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Caveats In Reselling DSL Bandwidth To Neighbors?

timothy posted more than 9 years ago | from the note-that-most-isps-won't-dig-this dept.

Wireless Networking 383

chrisleetn writes "I'm contemplating getting Slashdot (Speakeasy) 6Mbps broadband or something similar and offering wireless internet access to my neighborhood. Speakeasy even has a plan to allow this. What should I be aware of as far as legal/business/regulatory implications? I know I need to restrict obvious illegal stuff and probably p2p to be safe, but is the local cable modem company going to come after me for competing with them? Has anyone done this who can offer some insight?"

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fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186264)

first post???!

Why would the cable modem company come after you? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186267)

On what logical basis did you come to that conclusion?

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (-1, Offtopic)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186302)

Unless you have a very strange and liberal plan, well strange as far as a residential plan goes, this is expressly forbidden in your service agreement. Thats why they'd be pissed, at the very least they would cut off your service.

RTFA, Idiot (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186329)

Speakeasy allows for reselling of your connection.

Re:RTFA, Idiot (2)

0racle (667029) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186425)

Well there would also be the matter of running a business from your home. You would still need to deal with those legal requirements.

Re:RTFA, Idiot (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186580)

Wow, you really are a moron. Not only are you incapable of reading the article or summary of said article, you are incapable of reading what others have already pointed out.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (0, Offtopic)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186337)

How the hell is this offtopic?
As an ISP we would not allow our customers to host or re-sell bandwidth commercially unless we specificily sold them uplink for that purpose (which is much more expensive then home-uplink).

RTFA, Idiot (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186345)

The FUCKING ARTICLE SUMMARY says SPEAKEASY ALLOWS THEIR CUSTOMERS TO SHARE THEIR CONNECTION.

The article isn't even about the cable modem company, its about DSL (the submitter was wondering if the Cable Co. would come after him for competing with them, which makes you and the grandparent twice the idiot)

Re:RTFA, Idiot - shush ye.. sssh.. calm down buddy (-1)

lordsilence (682367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186384)

Mod me down, but it's still on topic.
This plan is exactly the plan which I mentioned. It was a valid question by the parent. [Just to make it clear for you AC guy, I'll go with a Reduntat info post here.] Just from a short glance at http://www.speakeasy.net/netshare/learnmore/ I cannot see any pricing. But Im guessing the shared neighbourhood thingy is more expensive then normal service. Unless it's all for free and he just gets a commission.

Re:RTFA, Idiot - shush ye.. sssh.. calm down buddy (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186595)

I'll go with a Reduntat info post here.

How about retarded post? You're the dumbest and more illiterate person I've seen on Slashdot yet.

Re:RTFA, Idiot (1)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186401)

It is sad that 99% of the users reading this just assume they'd be violating their ISP's AUP. I've been with Speakeasy so long I forgot that there are lame ISPs out there that do things like block ports and restrict sharing your connection. Sheesh. Speakeasy is by far the best ISP I've ever dealt with. Worth every penny.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (5, Informative)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186372)

This [speakeasy.net] should answer your questions. It's all good.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (4, Insightful)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186343)

Thats why they'd be pissed, at the very least they would cut off your service.

I think you missed the point. They can't cut his service, because they aren't providing it. What he means is that the CABLE companies might come after him because he is reselling the bandwidth he is getting from his DSL provider.

One reason they might do this is because they would be afraid that he might set some kind of example that their cable customers might expect they could get away with. After the cable company THEN has their own customers doing this, they are forced with the decision of either allowing it themselves, or cutting off their customers. That would be sending business to the competition.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186408)

It's pretty obvious why the cable company would WANT to go after them (competition bad). The question is, do they have any right to do so? And if not would they do it anyway?

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (1)

iocat (572367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186411)

But I'm sure it violates Comcast's TOS to do this, but Speakeasy not only doesn't care, they encourage it, w/in the confines fo their program (they bill, you support, you get 80% of your mutual clients' rate off your bill).

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186572)

What he means is that the CABLE companies might come after him because he is reselling the bandwidth he is getting from his DSL provider.

No no. RTFA. Speakeasy actually allows and encourages you to resell your excess bandwidth to your neighbors. They have a program set up to let savy uses become pico-ISPs for their neighbors. RTFA

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (4, Informative)

Chess_the_cat (653159) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186505)

Did you even read the submission?

Speakeasy even has a plan to allow this.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (1)

Refusedb (839535) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186567)

I think he means other companies selling broadband ie SBC, Verizon, Comcast et.al. at least in my Nieghborhood
They might get jealous, therefore limit his cable services.

Re:Why would the cable modem company come after yo (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186388)

Because the contract you sign for cable/dsl service specifically forbids the resale of the bandwidth being provided to you. It is akin to asking if it would be okay to resell the cable TV service you subscribe to. I know criminal penalties apply to the latter. However, I am not sure about the former. But civil liability does apply. Prepare to pay money and not receive any further service.

--
How many dumb AC's can you fit on the head of a needle?

First Post (-1, Troll)

poolecl (170874) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186269)

First Post

Is it really worth the trouble? (5, Insightful)

Zweistein_42 (753978) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186271)

Providing it free as a service probably wouldn't be too difficult. But would it make sense to go through all the hassle for the few bucks you can make?

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (4, Insightful)

TedCheshireAcad (311748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186310)

if you're willing to offer it for free to your neighbors, i salute your nobility. however, it may be worth your while to come to some kind of informal agreement with your neighbors (they make you cookies once a month or something like that). this country needs more friendly things like that.

i'd call it the Food for IP program. like food for oil, but not corrupt.

