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Time Warner Cable Implements Packet Shaping

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the neutral-networks-breath-easy dept.

Networking 492

RFC writes "In a move that may be indicative of modern ISP customer service, Time Warner has announced the introduction of packet shaping technology to its network. 'Packet shaping technology has been implemented for newsgroup applications, regardless of the provider, and all peer-to-peer networks and certain other high bandwidth applications not necessarily limited to audio, video, and voice over IP telephony.' As the poster observes, this essentially renders premium service useless. The company is already warning users that attempts to circumvent these measures is a violation of their Terms of Service."

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492 comments

If you don't get (4, Insightful)

Xiph (723935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456579)

what you pay for then stop paying for it.

in the contract or at very least in the sale, they promise you a certain bandwidth, if they can't deliver what they promise you don't need to pay what you promised.

God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456591)


God Smack Your Ass !!

Re:If you don't get (4, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456609)

All of those contracts clearly state "up to" a certain speed. No consumer service I've ever seen has a guaranteed speed claim.

There's probably not much the consumer can do except vote with their money and cancel the service.

This is why net neutrality laws are important -- because existing service contracts do NOT protect the consumer from this sort of action.

Re:If you don't get (2, Interesting)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456633)

when you sign up for an account advertised as a 20mbit service, 20mbit is what you are entitled to. fine print doesn't trump that later on. you could probably use this to weasle out of your contract easily enough.

if i sold you a car, then ripped out the seats before you picked it up and claimed i didn't guarantee seats in the sale contract, it just wouldn't fly and neither would this.

Re:If you don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456661)

Way to miss the point. If the advertising says 'up to', then that means exactly what it says. A lot of times, especially in the case of DSL, it is not possible to guarantee a specified rate because of factors like distance from the CO.

Re:If you don't get (2, Informative)

tgd (2822) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456721)

when you sign up for an account advertised as a 20mbit service, 20mbit is what you are entitled to. fine print doesn't trump that later on.
Um... Yes it does. If you didn't read the contract thats not their problem.

Wishing that wasn't the way it works doesn't make it so.

Re:If you don't get (5, Funny)

TomQ (20220) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456937)

You need to understand the basic principles of modern contracts:

"What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away."

Re:If you don't get (3, Insightful)

Timesprout (579035) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456743)

Contract law just isn't your thing really is it. No ISPs advertise guaranteed rates there is always a little * somewhere that says this is best case scenario and your rates may vary due to various factors. The fine print in your contract will also state this and you will have very little room for 'weaseling'.

In fact attempting to cancel without being able so show your service has seriously degraded because of the ISPs actions will probably be treated as a breach of contract and trigger the usual attempt by the ISP to penalise you with a fee for the remainder of your contract.

Re:If you don't get (4, Interesting)

phoenix321 (734987) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456697)

Of course they can't promise a certain bandwidth, because they'd otherwise be swamped with lawsuits. Every dimwit customer would be complaining about the occasional download from Zambia or India creeping along at modem speeds.

But there's clearly a difference between
"line speed 6mbit/sec and from there as fast as the target server allows",
"line speed UP TO 6mbit/sec depending on what your neighborhood does and how much we overbooked our DSLAM"

and

"line speed 6mbit/sec but we're turning it down to modem speed if we don't like your face" or
"line speed 6mbit/sec, but we turn it down for every activity that could actually need that bandwidth"

Home contracts used to promise at least the company's best efforts to maintain a certain service level - and now they're effectively promising nothing at all.

Why anyone would enter a contract that states "You pay me every month full and in advance and I promise you nothing" is beyond me. Even mafia hitmen have more customer friendly terms, I think. But if you think that's fair trade practice, you may like to view that bridge I have on sale here...

Re:If you don't get (1)

NoTheory (580275) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457021)

Sale? I'll do you one better. I've got some land for lease! Guaranteed Prime Florida Coastline! *#%

depending on parcel, may be any or all of the following:
* Protected Wetlands
# Under Water
% On Fire

(sigh, this would be funnier if i could style my text, stupid slashdot.)

Re:If you don't get (1)

TheSloth2001ca (893282) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457109)

"Why anyone would enter a contract that states "You pay me every month full and in advance and I promise you nothing" is beyond me."

Because people should have to be contract lawyers to get internet access, and because most ISPs have similar conditions.

Re:If you don't get (4, Funny)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457191)

Now, if a bunch of /.ers got together and started an ISP (grafting on the significant marketing, legal, HR, and executive chops you'd need), who here really thinks the final company, Applied Slashdot Superiority, would offer a significantly less evil/more reliable offering to the public?

Re:If you don't get (2, Interesting)

Xiph (723935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456813)

Just for shits and giggles, i just went to time warner to read the contracts(different for cali and rest of the us)...
I'm glad that i don't have to put up with the crap that you guys do.

Seriously, i think contracts like this would be made more humane,
If consumers took the time to call them and ask, what each clause of a contract meant, before purchase.

I'm curious as to how much, of the stuff they put in the contract, would be thrown out in a courtroom?

