Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

British ISPs Could 'Charge Per Device'

samzenpus posted more than 3 years ago | from the add-it-up dept.

The Internet 194

Barence writes "British ISPs could start charging customers depending on which device or which type of data they're using, according to a networks expert. 'The iPad created a very interesting situation for the operators, where the devices themselves generated additional loads for the networks,' said Owen Cole, technical director at F5 Networks. 'The operators said "If we have devices that are generating work for us, this gives us the ability to introduce a different billing model."' 'The operators launched special billing packages for it, which is in direct contravention to net neutrality,' said Owen. 'If things are left to just be driven by market economics, we could end up with people paying for the amount of data that they consume to every device and that would not be a fair way to approach the market.' Owen also foresees a billing system that charges less for non-urgent data, with an email costing less per bit than either Skype or video packets that need immediate delivery."

cancel ×

194 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

First poster (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513032)

D'oh!

Re:First poster (5, Funny)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513046)

Congrads, you got first post. But was the Urgent Packet Delivery Fee worth it?

Wow, that's worse than the Canadian UBB thing! (2)

drunkennewfiemidget (712572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513066)

OK, not really, but it is really fucking stupid.

Industry fearmongers. (3, Insightful)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513072)

I would advise against this type of "hypothetical model" unless you want to slow innovation and business growth.
I would also advise against it because the industry is leading consumers into an "online world", where all data will exist.
If infrastructure can not handle the load (how much dark fiber do we have in the world?), then it needs to catch up. Living off the 90s infrastructure boon is just not going to cut it.

Re:Industry fearmongers. (3, Informative)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513286)

the new billing model would need a revamp of the internet protocols. or they could charge per IP, which wouldn't be that strange, but would actually need them to give ip's to people.

but it's ridiculous that they say that new devices like ipad are generating traffic. well doh. but it's not the device, it's the person they sold the service to that's generating the traffic. but it's amazing how you can actually get people to pay more for an internet connection to an ipad than to a netbook, even though the ipad will generate less traffic as it's much less likely to be used for running a torrent client etc

anyways, the caravan goes as usual and they can whinebitch all they want but if they still at the same time want to sell secure, usable connections there's not much they can do about it.

Re:Industry fearmongers. (1)

sousoux (945907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513494)

or they could charge per IP

That isn't practical with IPV4 but with IPV6 it seems to me that it may become possible. A negative effect of IPV6 that I had not thought of before.

Re:Industry fearmongers. (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513526)

If it came to that, you could still NAT IPV6. It's just that other than for bullshit like this, there isn't really a need to, ja?

"Freedom is Slavery!", "NAT is Evil!" (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513638)

It was my understanding that the zealots prevailed, and IPv6 NAT was declared a "nonfeature". In order to avoid cognitive dissonance, the zealots must discount any possible scenario where IPv6 NAT might be useful. Those brave enough to voice positions contrary to the "NAT == evil" party line will receive vituperations along the lines of "you are thinking about it wrong" or "no one needs that". Their behavior is very reminiscent of the Git DVCS jihadis, if that helps to give you context: both groups are patently unable to acknowledge any potential drawbacks to what they are advocating.

Beware: you only get two "friendly" warnings, then they take you away to a reeducation camp. Posting anon for obvious reasons.

Re:"Freedom is Slavery!", "NAT is Evil!" (0)

Hazel Bergeron (2015538) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513818)

You also have the freedom to prostrate yourself on a prayer mat facing some arbitrary direction five times a day. And you have the freedom to get as angry as you want about your detractors, reprimanding them for discounting "any possible scenario where inventing a supernatural being might be useful".

Unfortunately, to engage anyone other than the choir in discussion you have to provide a supporting argument for your position. A market deals with scarcity, both by restricting use (some sense of right to control property) and by innovating more efficient uses. This is why people have meagre allocations of IPv4 addresses and why IPv4 NAT exists. The same does not apply when you have 128 bit addresses.

Re:"Freedom is Slavery!", "NAT is Evil!" (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514084)

It does apply if they try to charge you per IP. I'd sure as hell NAT my devices then. Try reading the context to his post. I'd think it would also be useful if you have any still useful IPv4-only devices at home, an IPv6 NAT could enable that device to interface with the outside world by doing IPv6 DNS resolution, etc for it.

Re:"Freedom is Slavery!", "NAT is Evil!" (2)

hab136 (30884) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514168)

You just demonstrated the Anon's point perfectly. mirix gave a reason for users to want to NAT IPv6 - to avoid per-IP billing. You then say a lot of hoopla without addressing the point that IPv6 NAT would be useful in a per-IP billing situation.

