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The Almighty Buck

Rogers Cable Plans Fees to Curb Bandwith Hogs 847

Posted by timothy
from the play-more-pay-more dept.
jeremyd writes: "Major Canadian broadband provider plans to charge heavy users higher monthly access fees as high as $80 per month. Read the article here from the Globe and Mail. If only the world would protest. What's the point of high speed broadband access if you can't use it to full potential without having to start selling organs to pay the bills?"
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Rogers Cable Plans Fees to Curb Bandwith Hogs

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  • Shaw's a b*tch too (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Glonk (103787) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:37AM (#2954194) Homepage
    I use Shaw (Roger's main competition), and several times now they've called my house and asked me to tone down my bandwidth usage.

    I asked them that very question: What's the point of broadband if I can't use it to its full extent?

    The license agreement I signed clearly stated there's no bandwidth restrictions for home users, but you can't run servers. I wasn't running any servers, they knew that, and they called me anyway. They actually tried to get me to switch to a business account (more money, bandwidth restrictions), too.

    If the ISP can't handle the bandwidth it makes available, it's their loss if people use it too much. It's not my fault I enjoy streaming content and sending movies to friends and all that. :)
    • by Monte (48723)
      The license agreement I signed clearly stated there's no bandwidth restrictions for home users, but you can't run servers.

      And I'll lay money that somewhere in that agreement is a clause that states they can change the terms any time they feel like it. That's how they'll get you.

      You should feel lucky that they called you - they were being nice. If they can get some voluntary compliance from the bandwidth hogs they won't have to take more drastic measures.

      But if the rest of the hogs are as unrepentant as you it's a safe bet that they'll be implementing either bandwidth caps or pay-as-you-go as the solution.

      I think fixed-rate big bandwidth will be extinct within three years. It doesn't make sense to let 10% of your customers use 50% of your resources.
    • Drive away the 5-10% that use it for more than burst transmissions and web browsing and the business model gets a lot more profitable.
    • by Erik Hensema (12898) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:05AM (#2954999) Homepage

      I don't know about your provider's AUP (acceptable use policy), but mine says I cannot use all of my bandwidth all the time.

      Why not? Simple. While I've got a 3.4 mbit cableconnection at my house for about EUR 45,- a month, my ISP (Essent@Home) has allocated about 100 kbit/user for external bandwidth.

      Therefore, we're only permitted to have bursty traffic. Downloading an ISO or two a week is no problem, just don't do it all the time.

      When you want a line without these restrictions, get a peering contract at a major ISP. Surely it'll cost you EUR 5000,- a month, but that's quite reasonable for an unlimited (apart from the technical limit of, say, 1 mbit) line.

      Fining heavy users seems quite reasonable to me. They take away bandwidth from their neighbours, so they pay more.

  • Contrary to popular believe, bandwidth DOES cost money, so it's not that strange they do this.
    A lot of people just want (their computer) to be online 24/7, and don't use that much bandwidth.
    It should be cheaper for them than for those who use kazaa as an external harddisk.
  • by baldeep (213585)

    What's the point of high speed broadband access if you can't use it to full potential without having to start selling organs to pay the bills?


    I'd say the point is being able to download a thing here or there at high speed. It seems perfectly reasonable to me to let the cable operator set parameters on acceptable usage.

  • by zby (398682) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:43AM (#2954206) Homepage
    Why everybody here seems to be so opposed
    to diversification in fees based on used
    resources?
    The bandwidth is not a unlimited resource.
  • Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thunderbee (92099) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:44AM (#2954209) Homepage
    Has anyone noticed how bandwith cost less to the end-user as to the upstream provider?

    Anyone notice a problem here?

    Well, there is. The bandwith sold to you is shared. If you use all of it, constantly, then others are deprived of what they paid for. So the upstream provider bills you more to accomodate for your dedicated bandwidth needs.

    I'm amazed most broadband operators made it so far selling bandwith so cheap. As a matter of fact most didn't, and bought the farm. Funny how no-one seems to notice.
    • Re:Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MikeFM (12491) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:48AM (#2954461) Homepage Journal
      I don't mind if ISP's offer a cheaper service for less so that those that don't need as much bandwidth don't have to pay as much but I really think ~ US$40/month for bandwidth that you aren't allowed to run servers on is about as much as I'd pay. I'd pay $80 if the connection was fast both ways and I was allowed to run small home web sites.

      Maybe if these companies are hurting for money so much they could take some of the cash they are wasting on cheesy commercials and put it towards reducing the cost of bandwidth. Sure this stuff costs a lot to install but there is a crap load of fiber already installed and just left unused because the companies don't feel the need to switch it on yet. They sit there and make excuses about how they have limited bandwidth and that is why they have to charge so much while at the same time leaving a lot of their capacity left untouched. Sprint for one has installed tons of fiber all over the place and still isn't using it for much of anything. Maybe if your ISP's bandwidth costs are so high they should try complaining to their provider rather than squeezing their customers.

      Another solution is to offer proxy servers and make them part of the default install. Include file sharing software that includes a local cache server. I'd imagine those two steps would greatly reduce the ISP's upstream bandwidth usage because a good number of users use the same websites and look for the same files. I'm greatly surprised more ISP's don't offer something like a regional BBS-like interface that lets users chat and trade files with others locally. The cost of an extra webserver in exchange for the saved bandwidth would seem a good bargain to me.

      Either way please get rid of those crappy commercials. I'd pay an extra $5/month just to be able not to see those. :)
    • Yes, as much as I enjoy having unlimited bandwidth, I think they're not out of line here. I mean, if they were really raking in the cash, fine, but most of these outfits seem to really be struggling to survive.
    • by Dog and Pony (521538) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:07AM (#2955014)
      Simple as that. I know lots of people that download stuff more or less 24/7 "just because they can" or even more stupid "because they pay for it anyways".

      I use my broadband to:

      a. be online all the time, so I don't need to dial up a slow modem pool when I need to check some facts, plus it is nice to get email at once and so forth.

      b. download what I do need which really isn't much.

      I would really welcome a policy on my provider where you pay for what you use, same as the providers themselves do. That would be fair. Now I probably pay way too much, to finance someone elses compulsive downloading.

      You don't need, you probably don't even want 90% of of those "impressive" 120 GB anyways. Do you use it?

      I thought so.

    • Re:Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

      by sjames (1099) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:25AM (#2955106) Homepage

      Has anyone noticed how bandwith cost less to the end-user as to the upstream provider?

      That is true, and is a problem for them. They shouldn't offer allways on 1Mbps for $40 if they can't afford it. I don't get to sell you my car for $50 and then complain and bill you the difference when you actually accept my offer (bait and switch anyone?).

      What they need to do is grow up (become a REAL bandwidth provider) and make a fair offer. Run their traffic through a router with fair queueing,QOS, and rate limiting. Offer the customer a fair committed rate burstable to 1Mb and make a fair profit.

      Basically, they'd be fine if they set up a rate limiter for each customer, and set them to fairly share any uncommitted bandwidth up to their upstream cap (set at a level that meets their commitments + a bit for bursting and allows them a profit). It's fairly easy to arrange for unused customer bandwidth to be 'shared aropund' until demanded to meet the committed rate.

