidentally hit the 'Save' button for a document after making a major error such as blowing away important text..

Then you panic and exit the program... go back to My Documents, to re-open the file, only to find the file is still blank.

There are thousands of similar cases.

Accidentally dragging files to some folder, and forgetting about them.. accidentally dragging folders to the trash...

But may favorite is... acidentally visiting a website with a drive-by malware downloader, or downloading and trying to install a file with malware undetectable by any common antimalware.

In that case, the damage is most severe, and potentially quite irreversible (without formatting)

Re:Facebook really should sue them (2, Informative)

SanityInAnarchy (655584) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548020)

An example would be you accidentally hit the 'Save' button for a document after making a major error such as blowing away important text..

I know for a fact that ctrl+Z still works in Kate, and I've not yet run into a limit with how far back it will go -- but I assume you're talking about office documents. Just tried it in OpenOffice, and it works the same way -- "save" in no way clears the "undo" chain.

Then you panic and exit the program... go back to My Documents, to re-open the file, only to find the file is still blank.

Why would you do that? The kind of users I'm talking about would most likely look for a way to fix it inside the editor itself.

Accidentally dragging files to some folder, and forgetting about them.. accidentally dragging folders to the trash...

On KDE, this is mitigated by the fact that the drag and drop pops up a menu asking whether you want to move, copy, or cancel. But I don't think that qualifies -- the damage isn't irreversible until you empty the trash, which will give you a very definite "are you sure" message.

But may favorite is... acidentally visiting a website with a drive-by malware downloader, or downloading and trying to install a file with malware undetectable by any common antimalware.

That's fair -- though most malware does show a popup. So, most of these can be mitigated with, again, "read popups".

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

mysidia (191772) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547864)

Too slow to use Facebook intensively and have a seamless experience, with Video and everything..

their service.

Even though their service may be advertised at 6 Megs peak, doesn't necessarily mean customers will get a service that allows them to have the best experience with services that benefit low-latency.

For example, their "3 Megs" peak, connection, may only provide the customer 1 meg most of the time, with bursts up to 3 megs.

They could believe that their service degraded on the low-end version so much that, you need a 3 meg service choice to reliably get 1.5 megs, and a 6 meg service to reliably get 3 megs without some serious latency and packet loss at those bitrates.

Re:Facebook really should sue them (1)

ddxexex (1664191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548032)

The only problem is that they don't ever call out Facebook specifically. They just say social networking sites. They could have meant MySpace or Twitter or something else. And anyways at least it's consistent with their sharing photo section, which you're going to do with FB anyways. So no real grounds to sue.

3mbps (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547460)

I would think that 3 millibits per second is about right for most social networking sites.

BT (3, Interesting)

Dr_Barnowl (709838) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547466)

British Telecom are claiming that their ADSL package gives you the best connection... of course, it's the best connection to the local wireless router, and not the connection to the gateway... they have an enormous router with a high gain antenna set (and a phone handset for VoIP).

They can't bring themselves to admit that the cable provider walks all over them in terms of actual bandwidth.

Re:BT (1)

antdude (79039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547910)

Ha! I can't even get a stable connection (100% signal strengths, but too many WAPs nearby and tried all channels) on my wireless connection to my own WAP! Heh. I gave up and went back to good old fashion CAT5 ethernet network cables. :)

Re:BT (2, Informative)

Tacvek (948259) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548106)

For any fixed location computer there is no reason not to use Ethernet, it is faster and more reliable[1]. The only reasons to ever use Wifi are for portable devices, such as laptops, where the cords would be problematic, or if you are not able to run cable a fixed device in an acceptable fashion.

[1] Especially if you have separated your router (which is probably also your DHCP server) from the AP, as that keeps the wired computers running when the AP decides to crash, as all home APs have a tendency to do, since they are badly memory constrained. Consumer wired-only routers tend to have similar RAM, but don't need to deal with quite a bit of the overhead of managing wireless connection, so they should be more stable.

What hacks me off. (1)

Drakin020 (980931) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547492)

What hacks me off about ISP's is the available packages for internet.