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (1)

zagmar (20261) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186344)

Yeah, food, handicrafts, and the like. You've got a neighbor who's a plumber, he'll fix your sink for you because of the free internet.

As for legal issues, if you name yourself as an ISP, you should be safe. AFAIK, so far the MPAA/RIAA have not gone after ISPs in particular, rather the people who maintain servers and do the actual downloading. As long as you make it clear that you are providing the service and want them to self regulate, you should be fine. You probably also have to have something set up to remove access for people who are abusing the system.

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (1)

eric76 (679787) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186509)

MPAA/RIAA have not gone after ISPs in particular

There is good reason for that.

They wouldn't have a leg to stand on as long as the ISP followed the law.

The ISP is basically not liable as long as they aren't involved in the file sharing themselves. If the ISP set up their own file sharing node or carried the material on their web site, they would be responsible. They might also be held responsible if a user has the material on a site owned by the ISP and the ISP has not filed the information about their contact addressess set up to receive notifications about copyright violations.

For the exact requirements for an ISP to not be held liable as an infringer or contributing infringer, check out Title 17 US Code: Title 17 -- Copyrights [cornell.edu] .

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (5, Insightful)

stratjakt (596332) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186375)

Plenty of people have "rediscovered" the barter system, hell, many never forgot it.

I set up a laptop with quickbooks and some custom invoices and reciepts for a friend of mine who runs a tree service, in return he cut down a few trees and ground out some stumps.

I fixed another friend of a friends' kids PS2, and he (a plumber) came over and helped me replace a hot water heater.

I do it all the time, it's all about being social and knowing the right people, and having something to trade.

It works well for us.. Many/most tradesmen who work with their hands don't know shit about their PCs.

My neighbour is a cabinetmaker by trade, and a contractor. This idea of giving him free wireless internet is intriguing. I think I might just offer him free internet forever* if he helps me build the bar I want.

* - forever does not necessarily mean "for ever"

I wish 'society' could be a little more social. Look at an amish barnraising to see how much can be accomplished in a short amount of time if people will pitch in.

Yet, despite the fact that I sweated and toiled one weekend to help a neighbour install a chain link fence, he just sat there with his new snowblower while watching me bust my ass shovelling my driveway when he could have done it in about 5 minutes.

Oh well, people are a bunch of asses. That's why we invented money.

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (4, Insightful)

h4rm0ny (722443) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186398)


The cookie program is probably your best bet on the grounds that you'll lose yourself a whole lot of legal hassle and gain yourself something more fulfilling community wise. There's just something nice about your neighbours bringing you dinner once a month or every couple of months. And there's something not nice about introducing money/legal agreements to friendships; or the calculator-fight that will break out when your connection goes down and they want re-imbursement or because you aren't there for tech support because you're on holiday, etc.

Saying you will provide this service on best-effort terms in return for cookies/lawn-mowing/kid-collecting etc is your best, friendliest, non-legally dangerous way of doing this. A great idea that I shall probably copy.

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (3, Interesting)

drspliff (652992) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186319)

Yes, I beleave it is worth the trouble in offering services like this. In rural Britain where there are more sheep than people it's often hard to find fast internet services, so people started doing similar things to what your suggesting (but mostly with satellite connections). I doubt anybody would come after you for trying to 'steal' their business, as long as your only charging the minimum amount allowing you to cover the costs involved in providing the service (e.g. electricity and service charge spread between however many people your offering it to). As for illegal material and p2p file sharing, I suggest you setup some sort of per-ip bandwidth monitoring solution, and taking up abuse on a first come first serve basis :) Although depending on your juristiction and local authority, being the middle man in distributing mp3s or kiddy porn could be considered illegal. Perhaps talk to your layer about getting some sort of disclaimer that your friends/customers sign before using your service.

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (3, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186455)

talk to your layer

Let's see ... would that be the transport layer or the protocol layer?

But yeah ... particularly here in the U.S. it would be an excellent idea to seek a good lawyer's advice. Just because you are offering something for free doesn't mean you aren't liable for something. It's pretty much guaranteed that there is a law on the books, somewhere, that makes anything a human being might want to do illegal. It's just a matter of someone deciding to go after you with it. Hell, even one of your erstwhile customers might get pissed off and sue you for something. Actually, I'd be inclined to exclude attorneys from my customer list ... they have no real barrier to filing a lawsuit, which can make them rather dangerous to do business with.

At a minimum, he will most certainly need some way to implement bandwidth caps. Otherwise I guarantee little Tommy next door will hog the whole proceedings downloading by Britney Spears' latest video, or all seven seasons of Stargate SG-1.

This endeavor will probably end up being more trouble than it is really worth, but if the guy gets a kick out of it ... more power to him. We need more neighbors like that.

ill show you hassle! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186366)

" But would it make sense to go through all the hassle for the few bucks you can make?"

meanwhile i am making NOTHING by posting this link [themaxx.com] which, im sure you'll agree, is worth the "hassle". merry xmas

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (1)

Dreadlord (671979) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186450)

Another question: What if one of your neighbors starts downloading warez or kiddie pr0n, who'd be responsible then?

Re:Is it really worth the trouble? (4, Insightful)

modecx (130548) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186523)

IMO, the real hassle wouldn't be in setting the equipment up and making it work, this is easy stuff.

When you do a small ISP jobby, you make yourself the sole support contact. Everyone will bug you about every minor shit problem imaginable. I did this with my nuclear family (basically all living on the same block), and it was just pathetic. Your ass will be on line for every computer problem they can throw at you, and worst of all you're not getting paid for it. And if you don't go and fix it soon, these people know where you live, and they're going to resent it.

