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Cable Companies Saying No to WiFi Sharing 419

Posted by timothy
from the expressly-forbidden dept.
blastedtokyo writes: "According to this story from CNet, Time Warner Cable is going after people who share their wireless connections via NYC Wireless or other public share networks. All we need is a warchalking symbol that conveys 'I'm a lawyer who doesn't have time to figure out how to set up a WEP link.'" This might remind you of a story posted the other day about other ways cable ISPs are trying to lock down their networks.
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Cable Companies Saying No to WiFi Sharing

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  • lawyers (Score:3, Funny)

    by NASAKnight (588155) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:06AM (#3856287) Homepage Journal
    All we need is a warchalking symbol that conveys 'I'm a lawyer ...
    That'd never work. Afterall, how many lawyers do you know who would admit to being a lawyer?
    • Re:lawyers (Score:3, Informative)

      by Oztun (111934)
      Well they have only stopped 10 people who posted what they were doing on a website. As long as you warchalk you shouldn't need any lawyers. They said at one point they would go after those not securing their machines and we all have seen how well that worked.
      • by sterno (16320) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:29AM (#3856989) Homepage
        Your mention of securing machines brings up a very good point relative to this. You can expect that, as wireless products get easier to work with (right now the stats on ease of use with Wi-Fi are appalling), they will be showing up in more homes. How many of these folks will have clue one about how to set these networks up to prevent roaming access? How many will really care?

        In the end the providers will try to prvent this excess usage from happening, but they can hardly take on all of the people who simply forget to lock down their networks. They'll take on those who advertise, but then with the growing volume of wireless networks, will people really need to be advertising? You'll just go to wherever you want, whip out your roaming software, and be on-line. If anything your problems getting connected will likely be tied more to interference than lack of open networks.

        Overall I'd expect that there will be a slight increase in overall network usage because of this extra roaming and this will end up causing a slight increase in prices and a balance will be achieved. The providers will go after egregious abusers and the rest of us will happily roam without them ever noticing.
  • It was about time that the cable companies started trying to lock down their services. Everyone else is. Music, Radio, Phone, now cable. Go figure
  • Simple Solution... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MarvinMouse (323641)
    If they are worried about people giving bandwidth away. Instead of chasing off potential customers. Why don't they just charge for bandwidth usage like a lot of them are anywaiz. That way, even if someone gives it away using wireless, they get their money and everyone is somewhat happy.

    Plus, it doesn't give them the evil ogre look when they just try to make a profit. (At least not as much so.)
    • Why don't they just charge for bandwidth usage like a lot of them are anywaiz.
      Either that or a two-tier license. Cable-to-home for residents only, and cable-to-ISP for anybody that walks by. A bit like MS NT4 server and NT4 workstation, (flame: or Linux and Unix), same thing just more expensive.
    • Because rightly or wrongly, many PHBs fear that attacks over wireless networks would subject them to legal action by the victims of said attacks.
    • by nomadic (141991)
      If they are worried about people giving bandwidth away. Instead of chasing off potential customers. Why don't they just charge for bandwidth usage like a lot of them are anywaiz. That way, even if someone gives it away using wireless, they get their money and everyone is somewhat happy.


      As a Time-Warner NYC cable customer I LIKE not having to worry about bandwidth charges, and I sure as hell wouldn't be "happy" if a bunch of cheap yahoos who are too 37337 to just follow the damn TOS messed it up for the rest of us.
      • [...] I sure as hell wouldn't be "happy" if a bunch of cheap yahoos who are too 37337 to just follow the damn TOS messed it up for the rest of us.
        I completely agree with you on that. But in the back of my mind, I always hate to rely on things staying the way they are. I always want to just get to the point where things can't erode any further. I myself run services on my cable modem at home. I dislike knowing that at a whim they can be shut off. I would rather pay extra and know that they wont turn my ports off. Likewise, if I used a lot of bandwidth, I would rather pay the full value of the full bandwidth, if I were in a position to afford such a thing. (If I got my full bandwidth off of my cable modem 100% of the time, I would probably have to pay my cable ISP about 8 or 900 dollars a month, and they could conceivably still be taking a hit). I use less bandwidth than many people who dont run services; I just like to access my machines at home, as my work machines are not fast enough to help me do my job (another thread).
        There always seems to be two main points when ISPs dont want you letting other people share your connection. A, ISPs hate it when people share their bandwidth cause it breaks their business model (well current business models, ISPs will adapt someday, like I say above)- they plan on being able to oversell by some magic factor. If people can start adding people without paying their "share", then this model breaks and the ISP is like "what are we supposed to do? Now we dont make enough money!" Cause they have to pay that overage that wasnt being used before, statistically. B. It avoids a hassle when someone hacks the network you're providing and their packets land on the Internet via their egression point. Cause then they have to deal with more noise. Legal stuff. It's annoying. If you get 100 spams from what looks like an ISP, you're not going to care if it was from "them" or "behind them from some network they didnt want someone to be running but did anyways". Extra money would probably cover the cost of managing administrative issues that come from this model.
        Anyways, my point is that I hate that lingering feeling when I know things are going to change, but base the way I have things set up, and am used to, the ways things currently are.
        I feel restricted when soemone else decides what I cannot do, and does not let me pay a little extra to get that ability back. If they do, then thats cool and thats business. If they don't, I feel trapped and I don't feel like its the way things should be. I lost something, and resent it.
      • So now you have to choose the lesser of two evils.

        Don't put up wifi, causing your bandwidth to peak all the time. ISPs are depending on the fact that they can service more customers with a smaller line to keep prices down AND not have a bandwidth problem (in general).

        Or pay your share, which you obviously don't want to do. Heck, we have meters for water, electricity, gas. What's wrong with actually keeping track of a resource that has limits to it?
      • nomadic writes:

        As a Time-Warner NYC cable customer I LIKE not having to worry about bandwidth charges,

        Most people are like you, they want a reasonably priced flat fee, but don't mind a few restrictions on it. Some people want unrestricted access, and are willing to pay for it. It's easy enough for ISPs to offer both options as separate plans.
      • Wait.... what if TW offered two different plans.... one for individuals who want unlimited bandwidth at a flat price, one for people who want to do whatever they please with their connection and are willing to pay by bandwidth?

    • Why don't they just charge for bandwidth usage like a lot of them are anywaiz.

