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!

Will ISPs Spoil Online Video?

CmdrTaco posted more than 7 years ago | from the a-bunch-of-wreckers dept.

301

mrspin writes "last100 writes: "With an ever greater amount of video being consumed online, many Internet users are in for a shock. There's a dirty little secret in the broadband industry: Internet Service Providers (ISPs) don't have the capacity to deliver the bandwidth that they claim to offer. One way ISPs attempt to conceal this problem is to place a cap of say 1GB per-month per user, something which is common in the UK for many of the lower-cost broadband packages on the market. Considering that a mere three hours viewing of Joost (the new online video service from the founders of Skype) would all but use up this monthly allowance, it's clear that lots of Internet users aren't invited to the party. But what about those who (like me) pay more for 'unlimited' broadband access? There shouldn't be a problem, right? Wrong." The article then goes on to discuss the recent trend of bandwidth throttling based on techniques such as packet shaping which punishes p2p traffic whether it's legitimate or not."

cancel ×

301 comments

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

Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (5, Insightful)

Ckwop (707653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299557)

I'm with Zen Internet, based in the UK. I get x amount of bandwidth a month and when that runs out I pay for a top-up.

What's wrong with paying for what you use? Why deliberately degrade your service when you can simply get the customer to pay the difference?

Simon

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (5, Insightful)

BHearsum (325814) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299583)

The reason people get so angry is because for years "unlimited" bandwidth has been advertised.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

smilindog2000 (907665) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299677)

Here in the US, most of the services I've seen that offer unlimited bandwidth don't have a lower-cost option that offers limited bandwidth. If the market for un-throttled P2P bandwidth grows, perhaps the ISPs should offer tiered service. Personally, I don't mind the pay-as-you-go model. In short, I want a service that combines TV, radio, phone service, and internet access, and I want to only pay a $100/month fee. If this isn't enough to get the on-demand video I want, perhaps I'd consider that as a premium option, but frankly, $100/month seems like it should cover me for the kinds of realistic use that would be done in my house. Also, I sure-as-hell don't want to be locked into AT&T for all those services, and net neutrality in the form of non-discrimination against packets based on origin needs to be enforced.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299785)

A minor correction to that statement: They advertise unlimited data transfer. The bandwidth is limited and is -always- advertised as such.

For instance, my current cable connection is advertised as 6 Mbit, but there is no limit, except the max speed, to how much data I can transfer in a month.

Internet is not the only thing sold in this way. Anything that many people use, but only a small amount use at a given time, is sold this way. There isn't enough roadway for everyone in New York to drive their car at the same time. There aren't enough cell phone towers for everyone to talk on the phone at the same time. I'm sure there are plenty more examples.

The problem here is that usage patterns are changing, and more people are going to want to use the service at the same time now. (By use I mean use 100%, instead of the small % that is typical.) Somehow, I think we'll survive this crisis. Sweden has internet connections to the house that are over 10x the bandwidth that mine is. ISPs will simply have to upgrade their infrastructure to handle it if they want to survive. If they don't, someone else will.

And let's not forget all the 'dark fiber' out there and wireless technologies that have been showing up lately. It could very well be that we decide not to use physical connections at all, and instead relay through a satellite or cell-towers for internet.

This article is either scaremongering or just plain boredom speaking. Someone recently found out about this situation and suddenly thinks they know more than everyone else in the industry, and decided to tell us the sky is falling. -yawn-

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299873)

but there is no limit, except the max speed, to how much data I can transfer in a month.

that's where things diverge. a lot of ISPs have transfer limits, which, more often than not, are not specificed (comcast for example).

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (3, Informative)

Mistlefoot (636417) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300437)

In Western Canada - the two high speed providers - limits are set.

The 4 packages Telus offers (per their website) are:
Download/Upload usage
60 GB/mo. - $45.95/month
60 GB/mo. - $40.95/month
30 GB/mo. - $31.95/month
10 GB/mo. - $16.95/month
source (http://www.mytelus.com/internet/highspeed/prices. do)

The 4 packages Shaw offers (per their website) are:
Download/Upload usage
150 GB/mo. - $99.95/month
100 GB/mo. - $48.95/month
60 GB/mo. - $38.95/month
10 GB/mo. - $29.95/month ($20 if you have TV as well)
source (http://www.shaw.ca/en-ca/ProductsServices/Interne t/)

As always there is fine print - ie, Service Agreements with Telus and you need to purchase your Modem with Shaw but I'm posting here re bandwidth and that information is clearly listed with limits.

This is marketing fallout, plain and simple (5, Interesting)

Anderson Council (1096781) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300113)

When broadband became widely available, it worked for them to push speed and ignore the issue of traffic volume as only a small minority of subscribers were capable of using large amounts of bandwidth. Safe to advertise the unlimited abyss Internet service as it appeared that way for all intents and purposes to the subscribers.

The explosion of Internet video (and other rich content) has now provided the catalyst for the "average user" to generate significant data transfer volume, and it was never the case that they could actually provide unlimited access to everyone all the time. It was a statistical game really =).

What would interest me is what effect this is going to have on the cost of broadband in the near future. This is my living so I'm content paying more for a better quality connection; however, what kind of service can the "average user" realistically expect for $30/mo. or whatever. A marketing faux pas if they end up hurting their own business getting users used to the idea that unlimited data volume in and out of your home was actually something you can get cheaply.

--
~AC

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

thomas.galvin (551471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300495)

ISPs will simply have to upgrade their infrastructure to handle it if they want to survive. If they don't, someone else will.


That is, of course, true, and will, of course, happen, eventually. The problem is that the telcos have been recieving government subsidies for years, for the express purpose of upgrading the infrastructure. To date, they've esentially squandered this money.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Insightful)

iONiUM (530420) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299889)

The bandwidth IS "unlimited", so long as only one person uses the "unlimited" bandwidth and everyone else is a grandma: just checking their e-mail. They played the odds, and soon they're going to lose.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (3, Insightful)

segfaultcoredump (226031) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299613)

If you charge customers for using more than X, then it is hard to tell them that their service is "unlimited". (you would then open yourself to being sued for false advertising)

Now, if the ISP would just admit to how much they are willing to sell you (think cell phones), then maybe this will work.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

ToriaUru (750485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299617)

I'm in Canada, in the Ottawa area and am BLESSED with 5 Mbps speeds. I kiss the ground that I get the pleasure of this speed. It totally sucks for those who have caps, and unknown reasons why they can't access more and have faster speeds. YES to the OP of this reply. Let US decide if we WANT to pay, don't hide from us, and not tell us the truth.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299649)

Why deliberately degrade your service when you can simply get the customer to pay the difference?

Because the customer could never afford to pay the millions that google, amazon, joost, and so on could each pay for the right to take a sip from their little straw. By making it so that the decision isn't in the hands of the consumer, the ISP can continue to sell crappy service to people.