Is per-IP billing stupid and unwarranted with IPv6? Yep. Will it exist? Almost certainly.

Re:"Freedom is Slavery!", "NAT is Evil!" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514004)

Can't you just use a proxy to get around the lack of NAT?

Re:Industry fearmongers. (1)

sousoux (945907) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514334)

Actually I did a little research on this and it has been anticipated and fixed as an issue (see http://playground.sun.com/ipv6/specs/ipv6-address-privacy.html [sun.com] ) ... perhaps ... there is some randomization and temporal cycling of auto assigned IPv6 addresses although not everything seems to implement this at present. The worry for me is that it is possible and it is very difficult for the average consumer to detect (and understand) so it is likely to be used. NATing and more importantly the generally dynamic nature of IPV4 addresses as you roam around between home, work and mobile helps to enforce (although does not ensure) privacy.

First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedly.. (2)

calmofthestorm (1344385) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513076)

...and now our bandwidth too? When will this madness end?

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

zill (1690130) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513188)

First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedly

I'm pretty sure "per second playback billing" is next on RIAA's list.

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

JimboG (1467977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513230)

Additional speaker charges are after that. Whoa you want stereo? That'll cost you twice as much.

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513238)

lol. How you do pay 5.1 x 99c?

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

JimboG (1467977) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513268)

$5.05 (rounded up of course) + a low frequency surcharge of $0.50

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (5, Funny)

gweilo8888 (921799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513270)

If it's a stereo to 5.1 upmix, you don't. You pay 16x.
Unfair, I hear you say? But no! You've got your left channel, your right channel, your center (using data from left and right channels), your left surround (using data from left and right channels), and your right surround (using data from left and right channels).
Clearly that's eight separate audio channels in simultaneous use, requiring eight times the licensing fees. And you do have two ears, right? So you're listening to each of those eight channels twice over...
Now, pay up, serf!

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514094)

Now you want to turn the volume up? There's some more potential for other people to hear it! That'll be ( $100 ^ increase in decibels) thanks.

Re:First they wanted us to buy our music repeatedl (1)

metalmaster (1005171) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514388)

imagine per cost billing for ringers...

Scaremongering? (1, Insightful)

Fusen (841730) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513078)

"could" "might" "maybe", what a complete non story.
broadband ISPs COULD charge you per character typed but they don't and probably wont.

Re:Scaremongering? (2)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513150)

But they're completely possible and it's not unreasonable (in my opinion) to expect it to happen. We've already seen an instance where Comcast blocked/throttled bittorrent in the US.

Re:Scaremongering? (2)

rtb61 (674572) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513690)

The catch right there is that most P2P and bittorrent traffic is not time sensitive and could occur in off peak times.

As for shifting traffic from peak to off peak as they are fantasising, firstly it requires incredibly invasive data monitoring and secondly it forces the users devices to either continually cycle over for hours on end trying to send traffic or the ISP must build in enormous data storage capacity to hold data for hours on end.

Incumbent telecoms want to keep making huge profits from local and long distance calls and despise VOIP and secondly want to establish content distribution monopolies on their networks. The reality at one stage, when we made a call we had our very own copper line and could send and receive as much data as possible down it. With fibre optic multiple communications share the same line and they want to make that line as profitable as possible and they simply do that via gross and extreme overselling, selling far more bandwidth than they have access to. They want to legally sell a lie, they want to sell you bandwidth and by the delusion of modern legal shenanigans and government corruption deny you the use of what they have sold you because they never had it to sell. By law they should be forced to detail what bandwidth they actually have available with simultaneous transmission to all their customers, as part of the advertised bandwidth.

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

TheLink (130905) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514470)

In theory ISPs could implement something like back in the "dial-up" era.

Basically, you still have always-on internet, but your traffic is on low priority.

When you want to do stuff with high priority, you "dial in" or "login", then your packets get "normal priority". Then you can play your FPS or MMORPG.

Once you're done you log-off and go back to "low priority", you can actually still surf the web, send email etc, but it could be a lot slower depending on how oversubscribed the ISP is.

But it all depends on the package - you could get X number of hours per month or get charged $ per priority hour. Problem of course if you forget to "logoff".

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

grahamm (8844) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514514)

Even the PSTN is contended. While each subscriber has their own copper line to the exchange (the same as each DSL subscriber has a dedicated connection to the DSLAM), neither the switching facilities in the exchange (certainly with electromechanical exchanges) nor the number of 'trunk' lines from the exchange could support every subscriber being on a call at the same time. However the PSTN is well enough provisioned such that it is very rare for a call to fail because there are insufficient resources to handle it.