      They should then offer a higher committed rate to customers for a higher monthly fee for those who need/want it.

      Customers need to have a bill that they can count on, not $40 + god knows how much depending on the alignment of the planets.

      • Re:Reality check (Score:3, Interesting)

        by scoove (71173)
        Run their traffic through a router with fair queueing,QOS, and rate limiting. Offer the customer a fair committed rate burstable to 1Mb and make a fair profit.

        Ah... you sound like me on a marketing hype day (before my engineers threaten to shoot me). Besides being horribly expensive to implement, I'm not aware that this has ever been proven to scale to the extent of a broadband consumer net has to.

        In fact, whenever I've crunched the numbers, it gets rather difficult to absorb the new costs associated with the complexity you've introduced in measuring, mediating, billing, and supporting this type of network.

        Billing by measured use and quality/class of service puts you into a billing system typically pushed by folks like Kenan, Saville, etc. You're going to funnel millions of records daily, have significant storage and processing costs, etc. Having purchased a system like this for a smaller international telco, we scraped and got a junior system that ran $12 million including the hardware, not including annual license and support fees (several million annually, which usually tiers with customer base).

        Add that to the general nature of customer telecom bill complexity aversion (people like predictable bills = flat rate models) with a highly dynamic and unpredictable product use model and you'll see why we're in trouble.

        Really, the reason broadband service came out at around $30/month was due to marketing analysis - that's what people will pay and you'll get decent market penetration. Look at the data showing that as DSL providers move up to $45/mo or above, they start hiking churn up fast and lose customers (not to mention scare off new ones). Consider that your $30/month is a hold over from the dot-com era when it didn't matter if we made money; what did matter is how much of the market we acquired (then at month 31, a miracle happens which we can't explain and we get a hockey stick leap in earnings).

        Unfortunately, with consumer aversion to measured billing, I think the only solution is either crippled service or hiked prices. We do both - limit the low cost service and provide the full service at a higher price - very comperable to the airline pricing model. Want first class? $$$ Want the lowest price and no guarantee you're getting on? Fly standby.

        *scoove*
  • Internet use is exceeding the economies of scale of a flat-rate system. And who are you going to turn to when all the broadband companies start changing by the byte, as I believe they eventually will?
  • by Spy Hunter (317220) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:45AM (#2954211) Journal
    I have no problem with this, as long as the policy is clearly stated and laid out at the time of signing up for the service, or a change in the billing policy is made very clear before it is applied. Why shouldn't heavy users be charged more? Simply because you want a flat rate connection doesn't give you the right to one. Broadband providers are going out of business left and right, they have to do something.

    If this policy is implemented without warning and not publicized except in dense 30-page license agreements that you "must" read, then it is unacceptable. But otherwise it is fine, simply good business practice.

    • I have no problem with this, as long as the policy is clearly stated and laid out at the time of signing up for the service, or a change in the billing policy is made very clear before it is applied.

      It might also not be a bad idea to have something to the effect of "if the price were to increase by more that x% over y period of time no minimum contract period applies".

      Why shouldn't heavy users be charged more? Simply because you want a flat rate connection doesn't give you the right to one.

      Maybe they want one because that's what they were sold in the first place.
    • What we really need is for the Cable Co to acknowledge that bandwidth costs money and implement a rate structure based on usage. On top of that, remove the server restriction and just charge people if they're using too much (probably meaning that they're in the top 5-10%)

  • Am I the only one to totally hang when reading that headline? It read like 3 different nouns to me. "Rogers Cable Plans", "Fees to (the) Curb" and "Bandwidth Hogs". I just couldn't figure out how they were related.

    I need a lie down...
  • Dream slipping away? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Little Dave (196090) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:46AM (#2954216) Homepage
    I always kind of assumed that broadband internet access would start off desirably out of the reach of most people, but gradually slide down the scale of availibility, dropping in cost until it was a mass market technology. But more and more I see providers of the service taking steps backward and either raising prices or limiting availibility, putting restrictions on what you can or can't do with it.

    This is especially true here in the UK where free dial up internet access appeared, then promptly disappeared. Now a similar thing seems to be happening to broadband. Rather than becoming more accessible to the average man in the street, companies seem to be raising prices and limiting signups right, left and centre.

    Not a lot to do with the article here though, just an observation. What exactly has caused this? Have companies overestimated network capacity? Or are they just incompetent? Will widescale, high bandwidth access ever become the norm, rather than the exception?
    • by jbrw (520) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:04AM (#2954483) Homepage
      "This is especially true here in the UK where free dial up internet access appeared, then promptly disappeared. Now a similar thing seems to be happening to broadband. Rather than becoming more accessible to the average man in the street, companies seem to be raising prices and limiting signups right, left and centre. "

      I thought broadband prices are coming down in the UK [free2air.org]? With the recent introduction of the "wires-only" ADSL service, and the lower wholesale charge for this service, compared to the initial engineer-comes-to-visit deal, there are some good deals coming out.

      Indeed, Pipex has just announced a sub-£30 (inc VAT) home service. For a little bit extra, there are better deals out there for the geekier potential broadband customer...

      The Daily Telegraph is also reporting [telegraph.co.uk] that BT will announce, later this week, that the wholesale cost of ADSL will be cut by 50% as ADSL take-up rates in the UK are well below other areas of Europe.

    • Will widescale, high bandwidth access ever become the norm, rather than the exception?

      Wow, that's like people asking the telephone company in 1920s if they will ever have a time that they won't have to share a party line with another family.

      OF Course it will. If there is anything that can be said in economics about any technology, it always operates at a 'discounted future.' Meaning that price will drop, and availability will increase. This is a given, unless free markets are not at play.

      This is basic economics. I know that many of you believe that there is some major problem with the fact that your cable modem costs might be going up, but the truth of the matter is that the bandwidth is a commodity... and a commodity pricing scheme is different than a service pricing scheme. Commodity is based on cost, delivery, and infrastructure, and little else. Its cheaper because it is almost fully interchangeable. So in other words, you are costing them more... therefore they are forced to charge you more. They have run themselves into the ground because there is a non-commodity pricing scheme with a commodity.

      Also, Nimda and Code Red would have been shut down quicker if they realized that a huge bill was coming out of that mess.

      Conversely, it should be that if you use less than anyone else, then you should also get the opportunity to save money... that is where this scheme is jacked. We all know that will never happen.

      Although it is not a perfect system, think about how much cable modems would cost you in ISDN lines.
    • The mantra of the 90's seemed to be "buy marketshare now, make money later". Because of the global economy, we're in the make-money phase. Broadband use is still low [pcworld.com], so perhaps the market hasn't had time to benefit from economies of scale yet.
    • Why??? P2P??? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by JohnDenver (246743) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:57AM (#2954948) Homepage
      What exactly has caused this?

      Probably people downloading full-length movies on P2P networks like Morpheous. (My brother has about 100 some full-length movies at 600 megs a pop)

      Have companies overestimated network capacity?

      I think they didn't expect P2P and downloading full-length movies would become a normal use for thier service. When they were making estimates some 5 years ago, they probably anticipated streaming audio and video, downloading a game here and there, maybe the occasional warez trader.