Even if the ISP had thousands of subscribers each willing to pay $500/mo more (cost of a t1) to get properly subscribed bandwidth, that's still only a couple million bucks, how much do you think they could get by pumping iTMS for cash?

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299681)

In the UK, a 2Mb line (we dont use T1) would be nearer $4000 per month.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299797)

Seriously, I don't believe you.

At my company I recently needed an additional connection for a few servers to play with. 20Mbit up/down over fiber, $550/month. It's not hugely more expensive to go to 50 or 100Mbit from there.

(Sweden)

No fucking way (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299911)

2 MB/s guaranted bandwidth, backed up, /unlimited traffic/ ... in a datacenter is a few hundred .

At least that's what my hosting service [telecomitalia.fr] charges.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Insightful)

jonwil (467024) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299695)

A large part of the issue is that ISPs don't have and aren't willing to invest in links to the internet at large. So there just isn't the bandwidth to handle all this new traffic (YouTube, BitTorrent etc etc)

The obvious question is why don't the ISPs go and buy more upstream bandwidth (funded by people who are willing to pay extra for more downloads each month)

Easy (2, Insightful)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299745)

It is the drive to replace dialup with broadband that has ruined the broadband market. ISPs battling to offer cheap prices that are no more expensive than dialup prices were.

Some companies even offer free broadband with their phone line packages.

It's this drive for cheapness at the expensive of service quality that is ruining broadband for those who see it as mainstream entertainment, not something to shop online with and check email.

I still pay a premium price for my service £35 a month for 2MB ADSL. Yet I have had a download cap applied retrospectively.

Re:Easy (1)

Robber Baron (112304) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299887)

35 quid a month?!? For 2MB?? You're getting hosed! I pay the same number in dollars for 10 Megs! And my ISP doesn't even start thinking about bitching about usage until I hit 100 Gigs or thereabouts in a given month. They also don't give out subscriber's names to media watchdogs or **AA bastards either.

And yet what I have is nothing compared to what the Japanese or Koreans have...some of them can get fast ethernet speeds.
Part of the problem is American and British ISPs have been allowed to get away with selling 3rd rate garbage and calling it broadband, and all the while, their supine customers have let them without so much as a whimper.

Re:Easy (1)

gilesjuk (604902) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300549)

Well if I go to their other package it's £34 or so a month for 8MB. But instead of 100GB download limit you get about 50GB limit.

If I go for the £17.99 package I get 8MB and 2GB use limit.

As you can see, the UK ADSL market is screwed. BT have a stranglehold on the UK market still.

Re:Easy (1)

ObjetDart (700355) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300579)

I pay the same number in dollars for 10 Megs! And my ISP doesn't even start thinking about bitching about usage until I hit 100 Gigs or thereabouts in a given month.


Who is your ISP? Surely it can't be one of the major U.S. cable companies (AT&T, Optimum Online, Cox, etc.)?

You're getting ripped off, dude (4, Informative)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300061)

I pay 29 EUR a month for 24 Mbps down / 1 Mbps up. Plus free international phone. Plus wifi. Plus TV. Free PVR which I don't even use for lack of a TV. Also 1 GB of hosting space, unmetered.

Within a year I should get 50 Mbps (symmetrical) FTTH.

http://www.free.fr [www.free.fr]

Re:You're getting ripped off, dude (1)

Echnin (607099) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300493)

They gave you a TV but you don't have a TV?

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299771)

"Why deliberately degrade your service when you can simply get the customer to pay the difference?"

Truth in advertising is a prisoner's dilemma. "OK, I'll honestly describe the service I'm offering... right after you do."

Simple (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299789)

Its because the ISP cant handle the use, regardless of the user paying extra fees. They have oversold what they can do.

I have the same problem here. Recently they 'increased' bandwidth to us for our *unlimited* useage, but complained when we used it: 'its effecting our other customers '. WTF?

There's good reasons for not metering (1)

Nicolas MONNET (4727) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299885)

It costs quite a lot to do the accounting. You have to handle complaints, etc.

Plus users can get nasty surprises: someone hijacks your wifi and downloads pr0n, that kind of shit.

By going flat rate you don't have to deal with this, and instead of spending money on administrative & police costs, you just spend the cash on actual bandwidth. I know, that's just ... wrong?

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

caluml (551744) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299905)

Zen are great. I'm with them too. I've asked them for IPv6 though, and they tell me that there's no demand for it. And when I point out that until they offer it, they can't see what the demand is, they just go Um, er, well.

Black Cat Networks do native IPv6 though.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (4, Interesting)

Darundal (891860) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299937)

Nobody has a problem paying for what they use. However, plans here in the US generally aren't sold as "x amount of data per month, then y amount of money for every z amount of data over x" but as "unlimited bandwidth until you stop paying us." Actually, I don't know of any broadband service (here broadband being defined as cable/dsl, since those two are the ones that a consumer is most likely to use) that advertises "x amount of data per month, then y amount of money for every z amount of data over x." The companies here in the states have severely screwed themselves. If they actually begin advertising "x amount of data per month, then y amount of money for every z amount of data over x," then there will be consumer outcry, because before they thought were getting "unlimited bandwidth." Even if they actually weren't, they thought they were. Of course, this leads to the whole net neutrality thing, but really the telcos here want to get more money out of the government (supposedly to build new lines, although they have received such money countless times before and nothing got built) and to legally have more control over what goes over their lines, with the obvious orwellian implications that may have.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299989)

In the US, a combination of factors seems to be leading to a major upheaval
in the way the Internet industry works.

After things got started with over 10 thousand dialup ISPs, and the public
started to get a taste for the Internet, high speed connections started
to be delivered by cable TV vendors. (There is a whole discussion there
about de facto monopolies, etc.)

Unfortunately, the bandwidth was seriously underpriced. DSL matched the pricing.
It worked for those vendors because they could cross-subsidize and because they
could depend on statistical levelling of demand, if they got enough customers.
(They also underprovisioned for a while.) Also, there weren't too many applications
that mandated high-speed (it was only nicer, not necessary.)

The underpricing was unfortunate because it ravaged traditional ISPs, who didn't
have the deep pockets for years of unprofitable operation. Those
organizations had grown up with Internet sensibilities (because, in some sense,
they had created the public Internet), but old school telecom companies
drove them out of business.

If ISPs had built the broadband Internet, it would have been better shaped;
the telecom companies are shaping it to their advantage.

It would be suicide for any company to charge what full-time high speed Internet
actually costs; it is better to charge what people expect for less service than
they think they're getting.

Both cable TV and phone companies (now getting into TV) want to have control of
your video. They either want to charge you, or the content owners, or both. If
they restrict Internet traffic they can claim it's strictly because of capacity.
It's just so very convenient that video is the only application most of the public
wants that uses so much.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (2, Interesting)

techmuse (160085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300149)

Many services on the internet would not be viable if you had to pay per bit or packet. They would simply be too expensive. For example, want to download a Linux ISO? You might think twice if you might wind up paying an extra few dollars every time you did that. The ISPs do not want customers who will use their service heavily. They want users who pay a lot of money but place little load on their system to keep their overhead down. In the US, some cell phone companies have started dropping subscribers who don't upgrade their phones often enough or subscribe to premium services, because they don't make *enough* money off of those to be worthwhile. These companies only want to deal with their most profitable customers.