Re:Scaremongering? (2)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513962)

When companies are adding caps etc it is because they believe it will decrease costs. If there is competition in the market then that saving will, reasonably, quickly make its way through to lower costs to consumers. If there isn't competition, that saving will be kept as pure profit indefinitely. Charging for use isn't inherently evil, even though internet use has a very low variable cost, sharing the fixed costs of infrastructure etc based on level of use is acceptable.

The thing that I have a massive issue with is when companies start to differentiate based on content provider. I'd like to believe that this could work fine in a free market, sadly I don't think it will. Small businesses have boomed on the internet, and I doubt the likes of Skype, Youtube etc would have come about if the only way to get 'priority' on each ISPs network was to pay up.

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514136)

When companies are adding caps etc it is because they believe it will decrease costs.

They didn't add a cap. They completely throttled the bittorrent protocol.

Re:Scaremongering? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514202)

virgin media blocks access to torrent.piratebay.org

-at least they do if you use their DNS server.
Their new 'super hub' doesn't let you change the DNS servers either, so you you have to change them at the device level.

Re:Scaremongering? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513368)

It's the simplest mechanic of leverage. Shift general *perception* by suuggesting something insane, then 'settle' with a half measure.

It's all about making net neutrality seem like an extreme Communist Terrorist conspiracy instead of reasonable practice. Eventually, you just know they'd charge per device though.

Re:Scaremongering? (2)

mr_lizard13 (882373) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513420)

My brdbnd ISP DS chg me pr crtcr typd, u insnstv cld.

Re:Scaremongering? (2)

mirix (1649853) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513534)

Would you like to buy a vowel?

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

Goffee71 (628501) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513942)

That could revive Carol Vorderman's career

Re:Scaremongering? (1)

SimonTheSoundMan (1012395) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514206)

broadband ISPs COULD charge you per character typed but they don't and probably wont.

You mean, like SMS?

A charge per 140 characters.

Translation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513082)

"It's very expensive maintaining and upgrading network equipment. We're due for another upgrade soon. Wouldn't it be nice if we didn't have to upgrade, but could still put our prices up? Can anyone invent a reason for this?"

And others could not (1)

dmomo (256005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513088)

Who will get the business?

Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513090)

None of this drivel seems to be coming from ISPs - just a technical director at F5 Networks.

Since so much stuff seems to come in over tcp/80 nowadays I'd like to see how they propose to reliably differentiate between HTML pages and images, *Tube videos and downloads of device firmware updates, Linux .isos, etc. - or are they just going to charge based on the size of each request? <1MB at 1c/MB, <10MB at 2c/MB, <100MB at 3c/MB, >=100MB @ 10c/MB? Why have monthly caps at all then?

Re:Really? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513374)

"Why have monthly caps at all then?"

They'll eventually reach a point where there aren't that many new people buying their service since everyone already has it, they need to continue to grow, so they come up with these bs models of how to extort us more effectively.

Re:Really? (1)

SuricouRaven (1897204) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514276)

It is an unfortunate consequence of economic theory that companies are expected to endlessly grow.

Re:Really? (1)

sgbett (739519) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514250)

'If things are left to just be driven by market economics, we could end up with people paying for the amount of data that they consume to every device and that would not be a fair way to approach the market.'

I've never heard so much guff.

Charging for bandwidth is exactly how it should work. That's how it works in business, and its just dandy.

The problem will be that the telcos will pick a stupid price per GB

Who do you have to bribe to make that legal? (2)

bit trollent (824666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513092)

These people seem like simple leeches to me. You just want an internet connection. Your probably connecting to your own router doing your own networking.

That's one connection

So you give me the internet and I'll give you the cash. Nobody needs to get screwed.

Wait... Your company bribed a politician, didn't it.

Sounds like a challange (1)

fragMasterFlash (989911) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513094)

How long will it take before someone mods DD-WRT to obfuscate Internet traffic to make device identification by ISPs difficult?

Re:Sounds like a challange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513130)

Yeah, and if people started doing that, they'd probably have a provision that anything they can't ID is at a fixed rate higher than everything else...

Re:Sounds like a challange (1)

herojig (1625143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513140)

Seems like this should already be so! Is this to say that an ISP can tell what devices are hooked to a home router today? That just seems plain wrong.