It's not that easy. (5, Informative)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456839)

You can't just "cancel" your contract in a lot of cases. I know in my area, you have three choices: 1) use the cable provider (Comcast), 2) use dial-up, 3) go fuck yourself. It's a selective monopoly, and it seriously hurts a lot of consumers in a lot of less urban areas.

choice four (3, Interesting)

poptones (653660) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456865)

Move to a country home in the deep south and get DSL. I live 7 miles from a town with a population of about 1000 people, a mile off the highway on a dirt road and I have 3Mbit dsl service that's pretty darn reliable. How someone can live in the city and not have dsl or high speed wireless service available amazes me. Heck, you should at least be able to get cheap fractional T1. If no one else has decent service and you live in a populated area stick up a wifi gateway and offer it yourself. If the cable service really does suck that bad it shouldn't be hard at all to find customers to help defray the cost of that shared T1.

Re:choice four (1, Flamebait)

superbus1929 (1069292) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456981)

I wouldn't live in the Deep South if someone doubled my pay to go. Hard to believe that's possible, considering I live in Connecticut, but that's where I stand on that.

I live in a rural area of Connecticut that's in a fairly deep recess; wireless is a bitch to get consistently here (I'm out of cell phone range), and the idea of getting my neighbours - all standard lusers - to buy into a T1 line is sardonically humourous.

We have people trying to get Yahoo DSL in my neck of the woods (it's laughable; my Uncle has Yahoo DSL, and we're "out of range". He lives DIRECTLY ACROSS THE STREET), but the thought of switching from Comcast to Yahoo because it's "better" makes me laugh out loud. That's much akin to getting fucked in the ass, but choosing the dildo beforehand that does the deed.

Re:choice four (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456997)

3 Mbps is pretty weak these days, and fractional T1 would be almost intolerable if you actually use any high-bandwidth applications. I have DSL advertised at 7 Mbps (5 Mbps in real life), and when I had Comcast I had a reliable 6 Mbps for about the same price.

Re:choice four (1)

echucker (570962) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457121)

You're screwed if you switch to DSL where I live - mandatory 2 year contract with Frontier, with penalties for early cancellation.

Re:If you don't get (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456853)

Unsubscribe in some places and the *ONLY* option is satellite at 100+ a month.

Re:If you don't get (3, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456909)

No consumer service I've ever seen has a guaranteed speed claim

Well, you've seen the wrong contracts then. The contract I have has a minimum bandwidth clause and also a maximum out-of-service period limit. But then again, this is not the U.S. here.
 

Re:If you don't get (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456611)

If you read the fine print, they don't promise diddly-squat. They will be more than happy to take your money. As far as delivering a service, you'll take what your given and like it.

Re:If you don't get (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456959)

if they can't deliver what they promise you don't need to pay what you promised.

No. Breach of contract does not mean you don't have to fulfill your obligations unless the contract explicitely states so. It does give you legal recourse and probably the option to delay your obligations until the problem is sorted out. Of course the judge can decide that you don't have to pay but it's not your job to decide that.

already experienced it (1)

palewook (1101845) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457123)

normal connect speed is 6000 kbps, last week downloading newsgroup headers started dropping to 40 kbps. nice thing is during shaping, if you have voip with TW, your phone gets hit too. vonage nows sounds better than TW which sounds more like skype if you happen to get shaped, during a call.

God Smack Your Ass !! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456585)

God Smack Your Ass !!

Re:God Smack Your Ass !! (1)

Xiph (723935) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456597)

a shame parent didn't make it to first post...

Fradulent advertising (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456595)

This is the 'technical solution' to a typical case of selling a product that you can't actually deliver.
NTL in the UK has just started to institute a similar policy, and is reputed to be haemorrhaging subscribers at an alarming rate (at least if you are a shareholder). It really defeats the point in having broadband to slap an arbitrarily low usage cap on a service that is expected to be used to transfer rich media content - which is by nature very large.
Either these companies can invest in their network sufficiently to deliver this type of service, or they should withdraw from this business completely.
Usage caps will only buy them a small amount of time, before proper investment in their networks must resume.

Re:Fradulent advertising (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456713)

NTL in the UK has just started to institute a similar policy

By the way, they're called Virgin Media now.

Is it really a similar policy? They take some users down to 1mb down, 128kb up after 350MB usage at peak times. It still seems fast enough (although I do hate the utter asynchronousness of it, I like my upstream dmanit!)

If anything, what will make me go for Be Unlimited w/ Sky at my next property will be the truly terrible Indian-based 'customer service' call centres they seem to have switched to since their takeover of NTL. And that's after waiting literally 30 minutes on hold.

Re:Fradulent advertising (1)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456815)

There are good UK ISP's out there. I've just moved to one that stresses they sell you a bandwidth package - in my case, 30 gig peak, 300 gig off-peak. What you do with that bandwidth is your call.

If a market demands it (And considering the UK market is near-enough completely traffic-management / FUP - certainly amongst the big players), then services willing to take your money to provide the service you want will spring up.

Re:Fradulent advertising (1)

TimberManiac (851670) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456903)

Care to share a name? ;-) I'm always on the lookout for a more reliable ISP.