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

genus babbage (630038) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300187)

I'm with Zen too; they've been providing me with a great service - I don't mind paying extra if I exceed the cap, which I've not done yet.

I moved from ukonline; they had an unlimited service, but what's the point when it's all traffic shaped? (Didn't help that their customer service was absolutely abysmal either; no company I've ever had to deal with before has made me so angry and frustrated so many times)

UK and US ISPs really need to shape up (5, Interesting)

mirshafie (1029876) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300189)

This problem pops up regularly on the web. I feel sorry for you people that actually encounter it IRL, because in Sweden, and I'm sure in many other countries aswell, this is not an issue.

24/1 or 21/3 Mbps DSL lines in Sweden go off for ~25/mo. If fiber is available 100/10 Mbps go for the same price. It's been this way for the last five years, and people have been playing online games, sharing files et.c. like crazy. I've never heard of anybody that had problems with their ISPs for too heavy traffic, not even with the cheaper plans.

And right now, the good old bastards at ComHem is digging to provide 4 Gbps bandwidth for every household in my neighborhood. Granted, the plan is supposed to include TV, internet and phone lines in it, but still.

What kind of crappy ISPs do you have that limit your internet access in this way? And why the hell do you accept it? Start rioting!

Re:Why not just let us pay for the damn bandwidth? (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300523)

I specifically left Zen because they introduced those shitty limits. They charge more than most, and for what? A 50GB cap? That sucks. Other ISPs offer the same for less, and are reliable enough. Why would you put up with Zen's prices now?

Anyhow, I'm just a strong believer in getting to use as much of MY bandwidth as I want, and not having to worry about how much data I've transferred. That's a total pain in the ass for me. Be and Virgin Media manage to offer uncapped broadband, so frankly, Zen can go hang. They betrayed customers like me by introducing caps. :-(

Whoops. here gors half my allocation (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299569)

Annonymous Frist!

Simple market economics (1, Interesting)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299607)

Demand goes up, supply stays the same: prices will rise. People will either pay a bit more for a good service (I would) or save and stay with the lower-bandwidth plans (most people would). Of course there's also the scenario where supply grows because suddenly the market is more profitable, so new investors enter it and drive the price down to where it was before; but this can never happen unless the gov't fully deregulates the market itself and we all know this will never happen.

Yeah, dereg like the Telecom Act of 1996? (1)

MedicinalMan (1061338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300057)

but this can never happen unless the gov't fully deregulates the market itself and we all know this will never happen.>
Yes, it did create some new "regulations", such as local carriers have to open their infrastructure, but the end result was the huge scam we have today.

new investors enter it and drive the price down to where it was before;
New investors with billions and billions to spend on new cables and such? Or new investors who will use local carrier lines just like they did after 1996? This is basically the "Net Neutrality" debate reworded. The difference is that now it seems as though those to don't want to pay more will be missing out on stuff like video. For a while now, ISPs have been advertising POTENTIAL rates that were achievable as long as not everybody used bandwidth consuming applications. In terms of overall usage, most internet users just check email, look at relatively small pages, and occasionally download music or software. The problem now is that everybody wants what their ISPs promised them when they signed up. Even though there is no minimum speed promised, as more people find bandwidth intensive uses for their connections, as some point nobody will get anywhere near the top, advertised speeds. This is not about deregulating the market, its about the telecoms not delivering on what they promised. Read This [niemanwatchdog.org] The infrastructure was supposed to already be here because WE paid for it. Why do I have to pay again? MM

Re:Yeah, dereg like the Telecom Act of 1996? (1)

giorgiofr (887762) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300265)

Well, if you took the time to read your contract, you'd find that your ISP does not promise anything - bandwidth is best-effort at best and simply arbitrary at worst.
Besdies, YOU paid with your taxes and it didn't work out - maybe it's time to rethink this whole "let the gov't deal with it" strategy?

Pitfalls of unregulated markets. (3, Insightful)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300097)

but this can never happen unless the gov't fully deregulates the market itself and we all know this will never happen.

Some of the most successful rollouts of high-speed broadband have happened with significant government regulation and involvement: South Korea, Belgium, the Netherlands, and Denmark, among others. Conversely, in the United States where there was less regulation to begin with (and a steady push towards even less), we have seen much less broadband growth, and we are behind other countries.

[The U.S. government actually did invest in broadband (during the Clinton administration) but since effective regulatory oversight did not accompany the money, we didn't get what we'd hoped for from the Baby Bells.]

Some argue that this is because the US has a low population density: This argument ignores the fact that there still exist within the US large, dense markets on the coasts (the Northeast corridor, from Boston to Washington, for instance), that are surely as profitable as, say, South Korea, which have remained underdeveloped. Why?

There are some things that monopolies, like governments, can better provide than many smaller competing companies; infrastructure and technology research are two of the most important ones. The simple reason for this is that monopolies can be relatively sure that they will be around in many years' time to reap the benefits of their investments, whereas in a hypercompetitive market, risk is higher and the "rational" investor will focus on smaller, shorter-term investments; this maximizes his expected return.

Full deregulation in electricity caused blackouts across California in 2001. Our deregulation so far has not produced an American broadband market comparable to other countries'. So no, the evidence I see does not lead me to blind faith in 100% laissez-faire economic policies.

See The Liberal Paradox [wikipedia.org] : Markets by themselves are not sufficient to create a Pareto-optimal society.

Occasional government involvement, and well-designed, unencumbering regulation are useful and promote growth. The world is full of prisoners' dilemmas and tragedies of the commons: Markets cannot solve these problems by themselves, which is why we need government.

Re:Pitfalls of unregulated markets. (1)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300409)

I agree with you, but I believe your reasoning is wrong.

The issue here is partly regulated markets. Your example of California is *dead wrong*.

What happened in California with electrical deregulation was that part of the market (supply) was deregulated, without releasing all the intermediate price controls. As such, you had electrical distributors purchasing energy at a higher price than they were permitted to sell it, resulting in huge debts. Unsuprisingly, some unsavory individuals found ways to profit in this setup, and without the proper oversight avaliable during this deregulatory process there was quite a bit of profiteering.

The issue was that we had an opaque, partially regulated free market. It was poorly regulated, and no one really knew what was going on. You can hardly blame the blackouts on deregulation.

The situation with the telecos and other communication companies is similar. Pick a beast in the field; AT&T, Verizon, Comcast, or any of the other major providers. Each and every one of these companies is an ugly monopoly that was built by local and federal governments. In terms of infrastructure, pricing, and even the attitudes of personnel, these companies are not used to competing, and really didn't see the need to move quickly or to innovate. Case in point; AT&T. AT&T, before the breakup, was a sloth of a company.