Re:Sounds like a challange (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513218)

Technology to fingerprint an internet node has existed for a very long time - you can tell what OS is running by seeing how it responds to certain requests and "tells" in the format of its icmp/tcp responses in TTL fields, how it adjusts packet windows, etc.. Even if it is behind a firewall/router, a lot of these tells are passed up the link. Theoretically, if an ISP was interested they could keep a record of unique fingerprints they've detected on your connection and bill you for the number of devices they think you have.

Even simpler, if your ISP is running a proxy/transproxy, you could count unique User-Agent request headers to get a fair idea of the number of devices involved. Even ignoring User-Agent headers you can easily distinguish iDevices from just about any other HTTP consumer because of their screwed-up HTTP/1.1 Host headers - when connecting to a proxy the host in their get|head|post request line is often different to the one specified in the Host header, especially when consuming Apple's own services.

Re:Sounds like a challange (1)

jrumney (197329) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513390)

Sounds like an opportunity for modding the TCP stack to present random characteristics when analysed in this way. When the complaints flood in from some percentage of their users about being billed for having a million devices behind their router, the ISP might think twice about such a scheme.

Re:Sounds like a challange (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514014)

Sounds like an opportunity for modding the TCP stack to present random characteristics when analysed in this way. When the complaints flood in from some percentage of their users about being billed for having a million devices behind their router, the ISP might think twice about such a scheme.

Unless you're going to get Apple and Microsoft to update their TCP stacks to do this, that "some percentage" is going to be so small as to be quite practical to ignore.

Re:Sounds like a challange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514018)

I think I understand what you're getting at, but can't we just route everything through a VPN anyway? Encrypted network stream to a single endpoint should, at least in theory, be pretty difficult to fingerprint in such a manner.

There is a Swiss-based VPN provider - forget the name - which offers an endpoint for something reasonable like 5â/month, and has fairly robust pro-privacy policies. I'm not going to slashvertise them, but it seems to me like I'd rather pay an additional couple of quid to a service who at least claim to protect my privacy than give more cash to my ISP.

Re:Sounds like a challange (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514494)

Ah, so now you're effectively paying two ISPs: one sitting at the other end of your cable/DSL modem and the second sitting at the other end of your VPN.

Re:Sounds like a challange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513288)

Right up until everything looked like emails to them.

It is called packet normalization... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513214)

http://www.openbsd.org/faq/pf/scrub.html

Re:Sounds like a challange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513354)

It can't. We need an always-encrypted IP layer, which allows for instant peer tunneling. There are a few projects which accomplish this right now. But they won't succeed unless a new OS totally displaces Windows while enforcing this new layer, and it Just Works.

Some dude says... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513098)

Some dude says ISPs could do random shit including charging people whatever they think they can get away with. He also uses unclear and awkward wording*.

Film at 11?

*Like where he says "'If things are left to just be driven by market economics, we could end up with people paying for the amount of data that they consume to every device and that would not be a fair way to approach the market."; I think he means the exact opposite of what he seems to say?

Why stop there? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513116)

Everyone knows fat people use it more than skinny people, why not start charging by users weight?

Charge per device? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513134)

What if someone used all their devices through a single router?

Already the case (4, Interesting)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513142)

2 years ago I got an Android phone on my own (not through my Operator). I called them to add 'data' to my plan and they wanted to know if it was an iPhone or an Android as they had 2 different plans. They were the same price so I investigated a bit. It turns out that they block http requests if the referrer field doesn't contain 'Android'. Like that's gonna stop me from using the phone as a 3G hotspot for the rest of the bus, right.

Re:Already the case (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513730)

Care to name & shame? I'd like to avoid that kind of shenanigans if possible. Thanks.

Re:Already the case (2)

dargaud (518470) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514386)

SFR (in France). 1GB cap, but degrades to lower speed above that. Changing the referrer field in Firefox when using the phone as a modem is real hackdom, yessir.

Re:Already the case (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514512)

It turns out that they block http requests if the referrer field doesn't contain 'Android'

The Referer header (sic) or the User-Agent header?

9 ways to Sunday (2)

lawnboy5-O (772026) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513206)

I means these blokes are in boardrooms licking their proverbial chops, and we are on the pick wheel.

Its look like the rapacious beginnings of the cable industry all over again, but this time you count amongst you shaledowns fees for your refrigerator's call to the repairman. 'wonder if there will be an opt out for that?

its looking spooky, people.

Re:9 ways to Sunday (1)

RightSaidFred99 (874576) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513224)

What's spooky? It's nonsense, if they want more money out of you they'll just increase their existing rates.