      I'm pretty sure they didn't expect the average customer to use bandwidth like a warez trader.
  • I don't know what exactly does the high-speed Internet service mean, but I'd love to pay $80/month for what I consider a high-speed link. I live in Poland where I pay about $450/month for 768kb/s DSL... And it's not even a guaranteed bandwidth.


  • Yea, but they're gonna lower the cost for "light internet users", or so they say. So you pay for what you use, and if you don't like it, use another ISP. Now lets hear it about monopolies and repressive governments...

    rant
    you ain't seen nothin' bad till you see the "high spped" resident network at my apartment... they wad extra fibre lengths and stuff them into the most crammed slots... Paint clogs the jacks... latency of 3 seconds. to the router. I seem to recall being able to shoot myself in quake games...
    I'd be happy to pay $50 bucks for this dsl, but they have us on a 33k limited pbx, kinda killing dsl. And the cable is some wireless fed crap, most channels don't have audio. Now they claim up north that it costs too much... we can't even pay for better access... /rant
  • Well, sure, strictly speaking I'd rather pay more than less. But I wouldn't mind paying about twice as much as the low end customer. I'm still getting a better bargain from it-- the low end users check their e-mail and that's about it.

    Plus, $110 Canadian? Damn, that's not much more than you have to fork over for AT&T cable modem. And if AT&T offered better upload speeds for a few extra bucks, I'd seriously consider it.
    • Well, sure, strictly speaking I'd rather pay more than less.

      Well then come right into my new online shop, my friend! Have you been getting your air for free till now? You'll be kicking yourself when I tell you that we have it for the full price of $15/liter (+s&h).

  • Kudos to Rogers. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arcade (16638) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:51AM (#2954234) Homepage
    I fully understand Rogers. Of course, there will be lots of whiners, that does not understand that there are lots of users on the same network.

    Of course you can use the cablemodem for the quick speed, for normal things, and with some extreme spikes when you download things occassionally.

    The _problem_ starts when someone starts using 100% of the bandwidth available to them, almost ALL the time. The problem is when there are about 50-100 people that does that. I'm not sure what speed Rogers is offering, but say its 512Kbps. If 100 users use all that, they need a T3 just for 100 users! If they've got, say 1000 users that are like that.. well, then they have a big fucking problem, as an OC3 wouldn't be enough to satisfy them.

    Now, if someone does some calculations. How much would three OC3 links cost Rogers? Now, tell me, how much is 1000*45 ? Well, $45.000 .. for providing 3 OC3 links per month.. pluss service.. pluss other costs.

    It seems like a rotten deal for Rogers, to me. I fully understand that they want to punish the bandwidth-pigs.
    • >The _problem_ starts when someone starts using 100% of the bandwidth available to them, almost ALL the time.

      Your example is false. You can't use all the bandwidth; the internet congestion protocols stop you using it all.

      > The problem is when there are about 50-100 people that does that. I'm not sure what speed Rogers is offering, but say its 512Kbps. If 100 users use all that, they need a T3 just for 100 users!

      ISPs use a contention ratio of between 20 and 50. Therefore there would be a T3 for between 2000 and 5000 people.
    • by fwc (168330) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:36AM (#2954529)
      I agree with arcade's general statement. In our neck of the woods, an OC3 costs roughly $35,000 a month if we dig and dig and don't care the quality we get. More realistically, your looking at $50,000 or so a month for a good solid working OC3.

      Let's say you have some bad users which are using 512kb/s continuously. For sake of argument, we'll say we're charging them $50/month. An OC3 is 155mb/s, so we should be able to support 300 of the 1/2mb/s (512kb/s) users. 300x50 is only 15,000. So we're loosing 20,000 a month if we buy the cheap OC3's, just to support those bandwidth hogs. And that is just on the bandwidth.

      The only way this is going to work long-term is if you can either deliver very large bandwidth quantities around for a lot less than the backbone providers are charging now, or people are going to have to learn to live with some sort of tiered pricing based on bits.

      The problem is that the ratio between average usage for an average user and the peak usage for an average user is all screwed up on the broadband products. A typical home user will likely average under 1-2kb/s over the course of a month. A gigabyte of data is only about 3kb/s when spread out over a month. How many "typical" users download a gigabyte/month? You can support a LOT of users on an OC3 if all they transfer is a GB/month or so. Now, it's bursty, so you might take your GB in 1Mb/s bursts, but you still take the same amount.

      The problem is that now you've provided customers with the ability to burst to their 1Mb/s, some people will insist on taking the full pipe 24x7. That is 1000kb/s versus the 3kb/s average, or 333 times as much as the average.

      Let's go a little further. Lets say that only 1 in 100 use it 24x7 and the rest are pretty much average at 3kb/s typ. Now you've got a hundred users using a total of 300Kb/s (please ignore the off-by-one bug), and one user using a total of 1000Kb/s. Do you take the 1300 total and divide it out by 100 users and charge everyone for 13kb/s of bandwidth on average or do you charge most people for 3kb/s of bandwidth and the abuser for 1000kb/s of bandwidth? Look at the figure difference. If you average it, it costs the 100 people over four times as much as if they charged the bandwidth hog separately.

      In my opinion, the only viable option is to figure out how to separate out those users who are using more than their share of bandwidth and make sure they pay for it. I know people will flame me for this, but I don't think it is fair for people to expect everyone else to pay for their bandwidth. How would you feel if you paid a fixed monthly fee for gasoline no matter how much you used, and the price was calculated by taking the total fuel used and dividing it by the number of customers. The poor elderly couple who drives their car to the store a couple of miles round trip once a week would pay exactly the same as the semi truck driver who drives thousands of miles in a month. Does this sound fair? I have a severe problem with people who think it's their right to take as much as they can for as little as they can. And, I think that a lot of the people who are griping about this fall squarely into that category.

      • by someone247356 (255644) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:42AM (#2955172)
        I think, like many other posters here, that the problem isn't heavy users paying more, it's Cable Co.'s and other broadband ISP's creative use of the English language.

        Calling people who actually use the bandwidth that the ISP sold them "bandwidth-hogs" is just as bad as calling people who watch DVD's on their linux box "pirates".

        If ISP's can't afford to sell "unlimited" usage then don't advertise it. If someone sells me an unlimited, always-on connection, that's what I expect. In my state I pay for unlimited local calls, the PUC would have ma bell by the short hairs if she threatened to turn off my phone because my daughter spends all day talking to her girl-friends, and my son dials up to the university all night (I use DSL myself).

        Eventually it'll have to get settled in the courts. (Sigh, more work for the lawyers) Companies shouldn't be allowed to change terms without notice, heck they shouldn't even be able to change terms with out at least 30 days notice.

        They shouldn't be able to advertise unlimited access when what they mean is "very-fast downloads, once in a while, of very small files, assuming you don't want to do it when your neighbor does" connection.

        In the end I think this silliness will continue until network access gets regulated like the Public Utility that it is. Internet dialtone, the moving around of raw bits, the assignment of IP addresses, landlines and wireless should be controlled by a non-profit gov. entity.

        Can you imagine the mess if different companies were to build and were able to charge for the highway system? We'll charge you a flat rate with unlimited access to the road network whenever you want, except of course if you happen to drive anything bigger than a VW Beetle more than once a day. I mean the nerve of those roadway hogs, people actually using the road networks, building roads cost money, if you want to use the roads more often then you should have to pay more.