Worse, the markets remain regulated, be in weird, strange ways, with all of the hinderances of regulation and none of the benefits. Oversight is poor, local governments are being limited in their means to affect the telecos/cablecos, yet the telecos and cable companies retain the legal tools to chase out competitors (without competing on merit). In many places in this country we are stuck with the worst of all worlds.

That being said, many places have managed to deregulate some aspects of the industry while maintaining the oversight necessary to insure that these monopolies need to prevent unsavory individuals from profiteering. In these places, we've seen impressive investments in broadband deployment. Verizon is committed to FTTP, AT&T is wavering on FTTP while throwing itself into FTTN, Comcast, RCN, and the other cable companies are going to DOCSIS 3.0 and purchasing vast networks of fiber. EVDO and UMTS are blanketing the country, with unlimited usage rates (particularly from Sprint) that are vastly cheaper than what you can find abroad.

The state of the industry is changing in the U.S., but in a patchy fashion. The areas that are lagging need to replicate the legal frameworks of the areas that are accelerating, and governments should act to reduce the costs (either by subsidy or tax break) of deployment in non-target areas (less profitable). However, any of this must come with oversight.

In sum, I do feel that free markets work, and work well; however, when you talk about communications, we are talking about a market that has never been free, and will not be free for a long time. Baby steps towards laissez-faire can work, and partial deregulation done badly is not representative of what can happen.

And there is bandwidth limiting (3, Insightful)

RotateLeftByte (797477) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299611)


There seem to be a number of ISP's now doing this at peak times. Again this is probably due to the lack of capacity in their infrastructure.
Now we see BT (here in the UK), AT&T(USA) and many others starting to offer IPTV. If there is one thing that is guaranteed to burn bandwidth then it is broadcasting TV this way. Other ISP's will sure follow this but win't have the kit in place to handle the traffic.

Therefore, on one hand we have ISP's promoting 'new' services and on the other limiting the amount of data they will let you receive.
In the words of a UK Politician, they are most likely "Not Fit for Service"

Bah Humbug

Will ISPs spoil goatse? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299657)

My ISP ruins goatse for me.

Re:And there is bandwidth limiting (2, Informative)

mbone (558574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299679)

Generally, IPTV has a separate bandwidth allocation with guaranteed bandwidth, typically using RSVP and DiffServe to protect the IPTV streams, and these streams are multicast to conserve bandwidth. The customer's Internet use gets what's left over. As the number of channels and amount of content people want to view increases, this will have to break down, at least in part. I think that we will move to a future where there are many sources of content; most or all being viewable through your set top box (or Apple TV or ... ), and only a few having protection from the ISP.

Re:And there is bandwidth limiting (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299741)

All UK ISP's who are on wholesale packages with BT do this - they are charged by BT per gig that goes upstream onto BT's network. Their entire business model is as a middleman who buys a bundle of bandwidth and increases the value by choppng it up into smaller pieces with more of a margin. This is no secret as the submission seems to think, as any UK ISP what a "contended" service is and they will explain it.

As you point out this model breaks when people really do want "unlimited" bandwidth for things like IPTV. The real crime that I can see is to allow ISPs to advertise an "unlimited" service that clearly has limits. Answering a few points that earlier posters have made; if it were made illegal to advertise a crippled service as unlimited then the market would fragment into low bandwidth cheap package deals, and premium connections for those that would pay to get higher bandwidth. This would be a good thing for everyone, and the only reason that it hasn't happened is that Ofcom hasn't smacked down the ISPs for lying to their customers about what they are selling.

Another poster (below) mentions the dark fibre of the dot-com era. It's out there, and it's being used. Telewest are not on a wholesale bundle deal with BT. They peer at Telehouse and their network has thousands of miles of dark fibre should they require more bandwidth. As a result they operate completely differently to the DSL ISPs and don't throttle their traffic. You buy a 10Mb connection, you get a 10Mb connection. The only contention is from other subscribers on your segment; ie Telewest customers in the same street.

As far as the 1Gb caps mentioned in the submission go. They are an extreme, aimed at customers who don't know the market. My ISP (who I won't name as their customer service is currently excellent) has a "fair usage policy" like most. Their unofficial caps start when you regularly download 100s of Gigs a month. Below that limit I can max out my 8Mb line without trouble, and bittorrent is excellent.

.nz and .au (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299983)

As far as the 1Gb caps mentioned in the submission go. They are an extreme, aimed at customers who don't know the market.
And people who can't afford to move out of New Zealand or Australia, countries that due to their remoteness have historically had a heavily throttled connection to the United States and Europe.

Re:.nz and .au (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300067)

Yeah, the submitter was talking about the uk market. I don't know anything about caps internationally. Surely there must be a lot of fibre running into Oz by now. Isn't that limit just history now?

Re:And there is bandwidth limiting (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300429)

"My ISP (who I won't name as their customer service is currently excellent) has a "fair usage policy" like most. Their unofficial caps start when you regularly download 100s of Gigs a month. Below that limit I can max out my 8Mb line without trouble, and bittorrent is excellent."

So only a couple of days maxing your download and you are over the "fair use limit"! IMHO your ISP is not much better, only has a slightly higher cap.

Re:And there is bandwidth limiting (1)

Awel (28821) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300497)

Another poster (below) mentions the dark fibre of the dot-com era. It's out there, and it's being used. Telewest are not on a wholesale bundle deal with BT. They peer at Telehouse and their network has thousands of miles of dark fibre should they require more bandwidth. As a result they operate completely differently to the DSL ISPs and don't throttle their traffic. You buy a 10Mb connection, you get a 10Mb connection. The only contention is from other subscribers on your segment; ie Telewest customers in the same street.
But Telewest have now been taken over by Virgin, who do throttle their traffic [theregister.co.uk] . As a Telewest (now Virgin) customer, I have experienced a drastic decrease in the quality of service since the takeover, with outages of a couple of hours at a time once or twice a week. Since the whole reason for moving to cable in the first place was to get away from a dodgy old BT line so that we could have a more reliable service, I'm very disappointed and am seriously considering moving back to the dodgy old BT line - it wouldn't be any worse and would probably be cheaper.

Someone can't count ... (5, Funny)

trolltalk.com (1108067) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299627)

and restricts your download speed by up to 500 per cent...

Bad math alert. An 80% restriction would be more like it. A 100% restriction would be a total cut-off. What would 500% be - take back the bits you already downloaded?

Re:Someone can't count ... (2, Funny)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299697)

Duh! They can't take back the bits you downloaded because your upstream is much slower than your downstream, and you might have deleted some of the bits or send fraudulent bits. Obviously they will send you 5 copies of the inverse of the bits you have received. This will create even more bandwidth problems and ensure more lucrative consultancy work.

Re:Someone can't count ... (1)

SevenHands (984677) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300307)

In Soviet Russia, downloaded bits take you back!