      Like this? [attaway.net]
  • by tgv (254536)
    I don't see the problem. Anyone who allows access to his network, competes with the ISPs at a price they cannot match, while they have to pay the increased costs for the extra band width. It's either this, or paying per byte.
  • I agree with them (Score:4, Insightful)

    by FluidicSpace (515541) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:11AM (#3856324)
    I own a small ISP, so I fully agree that it's within ISPs rights to limit the connection to only those who purchase it for consumer grade services. If you're a business or reseller customer, you can purchase a T1 or higher cost/bandwidth circuit and do whatever you want with it. If a ~$50/month residential user ends up giving his access to the whole neighboorhood, there won't be any money to run the services. We all know free Internet doesn't work. So suck it up and pay for your own service so you can have reliable and decent service from your providers.
    • Re:I agree with them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by warpSpeed (67927) <slashdot@fredcom.com> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:29AM (#3856466) Homepage Journal
      I own a small ISP, so I fully agree that it's within ISPs rights to limit the connection to only those who purchase it for consumer grade services.

      I own a small ISP too, and my clients pay by the sip. They get a "cheap" T1 access, but they have to limit the usage of it, or pay more. It is that simple.

      The idea of crazy fast bandwidth for a cheap low monthly rate is good, but ripe for abuse.

      Bandwidth costs money, plain and simple. To account for consumption you need to charge by the byte, that way a fair price is paid by all, and there are no free loaders.

      Ultimately it is the only fair way of paying for bandwidth consumption.

    • Re:I agree with them (Score:5, Interesting)

      by oyenstikker (536040) <{gro.enrybs} {ta} {todhsals}> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:42AM (#3856542) Homepage Journal
      Great. Just make it known thats what the policy is.

      Don't adversite Always On, Always Fast, Unlimited Internet and then provide Usually On, Only Fast from 1am to 8am and 5pm to 7pm, Limted No mta/sshd/ftpd/vncserver Internet. (Yes, I'm talking to you RoadRunner.)
      • I have Road Runner here in Minnesota, and they don't seem concerned about me running mta/sshd/httpd/nntpd*. In fact, they just emailed me to let me know that my current version of sendmail is vulnerable to the percent hack. Good for them.

        * if you're running sshd, why are you exposing your vncserver rather than ssh-ing in and port forwarding?
      • No mta/sshd/ftpd/vncserver Internet.

        What's the point in having an internet? Should I have to use the ISP's mail servers that are down hours a day that also don't use spam filters at the ports? I run my own mailserver and will NOT use an ISP that blocks port 25. I like making my own email addresses when I sign up for something to control spam. And no ssh to check my mail and do stuff away from the house? No encryption?

        I bet hackers will love it when people try to play port games with unproven shareware that circumvents and doesn't match the reliability of the old proven ssh, ftp, etc... Look at what kazza has done. Its best to deal with bandwidth hogs on an individual basis, not ruin it for the rest of us by restricting ports.
    • Re:I agree with them (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Master Bait (115103)
      I own a small ISP, so I fully agree that it's within ISPs rights to limit the connection to only those who purchase it for consumer grade services.

      Successful business follow markets and rarely make them. I suggest you look at your Terms of Service and alter your product to fit demand. Offer shareable bandwidth, but charge what you can make a profit on. People don't need a friggin' T1 just to share DSL bandwidth. DSL is the cheaper alternative. Why do you insist on selling junk ISP based on a 5 year-old product (the ISP of a bygone era)? Who really needs webspace? People may not need your email service, either. But some home or small business users might want to OWN their web servers. Sell them a fixed IP address and offer upstream DNS services. Don't try to control what your customers do, sell them a way to do what they want to do!

    • by Quixadhal (45024) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:42AM (#3857098) Homepage Journal
      As the owner of an ISP, you should know that you should not and cannot know or care WHAT your customers do with the bandwidth you sell them. If you can't control the amount of bandwidth they use via limits on incoming and outgoing packets, then you are in the wrong line of work. If you're selling them 2Mbps with the assumption that they'll only use 256Kbps, then you need a higher-level throttle too (or you need to raise your rates).

      Sorry, I don't buy your argument. You aren't selling me a license, you're selling me a service to route N packets from my access point to the outside world. You have no right to ask where they go once they're inside my LAN.
  • WiFi Sharing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by LeiraHoward (529716) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:13AM (#3856335) Homepage
    My school has a wireless network set up on a T1 line, very nice. But I wouldn't want just anyone to tap into it, because that would slow down the network for the 3000+ people on campus. (We've got security set up, required logins, to prevent that.)

    Setting up a wireless network for sharing on purpose, or gaining money by it, is wrong unless your ISP has given you permission to do so.

    Setting up a wireless network for yourself in your own home should not be a problem, unless you do it so sloppily that anyone can log on with your access. That's not good for your security, and it is not good for the provider, who is losing bandwidth and gaining nothing.

    If you want to set up a network for yourself, you ought to take steps to secure it to prevent unauthorized access. That protects you and the provider, as well as protecting you from lawsuits....

    • Setting up a wireless network for sharing on purpose, or gaining money by it, is wrong unless your ISP has given you permission to do so
      Yeah, we love all these ISPs and telcos that take our money and give us excellent service and technology e.g. by upgrading their systems to IPv6 so quickly and efficiently. Of course we should give them more money for bandwidth-sharing. Oh wait...
    • They can go after the people with sloppy setups wasting bandwidth as soon as they go after all the people running unpatched IIS filling my acess.log with requests for cmd.exe.
    • Re:WiFi Sharing (Score:2, Flamebait)

      by carm$y$ (532675)
      and it is not good for the provider, who is losing bandwidth and gaining nothing.

      This is nonsensical. Just stop for a moment and think... it's like blaming me for drinking the whole bottle of coke instead of throwing it away half-full; it would be better for Coca-Cola, wouldn't it?

      As long as *they* like to advertize "non-metered", "unlimited" access, there's ABSOLUTELY NO WRONGDOING in using the bandwidth (they cap it in your modem, but that's another story).
      • This is nonsensical. Just stop for a moment and think... it's like blaming me for drinking the whole bottle of coke instead of throwing it away half-full; it would be better for Coca-Cola, wouldn't it?

        Not to nitpick, but you would have already bought the full bottle of Coca-Cola so whether you throw it out full or drink it all doesn't matter to them. A better analogy would be going to an all-you-can-eat buffet. If you only eat a half plate full of food then the restaurant is happier and loses less money than if you ate 3 or 4 plates full.