        Of course using the highway to say go from your town to visit your aunt in another state, don't even get me started, there is the company that owns your local roads, then they have to lease access for you through the company(ies) that own the highways between your state and your aunts state, then of course there's the other company that owns the local roads in your aunts town. Access to the highway costs big money, since most people leave the state only a couple of times I year, why should they subsidise your visits to your girlfriend in the next state every weekend? I mean the nerve of these "road-hogs"! ;)

        Sounds kinda silly? Well it's where we are at with internet networks. Until network access get to be more like roadway access we can probably expect this silliness to continue.

        .
  • Devil's advocate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tunah (530328) <sam@NospAM.krayup.com> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:51AM (#2954235) Homepage
    I am frustrated by these things too. Our ISP just made us change our ADSL setup to help them "track us better" and "cut down on the 20% of the users generating 80% of the traffic". The best bit is that our connection is capped at 128k! (not K).

    On the other hand, things like "if only the world would protest" sound a bit self-righteous. I don't personally know how much bandwidth costs ISPs, but presumably there is a point beyond which your account is being subsidised by the other customers.

    At that point, the ISP can either:
    eat the costs (unlikely)
    pass the cost on to all users, and possibly lose the very people who they are making their profits off (people who don't download very much) for whom it will no longer be value for money, or
    Get rid of the users that don't make them money, or shift them onto more appropriate (read more expensive) plans.

    All this is no excuse for companies promoting plans as 'unlimited' and then imposing limits, but it is unreasonable to expect profit-seeking companies to lose money providing you with your ideal broadband access.

    • by Jeremi (14640) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:53AM (#2954371) Homepage
      At that point, the ISP can either: [several non-optimal remedies presented]


      Or, they could do the right thing, and just reprogram their routers to dynamically bandwidth-limit the 'hogs' whenever there is bandwidth contention. Doing this would avoid pissing off their customers, save them lots of time and money that would have otherwise been spent harrassing their clientele, and solve the hogging problem.


      ... but oh yeah, they're a cable company. They couldn't come up with a technical solution if you wrapped it around a gold brick and beat them with it.

      • by dirk (87083)
        At that point, the ISP can either: [several non-optimal remedies presented]

        Or, they could do the right thing, and just reprogram their routers to dynamically bandwidth-limit the 'hogs' whenever there is bandwidth contention. Doing this would avoid pissing off their customers, save them lots of time and money that would have otherwise been spent harrassing their clientele, and solve the hogging problem.

        ... but oh yeah, they're a cable company. They couldn't come up with a technical solution if you wrapped it around a gold brick and beat them with it.


        Except this doesn't solve the problem that was presented, which was that there is a point where high bandwidth users are being subsidized by everyone else because they are using so much bandwidth that the ISP is losing money. You solution keeps bandwidth for other people during peek times, but it doesn't either limit the bandwidth, or get the bandwidth paid for.

        I find it amazing that a few weeks ago there was the article about another ISP raising prices unilaterally and everyone was in arms about it. Now Rogers try to just raise it on the people that use the bandwidth and everyone is up in arms about it. Someone has to pay for the bandwidth used by hogs, and these are the two options. ISPs aren't giving away bandwidths, they are trying to make money.
        • by FreeUser (11483) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:05AM (#2955300)
          Except this doesn't solve the problem that was presented, which was that there is a point where high bandwidth users are being subsidized by everyone else because they are using so much bandwidth that the ISP is losing money. You solution keeps bandwidth for other people during peek times, but it doesn't either limit the bandwidth, or get the bandwidth paid for.

          Except that this misrepresents the problem.

          The problem is not that the bandwidth isn't getting paid for. It is.

          The problem is that the bandwidth being paid for can't support all of the customers needed to cover its expenses, because of the overuse by a small percentage of the users.

          The real problem is that the business model assumed passive consumers (web browsing) rather than the participatory exchange the internet was designed for and facilitates (multi-user games, chats, web hosting, etc.)

          The solution the poster presented was that, by limiting the hogs when demand goes up, is perfectly viable, unless the providor is deliberately overselling their bandwidth, in which case they deserve chapter 11, or worse.

          In other words, that OC3 doesn't cost any less if no one uses it, so why not let everyone use it to its maximum capacity, as long as they are forced to get out of the way (temporary restrictions during peak usage) when others need it, thus insuring that everyone who paid for access gets it, with reasonable performance, while allowing power users access to the otherwise unused bandwidth during off hours?
        • His point is that ultimately "bandwidth hogs" don't cost the cable company a dime as long as there isn't contention for the same bandwidth by multiple users. If they've got 50Mbit woth of bandwidth and the bandwidth hog is constantly using 512Kbit, it's bad if 100 of those guys are on at the same time. However, if only one of those guys is on, why should anybody care. At that point he is not depleting a scarce resource he's using a barely tapped resource.

          There are two solutions here. The first is to provide better tiering of services to allow those who want more bandwidth to get it (and yes, pay a little bit more). Personally I pay roughly double what I might otherwise be paying for bandwidth so I can have decent upstream speeds and static IP addresses. The second is to use dynamic management of bandwidth restrictions based on system capacity. At primetime, it makes sense that Mr. Bandwidth hog shouldn't get his full 512, but no reason for it to be an issue at 3am when he's downloading Linux ISO's. This system makes everybody happier because the bandwidth hogs can still be hogs and not have it hurt the provider, and the non-hogs can still do their routine without noticeble slowdowns.
  • by btempleton (149110) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:52AM (#2954238) Homepage
    I know what it is, and perhaps the ISP can be blamed to some extent for promoting the illusion of what they are selling you.

    But the truth has always been that they're selling you a shared pipe. Everybody doesn't have the right to saturate their pipe because its physically impossible for everybody to do this. It's an illusion if you think they sold you that right.

    Sharing a pipe is a great win for both customer and supplier. It lets them sell access to the pipe for far, far less than they would have to charge if people saturated. With totally flat pricing, the low users subsidise the heavy users. That's fine, even good to a limited extent. But how far?

    When you say "how dare they not give me all the bandwidth all the time for the same price as the grandmother who logs in once a day?" what you're saying is not that you should pay as much as her, but that she should be forced to pay as much as you.

    They can price everybody the same, and that makes grandma pay for your heavy usage. Or they can have level of pricing and balance it out. If they can give people lower data flow with the same bandwidth for $25 CDN (just $15 USD, think about that) I think it's a great thing, and those who oppose it are selfish.

    Having to pay to buy the whole pipe is the old way. Sharing is the internet way.

    Now I know why people are upset. The flat rate deal had some interesting positive consequences. When grandma subsidzed the heavy user, it allowed heavy users to experiment and do things that might never have been done if people had to pay for their own usage. That's why per packet charging is bad, it goes too far the other way. But nor is entirely flat rate the fairest answer.