Really, it wasn't that these things were so problemsome, but my family is a group of procrastinators to the extreme. I try hard to avoid this, but when grandma calls dad and says that cousin susie has a computer problem and can't finish her midterm assignement the night before it's due (when in reality she's downloading cowboy music off of Kazzaa--which also means your ass is grass is she ever gets caught)... Well, you're tempted to grab the shotgun and blow shit up. Not healthy.

Having had personal experience with this issue, I'd say it's not a good idea at all, UNLESS all of your neighbors are cheap ass geeks who can fix their own problems, but are too poor to afford a cable connection on their own... Basically, It's a stupid idea, unless you want the hassle...

FIRST OPST (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186275)

SLASHDOT FORUMS SUCK MY BALLS

... but the upload sucks (5, Insightful)

Average_Joe_Sixpack (534373) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186284)

At 768 up you would need some way to cap their upload. Otherwise you'd risk a neighbor ruining it for everybody.

Re:... but the upload sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186354)

ah ah ah, information wants to be free. Remember where you are.

Re:... but the upload sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186371)

Uploading any more than "GET / HTTP/1.1" isn't very common. Are you trying to account for spam spewing zombies?

Re:... but the upload sucks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186498)

Uploading any more than "GET / HTTP/1.1" isn't very common.

Not for P2P, I upload way more than I download.

Re:... but the upload sucks (3, Informative)

jonTu (839883) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186601)

the parent post makes a very good point, let me add some firsthand experience. I've shared DSL with neighbors in my various apartments over the last couple years; here in NYC where high population density means a 10' patch cable or a single off-the-shelf access point is often all it takes to get your neighbor plugged in, there's no reason not to. After years of sharing DSL lines, I'm about to get a cable modem. The problem is that both my current neighbor and I are content creators of one sort or another, and thus need that upload bandwidth. Because DSL is asynchronous, the uploads DRAG for the uploader and the bandwith chokes for everyone else.

You might figure "hey, whatever, I have 800 up and X megs down, even if one user eats 400 up there's still plenty of bandwidth to go around." That's totally logical in terms of resource allocation, but DSL doesn't work that way: according to Verizon (who had to explain to me why my I wasn't getting my promised bandwidth) half your upload bandwidth is half your bandwidth period. That's why Bittorrent drags so badly on DSL unless you cap the upload with CarraFix or something of that nature. So far as I understand it, this is standard practice for the DSL industry.

So my advice to you is, if possible, share some other sort of connection, because DSL doesn't lend itself to this very well. If that's not possible, just be very clear with all your neighbors before asking them to chip in that this is primarily a down-only network and that upload-intensive activities like Bittorrent or freelance web development won't fly. You can compromise a bit by setting rules. At my last apartment with a shared DSL line, we all agreed that you had to take it easy on bandwidth durring the day so people could work, but that you could do whatever at night. That worked out OK. If you're feeling frisky no doubt you could configure a server or routing device to do this for you, but I lack that sort of expertise and initiative. Sharing broadband is a cool way to do something nice for your neighbors by letting people (including you) get fast web access on the cheap, but if you intend to furnish a connection for any sort of bandwidth-intensive activities, look away from DSL.

You need a captive portal! (5, Interesting)

IO ERROR (128968) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186285)

You might want to set up something like NoCatAuth [seattlewireless.net] . NoCatAuth redirects users to a login page, implementing a captive portal system. This is important if you're selling the service because you want to be able to grant and deny access, and 802.11[A-Za-z] is otherwise full of holes [slashdot.org] .

They come at all hours. (4, Insightful)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186289)


In the broadest sense, once people start paying money, no matter how small, the relationship changes.

When connectivity on Sunday at 7am goes down, people will look at where they can get help. If they have a door to knock on, then woe betide you.

Re:They come at all hours. (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186462)

Bingo, and I would probably make them sign an agreement that you are not liable for outages so you don't get some lawsuit happy moron suing you when they can't get a crucial business email off, or something like that.

Re:They come at all hours. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186551)

Your going to make me sign an agreement? Cool. See you in court at some point in time or maybe I just trash your car. Personally, I would not share anything with my neighbors just to avoid this kind of thing. It's like going into business with your family. Rule #1: Don't do it. EOR's

ianal but.. (4, Insightful)

Naikrovek (667) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186295)

i can't think of a problem. the 802.11b/g spectrum is unlicensed. you can use it for whatever reason you wish. if your kick-ass provider lets you do this, then they won't complain.

as another poster said, is it really worth the trouble when it comes to billing?

also keep in mind that using wireless opens up their computer to the world. make sure folks know this before you let them join your network.

Re:ianal but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186305)

At one stage the fact that 802.11b/g/a used ISM bands prevented for-profit use, I think this was even in statute in places like the UK.

Not that anyone seems to care now.

Re:ianal but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186346)

...thats a scenario where a (real) fire wall cames at hand

greets from .ptland

Re:ianal but.. (4, Informative)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186416)

as another poster said, is it really worth the trouble when it comes to billing?

Speakeasy handles the billing and credits your account, you just provide the wireless setup. People need to read about Speakeasy's WiFi Netshare Program [speakeasy.net] before assuming stuff.

No, but.... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186298)

is the local cable modem company going to come after me for competing with them?

... I will go after you for competing with me. Bitch.

This Is Rather Simple (5, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186299)

This is one of those cases where some simple common sense comes into play.

Alright, so you not going to be an illicit reseller, but an authorized body capable of forming a legal binding agreements with your customers.

ISP's do this all the time... they simple resell bandwidth they have purchased from their providers.

Basically, write out what services you will provide and clearly define what you won't allow. It needs to be clearly written and agreed upon by your clients.