        Really though, the bubble has to burst some time. You can't expect an ISP to offer you T-1 speeds for $50/month when their costs are many times that amount. Just like with dialup they need to oversubscribe their services to survive at that pricepoint and make it an attractive service for everyone.
      • by bryanp (160522)
        This is nonsensical. Just stop for a moment and think... it's like blaming me for drinking the whole bottle of coke instead of throwing it away half-full; it would be better for Coca-Cola, wouldn't it?

        Uh, no. Your analogy doesn't work. Disclaimer - I work for a very large company that makes soda. I won't say which one since I don't speak for them officially. I work in IT, not sales, but after 14 years with this company I have a *some* idea of how the business works.

        Actually we don't care if you drink the entire bottle or not. A case of soda costs x to make and sells for y. All we care about is keeping x as low as possible and y as high as we can get away with, just like any other production / distribution business. You'd be surprised how hard we work to cut the cost of producing a case by a penny. It adds up in a hurry.

        The closest analogy you could make to unlimited bandwidth and the Carbonated Soft Drink business is fountain sales in restaurants. Fountain CSD (outside of convenience stores) is generally sold for a flat price and all you can drink. And we still don't care. You could drink until you bust in some stupid "beat the system" game and it still doesn't change the fact that the fast food place selling you the soda payed more for the cup than they did to us for the amount of soda it takes to fill that cup several times. Mickey D's or BK or KFC are still making money.

        Anyway, the analogy is getting stretched a bit, but what the hell. It's only bandwidth. :)

    • Leira Howard writes:

      Setting up a wireless network for sharing on purpose, or gaining money by it, is wrong unless your ISP has given you permission to do so.

      No, it's fine unless your ISP explicitly disallows it. When you paying for bandwidth there are no implcit restrictions on how you can use the bandwidth, and sharing is just one way you can use it.

      And they have to explicitly disallow it within the terms of the agreed upon service agreement, they can't give you one set of terms of service, and go "oops" six months later and change it.

    • Setting up a wireless network for sharing on purpose, or gaining money by it, is wrong unless your ISP has given you permission to do so.

      So, let me ask you this. How exactly do you make the distinction between say, a Tier 2 provider buying access from a Tier 1 provider and reselling it to Tier 3 isps, and someone buying access from a Tier 3 isp and reselling or even just giving it away to others?

      What gives the Tier 3 isp the right to say I can resell this bandwidth I bought from my Tier 2 isp, but you can't? If you signed a contract to that effect, then fine. But if not then you are well within your rights to resell that service.

      If I paid for X amount of bandwidth, then that bandwidth is mine, and it's ridiculous for an ISP to say otherwise.

      That said, if it's in your contract, and you agreed to it, then you have to abide by it or find another service. If you don't like your isp's policies, find a new isp.

      As a side note, I too once "ran" an ISP. I didn't own it, but I did everything but the billing of customers, support of home users, and the raking in of profits.

      I had to fight this battle there too. Certain folks had the absurd idea that a company with multiple users should be charged some absurd amount of money per month (400$ or so?) for the same dialup line as our home users got, simply because there were multiple users.

      Does this mean that more data will be transferred? Yes, but we weren't billed for the T-1 based on bytes transferred, but rather on bandwidth utilization. Given that both had the same amount of maximum usage it was ridiculous to try and bill them 20 times as much for the same service. The same thing applies here. I paid for the bandwidth, and whether I use it all myself or other people help me doesn't matter. If I rent a car, I don't get charged more because I give some friends a ride. Yet the rental car company potentially lost business cause we shared a ride. Why is that different?

  • Easy: (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Tei (520358)
    read the license, Say not to ISP that forbit freedom.

    They will change the license, or lose clients.
    • read the license, Say not to ISP that forbit freedom.

      No ISP will give away it product for free. If they are losing money to a few bad clients because they are hogging up all the bandwidth, the ISP will be forced to cut them off.

      There is no such thing as "free" bandwidth to the Internet. You can have free bandwidth to your neighbor though.

      Read the license, if you feel that you can get a better deal with fewer restrictions, then by all means do.

  • The article (and the one linked through the other story) is not specific on how strict they are really being. Are they assaulting only unsecured access points or anyone with a wireless network? While a reasonable person would clearly say something like, "Feel free to use WiFi, but do not share your bandwidth unless you have a service plan which prices appropeiately." But we know lawyers of this type are generally not reasonable, but rather knee-jerk absolutists saying things like "WiFi bad. Stop using."

    As an Apple Airport user with a secured station who is looking to get into cable internet in the next six months, this is a critical question for me to answer. Guess I need to talk to my local cable company personally.

    • They're not even going after unsecured APs in general.

      They (and they have made this clear in the article) are only going after those who publically advertised their open APs on the NYC Wireless site.

      As long as you don't publish your name on a site advertising that you're giving away free wireless, you're fine.

      And as to NYC Wireless, etc. - They simply need to anonymize their operations so that AP providers can't be linked easily to cable modem accounts. Right now, the site is providing a name and address, which makes it easy for RR to bust them.
  • I don't share my wireless network with anyone. I have it on my laptop and my pda (The awesome despite some performance issues e740) and I have my AP set up thanks to Linksys's update to only allow those two to connect via WEP and MAC address. So if they tried to connect to it, they will see it, but they will also not be able to connect. That is unless the Cable Guy is a hacker too, which I doubt (what hacker would want to do that job!). Besides, don't those freaks who share it know that they risk their own systems by running it unencrypted and unrestricted?? Also, they lose the ability to do cool stuff like acess your desktop data amd hardware from PDA or Laptop(if they turn on sharing, anyone can see their stuff...stupid move). They also can't share printers like I do with my laptop! ;)
  • by cetan (61150) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:17AM (#3856374) Journal
    Many cable companies seem to think that trying to restrict their users from wireless solutions is a good idea, but AT&T seems to have the right approach.

    http://www.attbroadband.com/homenetworking [attbroadband.com]
    redirects to
    http://www.computers4sure.com/linksys/store/att_zi p.asp [computers4sure.com]

    If you drop in your zip code you will see that AT&T not only doesn't deny you wireless but in fact offers a one-stop-shopping for wireless products from Linksys.