    My example is not made up. My mother (who is a grandmother) won't buy a cable modem. She thinks the dial-up using her existing phone lines is just fine for the 3 times a week she goes to check mail. Why shouldn't she have a chance at high speed for a similar price?
  • I'm a soon to be former Comcast Online (used to be @Home) subscriber and they are charging me $70 a month including the modem rental fee. I said soon to be former because I find this price to be too much per month. Additionally, since they have switch over to the new service, everything is slower and tech support is non-exsistant. The actual monthly fee is supposed to be $39.99, but when you figure in modem rental, taxes, franchise fees, etc, etc, etc, the price ups to $70 a month. It's nice to have bandwidth, but not $70 nice.
  • by InsaneCreator (209742) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:54AM (#2954246)
    It's funny readin all your complaints about how expensice internet access is. Where I live (Slovenia) I have to pay just as much (~$80) for 150 hours of being online - and I'm foreced to use this lame 56k dial-up connection! No, I can't get DSL, since I do not live in a "profitable area".
  • by Crispin Cowan (20238) <crispin.crispincowan@com> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:55AM (#2954248) Homepage
    So what, excactly, is the problem with heavy users paying their own way?
    What's the point of high speed broadband access if you can't use it to full potential without having to start selling organs to pay the bills?
    Hmmm ... perhaps, to get low-latency access to the small(er) blobs of data you want to access?

    Look, all they're doing is changing the bundling of their service to more closely reflect the usage patterns of two groups of customers. To insist that they do otherwise is to demand that the light-usage customers subsidize the heavy users. And this is exactly what happens in the DSL market anyway, where service providers charge different rates for different bandwidths.

    Crispin
    ----
    Crispin Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. [wirex.com]
    Immunix: [immunix.org] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
    Available for purchase [wirex.com]

  • When Telus (fully) enters the DSL market in Ontario, we should Ontarians should see some price competitions.

    Telus is offering high speed [telus.net] DSL service for $79.95 (including modem)
    Downstream speed up to 2.5 Mbps1
    Upstream speed up to 640 Kbps
    5 e-mail boxes
    30 MB Webspace
    5 dynamic IP addresses
    Domain hosting - Included
    6 GB/month Internet connection traffic (5 GB/month down, 1 GB/month up)
    Unlimited hours with high-speed connection
    10 hours dial access per month for when you're away from your high-speed connection, $1.50 per hour overtime
    Expert technical support
    Satisfaction guarantee

    Now, Rogers is offering
    128 Kbps UP/1.5 Mbps DOWN
    1 ip
    (don't know about email, cause I don't trust their server uptimes)
    5 megs webpage
    blah blah...

    Bell DSl isn't much better, than rogers, other than it's DSL (you know the trade offs)

    Personally I think the service stinks everywhere, and CRTC won't do anything about it, because it's not cable, radio, television, or telephone service. It's internet... which they are not monitoring, or governing, yet if ever.

    Shaw cable, when there were in Ontario, was great, high speeds both up and down. Things didn't break too often to complain about.

    Well... enough ranting... atleast we have choice... well ones that are close enough to a CO for DSL.

    Wonder if Look.ca/Look.com (Look communications) still has wireless digital internet?

    Horray for Ontarians and their choices:
    1.) Bad [Bell]
    2.) Bad, if not Worse [Rogers]
    3.) Don't know yet, but will be coming soon [Telus]
    4.) dead [Look]
    5.) dialup [is this the same as 4?]
    6.) high cost Small business DSL lines [misc companies, and really expensive for home use]
  • by Swordfish (86310) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:01AM (#2954261) Homepage
    I really wish that everyone would distinguish
    between mean and peak bandwidth.
    The cost of provision to the ISP is the sum
    of the means of the user bandwidths, plus a little
    extra for the root mean square of the standard
    deviation etc. The reason people get high bit-rate
    access is because their demand has a high variance and their satisfaction depends on the response time. So as long as users have a reasonable mean demand, they should be happy.

    Consider the example of telephones.
    If everyone picks up the phone at midnight, they
    won't all get the dial tone. That's called the principle of "statistical multiplexing".
    This principle is also used in selling tomatos.
    If everyone buys their tomatos at noon on Friday, then the tomato business will not work well.

    But when it comes to the Internet, so many users think that the rules of arithmetic have been banished.

    What the ISP needs is statistical shaping - that is, the user's packet priority should be directly related to the difference between the user SLA and their current mean demand for the last 30 minutes. When you use this algorithm, the hogs just automatically get cut out.
    • If everyone picks up the phone at midnight, they won't all get the dial tone. That's called the principle of "statistical multiplexing".
      This principle is also used in selling tomatos. If everyone buys their tomatos at noon on Friday, then the tomato business will not work well.


      Fine, but the phone company doesn't hassle you and want to charge you more if you are constantly on the phone (100% utilization of your 64kbps voice pipe), and the grocery store definitely doesn't limit how many tomatoes a person can buy in a given day. If somebody walked in, pointed at the tomatoes and said "I'll have the lot" (my apologies to Monty Python), do you think they're going to say no?

      If he did that every day, then they'd eventually start buying more damn tomatoes in anticipation (to a point...I mean, I'm sure at some point some manager would recommend that they find a co-op if they want to buy in bulk or something, but I doubt they'd outright refuse to sell their tomatoes to him, so I think the analogy still holds).

  • $80 A lot? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Deltan (217782)
    $80/mo is still an amazing deal for 3Mbit down and 640K Up, which is what cable speeds run at in Canada typically. Currently it's $39.99/mo for 2 Dynamic IP's and until now there has been no stipulation about the amount of traffic you're allowed run over your connection. (This is Canadian dollars we're talking about here so it's like a nickel for you Americans)

    It could go up another $100 and still be a sweet deal compared to any "Highspeed Business" solution out there. It would cost you a lot more than $80 for a T1 or something of that variety.

    As a Canadian, I firmly believe we have no right to bitch about Highspeed internet. We've got it made compared to many other countries in the world.

    Pfft.. $80.
  • I pay over 90 bux a month for IDSL, thats ISDN, only 2x the speed of a modem! But its unlimited. ;)

    80 bux for high speed access? Sounds damn good to me. The only thing that would concern me, is that they are lowering the monthly rate for low usage customers. This is needed to switch to a usage based system, and when they start doing that, it will really be down hill for us. Slashdot users are not the norm. Not many grannies downloading linux iso's or mp3s all month.

    I wonder in 10 years, how many products will migrate from service to usage based fees.

    -
    Are you into the scene? www.scenemusic.net [scenemusic.net]
  • When I'm cruising for pr0n, it gets to me quickly. If all I do is cruise the Web during certain hours, I want my bits coming quickly, and at an affordable price. If however, I decide to set up a server and use up more bandwidth on average, then yes, I'll be willing to pay more. Better this than have rules of use against servers. (And yess, I'll slashdot-proof my box with mod_throttle).
  • Conversion... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MiTEG (234467) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:26AM (#2954312) Homepage Journal
    I hope you all realize that the current exchange rate is about $.625 for $1 Canadian. This of course means that $80 Canadian converts to $50.07 US. [yahoo.com] Not exactly a far cry from the $49.95 a month I fork over to ATTBI. Indeed, as the article states, some people in the U.S. pay as much as $111 Canadian, which is really $69.47 U.S. [yahoo.com]

    Regardless, the bandwidth hogs will be exceed the amount they pay in terms of the cost of bandwidth. Assuming they have 1.5 Mb/s down and the cost of 1 GB is around $4 US [isp-planet.com], about 16 GB/day can be downloaded and totaling upward of 450 GB/month. That's $1800/month providing access for a customer who pays only $50 a month. Granted, the cable ISP is most likely not paying the full T1 price for bandwidth, but even at 1/4 the utilization and 1/4 the price for bandwidth, the ISP is still losing money on these customers.