I just moved up to Colorado, and I had to sign up for internet at my new apartment. It was DSL, and the available packages were as follows...

1.5mb
3.0mb
7.0mb
10.0 mb

When in reality all that I need for gaming, and some Hulu action is perhaps 5mb, but they get you to take that extra jump to 7mb so they can charge you more. All that most anyone needs is maybe 3mb and even that would allow you to some some video streaming (Perhaps not in HD) 5mb would do most American's just fine.

Re:What hacks me off. (4, Interesting)

Voyager529 (1363959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547896)

All that most anyone needs is maybe 3mb and even that would allow you to some some video streaming (Perhaps not in HD) 5mb would do most American's just fine for now.

Fixed that for you. 56K was enough for most uses in 1999, when Flash was used sparingly, coding was still fairly tight, patches for Windows were a few hundred KBytes and were one-or-two at a clip, not a dozen every Tuesday. In 1999, we used HTML, not AJAX, and our monitors were still 1024x768. "Streaming video" was at best 15fps and extremely blocky at 320x24. Digital cameras started at $400, were 1megapixel (tops), and photos were either printed out or burnt to CD instead of being uploaded somewhere. MP3s were typically encoded at 128kbps and shared on Napster. Microsoft Word was still duking it out with WordPerfect and bought on CD, which also was a feasible medium to backup our 10GByte hard drives.

Over the last decade, Myspace, Facebook, Photobucket, Youtube, Hulu, Google Docs, Mozy, and nearly a gig's worth of Windows patches have changed the way we use the Internet. What about the next decade? Do you think that 3Mbits/sec is going to be enough in 2019? I doubt it.

Re:What hacks me off. (1)

pnutjam (523990) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548200)

your argument is invalid, 56k has been slow since 1996, when I was in high school. 3mb is suitable for most people, most sites won't come close to hitting that speed. Most people's upstream is too slow,I usually recomend about 1mb.

Re:What hacks me off. (1)

Sporkinum (655143) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547936)

That's kind of funny. My local phone co-op only offers 1 meg download speed, and I'll be dipped in snot if it doesn't stream hulu (non HD) just fine.

Re:What hacks me off. (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548258)

5mb would do most American's just fine.

Of course not. You never have enough bandwith. The biggest restricting factor in online services is a lack of bandwith. The Internet could be so much more awesome if only people had more bandwidth.

And besides, DSL is perfectly capable of doing 20 Mbit, so you shouldn't accept lower speeds than that. And even 20 Mbit is pretty low on the scale, since the cable companies (using DOCSIS 3) are already pushing 200 and 400 Mbit downstream speeds, not to mention the fact that glassfiber to the home is around the corner.

I'm really amazed people are accepting ridicously small bandwiths of 10 Mbit or less and even suggest it's "enough".

12 mpbs for online games!!! (1)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547500)

ATT recommended the highest speed (12 mbps) for online gamine. Ironically, streaming video only required 6!

On the bright side, if you're just sending and receiving emails, a 3mbps connection will suffice.

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547590)

Something to keep in mind about that kind of nonsense is the corresponding upstream bandwidth that, IME, is usually a small fraction ( like 1/8th ) the downstream ) unless you get into the business packages. As such, depending on the activity, you might need the 10mbs package in order to have enough upstream activity for the activity in question.

Personally, I'd rather have a more balanced package with the burstmode going both directions, but I get tired of the RCA dog expression from the technician when I ask for better upstream....

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (2, Insightful)

frieko (855745) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547832)

Amen. I don't know about computer games, but on XBOX Live one person in the match is selected as the host/server. So they have to upstream one copy of everything to each player. You'd better hope they have FIOS.

I don't see any technical reason not to offer symmetric packages. I've always assumed it's to curb P2P *grumble*

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548338)

Ah, but upstream is a juicer that they extract from businesses.

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (3, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547720)

For most people "Email" means logging in and downloading a bunch of humorous and/or motivatinal PPS files so they're not too far off the mark when they say 3mbps minimum.

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547742)

I used to play AGES ago Counter-Strike with a 128Kbps cable connection and I had around 40 ms of latency which was considered superb at those times...