S U E (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299635)

for deceiving advertisement & sale of products and services.

if they hadnt the capacity, they shouldnt have advertised and sold that nonexistent capacity.

Re:S U E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299755)

"Fine print" in the terms of service most likely is good enough to cover their rears. You're the one who signed on the dotted line, tore off the shrinkwrap, breathed the RIAA's air...

Er. Sorry. Got a little carried away there.

nay (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299967)

in no country, items in contracts that contradict with the existing law are tolerated. even in turkey, if you have such an item in the contract, and you dont explicitly state in an item that says "in case one of the items in this contract is contradictory with law, this will not nullify the whole contract, but just the item itself".

providing false advertising is fraud. selling it is fraud.

Re:S U E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299761)

You don't really want to do that, because companies like BT have no qualms about cutting off all your services, and warning other companies, you'll be pushed back into the dark age.

R E A D (5, Insightful)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299801)

the service agreement you signed when you started with your ISP. Fine print exists for a reason.

D I E (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299977)

Sorry just thought these post titles were darn annoying.

N O (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299993)

im reposting :

"in no country, items in contracts that contradict with the existing law are tolerated. even in turkey, if you have such an item in the contract, and you dont explicitly state in an item that says "in case one of the items in this contract is contradictory with law, this will not nullify the whole contract, but just the item itself".

providing false advertising is fraud. selling it is fraud."

even being "subject to change without notice" cant cover an arse. they are still advertising those as they did earlier, so any client who got blown out due to bandwidth usage now can sue them now, since they are probably advertising the same package as of now with the same stats.

Re:S U E (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299821)

They have an out, there is no QoS in your 'home service' contract. 'speeds may vary', 'up to xxmb', 'subject to change without notice', etc.

Unless you have a commercial contract with QoS you are outta luck, legally.

Re:S U E (1)

unity100 (970058) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300013)

Re:S U E (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300177)

Whatever... They are safe legally. Their attorneys know what they are doing.

If you dont belive me, then go ahead and sue and watch how fast the judge slaps you back down.

Economics and competition (1)

michaelmalak (91262) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299637)

Wouldn't this just make economically viable all that dot-com dark fiber we used to hear about? With 3G (EVDO, etc.) in the competitive mix with DSL and cable, I find it unlikely there will be cooperation amongst the competitors to withhold bandwidth from customers.

How do you propose to light the fiber? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300031)

Wouldn't this just make economically viable all that dot-com dark fiber we used to hear about?
Fiber remains dark because equipment for lighting the fiber still costs money. And how much of this fiber crosses the Pacific Ocean (between New Zealand and the United States) and the North Atlantic Ocean (between the United States and the United Kingdom)?

With 3G (EVDO, etc.) in the competitive mix with DSL and cable, I find it unlikely there will be cooperation amongst the competitors to withhold bandwidth from business customers.
Fixed.

Re:Economics and competition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300163)

You can have all the dark fiber in the ground you want, but there's still
the "last mile" problem.

It's called marketing (3, Insightful)

voislav98 (1004117) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299641)

Hey, ISPs are just doing what they are able to get away with. The question we should be asking is why are they able to get away with marketing 10 MB/s and hide 1GB cap in the fine print.

you get the ISPs you deserve (5, Insightful)

iritant (156271) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299651)

It should come as no shock that ISPs are shaping traffic. They're out to make money and they only have so much bandwidth, now that the glut has been absorbed. That's not unreasonable. What would be unreasonable is if they advertise video access and then do something like this.

If you're not getting the service you expect form your ISP, you should call them (which by the way, really costs them quite a bit of money), and complain. If they can't or won't satisfy you, you should find another SP who will. Competition is important, and while it's difficult to find in the US and perhaps even moreso in the UK, alternatives should be encouraged. Just remember that you can't get something for nothing. That bandwidth does cost money.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (1)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299779)

Competition is important, and while it's difficult to find in the US and perhaps even moreso in the UK, alternatives should be encouraged. Just remember that you can't get something for nothing. That bandwidth does cost money.

I agree it costs, but the customers shouldn't care about that. If we'll be encouraging competition, then the customers should go straight to the best offer, never mind if they thing in their mind it's fair or not. This is how competition works (because you never know if there's no innovation around the corner to make said bandwidth waste with videos cheaper, for ex. hub deal with Joost would help tremendously, if this where the bandwidth goes).

So: let them whine, cry about shaping, cry about prices, cry like little babies. This is how competition works, it's not pretty, but takes the best out of the competitors.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (1)

daeg (828071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299845)

How is it the best when almost all bandwidth providers are given large market contracts with cities, counties, and states? All that does is ensure the group with the biggest pocket book or the most contacts continues to win.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (4, Insightful)

antdude (79039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299925)

So what happens if you only have one ISP in your area due to monopoly? For example, I can't get DSL because I am about 20K ft. from the CO. Cable is the monopoly here. No WISPs. Forget ISDN, T1+, satellite Internet, etc. due to slowness or/and prices.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (1)

hany (3601) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300455)

Your options:

  1. do nothing + wait: Eventualy someone will hopefully fix things also for you.
    pros: cheap
    cons: you may weait very very long
  2. complain to your political representative(s) + wait: It will most probably result in some more money being handed to your current ISP monopoly (part of that "more money" will be also from you - your taxes). In a goog case, it will get you a fix sooner than in previous case but I suspect the contrary: you end up waiting longer.
    pros: politicians will do your job but ...
    cons: ... it will cost you more than previous case
  3. complain to your ISP + wait: Essentialy same but slightly more expensive as previous case because ISP will IMO mostly try to loby (your) polititians for you using more additional money from you.
    pros: ISP and politicians will do your work but again ...
    cons: ... it will cost you more than previous case (lobyists do not work for free :)
  4. do something yourself: Will give you results without spending money on politicians or your current ISP which is not able to satisfy you. But ... see cons.
    pros: Your results will be proportional to the amount of work and money you invest into your work.
    cons: You have to know something about networking and you have to pay for some gear, some constructions, maybe even rent some land/office etc. depending on how a big gap you have to bridge from your place to nearest "Internat heaven".
  5. find guys in your area with same problems and do something about it together: All the stuff from previous case applies but ... see pros and cons. IMO this will give you better results than all the previous options but it greatly depends on people, you location, ...
    pros: you are required to know less (but less != nothing) than in previous case assuming combined knowledge of your group has sufficient level
    cons: you are required to spend less (but less != nothing) than in previous case because the costs are split between more people
  6. wait + try to limit the monopoly powers in your county: This will essentialy give you same thing as previous case but by some commercial entity which (compared to previous case) will give you same result but for less work, less money and shorter time - all thanks to higher expertise of you "next good ISP" (given company or companies will be trying to get you as customer based on their much greater expertise and desire to satisfy you than your current ISP).
    pros: better service for less money than your current ISP
    cons: you have to somehow pressure your politicians

In my case, if I'm really unsatisfied with current commercial offerings, I'm either trying to engage with some existing local comunity and interconnect with them or wait for better commercial offering.

