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The Almighty Buck

Rogers Cable Plans Fees to Curb Bandwith Hogs 847

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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  • by zby ( 398682 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:43AM (#2954206) Homepage
    Why everybody here seems to be so opposed
    to diversification in fees based on used
    The bandwidth is not a unlimited resource.
  • Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by thunderbee ( 92099 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:44AM (#2954209)
    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.
  • by deadgoon42 ( 309575 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:54AM (#2954245) Journal
    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 @04:54AM (#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 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:55AM (#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 Cowan, Ph.D.
    Chief Scientist, WireX Communications, Inc. []
    Immunix: [] Security Hardened Linux Distribution
    Available for purchase []

  • $80 A lot? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Deltan ( 217782 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:01AM (#2954262)
    $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.
  • Conversion... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MiTEG ( 234467 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:26AM (#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. [] 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. []

    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 [], 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.
  • by dun0s ( 213915 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:27AM (#2954317) Homepage
    What happens when Fred round the corner plus all the people in his house start leeching so much that they use all the bandwidth on your community fat pipe? Do you:

    a) change him a higher monthly fee because he is using more bandwidth than Jim?

    b) bandwidth limit Fred so that when he starts leeching his transfers get slower and slower to the point where he would be better off using a modem?

    c) cut him off?

    d) none of the above because, lets face it, he has a right to use all the bandwidth. doesn't he?

  • by malahoo ( 128370 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:16AM (#2954412) Homepage

    $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.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:27AM (#2954422)
    Imagine a plan where the price is $50 and everyone can use the phone as often as they like. Most people will use only as many minutes as a $10 plan, while a handfull use as much as a $500 plan. Doesn't make any sense.

    This is exactly how local phone service works. Some people buy a residential phone line and stay connected to a dial-up Internet service 24/7. Others use the phone for 5 minutes a day, but they pay the same price. The phone company doesn't call people to and threaten to disconnect them because they're making too many local calls. If too many people make calls, they just have to expand their capacity. If they don't, people will be unable to make phone calls (unlike the Internet, phone systems don't just "slow down" - they stop accepting calls completely when they reach capacity).

    I'm not saying everyone should have unlimited bandwidth, but you should get the service that is advertised. If you pay for "unlimited usage", nobody should complain that you use "too much" bandwidth. And if it isn't really unlimited, it shouldn't be sold as unlimited. Somehow ISPs get away with this false advertising, and manage to convince people that it's wrong to actually use the "unlimited" bandwidth that they've paid for.

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

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:48AM (#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. :)
  • by fwc ( 168330 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @07:36AM (#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 dirk ( 87083 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @07:57AM (#2954572) 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.

    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 Wendel T. Shaggy ( 512702 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @07:57AM (#2954573)
    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 El Camino SS ( 264212 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:33AM (#2954634)

    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.
  • by -brazil- ( 111867 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:48AM (#2954661) Homepage
    And just why do ISP's have to pay for bandwidth?

    Because most of them don't have their own backbones and thus have to pay serious money to the backbone providers. And the backbone providers have to pay serious money for their peering agreements and expensive hardware.

    causes those on the top of the heap to charge what they do? How much more does it actually
    cost to transfer X electrons as opposed to XxN electrons?

    Close to N times as much, genius. High-capacity routers and fiber connection hardware are million-dollar investments. Contrary to the belief of all the whining "Unlimited high-speed internet access is my god-given right" idiots here, the fiber itself is not the only cost factor, or even the biggest one.

    That being said, if the ISPs want to limit bandwidth usage, they of course must say so in their TOS or user contracts. Advertizing "unlimited access" and then being surprised when people use it like that is even more idiotic...

  • by Monte ( 48723 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @08:52AM (#2954672)
    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.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:06AM (#2954721) Homepage Journal
    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 Tuzanor ( 125152 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:16AM (#2954777) Homepage
    Actually, the cable companies don't compete at all. As far as cable internet goes, you get it from your local cable company, and each home only has one (generally by area). So you are EITHER on Rogers, Shaw, Cogeco, or whatever. The main Competition for rogers is Sympatico or your ma and pa ISP with DSL...
  • Seems fair to me (Score:2, Insightful)

    by walterbyrd ( 182728 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:52AM (#2954911)
    The idea behind home broadband is to allow individual users to surf the web faster. Light use.