Now I have 20 Mb (same ISP) and I have to "suffer" 100ms latency in CoD:MW2 : (

Re:12 mpbs for online games!!! (2, Informative)

NervousNerd (1190935) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548078)

And I'll assume that that Counter-Strike server was on a dedicated server with a dedicated Internet connection, unlike the MW2 server, which was hosted by one of your peers. You can have the best Internet connection in the world, but if the server your connected to has a 56k-like Internet connection, you'll only get that.

I can kinda agree with them (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548036)

Have to remember that not only does online gaming entail transferring game data, which is low bandwidth and mostly latency important, but it increasingly means transferring game assets which are much larger. Patches for MMOs, new maps for FPSes, heck even buying whole games digitally. It's cool stuff but you want some heavy hitting bandwidth for it. It would suck to connect to a TF2 server and have a map end, just as you'd finally got the file downloaded.

You have to remember that part of having a high speed connection is making things feel fast, such that you aren't waiting on anything. It is easy to say "Oh who needs that just for web surfing," until you go back and try it and realize that man, you really do a lot of waiting with lower end connections.

I noticed a difference when I went form my 4mb DSL to my 10mb cable with things like web surfing. With my DSL, pages were just a little laggy compared to work (extremely high end connection). It wasn't like a had to wait a long time, but there was a noticeable amount of time. With my 10mb connection that went away, it was fast enough that things seemed more or less immediate. Big deal? No, not really, but worthwhile if it didn't cost too much. Certainly the kind of thing I'd recommend to people.

Ideally, we want everything on a computer to happen under human perception time (which varies depending on what we are talking about but is usually in the range of tens of milliseconds). Ideally, it should never feel like you are waiting on your computer, it should always be waiting on you. When you ask for something it should happen immediately from your perception.

Part of that requires fast net connections. Yes, it is easy to get all "onion in the belt" and talk about how we did just fine with 128k broadband and so on. However, it is also false. Sure it worked, but it wasn't immediate.

No kidding! (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547572)

Right on, bruddah! You can't browse facebook with less than 10mbps. Any slower and it'll take forever for the four videos, two slideshows, background music, and flash animation to load. What were they thinking?!?

Re:No kidding! (2, Informative)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547850)

Any slower and it'll take forever for the four videos, two slideshows, background music, and flash animation to load.

Thats myspace your thinking of.

Verizon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547574)

I know this isn't broadband, but I love that Verizon (Wireless) wants to charge $3/month just for visual voicemail. Chiselers!

Re:Verizon (1)

jtownatpunk.net (245670) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547596)

Guess who's got two thumbs and won't pay extra for visual voicemail. THIS GUY!

Re:Verizon (1)

JustOK (667959) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547762)

I, um, I can't see which way you're pointing.

this is news? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547584)

after being lied to for decades, you bring THIS up as something to be upset about? how about COX cable's "Digital Tomorrow" that is never coming? The technology is in place but it's more profitable to NOT provide everything "On Demand".

pice you pay for a connected world... (2, Insightful)

cheap.computer (1036494) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547586)

I have Time Warner Cable, with Turbo. I use internet extensively, online streaming like pandora, netflix, youtube, and skype. Not only do I have to pay Time Warner for the internet connection I also have to pay for all the services like netflix & skype (out). In the US we are still in stone age compared to 3rd world countries like Korea when it comes to bandwidth. We supposedly have the best technology & brain power, but we are still short when it comes to servicing 200 mil people with cheap and fast internet. Will breaking cable monopoly help? or it the problem deeper than that? I pay roughly $600 a year for internet a utility that I use for average 8hrs a day. That is pretty steep compared to electricity which I use 24hrs a day, I never have any voltage fluctuations or power outs. But with internet I experience drop in BW or even outage for long periods of time.

Re:pice you pay for a connected world... (4, Insightful)

Arthur Grumbine (1086397) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547918)

In the US we are still in stone age compared to 3rd world countries like Korea when it comes to bandwidth.

That phrase... I don't think it means what you think it means...