Last time I did it, I waited two years (boycotting fixed line monopoly company) to get a cable connection (from cable TV operator) - in the mean time accessing web only from work and in realy imporant cases using GRPS service from my mobile operator (it was quite cheap but really slow). Served me hopefully well for the price I was willing to pay and with the pain I was willing to endure and without supporting the monopoly company.

Also (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299939)

As with most things, you tend to get what you pay for. If you go with the most cut rate ISP or package, don't be surprised if the speed is less than stellar. If you want more, shell out some more dough. Personally, I've bought business class service for the last several years. Yes, it does cost more, but then I get a few static IPs and I've never heard a peep out of the ISP about upstream or downstream usage. Not saying everyone should go for service of that level, just consider that if the ISP has a $20 "Ultra super mega value" plan, that maybe it won't get the same level of bandwidth as the $50 regular plan.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300045)

If you're not getting the service you expect form your ISP, you should call them (which by the way, really costs them quite a bit of money), and complain.
Exactly, my ISP doesn't even bother to enforce it's traffic caps, (Telus, Canada) even though I can clearly see I'm 30 gigs over when I check my account. I'm guessing the customer support call when they cut someone off isn't worth it. I actually called up when I had "misconfigured" Azureus to have enough simultaneous connections to crash Window's networking stack and they tried to help me resolve my "bittorrent problems," including recommending other clients. You are a paying customer and backbone bandwidth is unbelievably cheap, and getting cheaper all the time. This is just a question of market forces. Pick an ISP that isn't on the Azureus Bad ISP List: http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs [azureuswiki.com] Or ask your ISP what plan they have that will let you do what you want and hold them to it.

Re:you get the ISPs you deserve (1)

Shaman (1148) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300151)

Uh... no, bandwidth hasn't got any cheaper in several years. And no, it's not as cheap as you think.

real numbers (1)

acidrain (35064) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300505)

It looks like major players are paying $10 USD / Mbps for backbone access.[1] (Yes that paper predicts a short term backbone supply problem.) In my case, that's actually the same rate I'm paying my ISP for 2.5 Mbps. And from the sounds of it, Americans get gouged a lot worse.

Next, I max out at 60 gigs of video in a month (and that means I would have spent all my spare time watching high-quality p2p movies and television and also downloaded a few entire seasons of tv shows and then decided not to watch them, or saved them for later) which averages to 185.19 Kbps.[2] So even as an absolute and total bandwidth whore, I'm using less than 10% of what I'm paying for in terms of backbone costs. This means the money is easily there to pay for building additional backbone capacity, and the ISP doesn't have a fundamental business model problem.

Of course the ISP has "last mile" infrastructure costs but that is something already need to have in place to meet their peak rate guarantees on a Sunday afternoon, and doesn't have additional utilization costs associated with it.

Frankly I think traffic shaping ISPs are just being greedy. At the scale they are operating at it is worthwhile trying to rip off their customers to save a small percentage of what they are raking in.

[1] http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/media/InternetV ideo0.91.pdf [pbs.org]
[2] http://web.forret.com/tools/bandwidth.asp [forret.com]

Move house to find a better ISP? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300077)

What would be unreasonable is if they advertise video access and then do something like this.
Comcast has advertised video mail. Comcast is also notorious for having a cap that it refuses to disclose to the public.

If they can't or won't satisfy you, you should find another SP who will.
Given the broadband duopolies and even monopolies in so many geographic areas, who can afford to relocate that often?

The real reason they don't want you to download (4, Interesting)

techmuse (160085) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299667)

The ISPs (Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, etc) see P2P as competition for services that they offer, either currently, or in the future. Why get video or other data for free (after having payed your ISP for access) when they can charge you for it, control what you get access to, and charge a premium for premium content? The ISPs by law can not examine what data is being transmitted without loosing common carrier status (at which point, they get a lot more government regulation). So they do the traffic shaping to get around the regulation issue while degrading any possible competition to their own premium services. This is what the whole net neutrality fight is really about. The ISPs want more money for selling you content. Claiming that they don't have enough bandwidth is just an excuse.

Re:The real reason they don't want you to download (4, Informative)

Holi (250190) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299773)

The ISPs by law can not examine what data is being transmitted without loosing common carrier status (at which point, they get a lot more government regulation)

Which would be very comforting if ISP's had common carrier status to begin with.

I don't understand who keeps spreading these rumors but for the last time, ISP's do NOT have common carrier status. They are what are called ESP's (Enhanced Service Providers) and do not warrant the protection that common carrier status provides.

Re:The real reason they don't want you to download (1)

zakeria (1031430) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299781)

this is only half truth the real underlaying problem with ISP's and I know because I was head of systems for two internet company's is that they just cant provide a service to everybody with X amounts of bandwidth, for example lets say your ISP has for talks sake 20MB upstream and they say they provide you with 1MB but they have 200 customers.. this simply cant work! so they cap the bad stuff "P2P" etc in an attempt to save bandwidth for the rest of the customers..

So why isn't the duty cycle conspicuous? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300107)

for example lets say your ISP has for talks sake 20MB upstream and they say they provide you with 1MB but they have 200 customers.. this simply cant work! so they cap the bad stuff "P2P" etc in an attempt to save bandwidth for the rest of the customers
So why don't they just advertise 1 Mbps peak, with a conspicuous disclaimer of 10 percent duty cycle?

Australia (4, Informative)

name*censored* (884880) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299669)

This is a particular problem in Australia, where no *truly* unlimited consumer internet plan exists. All of the plans that advertise themselves as "unlimited" will actually cap you after xGBs (although I've seen this go as high as 120gb, which isn't exactly something you'd have to work to ration). The reason for this is that the main telecom provider (Telstra) does not sell bandwidth to it's competitors; it rents it (the other ISPs cannot possibly provide unlimited internet at a reasonable price and stay afloat), and Telstra cannot itself offer truly unlimited broadband (same reason, plus it would be held up on anti-competitive charges). Although as far as I'm aware, no ISP here shapes p2p bandwidth (although some ISPs count uploading towards the usage limit/severely restrict the upload speeds to ridiculously slow rates compared with the download speeds, in part to combat p2p).

An interesting side-note; Telstra were moderately recently held up on false advertising charges for using the word "unlimited" to describe their capped service. They have now changed the name to "Liberty".

Its a lie to control the price (5, Insightful)

palewook (1101845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299707)

dark fiber optics sit unused in over 90% of the usa. europe supplements its existing fiber/phone/cable with data over power lines (BPL). there is no shortage of broadband, just a collusion of lies. much like the diamond industry does to keep wholesale/retail costs high. http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=dark+fiber+op tic&btnG=Google+Search [google.com]

...of a transceiver? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300127)

dark fiber optics sit unused in over 90% of the usa. europe supplements its existing fiber/phone/cable with data over power lines (BPL). there is no shortage of broadband
But there is a shortage of customers willing to pay for the hardware to light up the fiber.