    Heavy corporate users should pay for a T1 or whatever.

    The companies that provide broadband are struggling to break even. Clearly these companies can not provide T1 for $50 a month.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:58AM (#2954954)
    Look at what happened to ISP's, starting in about 1995. Late in the year, AOL decided not to sock people per minute. Prodigy's customers hemmoraged into AOL's membership, and Prodigy stopped socking people per minute.

    The capital chased the profits.

    If "obscene" bandwidth charges are the order of the day, then companies will climb all over each other to serve the market, and the timing for some latecomer will be disasterous. If the money is good for a bandwidth provider now, then a glut can follow. Who wins then?

    If companies get enough hopes built up to get your money on a gigabyte/month basis, well, the velocity of data will increase, making a mild version of Moore's Law. Cisco is drooling at the idea of ISP's feeling hope--any hope.

    Don't be so pessimistic.

  • by karb ( 66692 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:03AM (#2954981)
    I don't think that many people realize that charging for bandwidth is the route to freedom.

    Every month there is a story on /. about how people can no longer run servers on their residential connection, can no longer do VPN, run multiple computers, etc.

    I believe these are mostly plays by broadband providers to limit bandwidth. If we're paying for bandwidth, I don't think they would care what you were doing with it, beyond spamming or hacking. And that would be very, very cool.

  • by Erik Hensema ( 12898 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:05AM (#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.

  • by ygbsm ( 158794 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:07AM (#2955011)
    The reality is that bandwidth costs money, and those who use significantly more will have to pay for it . . . There is nothing abnormal about this pricing model, it is there with any commodity. And don't use the poor example of cable TV, if you watch cable TV 24/7 you don't consume any more of a limited resource . . . to all you bandwidth hogs, PAY UP!
  • by Dog and Pony ( 521538 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:07AM (#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.

  • by wizman ( 116087 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:13AM (#2955048)
    I'm frankly VERY tired of seeing an ARTICLE on the main page of slashdot at least once a week about someone whining about their broadband prices going up. I still don't get why people think $80 per month is a ripoff for quality reliable bandwidth, or why people think they should get 100x the speed of their dialup modem for only $10-$20 more per month.

    I think I said it best last time someone cried about their bandwidth bill, so I'll just quote it here...

    "It's simple business. A broadband ISP has to actually MAKE money off of their customers. Upstream bandwidth is extremely expensive, and the residential market has been proven to hog bandwidth with p2p download services. There's no profit to be made when a customer consistently uses their 768k dsl or cable pipe and pays $39/month (US) for it. Broadband ISP's have to rely on the idea that only a part of those resi customers will chug bandwidth, and the less demanding users will "buffer" the effect. But, the fact seems to be that broadband users are bandwidth hungry. Businesses pay more and use less, and are glad that they have a fast and reliable connection. Residential customers, in my "wireless isp operating" experience, complain that we charge $69.95/month for a 512k package, complain that they don't get a /29 with that, complain that they have to buy a bit of hardware, complain that for 5 minutes their mpg ping times went up slightly, and complain about anything possible. Business clients purchase the same package and are happy to have a reliable service and a knowledgeable staff behind it.

    It's no wonder broadband providers are either a) priced more than the competition, b) staying away from residential markets, or c) failing."
  • Re:Reality check (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sjames ( 1099 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:25AM (#2955106) Homepage Journal

    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.

  • by someone247356 ( 255644 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:42AM (#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.

  • by FreeUser ( 11483 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:05AM (#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?
  • by sterno ( 16320 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:09AM (#2955325) Homepage
    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 Deagol ( 323173 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:08PM (#2955672) Homepage
    sI'd counter that it's the corps that cause the world to suck. If I could get decent up- *and* down-stream speeds, I'd behave in a heartbeat.

    If I weren't moving soo, I'd switch *back* to Qwest (ugh!) and get slower DSL so I could get *faster* upstream.

    Right now I get 1.5mbps down and 128kbps up. If I had the option of paying the same rate, but getting, say 512k/512k, I'd do it in a heartbeat. You how shitty the latency is on a SSH session when it's sharing a 128k upstream pipe with a data upload? It's close to unusable!