Re:9 ways to Sunday (1)

cheekyjohnson (1873388) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513280)

This could be a way for them to acquire more money and appear to be reasonable (by pretending that certain types of data are interfering with their network).

Re:9 ways to Sunday (1)

scdeimos (632778) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513476)

Yeah, like how P2P "screws" networks because broadband providers provision their DSLAMs and connecting bandwidth on the assumption that only 1 in 100 customers actually use their internet plan for anything other than e-mail?

additional load (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513212)

Umm. If I'm using an iPad then I'm probably not using my desktop or laptop and creating load there. Why not charge based on the number of people in the household, that would make more sense. Or gasp, charge for the amount of bandwidth used. But if you start breaking the billing down like that then people probably shouldn't have to pay a fixed monthly fee any more, but we can't do that how will ISPs make tons of money!

Tranlsation (3, Funny)

Hognoxious (631665) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513308)

'The operators said "If we have devices that are generating work for us, this gives us the ability to introduce a different billing model."'

Translation:

Some of our customers appear to have more money than sense. We aim to restore the balance.

One thing to say (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513332)

The fucking greedy cunts

The internet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513344)

Remember where the internet comes from ? Look at what greedy people have made of it, what a bunch of assholes...

Fair? Hardly (2, Insightful)

jandersen (462034) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513348)

I can see where they are coming from, in a sense: you should pay for how much you use, which is hard to argue against. After all, that's how we pay for other resources we use - I don't use the internet for watching movies or other high-bandwith things, so why should I pay more to support those that do?

However, what they propose is almost exactly the opposite of paying for what you use; it's like being billed for water by measuring the size of your garden or the number of taps in the home. And just as for water, it is perfectly easy to measure the actual consumption; if they don't know how, I am sure there is a large proportion of /. readers who can help them figure it out.

Re:Fair? Hardly (2)

Jon Stone (1961380) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513394)

Water bills in the UK were governed by the "rateable value [unitedutilities.com] " of the house. Water meters were introduced about 15-20 years ago and are required for new houses. Older properties can choose to have a meter installed or to remain on the rateable value billing.

The argument against per-byte billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513500)

I can see where they are coming from, in a sense: you should pay for how much you use, which is hard to argue against.

Let's say the cost of running an ISP transmitting x bytes is ax + b for some constants a and b. How large is a relative to b? I think a lot of the cost of running an ISP is in infrastructure and wages, especially for support. What's the resources usage when transmitting a packet one hop? The electricity to run the router and the space occupied by the router. How much is that, one nanobuck (given that packets come in rather often)?

Okay, so maybe I'm pulling figures out my ass. But I think it would be interesting to look at the books of an ISP to see what the costs are. I don't think they are measured per byte.

Re:The argument against per-byte billing (1)

Shimbo (100005) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513830)

What's the resources usage when transmitting a packet one hop? The electricity to run the router and the space occupied by the router.

Plus the transit fee charged by the upstream provider, which is probably the largest single expense. If I ignore the charges my service provider makes, my internet service costs me almost nothing too.

Re:The argument against per-byte billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514208)

If a mid-level distributor of a product is being screwed over by unfair pricing from the supplier, the response ought to be to try to get fairer pricing, not to just screw over the customers in turn.

Re:The argument against per-byte billing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514546)

Having worked for both ISPs and web hosters in the past I can assure you that until you get to a certain level of bandwidth there's no wiggle room for negotiating uplink pricing. Telcos usually have tiered pricing models (one could be mistaken for thinking that they're colluding because they're so close to each other) and until you exceed a certain level of bandwidth you cannot even play them against each either by multi homing.

Re:Fair? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513502)

you'll still pay the same if you're the lowest bw user.. everyone else will just pay more..effectively they're artifically driving up the cost per byte.

Re:Fair? Harder than you think! (1)

DamonJW (1416653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513550)

There is a big difference between water consumption and Internet consumption. With water you're depleting a resource, and whenever you use it or however you use it, the amount you consume is the amount it's depleted by, so that's how much you pay for. With Internet you're not depleting anything -- the links are still there with the same capacity, after you've gone.

Instead, on the Internet, what you need to be charged for is the "hurt" you cause others by your usage. If you use 4Mb/s at peak hours you're causing lots of hurt, if you use 4Mb/s in the middle of the night you're not causing much hurt. Or if you download 100MB at 1kB/s you're not causing much hurt but it's for a long time, whereas if you download it at 10Mb/s you're causing a lot of hurt for a short time. How it all balances out is rather tricky to understand. Arguably, time-of-day throttling as a crude attempt to approximate this idea of "hurt".