    • $80 Canadian converts to $50.07 US

      That's not important: maybe we're just getting shafted.


      even at 1/4 the utilization and 1/4 the price for bandwidth, the ISP is still losing money on these customers

      That makes sense, absolutely. If this reasoning is correct, prices will eventually rise as businesses that sell below cost begin to fail. There is nothing we can do to stop it.


      But critically, we will observe this fair (to consumers) balancing only if there is ample competition to cut monopolistic price bloat. With megacorporate consolidation (eg AOL/TW) here in the US, we are beginning to run the risk of eliminating competition to point where the balancing force is negligible. However, you can bet that the ISPs will still use economic arguments such as this one to excuse price hikes.


      Be understanding of authentic plight, but wary of corporate lies.

      • prices will eventually rise as businesses that sell below cost begin to fail

        ...


        But critically, we will observe this fair (to consumers) balancing only if there is ample competition to cut monopolistic price bloat.

        Careful. It is the first that is driving the second - at least in CA and Europe (I don't know squat about the US market.) Right now, both in the US and in most of Europe broadband is sold at or (more frequently) below cost by the incumbent. The dynamics works like this (DSL example - with a few exceptions, DSL is more prevalent in most of Europe):

        1. When everything is considered (including service cannibalisation) DSL roll-out is expected to be unprofitable to a telco incumbent (NPV=0)

        2. However, losing customers to a broadband attacker is loss-making (NPV0)

        3. Hence, as a business, an incumbent telco does not want to provide broadband until it must, and when forced to by the presence of competition, it will use all possible incumbent advantages to gain and keep market share

        The result has been that while there was no viable competition, telcos dragged their feet horribly. As soon as some competition appeared they:

  • by Malc (1751) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:26AM (#2954313)
    Apparently Sympatico are also going to be imposing bandwidth caps, according to this rumour [google.com]. This hardly surprises me as these two companies seem to operate as a cartel when it comes to pricing. For those who don't know, Sympatico is the other big ISP in Ontario and Quebec, with a few hundred thousand more DSL subscribers than Rogers has cable subscribers.
  • by farrellj (563) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:27AM (#2954320) Homepage Journal
    First, and that $80 is Canadian, which is about $50 US.

    Second, Videotron doesn't keep track of what type of traffice is incommig...so if you piss off someone, they can floodping you, and get get a bill for hundreds of dollars, and then they cut you off. They tried to say I downloaded 20 gig in a month...I don't think so! I don't know what other providers do ...but this potentially could be a big problem.

    ttyl
    Farrell
  • $80 a month for fast service and no caps or throttles? I'd gladly pay it! What is even more interesting is this is Canadian money. I do not know anyone in the states that gets fast broadband for anywhere near that cheap.
  • ... is only a matter of time. (And it makes sense, too.)
  • Well pardon me for showing no sympathy, but I alreafy pay £100/month (about $150) for .5Mbit, so I don't really feel too bad about someone getting it for half that price!

    Simon
  • As many others have stated, the cost of this is not ACTUALLY $80 per month. It is 80 Canadian Dollars per month, which is 50 US Dollars at the most. Seeing as how most of us in the US are paying $50USD per month for our cable modem services while operating under bandwidth restrictions and a full ban on servers, I don't think that $80CD for even faster service is that bad. You should also note that this isn't just a price hike. They're also offering faster service with less bandwidth at $23CDN, which is only about $15-16USD, and would make a GREAT alternative to dial-up for lighter users.

    All in all, this is a brilliant pricing plan, and is still much, much cheaper than most cable modem services in the US. It's far from selling an organ to pay the bills.

  • This is the way to price high-speed Internet access: by volume. That way, you get fast, instant access to the Internet but bottlenecks are avoided. It's the way you pay for electricity, gas, and long-distance service. The alternative to volume-based pricing is that the access provider sends the IP patrol to your house to make sure you only connect one PC and only use it for looking at MSNBC ads.

    I think, however, it would be worth tinkering around with the details a little. For example, volume charges should probably differ between peak and off-peak hours, and metering should be on a per-month basis, not a multi-tier subscription service. Also, if they have volume-based pricing, they should drop any restrictions on usage ("business", "multiple PCs", etc.) from their contracts. So, the specific volume-based plan that they have may or may not be "fair" or reasonable, but overall, it seems like a step in the right direction.

  • I think the big question is going to be: do you get what you pay for? Personally, I wouldn't mind paying USD 80 (meant as equivalence in purchase power, not in value) for broadband of the class you apparently get in Canada (here in Silly Con Valley you can't get that at all basically) *IF* they comes with lessened restrictions -- such "premium" customers should be able to get fixed IPs and run servers as they wanted up to the limit of the contract. That's a real service that is worth money.

    Getting higher penetration of broadband even among casual users is a good thing. It should increase availability, and make services easier to market. In that way, it's an entirely reasonable thing.

    However, what I'd be afraid of is that the ISPs will treat the "premium customers" with the same kind of disdain that they do everyone else... *sigh*
    • *IF* they comes with lessened restrictions -- such "premium" customers should be able to get fixed IPs and run servers as they wanted up to the limit of the contract.

      Unless some kind of NAT is used every customer on a cable modem/ADSL needs at least one IP address. It may actually be more hassle and costly to emulate the kind of IP assignment you'd get on a dialup where IP's are assigned to each "modem".
      Also why does an ISP need to provide free webspace if the customer can run their own web server. They could sell space on their web servers as "premium"...
  • by edunbar93 (141167) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:15AM (#2954410)
    Consider the following: Where I live, (Vancouver) I pay $40 a month for my cable internet. I get 5 Mbps down and about 512Kbps up. This is anywhere between 5 and 10 times faster than most anyone in the US can get(when they can actually get it). Also consider the fact that that's $40 CANADIAN. Multiply by 0.626 (current exchange rate according to xe.net) and you get $25.04 US. There are likely to be places that still charge this much for unlimited *dialup*, and you're bitching about how expensive it is?

    Consider also that despite the fact that Cable internet providers only have telephone providers to compete with, they're bleeding cash like a newly-delimbed man. Our local telco provider here is about 1.5 Billion in debt, losing about $500 million a year, and is beginning to sell off their assets just to keep their shareholders from bolting for the door. Shaw cable (which now owns the entire western half of the country when it comes to cable service) I think is losing somewhere around $700 million a year but I'm not exactly certain about that number, and I have no idea how much they owe. I suspect it's something equally astronomical. They too are trying all sorts of strategies to stay alive, such as busting illegal basement suite owners for splitting their cable signals.

    On top of all that, it gets even better. Most of the smaller ISP's around here (including the one I work for) have to charge for excess bandwidth on ADSL connections. The 50 to 100 gigabytes you expend in a month downloading copyright violations would cost you nothing for the first two gigs and the bargain-basement price (as in, cost+10%) of $10 a gig. Thus, the bill at the end of the month would be somewhere between $480 and $980. By the way, the ISP doesn't get that first two gigs for free.