After that, you simply need to track ip addresses (assumming DHCP will be in iuse), keep mail logs (if you provide smtp/pop service) and generally ensure that you can track illicit activity back to the source if requested to do so by a court order.

It's simply a matter of accountability and this is something you can easily do given it is a service you can provide.

Anything else is just extra, but it would probably be a good idea to track bandwidth usage.

Re:This Is Rather Simple (1, Informative)

PhotoJim (813785) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186312)

Read your agreement with your ISP. You may be precluded by contract from reselling the service. If you are, you risk being sued for damages by the provider, or having your service outright suspended. If this is the case, don't risk it... just don't do it. If your agreement allows it, then carry on.

Re:This Is Rather Simple (2, Informative)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186589)

Read your agreement with your ISP. You may be precluded by contract from reselling the service. If you are, you risk being sued for damages by the provider, or having your service outright suspended. If this is the case, don't risk it... just don't do it. If your agreement allows it, then carry on.

The original poster already said "Speakeasy even has a plan to allow this." He didn't provide a link for it, but apparently they will do the billing for him [speakeasy.net] and surprisingly enough they will even allow him to set his own price [speakeasy.net] . It seems to be a really good move on the part of Speakeasy to do this.

Re:This Is Rather Simple (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186323)

After that, you simply need to track ip addresses (assumming DHCP will be in iuse), keep mail logs (if you provide smtp/pop service) and generally ensure that you can track illicit activity back to the source if requested to do so by a court order.

Or don't and say that the logs aren't kept. There are no laws that say that logs are a requirement and there is no reason to keep them for longer than a short period of time anyway.

Re:This Is Rather Simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186325)

"ensure that you can track illicit activity back to the source if requested to do so by a court order"

I certainly would not say that in the blanket fashion you have. EFF[.org] has a nice document describing best logging practices.

You are not under ANY legal requirement to keep logs. Only do so to your best interest.

Re:This Is Rather Simple (3, Interesting)

mikeb39 (670045) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186514)

Out of curiosity, does anyone know if it's against the law NOT to keep said logs? If I were running an ISP, I really wouldn't want to help the **AA's. Why not just keep the logs for a week for internal security use, and then send em to /dev/null? If someone from within your network was viewing child porn and it was tracked back, if you cannot provide the information will you be held accountable?

Illegal stuff and "probably" P2P? (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186303)

Dude, get a clue. Peer-to-peer file sharing is illegal!

Unprotected Wireless... (5, Interesting)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186306)

What you do with your bandwidth, as long as it doesn't violate terms of service, is your business, not that of your local cable company.

However, would your neighbors be willing to pay?

In my neighborhood, I can count no less than 9 unprotected networks. Most of them are all on the default linksys channel of 6 with the default SSID of "linksys". That can sometimes make them difficult to use since they tend to interfere. Some of them are configured well enough to be usable but are still not protected.

I've found that in the rare events that my internet connection goes down, I've been able to easily just use a neighbor's. I'd feel worse about doing it if it weren't for the fact that it's so common, but it's very common.

A friend and I drove around town one night with a laptop and a wireless 802.11g card and we kept finding Netgear and Linksys routers all night.

Most of them had the default passwords. It's very scary, really.

The scary ones are the ones who know enough to make serious changes to their configuration, but still don't have the sense to change their passwords.

Re:Unprotected Wireless... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186391)

Even more scary are the ones that appear to be open invitations, but if you don't have the right MAC address, you set off alarm bells.

Remember, you are in physical proximity; your license plate number could be recorded.

Re:Unprotected Wireless... (1)

Jace of Fuse! (72042) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186456)

Remember, you are in physical proximity; your license plate number could be recorded.

That's very true, but technically there's still a very gray area when it comes to wireless internet access. On the one hand, it could be argued that simply connecting to a wireless network isn't doing anything wrong. It's what you do once there that matters. On the other hand, most people would probably be up to no good. Though many are just curious.

You also shouldn't forget that SOME software automatically connects to the strongest nearby wap without any intervention from the user. If you drive by and your system tries to connect momentarily, but then you drive out of range before anything happens it could hardly be said that you've broken any laws. At least not YET anyway.

Besides, there isn't much point in "trying to catch someone snooping". If they fear war drivers snooping they need to close up their networks.

Re:Unprotected Wireless... (1)

sysadmn (29788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186603)

In my neighborhood, I can count no less than 9 unprotected networks. Most of them are all on the default linksys channel of 6 with the default SSID of "linksys". That can sometimes make them difficult to use since they tend to interfere. Some of them are configured well enough to be usable but are still not protected.
Sadly, logging in with the default password and setting them to channels 1,6, and 11 is still illegal. Shouldn't there be a 'preventative hygiene' defense?

Hogs? (4, Interesting)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186313)

Well, I certainly wouldn't sign up for your plan to share a 6 Mb connection with others.

But for those that do, what are you going to do to guarantee them that one of your neighbours isn't going to hog all of the bandwidth?

I know just in my house (also a 6 Mb connection), if I'm downloading something through Bit Torrent, it really slows down any internet stuff on the other computers, and if another computer here downloads a file or checks email, it makes games on mine stutter.

Are you going to give them bandwidth caps? And will those go down everytime you get a new customer?

Re:Hogs? (0)

AKnightCowboy (608632) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186433)

But for those that do, what are you going to do to guarantee them that one of your neighbours isn't going to hog all of the bandwidth?

Go over their house and ask them nicely to stop downloading all that porn during the day. Sheesh, don't you people ever friggin talk to your neighbors? This is great for communities of people that talk and hang out, not for those only interested in exploiting their neighbors as a customer base. It's basically a way to share an expensive ADSL or T1 line and have everyone chip in a bit to make it cheaper.