Easy solution (1)

fredan (54788) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299715)

Just send out the header "Cache-Control: proxy-revalidate,s-maxage=0".

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299769)

This article is bullshit fear mongering. Cox Cable of Hampton Roads (Virginia Beach) recently made a configuration error for their internet customers, granting _all_ users 20Mbs, even if only paying for 768kbs, 5Mbs, or 15Mbs. No traffic shaping was taking place (verified with bittorrent and gnutella -- fasted download of a linux ISO ever for me =), and the load was handled just fine until the problem was fixed. There are some ISPs out there that do have the capacity for what they offer. And to suggest a 1GB/month cap (for us here in the US) is absurd... I regularly go through that _daily_. Not an advertisement for Cox Cable HSI... but the facts are as they are.

Illegal networks? Which illegal networks? (2, Informative)

xtracto (837672) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299813)

uses peer-to-peer technology similar to that used by 'illegal' file sharing networks..

There are no illegal networks, we have enough FUD as the MAFIAA cartels say they are illegal, we do not need the blogger community to call them that... and btw WTF is it with posting a blog entry as a story? when did Digg acquired slashdot?

Joost is almost certainly a violation of any AUP (1)

Rix (54095) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299847)

I've never seen an ISP agreement that didn't specifically prohibit reselling the service, which is exactly what Joost is doing. Private use p2p is one thing, but it's a whole different ballgame when you start selling your upstream bandwidth to a for profit corporation.

Internet not ready (3, Insightful)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299849)

No broadband ISP has the bandwidth needed to deliver the advertised speed to every user on their networks simultaneously, not even the mighty Comcast (AT&T). The Internet backbone couldn't handle it either. I own a very old ISP here in FL and have been buying unlimited bandwidth for many years now and the cost of this type of connection is 20 times higher than most broadband connections.

The cheapest bandwidth in this area still costs around $100 per meg (OC-3, 155Mbps). Users on Comcast get 6 megs for half this. Broadband ISPs deliver the product most users want, intermittent very high download speed without sustained bandwidth use.

All ISP and even phone companies are based on what is called over subscription. ISPs buy bandwidth based on actual demand not theoretical maximum demand. Phone companies have infrastructure to support around 1 in 20 people making a phone call at the same time.

What is needed is for the ISP to be more forthcoming in there product descriptions. We sell a wireless broadband connection for around $38 per month and advertise 2meg download speeds. We are also up front that excessive p2p usage may result in throttling and or account suspension. This is explained before service is installed not just buried in the terms on service. Comcast terminates accounts without any warning and even deny there is any bandwidth cap on users accounts. Wrong, wrong, wrong.

Re:Internet not ready (1)

patchvonbraun (837509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300279)

The Internet acts like a really, really big statistical multiplexer. Such schemes only work well when the statistical assumptions in
    the capacity planning hold true most of the time.

This is no different than ordinary telephone service. Inter-telephone-switch trunking is planned based on assumptions about
    average behaviour patterns, with a *little* bit of slop room on top. It would be economic suicide for phone companies
    to make statistical assumptions that assume that everybody needs to talk at once, and capacity engineer their trunks
    for that case.

The Internet is no different. Although until very recently, the *core* Internet bandwidth was over-engineered by a factor
    of at least three. Video is changing that assumption fairly quickly, so I assume that the core carriers are looking to
    upgrade their networks. What has *always* been true in the Internet is that the *access* network providers have been
    held ransom by the economics of providing adequate bandwidth to the end users. That's a commodity market, and profit
    margins tend to shrink over time, with Internet timescales being fairly short. Which means that there's less discretionary
    money lying around to provide major capacity upgrades at the edge. I'm not sure how this will play out.

I live rurally, and get 2Mbit/512Kbit wireless service for about CDN$90.00/month. Given what I know about how thin the
    user base is in rural locations, and how much infrastructure has to be put in place, I can't understand how my ISP
    is actually making any money on providing my service. But he knows that if he increases prices, the other wireless
    provider will be perfectly happy to offer service to me on razor-thin or non-existent margins.
 

ISP web caches? (2, Interesting)

LoudMusic (199347) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299871)

Is web caching at the ISP not generally accepted? It would seem sites like YouTube would be very interested in caching their data remotely so their bandwidth can take a breather. If they're worried about statistics then perhaps just the video files are cached locally but the html and db requests are all going to YouTube's servers. Companies like YouTube and AOL or Comcast could both benefit greatly from such technology.

Re:ISP web caches? (1)

epiphani (254981) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299995)

There is a much easier way to approach this than expensive caching technologies: Internet Exchanges and Peering.

To those of you who aren't aware, peering points exist in just about every major city. They're generally nonprofit or extremely cheap. Some to gigs upon gigs of traffic. Torix [torix.net] for example, the Toronto exchange, moves over 4Gbit/s.

If the major players in the backbone industry stopped their aggressive peering agreements (Minimum 100 meg throughput, regardless of type?), and content providers like youtube started a more aggressive peering method, you would see the cost of this kind of transit drop.

The thing is that currently the content providers and the ISPs are playing -against- each other. The whole Net Neutrality lobby is an excellent example. If ISPs and content providers started to work together to get common traffic across low or zero cost links, then this problem would be a lot less common.

Akamai is doing a fairly good job of this currently, but I honestly can't think of any other major content providers that are. Major internet providers are often hard to peer with unless you are a huge presence as well.

I'm an ISP (4, Informative)

eriklou (1027240) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299879)

I pretty much represent a small ISP in rural Washington state. Bandwidth prices for us are so outrageous, $300 per mb, and this is only because there is one major seller of bandwidth in our area, NOANET. So we have to throttle types of connections, Bit-Torrent is the major one. We would love to open the net to what it should be but its just not possible with the price gouging that happens every place but the cities.

So as an ISP I'm saying we could do it if we didn't get bent over all the time for bandwidth.

-1: Unbelievable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299987)

Is that $300 per megabyte or per millibit?

Re:I'm an ISP (1)

mbone (558574) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300315)

Is that $ 300 Mb for transit or for a point to point circuit ?

The obvious question is whether you could get a point to point to Seattle, Portland or Eugene, use the cheap bandwidth available out of there,
and save money over all.

ISP A != ISP B (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19299915)

Here in germany you can have slightly cheaper ISP that suck.

Or the slightly more expensive Telekom (T-Com) which rules.

According to my logs I never had bw issues and I'm leeching with the whole 6Mbit for at least 90% of 18 months straight now.

A friend is Arcor customer and everything sucks.

The problem isn't your ISP. It's your misguided sense for saving money. You have to invest sometimes or things will turn out to be cheap ans shitty.