Good providers (2, Informative)

Ilex (261136) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457133)

Sounds like one the Entanet resellers like UKFSN or ADSL24. They still ultimately use the BT DSL network but unlike the US each ISP can choose the type of service level they provide, BT just provide the infrastructure and is Net Neutral to the type of traffic that is sent across it. Entanet and their resellers also have a Network Neutrality policy. The only traffic management they have is an anti loss tool which reduces load on the pipes during periods of high demand. Even when the network is heavily congested you should still be able to get 2Mbs and they're pretty quick in expanding their capacity too.

There are very few ISP's now that won't manage their traffic in some way and they'll be using LLU not BT.

Be unlimited is probably the best provider for heavier downloaders. I recently switched to them from Entanet and now get 11Mbs at the port with a nearly 14Mbs line speed. On a BT provider you're lucky if your actual data rate hits 6Mbs

Re:Fradulent advertising (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457173)

I don't think this is the one the parent was talking about, but Andrews & Arnolds (www.aaisp.net.uk) is really good. If you use a lot of bandwidth during peak hours (I don't) it is expensive, but their customer support is great. When you call, the person that picks up the phone will be the one to help you. I've never been on hold with them, and they don't read from a script! They even have an IRC room.

I have an 8mb/800k package, with 8 static IP addresses. I don't work for the company (honestly), I'm just a happy customer. I used to have NTL who was completely useless. The bastards still owe me about £80 because they kept charging me after I moved and canceled, but I've given up trying to reclaim it.

Re:Fradulent advertising (1)

jez9999 (618189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457177)

Why the hell would you put up with a crappy 30GB cap when you could go with Be Unlimited and get an uncapped connection? Sorry, but I'm very intolerant of caps. I think they suck, and anyone who imposes them sucks.

Class action? (4, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456601)

Ok, so I take this as an admission that they're not willing or able to deliver as advertised. Sounds like a lot of people are owed a refund.

-jcr

Re:Class action? (5, Interesting)

flyboy974 (624054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456629)

I agree. The FCC has repeatedly denied ISP's the right to shape and/or filter traffic based on the common carrier laws.

To do otherwise would cause the ISP to lose their status as a common carrier, and thus, for all legal matters, lose their "Internet Service Provider" status as well as far as the DMCA is concerned. At this point they start to filter and/or interact with the traffic, they are no longer a bipartisan, rather a willing participant in deciding upon the traffic of which they are choosing to send.

Thus, any illegal content, they have chosen to allow. Regardless of protocol, technology, etc.

So they are not liable.

Re:Class action? (4, Informative)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456645)

Most ISPs are not common carriers.

depends on the application of this (5, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456619)

In terms of QOS i agree with this. if for example you are downloading 100gig of porn from torrents then shaping that when you make a phone call in order to make sure the phone call gets through ok is GOOD. shaping however should NEVER prevent you reaching your maxium speed your line is capable of. what you spend your bandwidth on is none of their business, isp's have repeatedly stated they aren't responsible for your downloading habits, so they can't turn around and control them to suit themselfs and not be liable for it.

Re:depends on the application of this (2, Insightful)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456685)

In terms of QOS i agree with this. if for example you are downloading 100gig of porn from torrents then shaping that when you make a phone call in order to make sure the phone call gets through ok is GOOD.

Alternatively, the broadband provider could actually improve its infrastructure so it supports advertised speeds for all users.

Packet shaping looks like a method for ISPs to have higher advertised speeds without actually increasing the capacity of their network as they should.

Re:depends on the application of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456703)

If you want cheap broadband, then this is the catch.

Re:depends on the application of this (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457101)

If you buy a 3 GHz computer, is it ok if it can only run at 1.5 GHz without overheating, just because you only paid the advertised price?

Re:depends on the application of this (2, Insightful)

NMerriam (15122) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457083)

Alternatively, the broadband provider could actually improve its infrastructure so it supports advertised speeds for all users.


Well, there will always be a compromise between mean capacity and peak capacity. Expecting everyone with RR to be able to download NNTP feeds at full-speed at prime-time is not reasonable for any consumer service that will be affordable. But if I'm downloading at 3am and there is plenty of unused capacity that i'm capable of having, I certainly expect it not to be slowed down by RoadRunner just because they like the idea of slowing down bandwidth-intensive stuff.

Re:depends on the application of this (1)

15Bit (940730) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456943)

> Packet shaping looks like a method for ISPs to have higher

> advertised speeds without actually increasing the capacity
> of their network as they should.

There seems to be an automatic assumption that ISP level QOS equals bandwidth/download capping. That isn't necessarily true. I run QOS on my home connection and it means that when i'm downloading large quantities of data i can still talk ok on the VOIP. I haven't seen my bandwidth being reduced though - I just get to use what i have more effectively. Correspondingly, it would be negligent for an ISP *NOT* to use their resources efficiently, as excess infrastructure is paid for by their subscribers. Indeed, perhaps the users of TW should be complaining less about the traffic shaping now and more about how long its taken to implement...

Re:depends on the application of this (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457015)

Yeah, but what they are doing is, say, capping all usenet and P2P (probably the 2 biggest uses for all that bandwidth) to 1mb/s on your fat 6mb/s pipe.

The way to sue them of course (IANAL) would be to claim that this capping represents a break in the "best effort" most contracts are based on, they are clearly not offering their best effort if they are capping everyone.