Re:pice you pay for a connected world... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548108)

In the US we are still in stone age compared to 3rd world countries like Korea when it comes to bandwidth.

That phrase... I don't think it means what you think it means...

See: Irony [wikipedia.org] . In this case, either "comic" or "tragic" would be appropriate.

Re:pice you pay for a connected world... (1)

fast turtle (1118037) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548304)

He's right. There is no 2nd world because that's trademarked by 2nd Life

The sad part (5, Insightful)

Xeno man (1614779) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547598)

The really sad part is that they want to sell you a super fast Internet connection but they sure as hell don't want you to use it. Most ISP's are slapping bandwidth caps which are all over the place. I believe comcast has a 250GB cap which is fair but I'm on Rogers (up in Canada) with a shitty low cap of 60 GB's. That's probably fine for most people but I actually use the internet so I need to be careful. It's just more deceit to get you to pay more for less.

Re:The sad part (2, Insightful)

Xeoz (1648225) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547754)

That's the idea, and that's why their marketing is geared towards the lowest common denominator. The want to hook granny up for $140/mo and see almost no usage from her. But when someone who can actually use that connection comes along, they accuse the customer of "abusing" the service. In my area there are only two choices for internet, AT&T DSL, and Comcast Cable. I'm sticking with my AT&T even though it is slower just because they don't care if I peg my connection 24x7.

No, they just don't want it used all the time (5, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547956)

There's a difference. It turns out that one of the great things about packet switched links is as you get more and more people, you can share bandwidth further. What I mean is that if I as a single person want a fast link, say 10mbps, I have to get a 10mbps link. However, turns out that I can have another person (my roommate) on that link and it'll still be about equally fast for both of us. We don't use it all the time, and as such 10mbps is just about as fast for two as it is for one. We don't need 20mbps just because there's another person.

This holds true as you go up the chain. This also allows for ISPs to sell access to consumers for cheaper than what it costs them. An OC-3 (155mbps) to a Tier-1 provider can run you $30,000/month or more. By the numbers that means that a 10mbps connection from that would cost about $2,000/month. However, if you oversubscribe it, sell more bandwidth than you have, you can lower the cost. Turns out this works well, since it is still fast for everyone. People get cheap connections for a low cost.

Ok well the problem is this all breaks down if people try to use their connection full blast 24/7. Because they are using it all the time, it saps bandwidth from others. The sharing only works on the assumption that everyone doesn't use it full blast all the time. The load is sporadic.

In the case of the OC-3, suppose you sell 10mb connections at $50/month, and you make $10/month profit on each. That means you need 600 subscribers. However, if they all tried to use their connections full blast, they'd only get about 260kbps each. For customers to maintain fast access, usage needs to be sporadic, which it normally will be.

That's the problem. They are ok with you using your speed. They aren't ok with you using it all the time to the max (which people who go nuts on torrents do). If you want that, you have to pay more (business accounts usually offer that, mine does). You can expect extremely cheap access that is also very fast.

You find this even in company LAN/WANs. We have gigabit ethernet at work. Gig right to your desktop. It's nice. However, it is only that fast if people use it as needed and don't run their connections full blast all the time. Reason is our switches only have gig uplinks. So there'll be anywhere form 1-24 computers with gig links that have gig back to the floor switches. Those switches also have gig links. So you then have 48 rooms that all have gig back to the building switch. That then has a gig link back to the core, so the whole building, all 700 computers or so, only has 1gb back to the core. As such if everyone tried to use their full 1gig all the time across the core, it'd go rather slow for everyone. That doesn't happen though. People get what they need and then their usage falls idle, making it fast for everyone despite the oversubscription.

It's also the only way to do it. There is no way we could afford the network equipment to give everyone dedicated gig bandwidth. It would take room switches from little $100-200 gig jobs to $3000+ switches that have 1-2 10gb uplinks. Floor switches wouldn't be $3000 gig pizza box Ciscos, they'd be $100,000 modular blade routers loaded with 10gb cards and OC-768 uplinks. The core switches would probably have to be CRS-1s.

The Internet as we enjoy it, where we can get cheap access that is reasonably fast, relies on the idea of sharing bandwidth. That means we all can't use all our bandwidth all the time.