    So, while this specific article is about sharing your wifi with people that don't live in your apartment/home/discarded fridge box, I have to wonder if AT&T will even care about such sharing. They're pushing wifi as a solution, so they have to expect this sort of thing to happen...
    • by Andy Dodd (701) <atd7 @ c o rnell.edu> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:31AM (#3856477) Homepage
      Cable companies don't have the resources to go hunt down casual sharers ("casual" being defined as up to at least 17 college students in a house - I set up an IP Masq server for a bunch of friends, and that's the # of users there - TW never cared, and never went after ANY of the 329820442234 apartments using it.

      In fact, despite the contract saying it was verboten, TW employees would hang out on the Linux support forums and sometimes even give unofficial IP Masq advice. (This was the Ithaca, NY area)

      The difference in this situation is - The users that got "the letter" advertised on the nycwireless site that they were running an open AP, saying, "Hey everyone, feel free to use my cable modem."

      If it's for yourself and your friends, they don't care. If you're providing unmonitored open access to strangers, that's a different story.
  • by RobertAG (176761) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:18AM (#3856380)
    The basic problem here is that some people feel the need to "bring it to the masses" - for whatever reason. I see a couple of solutions:

    1. Turn off the service on these thieves.

    2. Acknowledge the fact that this is happening and place a cap of some sort on their monthly transfers or bandwidth.

    3. Acknowledge the fact that this is happening and charge them for usage accordingly.

    4. Acknowledge this is happening and set up a public information infrastructure, where the cost would be shared by businesses, providers AND taxpayers. This is akin to setting up public streetlamps, wastebaskets, water fountains, etc. The public has shown an interest in this type of thing, so it's alternately good business and good public policy - something you don't see too much of.

    PERSONALLY - I prefer the fourth option.....
    • You may wish to look into some things before you run your mouth and call people thieves. If your ISP allows networks, than this is perfectly legit. You pay them for the service, they provide it. If they give you unlimited bandwidth and permission to run a network then they have no right to cry when you use it.
    • 1. Turn off the service on these thieves.

      If i've paid for the bandwidth, why am I not allowed to shove it over WiFi and have a few mates use it? What is the difference between that and a Linux box running IP Masquerading hooked up to a home network?

      Unless they are charging people for using the bandwidth (ie. reselling it) then once they've purchased the bandwidth then they're pretty much free to use it how like like.

      (unless the terms and conditions they signed in the first place expressly disallow this)

      2. Acknowledge the fact that this is happening and place a cap of some sort on their monthly transfers or bandwidth.

      I'm surprised there isn't a default monthly cap at the moment. It could be set to something very high that would cause a problem for only a select few people but would easily knock out WiFi sharers.

      Mind you, if they advertise unlimited bandwidth then this is going to be a problem. I do however see the side of the network company who offer bandwidth only to find that they lose a number of customers simply because one person is sharing out his.

    • Why do people immediately want to involve the government? Would you quit trying to spend other people's money?

      The cable companies should, rightfully, either shut off service or charge by the byte. Frankly, charging by the byte is ludicrous for the residential sector -- virtually everything is moving to flat rate. Consumers like flat rate because it allows you to budget far more easily.

      Want a "public" wireless network? Start a company, decide how much it'll cost, and bill subscribers appropriately. No, it's not this pipe dream of a free-for-all wireless network where you can plug in anonymously and do whatever you want. Maybe it'll be viable in 10-15 years, but right now it's not.
  • by PhotonSphere (193108) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:18AM (#3856383) Homepage Journal
    I help organize the Houston Wireless Users Group [houstonwireless.org], and the PhotonSphere [photonsphere.com], a site dedicated to wireless freenet advocacy. A few days ago, we received an email from the Electronic Frontier Foundation [eff.org] concerning what is happening in New York. Basically, the EFF is searching for regional and local ISPs who have Acceptable Use Policies (AUPs) that allow you to do what you want with the bandwidth you purchase from them. If you are familiar with your AUP, please visit The Sphere [photonsphere.com] and post what you know so that we may pass this information along to the EFF. The full letter from the EFF may be found here [photonsphere.com] as well.
  • But why? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by olethrosdc (584207)

    I do not understand why they are doing this. Are they losing money? Why? After all, their costumer agreement is either one of:

    1. Guaranteed bandwidth with a fixed charge
    2. Pay-per-MB, or
    3. A mixture of both.
    Thus they charge for the traffic on their leased links, regardless of wether it is generated by the costumer or Wi-Fi free-riders.

    Another point is that they lease the link on a particular costumer, and the costumer can do with the link whatever he pleases. If only the costumer can use the link, then that means his family/friends/flatmates cannot?? I think this is absurd.

    In the end, it is up to the costumer himself to regulate traffic on his local network. If he gets charged a lot, or his connection is slow because there are a lot of free-riders taking advantage of his open Wi-Fi system, then he can limit access (by allowing only specific MAC addresses to connect). I think this is easy enough.

    Also consider this. When a company hires a leased line/ADSL connection, they do not face a limit on the number of terminals they will have connected to their LAN. What does it matter to the provider? They still get compensated for the increased traffic.

    • This is what I do. Personally, I think freeloaders suck. Leechs would kill BBS's back in the day. That's why one friend of mine who ran a bbs kept acess to the the good stuff closed to all but those with higher access (his friends).

      Those who are willing to be WALKED ALL OVER by freeloaders are those who advocate a free internet and free wireless. They want to give access to the internet to people who care less about it and more about getting food! But since they don't charge anyone, then the one's who CAN afford it figure oh I will just leech off of my neighbor's open connection. And then they tell their neihbor and so on and so on and then that Cable Modem's connection is saturated 24/7 and they wonder why the cable company did what they did. SHEESH!
  • Future headline:

    Customers saying "Fuck Off" to Cable Companies

  • what if... (Score:2, Insightful)

    ...someone got a bunch of people together in midtown manhattan who had cordless phones and said, "Hey - I have this great idea, why don't we all share our phone lines with each other? It'll be great, and bring wireless phone service to underserved areas." While I think the practicality of this is a bit daunting, just bear with me for the purpose of the analogy.

    I admit that I don't know a whole lot about NYC Wireless, but if I'm getting the gist of things from their page, they essentially want to have everyone possible share their 802.11b bandwidth so the internet can be free and wireless for all. As altruistic as this sounds, I have to agree with the ISPs that this presents all sorts of problems as far as network security and is perfectly within their rights to limit.

    Read your service agreement with AT&T Broadband, or Road Runner, or Time Warner, or whoever you go through - chances are there's some clause in your contract that tells you not to subcontract the service out to others. If you want to run your own ISP, or offer wireless broadband to all, that's for you to decide - but they're perfectly within their rights to tell you to go scratch and get your own T1 from another provider.