On a side note, thankfully they are not touching port 59 (or so it seems) :)

oops (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456621)

The packet shaping they talk about doesnt seem to have any concrete cut offs for when it is used, just a vague reference to "excessive bandwidth usage." [what exactly do they think is excessive?] what is going to end up happening is the broadband users that know enough about it will either leave or try to go around the packet shaping. in the latter case, if they got caught they would likely have their account trashed which would quickly lead to a lot of people knowing about it. seems like an awful efficient way for Time Warner to shoot themselves in the foot. Ready. Aim. Fire

A cunning plan... (5, Insightful)

sam0ht (46606) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456653)


TW are probably HOPING to lose 10% of their customers... the 10% who use 90% of the bandwidth. By biasing their customer base towards those who just want to read their email and check CNN online, they can carry on collecting the fees and not bother with the costs of providing greater bandwidth.

Re:A cunning plan... (1)

Kaitnieks (823909) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456747)

Unfortunately these 10% are also usually the loudest ones and they definitely won't recommend TW to their friends.

Re:A cunning plan... (1)

etymxris (121288) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456753)

Sounds good from a business perspective, except those heavy downloaders are often "tech experts" for their friends and family. And when those friends and family try to get advice from the tech experts, they won't be recommended broadband that does traffic shaping. Word of mouth can really make or break a business, and when flip the bird to 10% of your customers, you'll probably end up regretting it.

Re:A cunning plan... (5, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456763)

Word of mouth can really make or break a business, and when flip the bird to 10% of your customers, you'll probably end up regretting it.
Unless of course your business is a monopoly, or a duopoly where both 'competitors' treat their customers equally poorly. Then you can flip the bird to 100% of your customers and still run a bloated, inefficient business.

PS - once traffic shaping has been turned on, look for Time Warner to start soliciting companies like Google/youtube to 'sponsor' speed zones on TW's network.

Re:A cunning plan... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456769)

I doubt it. Those 10% would be pretty rotten and dishonest people to lie to their relatives over their own greediness.

Re:A cunning plan... (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457091)

Free tech help only to those who don't use company X. If you use them, you can pay me for help so I at least can better afford not to use them.

???

all the best,

drew

Re:A cunning plan... (-1, Redundant)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456801)

Consider the Pizza Hut salad bar. At the moment, people eat around the same amount of salad at the all you can eat salad bar - maybe the greedy ones eat 2x as much as average, so it sort of works out.

But imagine if a tiny minority cleaned out the salad bar each day - they actually had an infinite capacity for salad. Now the other, less greedy customers start to complain. You can buy more salad, and that's what the greedy customers will suggest. But remember that in this example the greedy customers will use all the salad there is - BitTorrent is designed to saturate pipes. It will use all the additional bandwidth you give it.

So you have a small minority who are basically infintely greedy and using resources to the point where people who use the service to read email are starting to complain. At this point, you might was well implement traffic shaping. The greedy customers can then either live with the restriction or leave for your competitors, but that's no loss.

Sooner or later of course, your competitors will have to implement traffic shaping too. It's better to sacrifice the greedy minority to ensure service continues to be satisfactory to the non greedy majority.

Re:A cunning plan... (2, Insightful)

bizzyjb (1113653) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456887)

Ok give me a break man, do you work for Comcast or something? The fact of the matter is, if cable wasn't shared bandwidth this wouldn't be an issue. I've never had any speed problems on DSL, never, and that's because it's guaranteed bandwidth. If I pay for 3mbps and they can't provide it then I switch to a lower service that they CAN provide. But, given good phone lines and optimal distance I get my 3mbps, rain, snow, sun...wtfever.

The fact of the matter is, email users should be paying for the lowest package ($15/month?) and the people that want the speed, pay for the bigger packages. Imagine Verizon FIOS service, is some mangler who only checks email going to pay for 15mbps/2mbps? If they do then they're wasting their money anyway. No, if I pay for a certain bandwidth, I should get that whether I'm playing a game, talking on the phone, downloading porn, browsing the web or checking my damn email.

Greedy has nothing to do with it...it's about paying for a service and getting that service. Would you pay $70 for unlimited minutes on your cell phone only to have them say "yeah....we're gonna limit you to 1000 because you're using too many", come on...

Besides that, the bottom line is this: The power users don't use an infinite amount of bandwidth, in actuality we use as much as we are allowed to...i.e. what we're paying for. The package I pay for is, 3mbps. That means if they want to provide 3mbps to me, they need to set aside that much bandwidth and that's how much I get...maximum. So, like someone else said...if they aren't comfortable providing 3mbps to me and all the other customers that are paying for it, they shouldn't even offer it...right? RIGHT.

Re:A cunning plan... (3, Insightful)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457113)

Ok give me a break man, do you work for Comcast or something?

No, I was just annoyed by the slanted coverage.

Greedy has nothing to do with it...it's about paying for a service and getting that service. Would you pay $70 for unlimited minutes on your cell phone only to have them say "yeah....we're gonna limit you to 1000 because you're using too many", come on...

As I said, some things can be unlimited like the salad bar. If the ratio of the resources used by the high consuming users to the low consuming users is low then it doesn't matter. If it's very high and the high consuming users are a small minority then it makes sense to add limits that only affect them.

