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The Internet

Deathlizard's Journal: How your ISP Defines "Unlimited Internet"

Journal by Deathlizard

Before I go any further, let me make it clear that I'm for Bandwidth Management as long as it's Net Neutral. Which means if your going to throttle bandwidth, throttle all bandwidth protocols equally and never block any ports or services (This method is somewhat followed by the Netequalizer packetshaper, which agnosticly targets bandwidth hogging connections and only on peak demand by default). The only level of protocol filtering I would even think of supporting is if an ISP wants to Prioritize their own Network offerings over all other traffic, Such as VOIP. I'm for this just because if there's heavy traffic on my node, I would still like my phone to ring when someone calls. As soon as they start restricting or blocking other VOIP competitors such as Vonage and MagicJack to goad you towards their offerings, I'm done with them.

That being said, Comcast finally announced their new Protocol agnostic filtering service, and while it looks a lot better then their old "P2P MUST DIE!!" system that their currently using, People are still ranting about the 250GB cap. Every time a Download cap is announced, I see this post constantly online and it drives me nuts.

"[ISP X] Advertises Unlimited Internet. Since they now cap, I'm going to sue"

Guess what. Even with the Download cap, their still fully compliant with the "Unlimited Internet" moniker.

How you ask? Remember AOL? Remember all those disks you got that said "[X] Hours Free" where X is a number of hours? Back in the early 90's, most Dial up ISP's used to charge you Internet access by the hour. After a few years, they decided to change that to monthly. Some ISP's however, used to have an hour cap per month (primarily to free up a modem on their modem bank). The first ISP I ever used had this in their TOS, and you couldn't use more than 250 hours per month. If you did, they would turn you off until you paid for another month. Eventually, once they got enough modems to handle their user base, they dropped this from their TOS. I'll give you one guess how they advertised this TOS change.

Basically, When they say "Unlimited Internet", What they actually mean is "Always on Internet". Why don't they just say "Always on Internet"? it depends on the ISP. Some ISP's do use that in their advertising. Some felt however that it scared people into thinking that their always online connection meant that their computer had to be on all the time, or that their computer could get infected by some magical virus that can infect your PC even when your PC is off (This is no joke. An Uncle of mine was leery of his Always on DSL line, and insisted on not using the Auto Connect Feature on his PPPOE connection.) since "Unlimited Internet" sounded better to a marketeer than "Always on Internet" or "750 Hours a Month", they ran with "Unlimited Internet"

I'm no fan of caps, but as long as they don't cut you completely off during your monthly pay cycle (IE they drop you to modem speeds if you hit the cap) Their advertising of "Unlimited Internet" in their advertising would be truthful. It may not be completely honest, but either is those infomercials that say you'll use a food dehydrator every single day.

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How your ISP Defines "Unlimited Internet"

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