    (I should add that I'm a law student, so my fate is sealed as far as the lawyer jokes go.)
  • Average user (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Jacer (574383)
    At my apartment, I have two room mates, we share the cost of a cable internet connection, between the three of us there are 8 computers (i have 1 laptop for taking to class, one workstation, and two servers) and between the three of us, we have over 80 gigs of mp3s, 150+ movies, and anything else under the sun. we also have WiFi for the laptops, so where's the line drawn, when does it breech the contract? what's the difference between sharing with my two roomates, all of which are bandwidth hogs, or my elderly neighbor who wants to check her email, and cruise around on the net? most people aren't anything like me,
    • Re:Average user (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Jucius Maximus (229128) <zyrbmf5j4x&snkmail,com> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:04AM (#3856740) Homepage Journal
      "what's the difference between sharing with my two roomates, all of which are bandwidth hogs, or my elderly neighbor who wants to check her email, and cruise around on the net? most people aren't anything like me"

      Your roommates names and yours as well are on the lease for the room. You live there and the broadband is a utility that you all use. The old lady is not on the lease and your paying for a utility does not give her the right to use it. That's where you draw the line.

      Now someone will respond and say "what if you built a heating duct from your room to the old lady's room and gave her permission to enjoy heating at your expense?"

      The difference here is that heating costs in terms of energy and you are paying a fixed amount per kWh or per m^3 of natural gas. This means that the extra heating nessary to heat the old lady's place will increase your bill. On the other hand, WiFi'ing your broadband and giving the old lady access does not increase your bill.

      Bandwidth costs money. More bandwidth costs more money. I think that for higher than average users, bandwidth should be paid per quantity used. In this way, it becomes easy to draw the line as to the 'cost' of sharing because no matter how you look at it, bandwidth costs money and more bandwidth costs more money.

      • Re:Average user (Score:3, Informative)

        by imadork (226897)
        Now someone will respond and say "what if you built a heating duct from your room to the old lady's room and gave her permission to enjoy heating at your expense?"

        The difference here is that heating costs in terms of energy and you are paying a fixed amount per kWh or per m^3 of natural gas. This means that the extra heating nessary to heat the old lady's place will increase your bill. On the other hand, WiFi'ing your broadband and giving the old lady access does not increase your bill.

        Bandwidth costs money. More bandwidth costs more money. I think that for higher than average users, bandwidth should be paid per quantity used. In this way, it becomes easy to draw the line as to the 'cost' of sharing because no matter how you look at it, bandwidth costs money and more bandwidth costs more money.

        Although I think that TWC is actually being reasonable in this instance (and saying TWC is being reasonable about anything is a first for me), I have to take exception to your analogy.

        Heat, whether delivered by gas, electricity, or oil, is derived from a physical quantity that can be measured. You can save money by turning your thermostat down. You don't pay for the gas, electricity, or oil that you don't use. Once the infrastructure is in place to deliver this stuff to your home, you only pay for what you consume, and your supplier's responsibility is to supply enough to the neighborhood so noone does without. If you consume an extra few KWh this month, your supplier hasto find a place to get it and deliver it to you.

        Bandwidth is quite different in that there is no physical quantity changing hands. In fact, the infrastructure itself is the product. And maybe you're buying time also, since slower connections do everything faster connections do, and you're paying extra for the speed. If you don't use bandwidth, someone still pays for the fact that you could have used it.(Whether or not you actually pay a metered rate for bandwidth is not an issue; at some point, someone (probably your ISP) is paying for the whole pipe.) And, if you use a 100K extra bandwidth this month than last month, your supplier doesn't have to buy two more 56k modems to make up for it. All the supplier has to do is make sure he can meet the peak bandwidth demand with a reasonable amount of latency.

        So, bandwidth costs money, and more bandwidth costs money, sort of. If you (being a consumer, business, or ISP) have a T1 utilized at 100% capacity, and you absolutely need an extra 1% in bandwidth, you'll have to buy another line and pay for it. But if your line is only utilized 50%, and you need an extra 10%, that extra bandwidth costs nothing, because you already bought it. Heat is sold in physical units of something. Bandwidth is sold in potential maximum information transfer over time. They are very different.

  • by fmaxwell (249001) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:24AM (#3856425) Homepage Journal
    This kind of stupidity, along with the crackdown on "bandwidth hogs", is all due to the shortsightedness of those creating the subscriber contracts and AUPs. If the ISPs would simply provide clear policy on bandwidth usage and set something that both their customers and they could live with, this kind of witch hunt would be unnecessary. We have cable modem providers banning servers regardless of whether they are public or private (for the subscriber's use only). They are banning 802.11 because they think it might cause a bandwidth problem. They block ports for applications ranging from web servers to P2P networks.

    If there is a usage limit, spell it out. If you want more money for more usage, publish a price schedule. But quit targeting early adopters who are just using their connections in new and innovative ways.
  • by anthony_dipierro (543308) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:25AM (#3856429) Journal

    Mine [directvdsl.com] says I "may not connect more than 5 computers at a single location" and that I can't "resell the Service or any portion thereof," but it doesn't say anything about giving it away for free (assuming fewer than 5 computers at a time are connected).

    Telocity is great. I have nothing bad to say about them.

    • Telocity is great. I have nothing bad to say about them.

      You obviously don't use their NNTP server ;)

      Seriously, they are one of the better DSL providers -- they allow non-commercial servers, and provide static IP. However, they recently halved upload bandwidth (at least in BellSouth territory) from 256 kb/s to 128 kb/s.
    • Mine says I "may not connect more than 5 computers at a single location" and that I can't "resell the Service or any portion thereof," but it doesn't say anything about giving it away for free (assuming fewer than 5 computers at a time are connected).

      This is exactly why the TOS agreements are getting more restrictive. People are constantly complaining about how they spell out every little situation in a TOS and make it as restrictive as possible, but that is because if they don't, people will take advantage of the company and exploit it. I think it is a completely fair assumption that if you have a cable modem in your home, it is for use in your home and not for the entire neighborhood. Anyone with half a brain can figure out that is what they are marketing the cable modems for. If people continue to flaunt the fact they are using a cable modem meant for a single household to give access to anyone and everyone they can, then it will have to be placed in the TOS that sharing is not allowed. And this will restrict people who have legitimate reasons for sharing and aren't abusing it. Why are companies making more restrictive TOS agreements? Because if they don't, people will continue to abuse their services with the excuse of "it didn't say I couldn't do it in the TOS". These people are no better than the people that say "It didn't say I couldn't use my hair dryer in the bathtub."
  • They can't control (Score:3, Interesting)

    by famazza (398147) <fabio DOT mazzarino AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:30AM (#3856474) Homepage Journal

    Whatever they say they'll do, they can't have any control. If they say you cannot share your connection how will they be sure that you are not sharing? Even using an regular eth connection with your neighbor, what can do?