Re:Fair? Harder than you think! (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514440)

Also, bandwidth that is not used is wasted...
Water that is not used can be stored and used later.

Re:Fair? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513630)

You don't have to pay for water in the UK: the water companies aren't allowed to cut you off for not paying your bills.

But anyway, there's a big difference between Internet and water. I actually choose how much water to use (absent leaks in the house). With the Internet, someone can run a 24/7 DDOS attack on my system and then _I_ would have to pay for the packets they send to me even though I don't want them. How can that be fair?

Re:Fair? Hardly (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514488)

What are the consequences for not paying the water bills? Won't they eventually take you to court for not paying the bills, even tho they have to keep providing you service?

I do agree with your comment about denial of service attacks, being attacked can become extremely expensive and its not uncommon for moderate strength attacks to be launched, eg enough to push up your costs but not enough to take you offline. It should not be possible for a third party criminal to directly cause you costs in this way.

Re:Fair? Hardly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514496)

I can see where they are coming from, in a sense: you should pay for how much you use, which is hard to argue against. After all, that's how we pay for other resources we use - I don't use the internet for watching movies or other high-bandwith things, so why should I pay more to support those that do?

Then let's do that--properly.

Not this $40/month for X GB, and then $Y for every GB after that, but rather a "proper" rate just like water or electricity.

You pay a flat $20 or so as a deliver fee for about (say) 7-10 Mbps, and then $0.05 for every GB after that (the current cost of a GB delivered is around $0.03 AFAIK). So 100 GB would cost: $20 + (100*.05) = $25. 200 GB = $30. 500 GB = $45. 1 TB deliver = $100.

And since that base $20 is a fixed cost, it's charge by every ISP that is allowed to connect to the network, and they can all compete at Layer 3 for my business; i.e., the incumbent is not the only company that can route my packets. If we can have competing companies for other utilities (power generation, gas), then there's no reason why we can't have it for ISPs.

Postal Model for Internet..!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513398)

"with an email costing less per bit than either Skype or video packets that need immediate delivery"
with this analogy it might seem they will charge us for delivering the e-mails instantly.. !! or charge the email based on the distance they need to be sent..!! a postal delivery model suits the bill.. videos and skype can be treated as freight ..!! god save those poor ppl..

Re:Postal Model for Internet..!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513462)

No, asswipe. They're talking about QoS, STFU and quit your fear-mongering. We've enough real unfair billing practices to worry about without you making up complete gibberish.

Besides, freight goes on trucks, and we all know the internet's not like a truck.

*could* charge .. (0)

Randy_Leatherbelly (1983850) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513428)

if anyone wants to limit free speech and put obstacles in the way of internet use, leave it to the Orwellian UK government, as the British people sleepwalk into even more darkness.

Re:*could* charge .. (1)

Rob Kaper (5960) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513616)

How exactly does paying for infrastructure you use have anything to do with free speech and limitations thereof?

Re:*could* charge .. (5, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513840)

1) British law has no interpretation of "free speech". None. It's an assumed "right", not an actual one. Funnily, we seem to do a better job than those countries *WITH* such laws.

2) Even in countries that proclaim "free speech", nobody is ever obliged to provide you with a platform. They can't *stop* you from saying what you want, but they aren't obliged to publish your every word online, or in the papers, or the 10 o'clock news.

You can say what you like (under certain limitations, in ANY country that has "free speech") but nobody is obliged to give you a soapbox. Certainly not your ISP, who can cut you off if their T&C's say you shouldn't swear on their forums, in theory.

3) The ISP's are putting out a code to discuss traffic management, which most of the big ISP's are signed up to. Nowhere does it mention an inherent restriction on free speech. You might have to pay for to push your speech over bittorrent than over email, but see #2.

4) The UK is actually pretty aware of what's happening. ID cards were scrapped last year, by public demand, before they were ever used. It's actually the second time we've scrapped them because they were made compulsory during the War for security reasons and then we got rid of them when they were no longer required. It's MUCH harder to get rid of something you've spent government money on to establish and which would be cheaper to keep running, but we've done it twice.

We are one of the few countries in the world that *doesn't* have an ID system - I do *not* have to own any ID whatsoever, I certainly don't have to carry it on me at any time, and if I don't drive/fly then I probably don't have a passport or driver's license and thus no formal ID whatsoever, and yet I still could live quite happily in the country. You can open a bank account with a birth certificate and an electricity bill, if you want (i.e. something that says X was born on day Y with no way to prove you're X).