    I know that switches and routers *can* custom-fit each connection, so if I want 512/512 and Foo wants 128/3.0mb, it can happen. The problem is that they don't offer it and thereby cripple us otherwise non abusive subscribers.

    I stand by my protest.

  • Reality Check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Guppy06 ( 410832 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:43PM (#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?
  • by cburley ( 105664 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @02:03PM (#2956587) Homepage Journal
    I'd counter that it's the corps that cause the world to suck.

    No, he's right, it's people like you. Corporations are, fundamentally, groups of people, and the more they are like you, the worse they behave.

    If I could get decent up- *and* down-stream speeds, I'd behave in a heartbeat.

    Or, if you were a decent, good, or moral person, you'd behave.

    Instead, you willfully and intentionally choose to directly disrupt your neighbor's Broadband access by sucking up all the shared resources they, as well as you, pay for under an arrangement that assumes (without being able to easily enforce it) that such abuse will be rare.

    Further, you willfully and intentionally choose to indirectly increase the costs borne by all your fellow users of the service -- even those not directly impacted by your bandwidth-burning escapades -- in a quixotic attempt to change the practices of a corporation.

    You could just terminate your service. Or just use what you need, not abuse it and your neighbors, and find another approach to changing the global corporate ethic.

    The problem is that they don't offer it and thereby cripple us otherwise non abusive subscribers.

    But you're an abusive subscriber.

    As a fellow Broadband user, be assured that you are acting as my enemy.

    I stand by my protest.

    It's not a protest. It's a petulant, childish, act of vandalism.

    It's nothing more ethical nor moral than expressing your frustration at a lack of proper environmental oversight by the US Government by burning large tracts of old-growth forests.

    Of course, I can understand how you came to believe you were acting appropriately. Techno-nerds seem prone to believe their ability to do something technically "elite" trumps any straightforward moral code that would rebuke their behavior. That's why, for example, people can't make moral distinctions between a DDOS attack and a "slashdotting" -- they look only at the effects, ignoring the motives of those contacting the server.

    So you probably think you're some kind of technically elite uberhacker and therefore privileged to attack your neighbors in ways they cannot possibly defend themselves against, short of disconnecting themselves from Broadband in favor of some other less-featureful and/or more-expensive solution (something you yourself plainly refuse to do, so you decide to punish others for your own decisions, and blame "The Man").

    Now, if one or two of your neighbors decided to suck up all your fresh air by setting fires all around your house, maybe then you'd begin to rise above your own moral idiocy and see such behavior as generally immoral -- because you won't be quite so impressed with the technology at that point?

    In short: when you were taught to share with your neighbors in kindergarten, that wasn't meant to include sharing your misery. Grow up and start behaving like a responsible adult. I'm sure you have it in you somewhere.

  • by GooberToo ( 74388 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:24PM (#2957222)

    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.

    Funny you should say that. Since most cable and/or phone companies have a legal monopoly in many cities, free market is often not at play. Until the FCC gets off it's butt and requires that they compete and allow the free market system to work, people will continue to be screwed, receive bad service, and feel free to charge you whatever rates they see fit while limiting their rollouts.

  • by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @03:24PM (#2957223) Homepage
    Gee, thats logical. More bandwidth for you. But if you actually try to USE that bandwidth, it means you'll have to pay double, just like they do. Let's try to keep the pretension to a minumum, eh?
  • Re:Reality check (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MikeFM ( 12491 ) on Wednesday February 06, 2002 @05:12AM (#2960579) Homepage Journal
    I also know that certain companies that make souch equipment make a nice profit. I have no problem with them making that profit but I'd rather that my ISP spend some of their money to buy into some of their equipment companies enough to exert enough control to lower the equipment costs or better yet pay for research that'd make producing the equipment cheaper. I know some of these companies already do this but I don't know of any that are DSL/cable providers. Anyway my point is there are ways by which such costs can be kept low.

    As far as workers go I'd say that right now there is a lot of very talented people that are unemployed. A company could hire these workers cheap right now. That also should help push down the cost. I'm sure you could save some money by reducing overinflated management salaries too.

    Sure there are other costs. I'm not suggesting they make the bandwidth free. I'm only suggesting that there is a limit to what customers will pay and raising prices above that is suicide. Better to cut costs where possible first.

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