    Once the data arrived your computer you can pass it anywhere you want, you can send it through your eth connection our wifi, or whatever, you can even throw it back to the internet. The point is that They can't do anything, simply because then can't know what you are doing with all the data arriving in your computer.

    What amazes me the most is that the Cable Companies seems to don't know this. Why don't they know it? What is happening? Do they only recruit lawyers? Don't they have technical consulting there? Don't they have a employer with a QI 90+ to tell them that it probably won't work and the best is to consult somebody who knows what s/he's doing?

    This shows the quality of the service we are buying, we, nothing more then geeks, know more about their bussiness then themselves.

    Shame...

    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      They can be sure you're sharing their service ONLY IF YOU ADVERTISE IT PUBLICALLY.

      Only people who advertised their wide-open APs on nycwireless got "the letter" - And TW said they're not actively hunting down 802.11 users - These particular users, in TWs own words, "Waved a banner in front of us" saying they were breaking their TOS.

      TW found out because they effectively TOLD TW they were breaking the rules.
  • Cable Company's (Score:2, Interesting)

    by MADCOWbeserk (515545)
    I used to know the owner of a cable company. He used to scream and yell about how everybody was stealing from them, and the government was raping them. Cable companies are super paranoid about losing a dollar anyway. If you have ever seen the cable commercials that ask you to turn you your neighbors in for cable theft. Yet they have managed to raise rates on us, and restrict service further.

    Epilogue - He sold his share in the cable company a couple years ago, for 90 million dollars. And this was a "small" cable co. in West-Virginia.
  • Easy... or not? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by lfourrier (209630) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:33AM (#3856493)
    For the ISP/customer relation, the one and only question is the contract between them. Is bandwith sharing prohibited or not.
    If it is, WIFI or not, the customer is wrong.

    One more annoying aspect is the fact that more and more law enforcement agency ask ISP to keep log of connection informations. This lead me to think that WiFi enthusiast sharing their connection, acting as local ISP, need something like the WGAP.
    What's this ? The Wandering Guest Access Protocol is an idea I work on in my (few) spare times since a few month, permiting for a user sharing bandwith to deny responsability about some part of the traffic emanating from his network, notably by using an authentication of the Wandering Guest using its network. But there are so many legal and technical challenges I doubt I can publish any lifetime soon a satisfying presentation. Anybody wanting free WIFI networks being acceptables to the establishment must think about legal aspects. Else, the post 20010911 effect will provide the perfect excuse for the telcos to remove competition.
    • I would have to look more closely, but I'm pretty sure most of them have prohibitions against reselling or allowing people outside your home to use them. It wouldn't be all the difficult to write something like that in. Make reselling the service illegal (most likely already in place). Then make it illegal for anyone outside the confines of 'your home' to use it.
  • Litmus test (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Gorimek (61128) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:46AM (#3856569) Homepage
    Do you think you should be able to bring some friends to share your plate to an all you can eat restaurant? Or that you should be able to take home as much leftovers that you can carry?
    • Re:Litmus test (Score:2, Interesting)

      by _underSCORE (128392)
      If I pay for a meal, and don't eat all of it, then, yes, I can feed it to whomever I want
    • This is not "All you can eat". The connections are capped. If they're not, then it's the telco's dumb fault. Don't give me farrari and expect me to drive 30MPH all day.
    • Bad analogy (Score:5, Interesting)

      by phillymjs (234426) <slashdotNO@SPAMstango.org> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @12:23PM (#3857520) Homepage Journal
      If cable ISPs were all-you-can-eat restaurants:

      "Thanks for your money, gentlemen! Here's you go, one plate each. Yes, we know that the plates are the size of a saucer even though our commercials say they're the size of a manhole cover. Now please, overlook that and go help yourself to anything. Oh, except, the sundae bar you heard is in places like this is off-limits to you. And you can't have the fried chicken wings, and you can forget about those bacon bits that you see in the salad bar, those are off limits to you, too. And if you gentlemen want to discuss business over your meal, you have to pay us more money."

      "Excuse me, sir, what do you mean, 'Then what did I come here and pay good money for?' You can always sit at your table, sip a glass of water, have a slice of bread, and look at all the nice ads that are on the placemats. We worked very hard to sell that ad space so you customers wouldn't have to look a plain, blank placemats!"

      "Oh, and please don't stay too long. Even though we say we never close, we sort of frown on people who keep the tables tied up for too long."

      ~Philly
  • The Internet is comprised of systems connected to the net via others that are already connected. These systems then extend the net by connecting new entities via their connection and so on down the line. This continues for as long as someone is willing to share their bandwidth, usually at a price. Without a specifically written contract, I do not understand how these companies can view this as an illegality. It is precisely what they themselves are doing.

    Unlike cable television access theft, where it is the duplication of data that is being sold, bandwidth is a limited commodity and you cannot use the exact same bits that are being used by whomever you gave them to. It is more analogous to allowing a guest of your home to use your telephone. As that guest is taking up the entire "bandwidth" of your phone for their conversation, you cannot use that same phone line yourself. I don not believe that phone companies could legally establish the practice of fining or disconnecting your service should someone other than yourself use your phone.

    There is no law that states that it is mandatory to be a Fortune 500 company in order to resell or give away bandwidth you have purchased. This behavior is a very good example on how the Internet is being altered and stunted by the corporate machine who now views the net as their property. They now feel that not only do they have rights to your data, what you can or cannot send or download, but also in the manner of how you allow data to eventually be placed on your wire.
  • by gelfling (6534) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @10:49AM (#3856589) Homepage Journal
    OK all you free market weenies you weren't even born when Ma Bell made you pay for every phone extention in your own house. They metered the voltage on the line and if they detected a drop the operator broke into your call and told you you were breaking the law and needed to pay for the extra extensions.