E.g. if 90% of the minutes on a cell phone network were used by 10% of the users, they'd start to limit too. And it is greed too. Gluttony is a sin for a reason.

The power users don't use an infinite amount of bandwidth, in actuality we use as much as we are allowed to...i.e. what we're paying for. The package I pay for is, 3mbps. That means if they want to provide 3mbps to me, they need to set aside that much bandwidth and that's how much I get...maximum.

So they need 3mpbs * (number of users) total bandwidth to the outside world. And at any point in the network they need to guarantee that there is enough bandwidth for all users to max out their connection?

I think you could buy a service like that but it would cost a lot more than one where they assume that people don't use anywhere near 100% of peak bandwidth on average. T1 lines for example are designed to be maxed out as far as I know. But consumer stuff isn't, hence the lower costs and all the jargon about contention and usage ratios. They basically bet on the fact that people will only use a small percentage of the bandwidth they buy. For the 90% case that's true and for the 10% case it isn't.

So, like someone else said...if they aren't comfortable providing 3mbps to me and all the other customers that are paying for it, they shouldn't even offer it...right? RIGHT.

If you made an attempt to see it from their point of view, you'd be a lot less angry. And you'd also know that they probably don't want people maxing out their consumer service 24/7. You can rant and rave on the internet as much as you want, it doesn't change the economics of a situation.

Which is this. Their 3mbps service makes a profit for 90% of users but without traffic shaping it makes a loss for the greedy 10%. When they put in traffic shaping they probably budgetted on losing a minority of that 10%. The rest of them will just rant about it until they find something more important to complain about. But either way it solves the problem of a greedy minority. And sooner or later their competitors will make the same decision too.

Re:A cunning plan... (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456867)

Great analysis, except for one thing. With sites like YouTube, and widespread use of Gnutella, that's not 10% but around 50%.

I'm making numbers up, but from what I've seen everyone at the local high school uses youtube, downloads songs off limewire/bearshare, and a lot of them even know about bittorent.

And actually, this will just make matters worse - uTorrent (and probably other BT clients) supports protocol encryption to avoid this, and BT users draw way more bandwidth than other P2P services.

Re:A cunning plan... (1)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456905)

Oh come on now,

If this is the reason that TW want to lose these customers then they should not be promoting a high-speed service and hoping that the majority of users will only use low bandwidth applications. I don't use a lot of always on high-bandwidth apps, but on the occasions I do I expect the experience I'm paying $50/month for.

If there is some kind of monthly "bandwidth cap" after which point your service will be degraded that is one thing. To simply degrade the service for anyone using certain types of applications and services is completely unacceptable, and I hope that someone files a class action over it. To make matters worse, assuming TFA shows the pertinent information, it is not even clear to current subscribers or prospective customers which exact services and/or sites may have degraded performance.

Re:oops (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456669)

Oh I see.. so if they screw over every smart customer they have and make them leave their bandidth requirements would decrease drastically thus allowing them to overbook their service like they wanted to in the first place. BRILLIANT!

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456701)

the only problem is those 10% probably have sway with their company and friends/family when they get asked to who to go with etc

Re:oops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456777)

What the hell is wrong with this mythical 10% that they wouldn't realize that their behavior is disruptive to the network and not knowing that their relatives would not have a problem with this type of packet shaping?

Sounds like some pretty scummy people of low character.

Conflict of Interest (5, Insightful)

Detritus (11846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456637)

Oops, we broke your third-party VOIP service. Why not sign up for Time-Warner VOIP, which works much better?

I'm just waiting for the jerks to declare any use of IPSEC as a violation of their TOS.

Sue them for false advertising? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456641)

IANAL, but I think that it would be false to advertise this as "internet access" now. Maybe something like "bastardized crippled internet access" or "Pull the rug out from under our customers internet" but not "internet". Heres hoping theres a class action lawsuit in it.

mod 0p (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456643)

from The OpenBSD was 3hat got me

Heh. (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456649)

Good thing I didn't switch to Road Runner when they tried to pressure me into doing so. I'm just fine with my slightly-less-downlink-than-RR-but-twice-the-uplin k Verizon business DSL connection. (Until they evil me out just as well, in which case I'm fucked x.x)

-uso.

Re:Heh. (2, Interesting)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456705)

On a business connection you should be fairly safe.

Where I work we have a similar business connection which used to be 24Meg / 1Meg. Part of my job involves uploading content to our offsite servers. This would usually involve files a few Gb in size. After we would regularly leave work at 5pm and leave it uploading through their busiest evening period they got back to use to ask if we wanted to upgrade our upstream speed at the expense of downstream. We did and now we have 2 or 3 Meg depending on how busy they are. The downstream speed is pretty irrelevant to us as we rarely use it to its full capacity.

Most business ISP's expect this. Certainly here in britain a business account usually comes with 20:1 contention ratio instead of 50:1 which most home users get. A business is also expected to be sharing a single DSL line amongst an entire office so they expect higher levels of constant usage.

Re:Heh. (1, Redundant)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457033)

Certainly here in britain a business account usually comes with 20:1 contention ratio instead of 50:1 which most home users get

What the f.... kind of ratio is that? Here's the two biggest providers in Norway, ranging from 2.5:1 (2500/1000 at NGT) to 23:1 (16000/700 at Telenor) with most in the 5:1-10:1 range. 50:1 would be completely ridiculous and useless for anything but web browsing! And yes, they prerty much deliver that too.