    For these reasons I don't want to hear you whine about how you're getting half a T1 (more than that really, considering download speeds) with unlimited bandwidth and they're doubling the price if you use it a lot. By all rights you're getting a $600 connection for $80, so either shut up and eat the cost or curb your downloads.
  • by Rogerborg (306625) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:15AM (#2954411) Homepage

    Here's the problem: this is a residential service, marketed at Joe Clueless. If you've ever talked to a broadband provider's residential tech support, you'll know what I mean.

    The reason that's a problem is this: how many residential users keep track of the traffic received at their cable modem or ADSL socket?

    My ZoneAlarm firewall tracks usage, but only between restarts (and they don't want me online 24/7, right?). OK, duMeter does better, but I have to remember to reset it every month. And that still doesn't tell me the whole story about the billable traffic to the modem that gets stopped before it reaches my firewall. Because I was looking over the engineer's shoulder when he installed it, I know there's a web interface to it on 192.168.100.1, and I remembered to turn off explicit proxying (because my cableco's transparent proxy is broken and has been for over a year) so I could view it, but, lo and behold, it doesn't hold traffic figures.

    So the basic answer is: I don't know how much traffic I've used. And I've got a fair idea what I'm doing. Joe Clueless has no chance. What if Joe is on the receiving end of a DOS attack? What if Joe sets up a Win9x install which makes his windows shares accessible by default and gets used as a server by warez kiddiez? Sure, then it's Idiot Rash, but this service is being marketed to idiots. That's not supposition, all residential broadband is explicitely targetted at clueless newbies who the provider hopes won't use it and won't know (or care) about what's actually going on at their access point.

    So while it's fair enough to bill on usage, I'd like to see more broadband providers run a two tier service. That doesn't mean just billing differently, it means providing a cheap but safe nanny service for Joe (proactively scanning his machine for vulnerabilities and snail mailing him about them), while at the same time billing me more for providing direct access to 2nd tier tech support, not the front line minimum wage phone drones with half an hour of training and an overdose of attitude.

    I've had cheap residential cable modem access for over a year. During that time the service has been erratic, the support dreadful. I'm ready to pay more for a better service, to move up to a business rate, but my provider won't let me. What's wrong with that picture?

    • I understand the rationale behind charging extra for high bandwidth use but fear poor policies will turn the general market off to broadband service, leaving us with a 20th Century Internet.

      If the company wants to meter people's bandwidth, they have to provide a meter for the end user to read. Residential telephones don't have meters but there's not much need because the amount you're charged for one minute of service does not vary by an order of magnitude and the user tends to know what the per minute charge will be (unless you're like me and call a relative in Taiwan. Oops.) Electrical service provides a meter in the house which is good because the amount used can vary quite a bit. Bandwidth usage can vary even more greatly so a user-readable meter is even more important.

      Self-metering might work if you have one computer but is greatly complicated by having even one more computer. The meter could be built into the cable modem but then you're limited to what can be squeezed in the firmware and you still might be metering local traffic for which you shouldn't pay. So, the metering should be done centrally and accessed by the user. This puts the metering where it counts, close to the ISP's uplink.

      There are still problems such as the example of paying for someone who pingfloods you.
  • This might help educate average users about the programs that run in the Windows System Tray (tm). Whenever I use my sister's computer, I notice that the 'Net seems really slow for a 56k modem connection. Then I look in the system tray and find that Bearshare (and before that, Napster) is happily running in the background, set by default to share all her mp3's to ten different unique users at a time. I then have fuss around with its preferences to limit the number of shares to something more reasonable (like two). (It also seems that it reinstalls itself to run as a service whenever the program is used, so disabling it is only a temporary solution).

    I can imagine what gruesome results this can have on the bandwidth of an "alway on" connection-- especially to a cable modem pool. And that's not to speak of the costs to the provider, who has to pay quite a bit for their n T1's or whatever. But if my sis got a call from the cable company syaying that she's exceeding her allocated bandwidth for the month and will be billed extra, she'd have an incentive to actually learn the basic principle of P2P file sharing programs (i.e. listen to me).

  • by puzzled (12525) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:42AM (#2954449) Journal
    I run a small regional WISP and I rate cap my residential customers to 256kbits/sec.

    We charge $30/mo for the port, no local loop since its wireless, and equipment rental is $15/mo. Those are the numbers you need to hit to get decent market penetration.

    What does 256k cost the ISP?

    A T1 is about $1100/mo when you're small. If you get big enough to start buying DS3s you'll cut that to about $600/mo. 256k is one sixth of a T1 so the monthly cost for 256k dedicated bandwidth is about $200 to the little guy and $100 for a large player.

    I know some of you Generation Next play well in groups but suck at math. $200 cost - $30 revenue is me subsidizing a full time music trader to the tune of $170/mo.

    My rate shaping at the moment is a solid 256k symetric cap 24/7. I'm working on some method of providing nasty residential service during the day (128k - 192k cap?) to keep my high margin business customers happy, then starting around 7:00 PM opening it up.

    After the business customer base is gone I don't care if the T1s run 100% and individuals are using the full 5.5m/sec their wireless links can provide - just so long as they're sharing and playing well together :-)

    I only provide dynamic public IP addresses to residential users. Its done with PPPoE rather than DHCP - makes the rate shaping much easier to implement - but it almost guarantees you never get the same IP address twice. I haven't yet blocked inbound traffic to reserved TCP ports but that will be the next big step.

    I am sure a number of "free as in beer" whiners are going to promptly respond that I "don't get it" and that I'm "ruining the soul of the internet" with my facist rate cap.

    I'd like to personally invite every one of you whiners to put up $25k of your own money, spend five months working without a paycheck, and then get back to me about facist rate shaping policies - I'll be happy to share technique :-)
  • by tmatysik (72927)
    Here in New Zealand, Telecom have a monopoly on the DSL market, and there is no cable...

    There are various DSL plans available. The cheapest, at $NZ49/month, gives you 400MB/month downloads, with 20c/MB thereafter.

    There's also a 600MB plan for $69/month (and 20c/MB thereafter), and a 1500MB plan for $199/month (and 18c/MB thereafter)

    If you go for a business rather than home plan, they range up to 10GB for $888/month, and 10.7c/MB thereafter. (there's also 3gig and 5gig plans... with prices that fit the patterns - $310/14.3c and $488/12.5c respectively)

    There's always the cheaper rate-limited home plan, 128kb/s for $60/month, and they refuse to give you a static IP on it. (if fact, they drop your connection every few days to make sure you don't keep your IP...)