    Is that the hill you want to die on?
    • Of course, that happened because the market wasn't free to begin with, no?
    • Telco's actualy measured the ringer load. They owned the phone which you rented at $5 per month per phone. Later you could have COME (Consumer Owned and Maintained Equipment) I got a call when I added an answering machine and 2 computers with modems. The combined ringers looked like a second phone. They didn't charge extra because they were daisy chained off the one jack. The ringer load was about 2 for the total ringer load. The phone company phone had a REN of 1 (Ringer Equivelance Number. 1 = power use of a regular mechanical bell) because it was a real bell (TM) phone and my modems were REN of .2 each and the answering machine was .5, thus my total REN was 1.9. Living alone meant only one phone was off hook at a time.
      After the breakup of Ma Bell, it became legal to add your own jacks without having a monthly charge for each individual jack I added jacks and eliminated a major trip hazzard. For repair costs and service liabilities, this is where the Telco Interface came into the picture. Anything broken on their side of the interface is their responsibility and anything past it (in the home) is now the consumer's responsibility. Most older homes got the lightning arrestor replaced with a telephone interface box to define the sepration of consumer and telco property. They used to fix or replace broken phones for free because they owned them. Nowdays most phone companies guarantee the ringing power is adaquate for up to a total connected ringer load of REN 3 or less. This us usualy no longer a problem as most new phones have electronic ringers with a REN of 0.2 instead of 1.0 the old phones had. If you have too much ringer load, the voltage may become too low to properly ring your phones. If you call the phone company now with a complaint that your phones do not ring properly, they will usualy ask you to add up all the REN numbers of all the connected devices (modems, cordless phones, answering machines, faxes, etc. and make sure the total ringer load is less than 3 before sending a service technician. My dad when doing some construction (1960's) dropped a 2X6 on a phone and smashed it. It was replaced for free.
  • by yack0 (2832)
    I'd like the job of driving around with an omni on my roof wardriving all the cable modem territories looking for wifi sharing. Document the node, send it off to legal, keep driving.

    "Can you share it now?" "No" "Good"

    Get paid to wardrive! Nifty. And hey, I've got experience!
  • If people keep piggybacking off consumer broadband connections, then it will just force the ISPs to go to a bandwidth metering charging system. So unless you want to pay per megabyte instead of the 'unlimited' service you currently get, stop letting people use your consumer connection. And when the ISPs _do_ go to a per megabyte charging plan, don't bitch here about it and wonder why they are doing it. I'll just point you to this article.
    • the 'unlimited' service you currently get

      This must be a new definition of "unlimited" that I'm not familiar with. We're talking about cable ISPs here, whose terms of service forbid things like servers, VPNs, NAT... cripes, technically you're in violation of Comcast's AUP ("You may not use the Service for commercial purposes.") if you check your work e-mail via Outlook Web Access from your "residential" connection.

      That's pretty damned limited service, in my book. Whee, all this bandwidth and I'm only allowed to send and receive e-mail and look at ad-filled web pages owned by my ISP! This is NOT what they depict in their commercials, BTW, and they need to be smacked down by the FTC for it, IMHO.

      I ditched Comcast and their limited services as soon as it was practicable, and now have DSL from an ISP whose TOS is pretty much, "No illegal stuff, and no pr0n web sites, please." I advise everyone who is able to, to cast off the chains of their cable ISP and get one where you give them your money and they give you their bandwidthwithout smothering you in stupid limitations. Only by voting with your wallet can you make these greedy companies see the light... and even then, it's a long shot.

      ~Philly

  • I'm with NTL cable for my internet connection. We can run servers just fine, with some slight restrictions (webservers must not be high traffic or pornographic, ftp servers must be password protected, and no VPN)

    This is from their AUP...

    17. Servers

    (i) You are solely responsible for the setup and security of all servers that you may run on your PC. You are also responsible for all traffic that may pass through your PC. Please note that your account may be subject to immediate suspension or disconnection without notice, if any security breaches do occur or any server causes any degradation in network performance. You should also note that running servers on your PC may cause your own connection to operate in a less than optimal manner.

    (ii) Webservers: see Para 8, Websites
    (this referes to them terminating your connection if there is excessivly high traffic, or pornography)


    (iii) Remote Access: All remote access ( FTP; SSH ; PC Anywhere etc) must be password protected & the address must not be publicly advertised.

    (iv) Game: If the game in question has a password/IP access restriction option this must be used. Your IP address must not be publicly advertised on Gaming sites etc.

    (vi) Other: You may run other servers but be aware that ntl reserve the right to restrict access to them should they cause network problems or should we receive complaints.

    (vii) We may, at our discretion, run manual or automatic systems to determine your compliance with our User Policy (e.g. scanning for "open mail relays"). You are deemed to have granted permission for this limited intrusion onto your network or machine.

    Please note that should we receive any complaints about any server that you may be running that your Internet access may be suspended without notice pending further investigation.

    18. Use of Virtual Private Network (VPN)

    As stated above, the ntl Internet and/or Interactive Services are for residential use only and we do not support the use of VPN. If we find you are using VPN via the ntl IP network we may instruct you to stop using it and you must comply with this request. This is in order to prevent problems to ntl (eg network performance) and other Internet users.


    I run a webserver and ftp server and have had no trouble at all with them. It's a great service!

  • public utilities? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigpat (158134) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @11:02AM (#3856720)
    These companies should not be free to decide who their customers are. And should not be free to decide how their services are used. They are providing a public utility under a public license.
    This is not like buying soap or corn flakes. This is like getting electric service and using it for whatever I damn well like. Their are bandwidth issues to be accounted for for sure, but that is it.

    These are just a bunch of greedy bastards that want to charge me hundreds of dollars a month for services that have virtually no real operating costs and could be provided for with a minimum of techical knowledge

    But apparently we are going back to the days when Ma Bell takes 30 years to implement touch tone service or call waiting or the next great thing and then pat themselves on the back (and charge us an arm and a leg) for a job well done. Jeez... I can't wait to be charged per email or per authorized web page I load into my next generation cell phone that costs me $300 and displays ads from the phone companies in the middle of my 911 call!

    Just a few years ago these same companies were arguing that people shouldn't be able to hook up their own phones to the network because of the risks. Now we see that the risk was that people would take it upon themselves to revolutionize communications first with BBS and then with the inter connected internet and email, thus circumventing the big bells.