Telenor:
Mini 1500/300 kbps
Basis 2500/350 kbps
Pluss 4000/400 kbps
Ekstra 6000/500 kbps
Max 16000/700 kbps
 
NextGenTel:
ADSL 1800: 1800/350
ADSL 2500: 2500/500
ADSL 6500: 6500/750
ADSL Mega 2500: 2500/1000
ADSL Mega 3000: 3000/1000
ADSL Mega 3500: 3500/1000
ADSL Mega 4000: 4000/1000
ADSL Mega 4500: 4500/1000
ADSL Mega 5000: 5000/1000
ADSL Mega 20000: 20000/1000
Bredbånd Langdistanse: 1800/350

Re:Heh. (2, Informative)

palmersperry (242842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457129)

Contention ratio isn't the ratio of downstream/upstream bandwidth. It's the ratio of how 'oversold' the bandwidth is, thus the worst case scenario for 50:1 is that you'll be sharing your 2Mb (or whatever) bandwidth with 49 over users.

Re:Heh. (1)

palmersperry (242842) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457137)

Contention ratio isn't the ratio of downstream:upstream bandwidth. It's the ratio of how 'oversold' the bandwidth is, with 2Mb 50:1 ADSL you're sharing your 2Mbs with 49 other users (who are, hopefully, not all trying to use it at once).

Re:Heh. (5, Informative)

Ash Vince (602485) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457171)

You seem to be a little confused. The contention ratio of a broadband account is how many times thet sell the same bandwidth. So if you buy a 5000/1000 account, they sell the same 5000 to 50 (or 20) other people on the basis that you wont all try and use it at the same time.

Here is a link describing this better than I:

http://www.getonlinebroadband.com/faqs/faq02.html [getonlinebroadband.com]

The facade (1)

Envy Life (993972) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456957)

Good thing I didn't switch to Road Runner
You're assuming that Verizon doesn't or won't do the same? Gotta love the naive.

Let's see here, if packet shaping is going on with newsgroup applications, P2P, audio, video, VoIP, and on-demand web sites (remember "net neutrality" ?), then what's left? The Internet is no longer open and free folks, regardless of ISP.

VOIP is high bandwidth? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456663)

Since when is voice a high-bandwidth application? A telephone call only uses 56kbps (that's bits per second), and that's without good compression. I can't imagine how a call made with a good codec could be considered enough of a problem to be throttled.

dom

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (1)

Loconut1389 (455297) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456693)

I've often had the upstream on VOIP calls from my Cisco 7960 take up 30kb/s- maybe I've got a bad codec setup somewhere, but I found that if I did much of anything, I'd get jitter and dropouts.

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456725)

Change codecs to something like G729 or GSM

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456755)

Well, the OP did say they take up 56kbps; getting that down to 30kbps is roughly a factor of 2 compression which isn't that bad.

In other words, 30kbps doesn't sound too excessive to me (although I'm not a networking or VoIP specialist). Given that even my crappy ADSL over a poor phone line manages 440kbps upstream, I really don't see that as a problem. In fact, even if it wasn't compressed at all, my connection should theoretically be able to handle at least 6 simultaneous connections (allowing for overhead).

You'd packet shape to reduce the impact of other apps on VoIP, not to reduce the impact of VoIP on the network. Of course, you might packet shape to reduce the impact of VoIP on your profits...

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456799)

A telephone call only uses 56kbps (that's bits per second)

I thought it was 64kbps, which is how ISDN managed that speed ove the POTS network, and the extra 8kbps was due to a limitation with modems.

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (1)

fnord_uk (842775) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456927)

An ISDN B-channel is 64kb/s, with 8-bit samples at 8kHz.

Re:VOIP is high bandwidth? (1)

evanbd (210358) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456897)

That should be obvious. TWC sells VOIP phone service last I checked; of course they'll "shape" other VOIP traffic.

You should not be surprised or indignant (5, Insightful)

bhima (46039) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456785)

This is the problem with these 'unlimited' plans, there no way all users can consume the peak bandwidth advertised and we all know it. Many 'enthusiast' users signed up for such plans thinking their providers were fools for offering such plans. Well who's the fool? The guy that oversells a product by an order of magnitude or the guy that bought into it knowing that it was?

In my opinion un-metered plans should not be offered at all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You pay for an upload/download capability, then pay for brackets of monthly bandwidth, and you should get a break on packets transfered during off-peak hours.

Do we really want or need government regulation of ISP capacity marketing? If that's the case I guess the free market economy doesn't work as well a some folks think.

Re:You should not be surprised or indignant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456841)

I think it's not just a question of marketing unlimited. I think that it's a question of reining in the 24/7 movie downloaders that make service slow for everone in the neighborhood, especially around dinnertime as the article states.

If enough people are really upset about this, they need to get together and push for fiber into every home.

We should be doing this anyway.

