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phyxeld's Journal: Speakeasy's NetShare is a Scam 9

Journal by phyxeld

Speakeasy.net, the ISP recently referred to as the "world's greatest ISP" on the front of slashdot, is trying to scam people. The new NetShare plan sounds pretty good, from the available information on their public site. Speakeasy has long encouraged people to run free wireless APs, and it shouldn't be surprising that some people are using wireless technology to share DSL costs with their neighbors (I am). So, it appears, this new NetShare plan provides an easy way to have my "customers" (really just one neighbor in my case) pay speakeasy directly. And, as a bonus, they'll get an email account and some limited tech support from them. Sounds good.

After reading the /. story, I wanted to find out more. The FAQ on speakeasy's website has some information, but doesn't say anything specific about pricing. It wants you to login for the full story. At first, the login page was dumping me to a 404. Now, at some point in the last hour, it was fixed. Instead of a login page, NetShare Admin is now listed as an option under Add/Remove Services. So I clicked it.

I guess I may as well just get to the fucking point already. Here is a screenshot of the signup screen, inside the MySpeakeasy members area.

Only half of what your neighbor pays speakeasy gets credited to your account. You can choose to charge people anywhere from $20 to $100 dollars, per month, and you get 50% of that credited to your bill. In my case, our $100/mo dsl bill is currently being split between 5 different people, including our neighbor, so everybody is paying $20. And if I were to switch my neighbor over to the NetShare plan (instead of having him pay me cash, like he does now) I'd be out $10 per month (while he'd be paying the same ammount).

"Alright," some might say, "then just don't use it". Well, that would now make me a violator. Buried in the FAQ, under what is surely the wrong question, lays this very uncool, very un-greatest-isp-in-the-world, answer:

  • I don't use WiFi but still want to share my connection (Ethernet, carrier pigeons, free-space optics, whatever). What's your policy?
    • Speakeasy believes that shared wireless networks are in keeping with our core values of disseminating knowledge, access to information and fostering community, provided this usage does not have an adverse impact on the services of other customers, does not involve any illegal activity and is not otherwise in violation of any aspect of our existing Terms Of Service . Please remember that the Speakeasy account-holder is responsible for all activity originating from their DSL line, even if it is the result of other users on a shared wireless connection.

      You may use either wired or wireless networks to share your connection, under the NetShare terms of use. Use of NetShare is mandatory if broadband circuit is residential and you intend to collect fees from third parties accessing your network.

(emphasis mine)

So, if I'm understanding all this right, I now have the choice of paying $10 more per month, or violating their TOS. But what even defines third parties? Should I be charging my 3 housemates as NetShare customers, too? I mean, I am collecting fees from them, after all.

This is all bullshit! I was expecting to find we could all pay less from using this so called "revolutionary new service". What the fuck, Speakeasy?!

As they say on IRC: pls fx, kthx.

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Speakeasy's NetShare is a Scam

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  • DSL bill is $100. Four customers pay $20 each to SpeakEasy. Admin gets $40 back. That means Admin is still out for a $60 bill (or $40 minus his/her $20 share)
    • I'm not seeing his bad math, at worst it's bad grammar. He was saying he'd be out $10 per month per user. He left out the words "per user" for your imagination to fill in because he was talking about the one user specifically. You just need to scale the per user losses across the entire user base. So right now he's paying $20 out of pocket, under the new plan he'd be paying a lot more. And that alot more is, as you showed, $40 more, or $10 per person per month.

      In order for him to continue paying his c
  • by imroy (755)

    Being non-american I didn't pay much attention to this story on the front page. The situation with ADSL in Australia is crap but getting better. My family may soon get a truly unlimited ADSL account - even a static IP!

    Anyway... It looks like the SpeakEasy execs got their advertising department to come up with a way to entice customers to register the people they're sharing with. It's classic ad-speak - "Get a 50% credit on your account!" - it sounds so positive until you do the math. With this scheme yo

  • So Speakeasy is just going to take that 50% out of the goodness of their hearts? it doesn't get credited to the account or nothing??

    WTF? They just pocket it? Huh?
  • My initial impression was that they were saying you could get up to 50% of the account bill credited regardless of how much your "customers" paid in. Leaving you to always foot half the bill.

    This is just as bad though, just for different reasons. You have to charge your customers twice as much as you /need/ to charge, making the sale more difficult. On the upside though, at least this method provides you with the possibility of avoiding having to pay anything if you get enough customers.

    I'd still lik

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