Re:No, they just don't want it used all the time (2, Insightful)

Kartoffel (30238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548180)

You're absolutely right. If only the broadband providers were truthful in advertising what their oversubscription rates were. Might as well be up front about it.

3mbps for facebook... (5, Funny)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547602)

Block the ads, and you can probably get away with 300 baud..

A variant... (2, Interesting)

SomeGuyFromCA (197979) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547716)

My favorite of these were the old Comcast ads.

The ones that said something alone the lines of " Unlimited internet! Download music and more!"

No difference in cars (4, Insightful)

HockeyPuck (141947) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547752)

This is /., so we need some car comparisons...

My gf claims she needs a 250hp (at the rear wheel) V6 in her commuter car so she can "get on the highway easier." She compared 0-60 times for Honda Accords and Toyota Camrys.

I have friends that bought a huge SUV for when they drive to the ski slopes (they go 2-3x a year). A rented SUV would be much cheaper.

So why wouldn't the telcos use the same tactics when convincing their customers to purchase something that they really don't need? People are buying dual/quad core CPUs with 4GB of RAM just to surf the web and upload pics to flickr and facebook.

Re:No difference in cars (1)

omgarthas (1372603) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547788)

Well, I didn't need a phone with camera but I had no choice because they don't sell them without cameras anymore...

Re:No difference in cars (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548234)

The overall effect is hardly bad, from the consumer's point of view. My 1977 Ferrari 308GTB gets regularly blown into the weeds by those 250 HP Honda Accords.

Rental car problems (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548298)

I have friends that bought a huge SUV for when they drive to the ski slopes (they go 2-3x a year). A rented SUV would be much cheaper.

A lot of rental car places won't rent to people age 18-24 and/or won't allow driving the vehicle across state lines. And what's the Internet access analogy to a rental car? Ordering the work on optical disc from its publisher?

QWEST where 3 = 2.66 (2, Interesting)

mtm_king (99722) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547756)

QWEST sells a 3 mbps (the fastest I can get to my house) naked for $60/month.

Except it is not 3 mbps, it is 2.66. QWEST says "Well, we mean up to 3 mbps." But it is never up to 3 mbps. It is always at 2.66. But that is OK with QWEST because they call it good if it is within 80% of 3 mbps.

Also I learned that the reason I am not seeing 3 mbps is because of "overhead".

I hated to do it but I switched to cable. I am paying for 5 and it is always above 5.

What do they recommended for windows / ms update? (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547792)

What do they recommended for windows / ms update?

At lest windows updates are not as bad as mac os x that are at the 800meg+ level.

Re:What do they recommended for windows / ms updat (1)

jo_ham (604554) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548340)

The OS X *combo* updates tend to be large, but the incremental ones are small.

If you update frequently then you'll get the smaller patches. If you don't update for a very long time (or you do a nuke and pave and haven't saved the combo patcher before) you get hit with the big one.

The vast majority of OS X patches are nowhere near 800Mb.

They're right, 3mbps IS required for facebook (3, Funny)

arikol (728226) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547806)

They're right, 3mbps IS required for facebook.

I mean, otherwise your torrents might slow to a crawl...

Totally misleading (3, Informative)

Kenoli (934612) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547812)

My personal favorite is from AT&T which states you need 3mbps to use social networking sites like Facebook

That would be pretty funny if it were true, but no, it doesn't actually say that.
Try writing a real article instead of just completely making shit up.

The little chats even say "good for:" or "ideal for:".
The checkboxes clearly mean "if you want to do these sorts of things you probably want this amount of bandwidth", not "lesser connections are incapable of this".
It doesn't take a genius.

Re:Totally misleading (1)

caladine (1290184) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548332)

That would be pretty funny if it were true, but no, it doesn't actually say that.
Try writing a real article instead of just completely making shit up.

The little chats even say "good for:" or "ideal for:".
The checkboxes clearly mean "if you want to do these sorts of things you probably want this amount of bandwidth", not "lesser connections are incapable of this".
It doesn't take a genius.