Re:Hogs? (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186533)

"Go over their house and ask them nicely to stop downloading all that porn during the day."

Yeah, I can see that turning out well.

Every day, another knock on the door from Mr. Local ISP.

"Grrr.... What the hell does he want this time?!?"

Great way to make friends. :)

Re:Hogs? (1)

LuSiDe (755770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186534)

I know just in my house (also a 6 Mb connection), if I'm downloading something through Bit Torrent, it really slows down any internet stuff on the other computers, and if another computer here downloads a file or checks email, it makes games on mine stutter.

Its probably because all your upload bandwidth is used to upload many, big packets for BitTorrent. This means data which is send to a server for e.g. SSH/Email/HTTP, and TCP ACK packets, have the same priority in the upload queue as those many, big packets hence they takes a while.

To fix this, you can give Wondershaper (CBQ / Linux) or AltQ (*BSD) and prioritize those smaller upload packets. The caveat is that you have a slightly lower than max upload speed. Latency will however decrease. Try it, experiment with the settings; its worth it!

No Way (5, Informative)

global_diffusion (540737) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186314)

If you go through Speakeasy, they set it up so that the people you sell it to are their customers, and not yours. The deal is that the more you sell, the less you pay. It's a good deal.

Incorporate (2, Interesting)

hifiandrew (699454) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186317)

I'm no attorney but if it were me, I would look into possibly incorporating, perhaps even as a non-profit cooperative or something to that effect if you plan to offer the service for free or at cost. I don't have any personal expereince running a community ISP but incorporating seems like a good precaution against liability.

Ban the stuff people buy DSL for?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186330)

Haha, I love how you're going to ban almost everything that people buy DSL for. Why don't you just ban porn sites too and put the final nail in your startup coffin. Seriously, you are making the mistake of concluding that you are doing the right thing before asking the right questions. How are you going to handle people who say "why can't I download music?" and "why can't I go to such and such site?" You just don't want to get involved with this stuff if you value your relationships with your neighbors. Sharing a connection with your next-door neighbor to help lower your costs is one thing; running a whole operation around that concept is quite another. My recommendation? Enjoy your high-speed connection and recommend that your friends get the same service if they ask about it.

The problems that result when you become a full-service provider are not worth it on such a small scale. That's why I never sell complete computer systems but am happy to charge people for service on systems they buy elsewhere. There's no way I can be blamed for a hardware problem on a system I didn't build, so I maintain a better relationship with customers by separating the concepts of sales and service. I wouldn't do it at all if it wasn't extremely lucrative because people, even friends, become surprisingly demanding when you can provide something that they want.

posting to hear yourself talk (-1, Troll)

SethJohnson (112166) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186332)



Why is this even being brought up? Sounds like this character just wants to ask unneccessary questions to draw attention to himself and his clever little scheme.

Next time you get a couple friends to go in on a 12 pack, why don't you post an 'Ask Slashdot' if you should be concerned about the local bar owners suing you for competing with them by selling liquor without a license? This is ridiculous. Just do it and be done with it.

Tech support (5, Interesting)

Epsillon (608775) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186334)

Be VERY careful. If you help one neighbour even once with a connectivity issue, chances are your door will never be silent again. This is not a joke. Trust me, you will be sat in front of other people's computers more than you are your own. Be firm from the outset. I'm sure you have better things to do with your time than being dragged from house to house to put the WEP key back in, only to have some luser remove it again.

Re:Tech support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186359)

This is the whole idea behind Speakeasy's resale program. YOU pay for the bandwidth. YOU provide tech support to your "customers". Speakeasy handles the billing of your "customers", and credits you with a cut of the proceeds - hopefully enough to compensate you for the cost of your connection and then some.

Points to consider (4, Informative)

gregwbrooks (512319) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186342)

The idea of selling access -- even if it's dirt cheap -- is a good idea and it doesn't make you a blood-sucking capitalist. What it *does* make you is someone who can avoid the "tragedy of the commons," issues that arise when you give away something that people value.

Charging lets you assign value to your service, and assigning value is a key way to keep customers in line while covering your nut.

In terms of the cable modem companies "coming after you," you need only worry about legal competition -- no franchise agreements come to mind that completely lock out all broadband competition. It's worth noting, however, that Verizon has backed legislation in Pennsylvania to prevent municipalities from setting up free broadband services -- a bad step in the direction of market control.

If you *are* going to charge, then you've got some additional costs to consider:

  • Business licence, if necessary, or registration as a non-profit if you're pursuing it as such. One way or another, you don't want to get caught running a business in all but the tiniest towns without the right license, because city hall likes to extract its pound of flesh as much as the next guy.
  • Insurance and incorporation -- because it's important, i.e., "Little Jimmy viewed Paris Hilton's tits on the DSL leech you sold me, and now I'm going to sue you for everything you've got!" For you, that probably means your house and your stuff UNLESS you're a.) incorporated (to separate your business assets from your personal ones); and b.) insured. (And yes, I know your TOS would limit your liability -- it doesn't matter. People don't have to win lawsuits to leech every penny you have... they just need to file them and force you to defend them.)
  • Bulletproof TOS. No matter what you do, give yourself the ability to shut folks down at your sole discretion. Have an attorney who Knows About These Things review your TOS, even if it costs you a few bucks to do so.

Good luck!

