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

    by Glonk ( 103787 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:37AM (#2954194) Homepage
    I use Shaw (Roger's main competition), and several times now they've called my house and asked me to tone down my bandwidth usage.

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

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

    If the ISP can't handle the bandwidth it makes available, it's their loss if people use it too much. It's not my fault I enjoy streaming content and sending movies to friends and all that. :)
  • by baldeep ( 213585 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:38AM (#2954197)

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

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

  • Dream slipping away? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Little Dave ( 196090 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:46AM (#2954216) Homepage
    I always kind of assumed that broadband internet access would start off desirably out of the reach of most people, but gradually slide down the scale of availibility, dropping in cost until it was a mass market technology. But more and more I see providers of the service taking steps backward and either raising prices or limiting availibility, putting restrictions on what you can or can't do with it.

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

    Not a lot to do with the article here though, just an observation. What exactly has caused this? Have companies overestimated network capacity? Or are they just incompetent? Will widescale, high bandwidth access ever become the norm, rather than the exception?
  • Kudos to Rogers. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by arcade ( 16638 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:51AM (#2954234) Homepage
    I fully understand Rogers. Of course, there will be lots of whiners, that does not understand that there are lots of users on the same network.

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

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

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

    It seems like a rotten deal for Rogers, to me. I fully understand that they want to punish the bandwidth-pigs.
  • Devil's advocate (Score:3, Interesting)

    by tunah ( 530328 ) <sam.krayup@com> on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:51AM (#2954235) Homepage
    I am frustrated by these things too. Our ISP just made us change our ADSL setup to help them "track us better" and "cut down on the 20% of the users generating 80% of the traffic". The best bit is that our connection is capped at 128k! (not K).

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

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:53AM (#2954242)
    but you can't run servers

    What kind of rule is that? Imagine the phone company telling you "you can use the phone as often as you like but you're not allowed to speak Japanese on the phone".

    In a broadband connection packets are sent, packets are received, and that's that. They can set different limits on the ingoing/outgoing bandwidth if they want, but the type of packets transmitted is none of their buisness.
  • by alpha1125 ( 54938 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @04:57AM (#2954249)
    When Telus (fully) enters the DSL market in Ontario, we should Ontarians should see some price competitions.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Wonder if (Look communications) still has wireless digital internet?

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

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

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

    What the ISP needs is statistical shaping - that is, the user's packet priority should be directly related to the difference between the user SLA and their current mean demand for the last 30 minutes. When you use this algorithm, the hogs just automatically get cut out.
  • by Malc ( 1751 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @05:26AM (#2954313)
    Apparently Sympatico are also going to be imposing bandwidth caps, according to this rumour []. This hardly surprises me as these two companies seem to operate as a cartel when it comes to pricing. For those who don't know, Sympatico is the other big ISP in Ontario and Quebec, with a few hundred thousand more DSL subscribers than Rogers has cable subscribers.
  • by edunbar93 ( 141167 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:15AM (#2954410)
    Consider the following: Where I live, (Vancouver) I pay $40 a month for my cable internet. I get 5 Mbps down and about 512Kbps up. This is anywhere between 5 and 10 times faster than most anyone in the US can get(when they can actually get it). Also consider the fact that that's $40 CANADIAN. Multiply by 0.626 (current exchange rate according to and you get $25.04 US. There are likely to be places that still charge this much for unlimited *dialup*, and you're bitching about how expensive it is?

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

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

    For these reasons I don't want to hear you whine about how you're getting half a T1 (more than that really, considering download speeds) with unlimited bandwidth and they're doubling the price if you use it a lot. By all rights you're getting a $600 connection for $80, so either shut up and eat the cost or curb your downloads.
  • by Rogerborg ( 306625 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:15AM (#2954411) Homepage

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by puzzled ( 12525 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @06:42AM (#2954449) Journal
    I run a small regional WISP and I rate cap my residential customers to 256kbits/sec.

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

    What does 256k cost the ISP?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    I'd like to personally invite every one of you whiners to put up $25k of your own money, spend five months working without a paycheck, and then get back to me about facist rate shaping policies - I'll be happy to share technique :-)
  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @07:39AM (#2954534) Homepage
    Start a WAN (wireless area network) in your community. It's not hard by any means, and takes a bit of cash to be spent by the members. IF you dont start a community based wireless network then noone will and you have to live with what is dictated to you by the cable company...

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

    circumvent the Cable companies and DSL.. start a Wireless Network today!
  • by GodSpiral ( 167039 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:10AM (#2954743)
    A 10G/mo limit at current prices would be accepted by most. Potentially, it would improve service for most of us too.

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

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

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

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

    My download was interrupted and now I have to start over... Are you retards friggin incompetent?
  • by dpilot ( 134227 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:11AM (#2954752) Homepage Journal
    instead of treating them like idiots in front of TV sets.

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

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

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

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

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

    Finally, someone else brought this up, and it bears repeating. If they're going to bill me for use of bandwidth, then we need to something about unsolicited use of bandwidth. Script kiddies probing me are now causing financial damage. Spam causes financial damage. Getting DDOSed causes me financial damage, in addition to the service denial, itself.
  • Re:Reality check (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Greyfox ( 87712 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:37AM (#2954857) Homepage Journal
    Back when I was working at MCI, they'd charge $1600 a month for a T1, unlimited usage and $23,000 a month for a T3, unlimited usage. Plus local loop charge for your local telco which in some cases could end up costing more than what we were charging to plug you in to the internet. (Local loop charges being what the telco was charging you for the wire from your business to our router.) That pricing plan has probably changed; it's been a few years and the internet was just starting to catch on when I was working there.