It'll sort itself out... (2, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19299935)

...once you get a reasonably broad number of people using reasonably known services for legitimate video. Even if you throw in the latest Linux distro, WoW patches and whatnot it's not exactly a massive amount of mainstream media. Your complaints will land on deaf ears. Once people start complaining that they can't watch full episodes from ABC [go.com] and similar services, the tone will be different. "ABC, you say... you mean I can watch the latest episode of Lost online, but the ISP is throttling me?" You'll get a helluva lot more people who'd a) understand WTF you're talking abou, b) would like to do it themselves and c) can unite around.

Besides, I'd think the P2P hogs should have pushed the envelope far enough that they can't really stop people starting to use these services a little - and that's what they're concerned about anyway, the masses moving. That guy who wants to watch IPTV 24/7 is more of the exception.

"Unlimited" Should Mean Unlimited (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300167)

If a plan claims to be "unlimited," it should be unlimited. As I see it, caps on "unlimited" plans are false advertising and firms that do this should be prosecuted. That doesn't look likely though -- low-cost dial-up providers have been getting away with doing this for years. (Net-Zero anyone?)

However, I have no problem with throttling users on the basis of the amount of bandwidth they use, provided that this practice is adequately disclosed to the consumer. Heavy broadband users should be prepared to pay extra (where available) or see some degradation in service during the peak hours when light users are online to check their e-mail and the news. I don't even mind "packet shaping" as long it is disclosed to the consumer. Although there are some legitimate uses of P2P, we all know that the primary use is to steal copyrighted music, movies, and porn, and as an honest broadband user I'd just assume not have my legitimate traffic slowed down because Joe Blow down the street wants to watch "Batman Returns" without paying for it.

Umlimited* Pipex (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300237)

Most major UK ISPs that advertise unlimited broadband do so with an asterisk right next to the word unlimited, that little get-out clause which enables them to have something called a "fair use policy", which in the case of Pipex (and probably several others) is an "unfair use policy".

I'm an ex-Pipex user because they kicked me off for over-use of an ADSL package sold as unlimited, when I phoned up to complain about the situation of paying for an unlimited package but being told my account was to be suspended for using it too much I asked what the monthly limit is - they couldn't/wouldn't tell me, saying that each individual user has a different upper limit which is determined by the amount of users in my area and how much they were downloading.

They oversold their service so they're making up the rules as they go along.

During the 'conversation' with the support monkey at Pipex I asked that if they won't tell me how much is too much then how can they determine I've used too much, and will they give me stats on how much I've transferred, they wouldn't give stats and their suggestion was to install a Windows program that monitors bandwidth usage, which is a fat lot of good if there are several computers using the same ADSL connection, but more importantly what's the point of telling me to install a bandwidth logging program if they won't tell you how much is too much? Un-fucking believable.

This farce of a service Pipex are offering and the subsequent suspension of 'heavy users' is a reason why some long-term subscribers to the service, who haven't been told they've downloaded too much, have also left for pastures greener.

So basically if you're on Pipex ADSL with an "unlimited" package then you have absolutely no idea how much you can download/upload before they send you a letter saying bye-bye.

Comcast does it right (3, Informative)

WhiteWolf666 (145211) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300295)

As much as Comcast has both a terrible service department and a terrible PR department, how they do it is correct.

You pay a "high" price for service ($45-60) per month, depending on the plan, and you can have as much bandwidth as you want, as long as you aren't adversely affecting the node that you are on.

This means be reasonable. Right now, their "flexible" bandwidth cap is 200 GB. [digg.com] Even better, it's not like that boot you after one month of 200 GB usage; and they don't charge you again, either. They monitor your usage over a couple months, and if you're over 200 GB on average, they send you a warning, and then boot you.

It's also notable that this number has gone up significantly as they've upgraded their network, and I suspect it will continue to go up.

At my office we pay approximately $275 for a dual T1. This gets us, at most, 900 GB per month (that's maxing out the connection 24/7/365). I'm happy to pay 18% of that for 22% of the bandwidth, with burst speeds vastly in excess of that (my cable modem bursts at 24 Mbps for up to 10 minutes).

As I said; their PR doesn't explain this well, and their service people (both on the ground and at their call centers) tend to be not up to part with their competitors. However, the companies polices are more than reasonable, and they do an excellent job upgrading their network. I would have never thought that the cable cos would be competitive with FTTN or FTTP, but Comcast is beating the crap out of AT&T's U-verse, and is approaching the speeds of Verizon's FTTP network.

You guys really should stop whinning. 200 GB a month is plenty in this day and age, and I pity the people who pay $15,$30, or more for 1-70 GB a month.

False advertising - illegal (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300349)

Perhaps they can't deliver. But then they shouldn't be allowed to advertise as if they can, and then say "we didn't mean it" in the small print.

One of the posters was a small ISP owner. He can't provide it, either. He says that there is price-gouging. Could well be.

But the answer isn't to let everyone lie, but to forbid any of them from lying.

That might actually get some action.

Arguably the dark fiber, and other bandwidth, should be seen as a utility, anyway, and be operated as such.

This is normal, no-one owns enough T1s (;-)) (2, Informative)

davecb (6526) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300369)

With the exception of a very few high-priced services, no ISP has as much back-end bandwidth as they have customers. Instead, they have enough to guarantee a certain level of service on average, plus some extra for bursts of load.

This has been true since the days of the 300-baud acoustic coupler, and isn't going to change. Unless, of course, everyone hits the lottery jackpot at once and decides to give a million or two to their favorite ISP.

What one does to deal with finite bandwidth is to prioritize interactive traffic over file transfer, which is a variant of what we're seeing here. The problem is that the mechanisms used to tell interactive from batch gets the wrong answer right now.

So we (::= the IETF) improve the technology and prioritize video streams tagged "real-time" over streams tagged "on my way to Dave's PVR"

--dave

Of course they don't have the bandwidth (2, Interesting)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 7 years ago | (#19300399)

A fundamental concept of packet switching is that there will be a statistical use pattern that allows more efficient use of available bandwidth than a dedicated circuit switched network would provide. If you actually want to force the allocation of dedicated bandwidth to each subscriber you need a circuit switched network or some equivalent over IP like the old PSTN. Costs and scalability of this sort of service would be far less attractive than packet switched networks.

Use of p2p 24x7 continuously by a customer has to be traffic shaped for the economics of packet switching to work. If you want guaranteed bandwidth for your p2p use you had better be prepared to pay a lot more for your service.

This is one thing I don't get about IPTV - the economics of this sort of service over packet switching don't make a lot of sense unless it is not a large fraction of the total traffic. That doesn't appear to be true.

Re:Of course they don't have the bandwidth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19300569)

This has nothing to do with packet switching vs. dedicated circuits. Packet switching just allows multiple users to contend for the same pipe, instead of having dedicated pipes for every user. If they had enough bandwidth, every user could use as much bandwidth as was advertised, 24/7. Obviously, bandwidth is expensive, so they oversell.

Other than that, you are correct.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?