Sharing ye olde Cable Modem. (2, Funny)

timpintsch (842091) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186350)

There was this guy I used to work with who got his cablemodem from the company we both worked for. He decided to share his cablemodem with his whole building, which was CLEARLY against our Aacceptable Use Policy. Every other person in the building has this cable company. This guy was so smart he put flyers all over the building telling everyone how to get free internet through wireless. With over 80 units in his building, one might think he might have shown some restraint.

Well some Cable Company Wire Technicians found his flyer and tracked down his apartment and he was fired. Smooth move exlax!

In this case though, as long as YOUR allowed to do it by the ISP in question, nobody else should bother you.

I call BS. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186584)

> as long as YOUR allowed to do it by the ISP in question

Do you expect us to believe you're old enough to work for a cable company, and you don't know how to spell "you're?" You even capitalized your spelling error.

Legal Issues (4, Informative)

Nate75Sanders (743234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186358)

- You're now earning income. You at least have to tack this onto your normal income tax to be legal. If you're making enough money, maybe you also have to get a business license. - If you do have to get a business license, you have to deal with zoning laws. If this is a small business being run out of your home, you can't meet with clients at your home, at least in some states. There's a good chance you don't care about either of those, as maybe you're not going to pay taxes or file for a business license, etc, but you asked, so it's something to consider

not OT, but sorta related (3, Interesting)

Quixote (154172) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186373)

Hopefully this is not construed as being OT, but I have a tangential question.

I have had broadband over cable for close to 5 years now. From the beginning, my uploads have been capped at around 48KBps (384Kbps). In this period, the technology has changed; prices of almost everything in this field have come down drastically; there's a massive bandwidth glut (with oodles of dark fiber lying around), and yet my upload speed is still capped. My question is: why?

OK, one answer could be: ISPs have to pay to send traffic to other ISPs. But that begs the question: why can't I get fullspeed (10Mbps) to my neighbor, if we are both on the same ISP? I can understand this peering argument to have merit when you're crossing ISP borders, but why doesn't the ISP let me get the full benefit of the technology to people in the same subnet?

My cynical guess is that this prevents file-sharing, the bogeyman of the entertainment industry. Since cable ISPs are beholden to (if not owned by) this industry, they are deliberately keeping the UL rates low.

Any thoughts?

Re:not OT, but sorta related (1)

ScytheBlade1 (772156) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186513)

Cable modems (using coax), due to the nature of coax, the more up you send, the less down you can recieve. iirc it's more of a technology limitation than most other things.

Re:not OT, but sorta related (1)

elgatozorbas (783538) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186542)

But that begs the question: why can't I get fullspeed (10Mbps) to my neighbor, if we are both on the same ISP? I can understand this peering argument to have merit when you're crossing ISP borders, but why doesn't the ISP let me get the full benefit of the technology to people in the same subnet?

Why are you so sure this is technologically possible? I can imagine the upstream bandwidth is limited by design because thie meets market demand. This is the case for e.g. DSL too.

Z

Re:not OT, but sorta related (1)

squisher (212661) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186593)

  • Why are you so sure this is technologically possible? I can imagine the upstream bandwidth is limited by design because thie meets market demand. This is the case for e.g. DSL too.
Actually, it depends on the type of DSL: the commen ADSL has, as you said, a smaller upload than download rate but SDSL for example is symmetric and provides equal upload and download rates.

Step Number One ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186382)

Incorporate yourself; shield your personal assets from legal liability. You are contemplating a business venture, and you _have_ to isolate your business activities into their own legal sandbox. The paper work and fees cost ~$300-$400, but the peace of mind is well worth it.

Accountability and risk (3, Informative)

didde (685567) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186383)


I am doing this exact thing, except I'm in Sweden. I do not block things like P2P but I do use keyword based filtering through a proxy if the client requests this (usually if it's family computer where they want to keep the kids from visiting Goatse.cx, ;-)

Anyway, I'm no legal expert but I would think it'd help to keep the logs from Squid so you can account for who visited what and when. That way, you can always identify the person responsible if it ever comes to that.

I would not worry about your local ISP coming after you for stealing some of their potential customers as long as _your_ deal with _your_ ISP says that you can share your connection with others.

Oh, one more thing... You might want to looking into putting a contract together for your customers / friends who'll be using your line. You could basically ensure that _they_ are infact resposible for what they're doing on your xDSL.

2x post, doh! (1)

didde (685567) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186427)


Actually, I just realized that very few kids actually want to visit Goatse.cx, or at least that's what I would like to believe...

Moving on...

Cost:Profit Ratio Biggest Issue? (2, Insightful)

Fearan (600696) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186390)

The NetShare service from Speakeasy does look nice, but let's say you decide to use it with the 6mbps package. It costs $110/month. Don't think you will be making a profit with this type of sharing, at least not considerable profit. It MIGHT cover the cost of the connection, if you find enough willing customers. Let's say you resell 768Kbps to 7 people, for $20/month. You'll be making around $20 after taxes and other overhead costs. Considering Speakeasy's cheapest offering is $40/month, you could potentially resell half that bandwidth to twice the people for the same price ($20.) This would mean around $280 in sales, minus overhead around $140-$150 profit. If you can manage this, wow! One of my main concerns for this type of connection sharing would be the upload bandwidth. If you divide all the upload bandwidth in 14 equal shares, everyone is left with around 50Kbps of usuable upload bandwidth, or around 6 kilobytes per second. They'll all have 90k/sec down (including you). If you can properly set up bandwidth restrictions, these numbers are actually not too shabby, if you don't plan on uploading anything. Now when they are wondering why they get shitty speeds with Bittorrent, they'll go to you, but that's another issue. The NetShare service actually looks pretty usuable. They'll take care of everything (billing and all) but they don't mention profit, only "bringing down the cost of your connection", but I'm sure there's a way to use it for profit. And of course if you don't live in an apartment building, I'd say forget it. You could reach 5-6 houses if you're lucky, and not all will want to share a connection. Also you need to consider teaching all your customers about proper methods of protecting their data. If they're sharing anything and it is used against them, they'll blame you.