    People easily forget that the phone company didn't want the internet and it was Congress and the Universities that forced it to open it's lines to data traffic. Let's not let them put in tolls at every corner. Keep the air free.
  • What kind of a headline is that? It's about as obvious as "Ice Cream Company Declines to Pass Out Free Ice Cream" or "Soda Retailer Declares 'No Free Refills'"

  • People (especially those who reads slashdot!) like flat fees, unlimited time, unlimited bandwidth.

    As I'm sure everyone knows, bandwidth is not free. The cable companies price their product selling for typical household (or business, on different pay scales of course) use--of course variations in use do exist, but those who just use email balance out the power users (or the file sharers) etc.

    If people want to share their connections with everyone and use that much more bandwidth, I'm sure the cable companies would be glad to charge you much more for your connection--maybe if we got some petitions going for per bandwidth charges we could get the cable providers to ok this! Anyone interested, I think this could work
  • Capitalism works on competing businesses raising capital and dividing markets. The resulting competition gets companies, and individuals, moving forward.

    Consumer broadband languished for years until both cable and twisted pair solutions were available. This means you can buy residential broadband from either your cable company or from your phone company. Or you could try Covad, Speakeasy, Wifi Metro, or other services.

    As any good market, the top broadband player will make most of the money, the second player will make a reasonable return, the third player loses a little money and hopes someone pulls an Enron, and everyone else has a dream. The market isn't yet mature, and there are business uncertainties about marking the boundry of the market and dividing costs. This is how people get into arguments on owning the loop to the phone company's Central Office, or the home owner owning the right to move the drop cable to a cable overbuild, or the right to dump the ISP side of an internet connection and pay only for physical routing.

    It's also how people argue about costs. One way of looking at wireless internet nodes and household private networks is that they all usurp service and place undue burden on the provider; an open network is theft. The other way is to view the service as providing a utility, like power, to a residence; an open node is like running an extension cord out to the front yard. The market will sort this out.

    SBC nee Pacific Bell doesn't mind if you run a local network or open node, and has a long history of not worrying about extra phone extensions. Cable companies have a long history of worrying about cable descramblers, people using cable for two televisions in the house, and people using cable for public display. The terms and enforcements follow the corporate histories.

    Who is correct? Let the dollars decide.

    Chasm/Thaila

    P.s.: Looking for a Silicon Valley SE to sell products to developers? Email me at jobhunt@truegift.com
  • This is why I use DSL. The phone company doesn't care. You pay for some speed down, and some speed up. They are just passing it onto whatever ISP you choose. I use a Linux Friendly ISP myself. They could care less if I setup a website, or serve games. I can put as many computers as I want. If I want static IPs they'll route a many as I want to pay for (I use a /28 myself.) As long as I don't send spam or have an open relay they are cool with it all.
  • by jeremy f (48588) <jmf_24@hotmail.com> on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @12:08PM (#3857384) Homepage
    ..changes.

    Until you pay rates on the Kilobyte, the providers have every right whatsoever, both legally and morally, to prevent you from sharing your connection.

    Right now, most services in the US allow subscribers to buy an unlimited amount of transmission at a fixed rate. For example, you might pay $50 a month for a 768k downstream connection.

    Compare this to the electric company, which charges you variable rates -- you use more electricity, you pay more cash. The electrical companies probably don't care if you run a line to your poor neighbor's shack -- other than the risk associated with you frying yourself and knocking out the power grid, the only thing they have to concern themselves with is collecting additional revenues for the added kWh.

    ISPs are the exact opposite. They let you transfer as much data as you want, but they limit how quickly you can send and receive it. With unlimited transmission rates, they get the same amount of money from you if you transfer 1M or 10T in a single month. They make loads of money on the 1M, and stand to lose quite a bit on the 10T. ISP's assume you won't have 768K of traffic 24/7 for an entire billing cycle -- and this is how they make money.

    Simple logic: if more people use your connection, more data is transferred. The ISP begins to lose lots of money. Eventually, even at the fixed bandwidth rate you're paying for, the ISP loses. If you're paying per K, M, or G, suddenly, the ISPs won't care HOW many people you share your connection with -- they'll receive money proportional to the amount of data you and your leeches transmit.

    This isn't a big deal, and I'm surprised that it's taken the ISPs this long to jump on the issue.
  • by petis (139263) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @12:48PM (#3857735)
    Oh. '$1 Companies Saying No to $2 Sharing'

    News at 11.
  • Maybe Cable Cos... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lost_packet (67330) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @01:16PM (#3857963)
    Maybe Cable Companies shouldn't be in the business of providing residential internet service. I think that they've proven that they can't do it reliably or cost effectively.

    In the past, some people have suggested that bandwidth be treated like a utility service. I think that's a great idea. Just like every residence is supposed to have water and electricity service and acceptable levels of reliability, a data connection should be treated the same way. This data connection can be for conventional telephone service, cable television, internet, and whatever permutations and combinations the future brings us. This way, an infrastructure can be established whereby each connection receives metered bandwidth, and the recipient can do as they please with it because they are paying for the bandwidth they use. The power and water companies don't care if you leave the faucet running all day or every light in your house on all day because you're paying them based on your consumption.

    This will also have the effect of forcing the consumers to educate themselves to prevent abuse of their bandwidth. If you have a leaking faucet or toilet, it's in your best interest to fix it. If you have an unsecured WAP, then you'll end up paying for whatever bandwidth leaks out of it.

    That sounds like a lot of education. How can that be accomplished? Part of it is available in most public schools. It's called "Home Economics". In addition to learning basic sewing, cooking, cleaning, and typing skills, students should also be presented basic information about home networking. The students can then bring this information home and educate their parents. The other part of the education solution lies with the equipment producers. They should provide more information with their products about setting up a secure home network. This is in addition to products already available like personal firewall software and "Idiot's guide to.." publications.

    This could also help with adoption of IPv6. Just like every phone line gets a telephone number, every data line will get an IP address.

  • by Adam J. Richter (17693) on Wednesday July 10, 2002 @01:35PM (#3858108)

    When I ordered Covad DSL ($50/month for 384/128kbps), the salesperson was very clear that sharing one's line to sell wireless access to one's neighbors was perfectly OK with them and something that they regarded as a competitive advantage of their service.

    DSL has less media sharing and is easier to upgrade on an individual basis. This may be why DSL providers in my experience generally seem to be ambivalently neutral to definitely positive about wireless access sharing, while cable modem providers have generally been quite concerned and proactive about any kind of bandwidth hogging scenarios (not just wireless sharing).

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