Re:You should not be surprised or indignant (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456911)

Do we really want or need government regulation of ISP capacity marketing? If that's the case I guess the free market economy doesn't work as well a some folks think.
If I buy "pork", I want it to be "pork". If I buy "10mbps down / 1mbps up internet access", I want it to be "10mbps down / 1mbps up internet access".

If I can't go out on whatever protocol I want and get that speed between me, then my ISP, then the outside world (or the first step thereof)... someone's lying.

Re:You should not be surprised or indignant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457181)

get that speed between me, then my ISP, then the outside world (or the first step thereof)

That's not how it works. The advertised bandwidth is always the local link bandwidth, the first hop of your view of the Internet. Sometimes even that is a statistical approximation (cable is a shared medium). The problem is something else: Traffic shaping necessarily puts some packets before others, which implies a valuation. That is none of the ISPs business. If the uplink is saturated, it is OK for the ISP to say that you can't get the same speed to other networks as you get on your local link, because other people want their share of the bandwidth too. That's just how the network of networks is constructed. It is not OK for the ISP to say that your favorite application doesn't get the same bandwidth through the uplink as your neighbor's favorite application because the ISP deems your application less worthy. It is not OK for the ISP to say that your connections get less bandwidth through the same external link because they are with less worthy communication partners than your neighbor's.

quite wrong to blame the users (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456923)

the problem is not with the users. any user who buys a plan marketed as 20mbps has the right to assume that is the speed they are entitled to. the "up to" clause, at least in most contracts I have seen, is there to allow for the rare case where due to technical problems or other temporary circumstances the company can't guarantee the speed, not as a device to systematically oversell the service.

also, where i live the providers have more or less kept up with capacity increase partly because the government invested in infrastructure and technology on the last mile -- so that now even in the resort village that i reside I can choose between several ISPs that provide 100mbps for roughly $30-40 a month.

in other words, with the correct priorities and enough pressure, the companies can be made to go at least partly in the direction that is "right" for users.

Re:You should not be surprised or indignant (1)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456971)

In my opinion un-metered plans should not be offered at all, there is no such thing as a free lunch.

Hey, please send in your resume to one of these companies, you're their dream employee. Other than that, when you've paid for it, it's not free anymore, even if the meaning of "free" is fairly volatile these days.

You pay for an upload/download capability
I do.
then pay for brackets of monthly bandwidth
No, I don't. For one, I would never jump into a capped contract (thankfully we have many options). Then, my off peak hours are not others' off peak hours. I want to use my connection whenever I want for however long I want and for however much data I want. So far, my provider has kept offering such a plan, for 5 years now, with increasing bandwidth.

You want to get a capped connection ? I don't think there's a problem, we can probably find fairly many ISPs that you'd be happy with.

Re:You should not be surprised or indignant (4, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457149)

"In my opinion un-metered plans should not be offered at all, there is no such thing as a free lunch. You pay for an upload/download capability, then pay for brackets of monthly bandwidth, and you should get a break on packets transfered during off-peak hours."

No thanks.

Here is something I would buy...

Flat rate. Guaranteed X up / Y down (preferably X = Y) with ability to go up to a.X up and b.Y down when the network loading can handle it. (a and b are greater than 1!)

Over selling is cool down at the home level, just sell and manage it honestly.

Don't give me this per byte game though. And I dont want to pay by the word for my phone calls either.

all the best,

drew

In that case.... (1)

DeltaQH (717204) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456791)

"The company is already warning users that attempts to circumvent these measures is a violation of their Terms of Service."
In that case, just terminate the service. ;-)

Their experience with AOL is showing (3, Funny)

ColeonyxOnline (966334) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456793)

Time Warner Cable is showing just how much they learned from AOL during the AOL/Timer Warner days.

"flat rate" makes littl sense for broadband speeds (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456829)

Flat rate makes sense when available capacity is so high compared to common usage that accounting for usage is more expensive than simply letting everybody just use the service at a fixed fee. That's true for voice, dial-up, and maybe ISDN speeds.

For broadband, flat rates don't make any sense yet. What you get is either volume-capped flat rates, traffic shaping, or some kind of nebulous enforcement. Since those tend to be not very transparent to customers and hard to compare between providers, those kinds of models are probably bad for users.

ISPs should find a simple pricing model for broadband, like charging a few bucks per gigabyte of volume, plus some base fee (possibly with different rates for peak/off-peak usage). Based on that, people could more reasonably compare what they're actually getting for their money.

Of course, ISPs prefer a confusopoly, and users foolishly think they're getting a good deal with "all you can eat" bandwidth buffets.

Re:"flat rate" makes littl sense for broadband spe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456919)

ISPs should find a simple pricing model for broadband, like charging a few bucks per gigabyte of volume, plus some base fee (possibly with different rates for peak/off-peak usage). Based on that, people could more reasonably compare what they're actually getting for their money.
Just that that way without competition you'll end up paying 10000% more than you should per megabyte. The average amount of what people pay doesn't rise, but the usage is going to be limited to websurfing. Cool, eh?

Re:"flat rate" makes littl sense for broadband spe (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457049)

a few bucks per gigabyte of volume

You would have to invent a time machine and go back to the nineties first to get away with that.