Biggest problem: neighbors doing illegal stuff (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186403)

Since you're not an ISP-proper, you'll probably take a bit more heat and then get arrested for "their" child porn.

Don't tell. (1)

mbaudis (585035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186422)

Just don't tell your provider; saves you lots of time (you lost some already by posting here; but so do i; that's another slashdot effect...). i had such an arrangement with a neighbor Then, in palo alto), by the use of a 150ft cat5 cable connected to his dsl. no problems; over the ca. 6months, there may have been two mornings when i politely waited until 9 to ask him about a problem (being early up myself due to a certain family member). i paid him half of his bill. if it doesn't work out, there should be no obligations; as simple as that.

Here's an idea (2, Interesting)

MasTRE (588396) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186426)

Simplify your life - go old-school and run actual Ethernet. They already have holes in their apartments for those roof-mounted satellite antennas anyway. No more wasting time with wireless setup, eliminating all WiFi security risks. Heck, plug them into a Linux box that's a p90 with 64MB RAM and n+1 dirt-cheap tulips (where n = your number of clients), don't share their connections, use htb for smart bandwidth throttling, and so on, and so forth. You can probably add a monitoring port that mirrors all packets for analisys on a fast machine.

Re:Here's an idea (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186545)

You cant...first rule of running connections from building to building is dont use twisted pair. The voltage difference between two buildings can cause problems, which is why fibre is used instead (no interference and not suceptible to any of these voltage differences - or what i have experienced at one site in particular is ethershock). In Australia atleast its illegal to do so unless your an approved carrier/installer

http://duxcw.com/faq/network/outside.htm

Re:Here's an idea (1)

isecore (132059) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186602)

go old-school and run actual Ethernet

for what it's worth: I second that motion.

I setup a wireless 802.11g network at my parents place, and man oh man did I lock that thing tight. MAC filtering, WPA encryption - the works. I also added a P233MMX running m0n0wall that handles some extra features as far as walling fire is concerned. It's tighter than a hermetically sealed virgins asshole, and mom'n'pop can run around the house/yard/garage with their laptops and surf 'til their heads explode.

Yet I still fear that my mom's gonna call me in the middle of the night asking why her computer is 0wned (maybe not that exact wording) and is sending out spam and storing kiddie-porn because some evil person broke the wireless connection.

So, when push comes to shove I sure as hell prefer good old CAT-5. I would never put anything else in my apartment. Just my US$0.02.

*adjusts tinfoil-hat*

obvious illegal stuff (1)

fche (36607) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186453)

Dude, if you can really identify "obvious illegal stuff" that you believe you have to block, you could make megabucks selling software to do that.

That's a big "it depends" (1, Insightful)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186454)

Depends on a lot of different things. First it depends on you. Are you willing to put up with handling billing and tech support? You'll have to make sure people pay you on time, and they won't sometimes, and you'll need to be tech support for them. You need to ask yourself if you are willing to spend the time to do that.

Also depends on what kind of people your neighbours are. A biggie here is what kind of tech support they'll want/demand. Given that you are right next door, they may expect that you should fix ALL their computer problems, if you provide them service. So find out, and if they are the demanding type, decide if you can deal with this, because they are likely to be unhappy if oyu can't.

Along those lines, you need to decide what kind of support you are willing to do. You have to do basic Internet support, that's part of the deal, but what extra support are you willing to do and at what point does it start to cost extra money? Only you can decide on that, but you need to decide before, not after. Lay out the terms in teh beginning, or there will be problems later.

You will also need an AUP, and you probably want some hardware to enforce parts of it (like blocking ports, controlling traffic, etc). A M0n0wall box is a good idea for soemthing like that. However equally important to the harwdare to enforce it is a policy, stated before. Let people know what they can and can't do.

Mostly, it depends on your willingness to be support and the disposition of your neighbours. I provide net for roomate, not neighbours, but you still get the full gamut of people. Some are real easy to work with. My current roomate doesn't even bother me when the net goes down, he knows I know and will get it fixed. Some seem to think that since I provide them net, I should have to fix every problem that happens on their computer.

However, so long as you lay things out before hand, stick to your guns, and are comfortable with providing whatever level of support you commit to, it should work well. This is all assuming you know your neighbours of course. If they are basically just strangers that just happen to live next to you, well then all bets are off.

Please be forwarding your contact to me sir. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186458)

Greetings,

I am a world traveller who am seeking to find a nice ISP that is low cost and cognizant of privacy concerns. Your outfit seems just like that fits my needs. I am needing your connection because I am involved in the following pursuits:

1) Threatening the President of the United States
2) child porn distribution
3) credit card fraud
4) Al-Qaeda recruitment
5) spam

As you can see, signing up with a regular ISP would not allow me to do such things. But if I can count on you to take the heat for me, I would like to become your customer. Please mail me as soon as possible with the price.

Your esteemed collegue,

Osama bin Laden

And one last request. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186499)

I like to collect episodes of that wacky comedy show "Full House". Those Olsen Twins are hotties!

ObL

About p2p (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186474)

I know I need to restrict obvious illegal stuff and probably p2p to be safe,
Nothing safe (or practical) about that at all. One SSL connection looks like any other. You're never going to know whether something illegal is going on, or not.

Just throttle or otherwise limit bandwidth so that leeches won't ruin it for everyone. And then keep sufficient logs so that you know who had what address at a given time. Then if someone is doing something naughty, you have a means of knowing who to pass the buck to, instead of having it stop with you.