    I think it's safe to say that many New Zealanders would gladly pay $NZ100 or so a month for a decent broadband connection.
  • Cable modems and DSL, they both are pretty much identical when you get to the core technology.. (sorry DSL lovers, you have SHARED BANDWIDTH too, you dont honestly think that they ran a T1 just for you do you?) The problems are DSL cant get to over 75% of the people out there, and cable modems are being ran by the stupidest greed freaks on the planet. I really want them to open access the cable lines. the Cable Co needs to get out of being an ISP as they do not have the ability to be an ISP, they have no clue as to what an ISP does, is, and provides. We kep seeing old tricks brought out of the closet from the 1970's and 1980's (multiple tv charges, trying to charge for watching too much tv!(yes it happened here in michigan.. U.A. cable wanted to charge extra to people that left their tv's on at night)) The funny part is that broadband really isnt profitable. think of it. you are trying to give each user T1 equivilant into their house for the price of a regular telephone line+dial up ISP access. so you have to try and cram many people on one T-1 to make a profit.. well they cant use real ratios that have been proven over the past 20 years, that wont work... too expensive.. so they have to try and cram 100 users per t-1 amount of bandwidth. sorry, this will fail, and it will fail badly. customers will bitch, things will break.. (problem is they try to fit 1000 customers per t1... but that is a different problem)

    Cable modems will fail, because of marketing and management. and then we will all be stuck with low speed until the phone companies get off their butts and actually upgrade their infrastructure.
  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:39AM (#2954534) Homepage
    Start a WAN (wireless area network) in your community. It's not hard by any means, and takes a bit of cash to be spent by the members. IF you dont start a community based wireless network then noone will and you have to live with what is dictated to you by the cable company...

    You can solve it.. but sadly, most will not lift a finger or spend $10.00 to help a local Wireless network that are technically minded.... the biggest funders we have here are people who think lots of hamsters keep their computer running, and get confused when you say TCP/IP.

    circumvent the Cable companies and DSL.. start a Wireless Network today!
  • I'm on modem still, because I can't justify wasting $40/mo on an Internet connection. While having a 2Mbps or 10Mbps connection would be NICE, I'm certainly never going to use it to its fullest.

    So, an open letter to ISPs: Go ahead an put on a bit cap. Whatever you can give me for $10-15/mo, that's what it would take to get me connected. All I do at home is check e-mail and my wife surfs... I don't need lots of throughput, I just want speed.

  • I'm waiting for the RIAA to demand that governments start charging a royalty to broadband subscribers because they might be using it to deprive labels of their cash money [cashmoney-records.com] and they should be compensated for their loss.
  • Class-action lawsuit, anyone?

    Look, IANAL (I not Like Being Anal, But I know I Anal...), but if the service was marketed as being without such bandwidth limits, it sounds like there are a few possibilities for legal recourse, such as false advertising (if they marketed it as "unlimited"), and/or the old bait-and-switch (if you can prove that).

    Your agreement almost definitely states that they can change the agreement at any time for any reason, but depending upon the circumstances you might find they're on the wrong side of the law on this one.

    Just a thought from a graduate of the Slashdot School of Business Law. Hope it helps.
    • Who said anything about bandwidth limits?

      I asume they're talkign about volume of data downloaded... SOMENE has to pay for it, and why should it be anyone other than the person doing it???? Sheesh.
  • start selling organs to pay the bills?
    Damn! and all along i've been selling my organs to lose weight. why didn't i think of selling them for bandwidth?
  • Broadband is about speed, not quatity of data dowloaded. It makes sense to keep the price of entry low and charge more to those that cost ypou more by downloading huge volumes of data.

    I don't want to pay even more for broadband just because some weenies are using the service to download ripped off movies or whatever... Let THEM pay for their own usage.
  • by GodSpiral (167039) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:10AM (#2954743)
    A 10G/mo limit at current prices would be accepted by most. Potentially, it would improve service for most of us too.

    Basically, 10G would be the fair limit as seen by consumers. I expect that Rogers will choose a lower limit, because they think it will provide higher revenue.

    On another note, the following support calls should increase in volume.

    Some 14 year old I nuked, is ping flooding me 100GB per day using 25 Zombie nodes on your network. Please credit my account $5000.

    35 of the 50 spammers I reported last month are still spaming me, despite the fact I've repeatedly sent you their emails! Credit my account 10 cents now, you pigs.

    My download was interrupted and now I have to start over... Are you retards friggin incompetent?
  • by dpilot (134227) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:11AM (#2954752) Homepage Journal
    instead of treating them like idiots in front of TV sets.

    First point, bandwidth is instantaneous, or at least short-term averaged. It isn't something you lump by the whole-day and average. Telephone rates are tiered: 8:00-17:00 is expensive, 17:00-23:00 is cheaper, and 23:00-8:00 is dirt cheap. Plus weekends go on another rate scheme. This is all based on usage, and giving us monetary incentive to shift our usage and even out load on the telepone infrastructure.

    Why can't bandwidth caps be the same way? I'd be perfectly happy to set a cron job to fetch ISOs in the wee hours of the morning.

    Which brings me to point two: Multicast - I don't know enough about it, basically some rules in the firewall script to prevent its abuse. I believe it may be used in streaming media, but don't know enough.

    But why can't "they" (whoever "they" are) figure out that there are more things that would be well-done with multicast, and use it. How about if the ISP could multicast a Usenet feed through the night? If I want a Usenet feed, tune in and catch my groups. How about if "someone" (neighbor of "they" above) would multicast ISO images.

    There seems to be this evil desire to turn the Internet into TV. Well, why can't we co-opt some of the good side of TV, and make more efficient use of bandwidth by 'broadcasting' some of those things so dear to us?

    Finally, someone else brought this up, and it bears repeating. If they're going to bill me for use of bandwidth, then we need to something about unsolicited use of bandwidth. Script kiddies probing me are now causing financial damage. Spam causes financial damage. Getting DDOSed causes me financial damage, in addition to the service denial, itself.
  • Let them, BUT..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wintermancer (134128) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:31AM (#2955841)
    Get them to pull their collective heads out of their asses as well. This may be the hardest thing to do, since Cableco's just don't seem to have a clue.

    In all honesty, I'd gladly pay more money for more bandwidth. A couple of issues, though:

    No fscking port limitations If I'm being metered, then I should be able to run any service I desire (Yes, this means running what has been viewed as a "server" application previously, like SSHD.). I'm just paying for packet A to get to destination B.

    Guaranteed QOS Yes, bill me per packet if you so damn well want to, but I want contractual terms that state 128 kbs/256 kbs/n^2 kbs guaranteed or they are in violation, with fee scheduling to match. After all, I'm willing to pay for my usage.

    Redress If you don't have the technical know-how as an ISP (or refuse to hire the people with it, more to the point) to recognize that I'm being ping flooded off the net, which is something beyond the scope and control of anyone, I don't have to face a $infinity bill at the end of the billing period. As it is, it's bend over and grab the ankles time. Something is inherently wrong with the current scenario, and there is no motivation to change it. Implement binding arbitration, or alternate means of redress to deal with the interent equivalent of force majeur .

    Acceptable means of determining usage My cable modem has a default HTTPD config. You could packet storm that thing off the the internet, but the local loop router would register only packets going through to my node. Bzzt! Not acceptable.

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure others can think of plenty more.
  • Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 (410832) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:43AM (#2955933)
    There've been a lot of posts talking about bandwidth hogs and how they should be made to pay more money for their usage, since they're robbing bandwidth from non-hogs. You've forgotten something: These bandwidth hogs are about the only market broadband has left.

    Let's face it: broadband providers who do this are shooting themselves in the foot. The only real reason to get their service is for gobs of uploading and downloading for Napster or Morpheus or Kazaa or whatever the P2P rage of the day is. It's silly to protect the casual browsers from these people because, to put it simply, casual browsers don't use broadband. They have no need for it.

    The killer app for broadband is supposed to be content. So why are they penalizing those who want more content?

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