Re:"flat rate" makes littl sense for broadband spe (1)

nanosquid (1074949) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457115)

That's what you think. That's probably what broadband users are actually paying on average. It's just that people like you are downloading hundreds of gigabytes while people like my mother are reading their E-mail and only want broadband for the convenience and fast load times.

Why this happens in North America... (1, Insightful)

SpeedyDX (1014595) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456845)

... and not South Korea.

In general, the population density is far too low in North America to make it financially feasible for ISPs to lay out improved infrastructure as they become available. In the US of A, the average population density is 31 per square km. In Canada, it's a paltry 3.2 per square km. South Korea, on the other hand, has a population density of 480!!! per square km. Over 15 times that of the U.S., and over 150 times that of Canada. This makes it a lot easier for ISPs to roll out improved infrastructure for the country.

Not so Monkey Brains !! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456895)

Canadida is all huddled next to the great US of A. Dentistry is packed in to a few citys, particulery Tomato, Belvidere, and Montyall.

That's not the whole explanation (5, Informative)

pv2b (231846) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456963)

Population density isn't the whole explanation though.

Here in Europe, for example -- Belgium, with a population density of 343 people/km^2, has realtively crappy broadband, with bandwidth caps of a few tens of gigabytes per month being prevalent with most ISPs. At least, last time I checked. I might be out of date.

Sweden, however, with a population density of just 22 people/km^2, has great broadband. I have uncapped cable at 24 Mbit/s down and 8 Mbit/s up, and I do use it rather heavilly, although I use far less than my total theoretical capacity. I haven't received any nastygrams from my ISP about this either. The very young wireless 3G broadband market, which used to have an industry standard of a 1 GB/month cap, has under the last few months come under competition, with most providers giving uncapped access. Broadband in rural areas is less spectacular, but ADSL is available in many areas, if you're lucky enough to have bought in before they ran out of space for equipment in your local telephone station. (A widespread problem right now, it seems.)

The most important piece of the puzzle is working competition between providers. Sure, a dense population helps, but it's in no way so significant as you make it out to be.

Re:That's not the whole explanation (1)

revengebomber (1080189) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457103)

Pfft, Sweden. Stupid, backwards luddites. Everything is so much better over here in the New World. Why don't you pirat^H^H^H^H^H nice people come over here and take a look at our justice system?

Re:Why this happens in North America... (1)

Ant P. (974313) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457053)

The more likely explanation is that South Korean ISPs simply aren't as retarded and greedy as US ones.

My experience / are there good alternatives? (3, Interesting)

DigitAl56K (805623) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456847)

On June 7th I experienced a drop in bandwidth to certain online video sites down to only 300Kbps, where usually I can get a full 5Mbps downstream. I can't say for sure that this was 'traffic shaping', but it's quite a co-incidence that TWC made this announcement one day earlier.

Does anybody have a link to a list of ISPs or non-business plans that are not traffic shaping? If a 16x drop in performance is going to become a frequent occurrence I aim to leave RoadRunner quickly. I'll look to the /. crowd for some respectable recommendations.

Re:My experience / are there good alternatives? (2, Informative)

MikeyVB (787338) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457007)

The Azureus BitTorrent client online support wiki maintains a list. Quite handy for trouble shooting download speed problems and which ISPs to avoid if you intend to use BitTorrent (even for legitimate purposes)

The link: http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs [azureuswiki.com]

Time Warner is not in the U.S. list, but since it is a wiki, we could just add it. (Unless it is listed under a different name I don't know about)

Re:My experience / are there good alternatives? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457019)

I'll look to the /. crowd for some respectable recommendations.

Expect DSL providers to use cable restrictions in their advertising soon. DSL is not as limited to the number of connections.

The only option (5, Insightful)

javilon (99157) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456881)

Is to encrypt every protocol so it looks like IPSEC or ssh and use random ports. This is going to be defeating the point of network management, firewalls, etc, but it is the only option they allow us to get information across without it being cataloged, censored and billed according to whatever criteria they want to impose.

Re:The only option (5, Interesting)

Phil246 (803464) | more than 7 years ago | (#19456987)

tell that to Rogers in canada.
They're throttling all encrypted traffic, just incase that its used to bypass the traffic throttling they imposed.
see http://www.michaelgeist.ca/content/view/1859/125/ [michaelgeist.ca] for details

If you sold TV packages, you'd limit TV/IP too (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19456917)

But don't worry...the phone companies will do what they can to ruin any ability to deliver Phone service over cable,
so it'll all work out...

Music and Video Stores. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19457025)

Once again: the internet was not designed to be a high resolution video distribution service. Get over it people and get a fucking life. Don't like it? Go down to the music or video store and damn well pay for it.

The internet is meant for exchange of INFORMATION not fucking snakes on a plane in high def, Jesus, Mary and Joseph, Lord help us and save us.

How fucking stupid can you people be? No, don't answer that, its pretty obvious.

Build your own fucking retarded movie sharing network and stop crippling ours.

Welcome to corporate greed (1)

node159 (636992) | more than 7 years ago | (#19457037)

Living in a backwater where packet shaping and other shenanigans (like providing 8Mbps line with 300MB allowance per month), I'd like to say... welcome to corporate greed.

PS: Best bit of advice, make them bleed while you can, and then change your service stating why you changed, It won't achieve much, but its about the best you can do.
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