While it is a bit on the "making it up side", you and I both know that most people will take that chart exactly that way. That they actually need 3 mbps to use "Social Networking".

American problem again. (2, Insightful)

unity100 (970058) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547846)

"hands off busines" crap is costing you people time and money. because there are not enough tough regulations, corporations often can get away with scamming customers. to the extent that they dare put 'you cant sue us' clauses in contracts.

that "hands off business" thing really has to end. scamming, screwing people is not business, anyone using that excuse to defend such actions is a bastard.

Remember when a T1 was broadband? (2, Informative)

shoppa (464619) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547920)

When I got started, 20+ years ago, a few large universities had T1's. That was by definition broadband - 1.5 mbps. Smaller schools often only had 2400 baud or in some cases faster telebit modems to hook up to the backbones.

In the 90's things started taking off and it was expected that every institution, except the very smallest, would have a T1. The biggest ones were hooked up by a T3. By the late 90's a few wealthy, well-connected individuals had their own private T1 at home.

And today? 1.5mbps does not meet most definitions of broadband. It's the backwaters. Isn't that amazing?

crimnals (3, Informative)

kenshin33 (1694322) | more than 4 years ago | (#30547958)

[...] — seemingly almost criminally — [...]

If not misinterpreting in Canada it is criminal offence. To quote competitionbureau [competitionbureau.gc.ca] :

The false or misleading representations and deceptive marketing practices provisions of the Competition Act contain a general prohibition against all materially false or misleading representations. They also prohibit making performance representations which are not based on adequate and proper tests, misleading warranties and guarantees, false or misleading ordinary selling price representations, untrue, misleading or unauthorized use of tests and testimonials, bait and switch selling, double ticketing and the sale of a product above its advertised price. Further, the promotional contest provisions prohibit contests that do not disclose required information.

[...]

The Competition Act provides criminal and civil regimes to address false or misleading representations. Under both regimes, the Act prohibits the making, or the permitting of the making, of a representation to the public, in any form whatever, that is false or misleading in a material respect.

Time Warner (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30547984)

Roadrunner Highspeed Internet is 150x faster than dialup, for only $19.99/mo!

That's what their ad says, but it's lying. You can't get their $20/mo service unless you specifically ask for it. They will only tell you about their $45/mo or $55/mo service on the phone. It's also not as fast as they say - the $20/mo service is only 4 times faster than dialup (~200kbps), and the $55/mo service is only 18 times faster than dialup (1mbps). I'm referring to upstream bandwidth, because upstream bandwidth the limiting factor - 56kbps dialup is symmetric, but cable Internet is asymmetric.

Cox Powerboost (2, Informative)

X-Power (1009277) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548068)

Cox powerboost lets you use extra available bandwidth around your area for a few seconds when starting large downloads. So 25 mbps becomes ~30 mpbs for 10-15 seconds. Works on torrents aswell. It's pretty sweet, especially if you dont live in an area with lots of kids downloading mp3s all the time. Then 30 mbps almost becomes the norm.

Perfectly reasonable (2, Informative)

dirkdodgers (1642627) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548124)

Most of those suggestions are perfectly reasonable if you want an optimal online experience. If you can't tolerate hiccups when streaming HD video, something that many consumers would call their ISPs to complain about, then yes, you are going to pay an arm and a leg for that convenience. The same goes for uploading albums of high megapixel images from your cameras - sharing pictures. You are going to pay an arm and a leg for that upload bandwidth.

It's not as though we're talking about medications here. It's not as though this is predatory. Anyone with this kind of money to dump just to avoid hiccups when streaming HD video of Dances with Douches from Hulu.com, but can't be bothered to do even minimal consumer research, is going to get exactly what they deserve. Consider it a tax on ignorance. It's a public good.

oh right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30548262)

are they like misleading headlines on slashdot?

Advertised speed (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 4 years ago | (#30548318)

You're confusing advertised speed with actual speed (which are two very different things.) What they're telling you you can do with each of those plans gives you a better idea of what their actual speed capabilities are on those plans.

But don't make them give you any sort of actual figures. They'd never be able to compete if they did that.

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