I *do* now drive and fly so I have license and passport but I've only *ever* been asked for them when driving (to ensure I had a valid licence, and it was only by luck I was carrying it because I'm not required to, and could instead present it within 14 days at the police station of my choice at a police officer's insistence AT BEST) and for crossing international borders - at the insistence of a foreign entity (the British passport has a kind of mystique about it outside the UK - nobody bothers to check them, or see the "UK" part and then wave you through).

My ID spends more of its life gathering dust than anything else. Sure sign of 1984, that is. Or I could mention that our privacy and data protection laws are some of the best in the world. Or I could mention that we have things like Hyde Park Corner. Or I could mention that, actually, for a country with NO formal rights to free speech, etc. that we're actually pretty damn high up on the list of freedoms we *do* enjoy.

Stop reading the tabloids, and instead look at what a UK person does during their lives compared to any other country (including the US!). Driving laws (ever roll through a stop sign in the US? I once saw a guy who "failed to come to a complete stop" at the line and he was taken out of the car at gunpoint. Do it in the UK and nobody would even notice. Which one is more reminiscent of 1984?). Privacy laws. Data laws. Telecoms laws (we made BT scrap Phorm, and initiated a legal case). Equality laws. And they *work*, for the most part. Sure, Phorm should have never got off the ground, or the ID card scheme, but when they do and come to the public knowledge, they end up dying a death.

Come live in the UK, and see what a real country is like. You can cross the road where you like, and everything.

Re:*could* charge .. (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514048)

1) British law has no interpretation of "free speech". None. It's an assumed "right", not an actual one. Funnily, we seem to do a better job than those countries *WITH* such laws.

I too am a fan of our uncodified constitution but you went a bit too far here. The European Convention on Human Rights, to which the UK is a signatory, has been in force since 3rd September 1953 and became directly enforceable in UK courts when the Human Rights Act 1998 came into force. Article 10, taken from Schedule 1 to the 1998 Act:

Article 10
Freedom of expression

1 Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information and ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers. This Article shall not prevent States from requiring the licensing of broadcasting, television or cinema enterprises.
2 The exercise of these freedoms, since it carries with it duties and responsibilities, may be subject to such formalities, conditions, restrictions or penalties as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society, in the interests of national security, territorial integrity or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals, for the protection of the reputation or rights of others, for preventing the disclosure of information received in confidence, or for maintaining the authority and impartiality of the judiciary.

ridiculous (4, Insightful)

samantha (68231) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513480)

iPads don't use anymore bandwidth than any other device will that you can watch over the air video on. iPads cannot in principle do anything at all any other computer cannot do. This is pure gouging. Note that it is the cellular carriers themselves that have pushed video on command. The goal is good enough broadband that these and many many other applications can run for everyone everywhere. This is not achieved by nickel and dime-ing us.

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514222)

yeah, but the ISP's are probably smart enough to notice that Apple fanbois will happily pay extra for stuff that everyone else is offering for free.

Re:ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514522)

"iPads cannot in principle do anything at all any other computer cannot do."

From what I've seen, if anything, they can do less

SHH!!! (1)

Dangerous_Minds (1869682) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513490)

Keep it down, will ya? AT&T might hear this!

Thats fine (1)

mistralol (987952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513552)

Thats perfectly fine. I will use a proxy and then I will only be technically using a single device from your point of view! But hey since you cannot actually tell what devices I have in my house that use the internet without digging into my data they I will be using ipsec to somewhere else. Of course though you have to get all isp's in the UK to change to this billing model together otherwise all your customers are going to leave and join the other isp. This is also fine because the crap isp's that are coming up with this stuff don't work anyway.

Traffic hungry iPad? (1)

Eraesr (1629799) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513640)

Why is the iPad costing them more work? The article refers to it as the "traffic hungry iPad". Traffic hungry? A PC downloading Torrents every day is not traffic hungry?

Re:Traffic hungry iPad? (1)

cardpuncher (713057) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513800)

Because xPads are being sold primarily as media-consumption devices - handy personal TVs you can pick up when you feel like a quick burst of Hollywood. They make it easier to consume streaming video on impulse and so people who wouldn't sit in front of a PC to watch a movie will sit in bed watching their mobile device - more convenience = more use.

Real-time streaming also has requirements on network performance (in particular latency) that exceed torrent download. It's not just about the bitcount.