The idea is: when someone sends you a DMCA notice or humorless Secret Service dudes show up to inquire about a presidential death threat, do you want it to be your problem, or someone else's?

Unlikely to be legal (4, Informative)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186484)

At least here in Australia if you provide communication services which cross a property boundary then you have to be a licensed telecommunications carrier.

I believe that in NZ this is not a difficult thing to do (about as hard as applying for a passport) but the Australian Government is not fond of the idea of administring millions of telecommunication carriers, and has made the process much more difficult.

I think if you dig deeper in your juristiction you will find that similar rules apply. Remember all the regulations which apply to carriers: having to provide wiretap facilities, etc. Legally, this could be quite messy

Restricting p2p? (1)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186500)

I have seen a couple sites lately offering .torrent files to reduce traffic on their server. Would these also be blocked?

Re:Restricting p2p? (1)

notthe9 (800486) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186531)

Sorry to reply to my own post, but I thought I'd throw in a quick caveat. I realize people who post things like this of /. often get "you just want to download copyrighted material" flames, and that really isn't my intent. If the answer is "yes, but that is a sacrifice that will be made," that makes some sense, and I've yet to see a site offering only torrent downloads for non-copyrighted material. I don't have a good grasp of the works of networking, let alone the ins and outs of p2p protocols (I rarely pirate, and when I do I use Direct Connect filesharing.) I did not know if there was some way to differentiate.

Important Don't Do (3, Funny)

repetty (260322) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186503)

Do NOT sell access to a Slashdot subscriber.

Forbidden in Spain (2, Informative)

diegocgteleline.es (653730) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186522)

In Spain, sharing your broadband connection (via wireless or with a ethernet cable to your neightbourd) is forbidden by law.

In fact, some small villages had made a public wireless net, so everybody could use internet (we're talking of tiny villages with no access to broadband etc), and they were denounced by some stupid "teleccomunication comission"
The new gobernment told them that they shouldn't have denounced those villages since they were trying to spread internet's access but well...the point is: we have some law that forbids it :(

Running an ISP, is ALOT of work. (0, Troll)

Monkeyfobia (761469) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186528)

Right running a true isp isnt simple. Im pretty sure even in the US you need keep access logs for all inward and outward connections. Copies of all emails entering/leaving your network, both of these need to be yearly logs. Also you either need to make sure that you are a least trying to stop all forms of illegal activities, or at least making it to its not your fault if you clients do do something illegal.Now you could block all the ports where illegal things go on, but that would mean you needing to block HTTP, which would make you the crappies isp ever. Also this would make you liable, as you would block legal forms of access, like say FTP into a website, or a bittorrent linux download. A better idea is a network traffic disclaimer, inside your TOS, saying that you are not responsable for any data moving accross your network, the user themselves are, you provide the network under the aggreement that they dont do anything illegal on it, and if they do be it on there heads. Running an ISP is alot of bother, and dosnt really make that much money, and with the required expenditure vs your profits in this situation would be a bad idea! When i ran on in the UK, i didnt make any profit for a year, and eventually i sold the company for a marginal profit.

ISPs protected by law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11186559)

You don't have to block anything; you just have to follow the rules at 17 USC 512 [cornell.edu] (including signing up with the U.S. Copyright Office [copyright.gov] and you can enjoy complete protection from copyright lawsuits. 47 USC 230 [cornell.edu] protects you from liability for other things.

It is possible that various kinds of ISPs do not have liability for copyright infringements committed by their subscribers, even if they don't follow the 17 USC 512 procedures, but that hasn't been litigated adequately and few ISPs want to try.

How's this for irony? (1)

martinultima (832468) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186562)

I just pulled up Slashdot from my relatives' house (I'm up visiting family as I write this)... they have dial-up, but my computer's discovered that their neighbors have an open connection... and this is the first story that comes up. Wierd.

I think that setting up a connection like that should be legal - at home, my neighborhood is filled with wireless connections so I can use my neighbor's wireless and they can use mine and so on, it's not like you can really control something like 802.11.

Daveats (4, Informative)

pvera (250260) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186583)

1. You don't have to worry about the cable company. The cable company will only get pissed if the local government tries to provide broadband, because it would be unfair competition.

2. Triple check that the AUP for your DSL allows you to share and resell the service. Then check again.

3. If you are reselling, you will probably have to charge for sales tax, check your local tax authority.

4. There are probably FCC rules about the equipment that you can use and the maximum power that it can irradiate. Of course, if you are using turnkey COTS equipment, the odds are that it is FCC legit.

5. Check your neighbors and see what is the interest in this kind of service. If there is too little interest then you are setting yourself for failure, since your location is fixed and there is only so far you can reach.

6. Write your own AUP and make sure the CYA provisions are in bold, plain english a second grader can understand. Then take the AUP to a lawyer to read and see if he can poke holes thru it.

7. Be prepared for the technical support burden, even if most of your customers are geeks.

I know I need to restrict obvious illegal stuff an (3, Informative)

fred911 (83970) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186586)

The minute you block anything, you are setting youself up. At that point you are no longer a carrier, you are a content provider.

Become the ISP or WISP of your neighborhood (1)

jeanicinq (535767) | more than 9 years ago | (#11186596)

If your neighbors have wireless access, you could become the the neighborhood ISP for the time being. Wireless access also means that the backbone does not have to be by landline. We could do away with the landline ISP and go strictly with wireless. For now, you can make the step possible if you do it right. Move to provide the network connection for free and only charge for the services you provice. At first, you might want to charge for network connection to cover the initial startup fees.
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