And, just to be cynical for a moment, you have to do something to justify to yourself the cost of your xPad, and what else are you going to do with it?

Wow, that is garbled. (1)

serviscope_minor (664417) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513682)

There's some really garbled understanding of what is going on there.

What I think is fair is something along the lines of the following:

1. Pay some fixed cost per unit time in order to have a connection.

2. Pay per bit sent and received based on QoS.

It seems like the most fair thing to me. Uncapped is just rediculous and a complete lie. The companies shouldn't even be allowed to claim it since it is blatantly false advertising.

Part 2 is the most sensible option. People pay a reasonable price for what they use. Of course it only works if they charge a non punative price per bit. If ISPs want to offer some automatic capping to prevent enexpected bills too, then that's fine too.

It also avoids any network neutrailty problems. If you want low-latency, you must pay since it costs more to implement. If you want to run your bittorrent client with VOIP QoS, then fine. Knock yourself out.

Remember, QoS is not in violation of network neutrailty if it is selected by the user. If the ISP offers only uniform QoS to the user, but then nobbles companies that don't pay the protection racket, then that is very much in violation of network neutrality.

Not always (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513770)

"Uncapped is just rediculous and a complete lie. The companies shouldn't even be allowed to claim it since it is blatantly false advertising."

Well, I on FIOS I have a 50Mb/s connection, and I probably download 500GB per month, and have done so for about 5 years.

If I put my mind to it, I'm sure I could download more, and I don't think Verizon cares.

And this is news, how? (1)

Decker-Mage (782424) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513698)

Any reputable engineer who isn't owned by one side or the other in this 'debate' will look at the network infrastructure, then the size of the anticipated customer base (hell, just for Apple's projected sales alone), and the anticipated customer usage patterns. Result is a train-wreck. No other result. It won't work.

Now I'm an unusual customer with normally unusual demand and, fortunately, all my wireless service provider does after a I blow through twice the max capacity for the month in just a couple of days and just slows my connection. The rest of the industry either cuts you off or charges you exorbitant overage fees. If everyone wants video wherever, whenever (or downloads a lot of alpha and beta software to test), it just won't work.

Engineers and economists (usually) deal with the real world, the world with (rational?) constraints. I am, and have been, both to my misfortune. Why misfortune? Because I've been watching this build for a very long time. No one listened. Enjoy.

F5 is not a provider, they make high-end routers (1)

TBBle (72184) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513708)

So, the technical director of a large carrier-grade router and packet classification equipment manufacturer is suggesting that British ISPs adopt a billing model which requires carrier-grade router and packet classification equipment to operate?

I'm not sure that an article should really be allowed to claim that something is an opinion of "experts" but quote only one (admittedly expert) person whose business would directly benefit from his prediction being accurate. I'd rather they actually asked an academic or someone else without direct economic interest (as well, not instead).

I think this article was more aimed at the ISPs going to the meeting than the rest of us: "Hey British ISPs, if you want to be able to charge more than just £x/megabyte, how about this model? We also happen to be able to sell you the equipment to implement it. You probably should get the government to agree first, if you happen to be meeting with them any time today."

Tabloiddot (1)

benbean (8595) | more than 3 years ago | (#35513784)

Is it rampant speculation week on Slashdot? First the ridiculous "Apple's handcuffing web apps!" nonsense from the Reg, and now this completely speculative nonsense? /. standards are really slipping. Can we link to some proper journalism please?

Yes, I must be new here.

charged per device? by BT? hahaha.. shit tornado.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35513936)

British Telecom has legendary reputation for being an asshole ISP in all regards, shapes and service...

i know quite well how hard they suck... and we don't even have BT in germany... that's how angry BT customers are... imagine.. :D

DPI Vendor Pimping DPI: Shock (2)

igb (28052) | more than 3 years ago | (#35514064)

The story is complete tosh.

Firstly, the extra volume created for ISPs by iPads is close to zero: they're being used as extra devices in houses, and aren't capable of running any of the bandwidth-intensive P2P applications that (when they're pimping different things) ISPs and vendors are keen to tell us represent 90% of their volume.

Secondly, this is a vendor of DPI kit pushing applications for DPI. But it's a doomed endeavour. It would be impossible to split tariffing based on numbers of devices as the market would react with domestic proxies if NAT didn't provide enough aggregation. So the only way it could conceivably be done would be by inspecting packets at close quarters to see which application is being run. At which point the market would respond with encryption.

not fair (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35514228)

totally nor fair for us in the UK [howtophotoshop.co.uk]

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>