    It was pretty easy math back then -- you figured at any given point, 10% of your user base would be online. So you'd figure you could fit 53.6 (Ah let's call it 54) 28.8k/s modem users into a 1.544mbps T1, so you could sell 540 accounts at $20 a month, which will net you 10,800 a month. Subtract T1 and loop charges (Probably in the neighborhood of 2 grand a month for most places) and you'd clear 8.8 grand a month from that T1. Don't forget that you have to pay your employees, the telco for all the lines going into the modem bank, etc. But you know, if you subscribe 15 people for every modem you have, the math starts looking better... (Hence terrible oversubscribtion such as AOL was accused of at one point.)

    Back then there were always these assholes who just got back from college and whine about how slow dialup is. They'd set up the modem to dial up and stay on line all day. That means that the other 9 people (Assuming you use my original numbers) couldn't get on that modem. These people were rare but very bad for business. Once ISPs started realizing people were doing that, they started adding AUPs saying you couldn't do that. Or disconnecting people using a variety of strategies.

    Fat pipe math didn't work the same way -- our biggest resource was slots on the routers (We had a Niiiice backbone) and we were always scrambling for them. A router costs a lot of money (On the order of several hundred thousand dollars for the ones we were using) which is one of the reasons we'd charge you so much to plug you into it. Bandwidth on the backbone wasn't typically a problem, though occasionally the fact would arise that we were tranmitting several gigabytes of netnews a week and that was causing some people some concern.

    Add DSL/Cable modems into the mix and it gets a lot more interesting. It's no longer a matter of a line hog just hogging one modem. You alone can easily consume your provider's entire allocation, and some people will. Most user's usage patterns is for web browsing and maybe online gaming. A small number are going to be downloading gigabytes of data a month. This later group is going to be the thorn in your side and ISPs could care less if they went away -- they're costing the ISP more than the ISP is making off them. Eliminating your negative profit users increases your profits substantially without requiring you to pay for expensive upgrades to your pipes. Most ISPs are doing this with upload/download caps and per-megabyte charges after a certain point. I haven't looked into TOS but I bet it'd be easy enough to drop your heavy users into second-class citizen status after a few hundred megabytes every month.

  • by haruharaharu ( 443975 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:56AM (#2954935) Homepage

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

  • Why??? P2P??? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JohnDenver ( 246743 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @09:57AM (#2954948) Homepage
    What exactly has caused this?

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

    Have companies overestimated network capacity?

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

    I'm pretty sure they didn't expect the average customer to use bandwidth like a warez trader.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:18AM (#2955067)
    Nobody here thinks that your rate cap is "facist" nor do we expect bandwidth to be "free as in beer". However, I think we do object to signing a year-long service contract for "unlimited-use" "always-on" 1.5Mbps net access, only to have the details change halfway through. If my ISP did that, they'd see me in court. Luckily I don't have to bother with that, because I bought business-class service for home, from an ISP that actually respects its customers.
  • Let's talk money.. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by unorthod0x ( 263821 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @10:21AM (#2955084)
    I'm going to pull out my Rogers monthly bill for your edification:

    Cable Services:
    21.29 - Basic Cable Service
    12.96 - Cable Plus Combo
    Information Services:
    39.95 - Rogers @Home Service
    9.95 - Rogers @Home Network Connection
    0.00 - Rogers @Home Cable Modem Rental
    Digital Cable
    10.95 - Digital Terminal
    11.95 - The Movie Network
    2.00 - Superstation Pack
    3.00 - Moviepix
    4.97 - PST
    7.84 - GST

    Total: $124.86

    This is what I fork out on a monthly basis; this is after already having to scale back my TV channels due to their outrageous cost and my bare usage of them (an additional $85.99), I also removed a third extra "IP" (another $9.95) since they switched to DHCP. So if I wanted to get everything that I'd like from this company and add in an additional forty bucks for maximum bandwidth usage, I'm looking at roughly $260.80 a month, paid out to the same company. That hurts.

    Now for all the wiseguys that're thinking about sauntering over to yahoo to convert that figure to your oh-so-powerful US dollar: think twice and factor in your wages/cost of living before you even attempt such a comparison. Either way you cut it, having TV and Internet cable is already darned expensive. If they want to raise prices then their customer service, TV and cable service in general needs to improve; I've experienced countless annoying, lengthy and unexplained downtime. I've been blatantly lied to by tech support staff that are either feeding out lines passed down from their manager, or refuse to deal with their cluelessness. I've also had the entire network mysteriously switch to a DHCP setup - of which I was informed by snail mail a full seven days after the fact. My entire building was denied access to free preview channels due to some "technical" issues, and after having the buck passed back and forth between building management and Rogers, Rogers still had the gall to call when the free previews finally ran out (all we saw was a black screen) to try to sell us on them ("We hope you've enjoyed your free preview, now you can buy all of these channels.."). I'm going to feel ripped off no matter what they charge for TV or Internet; this is one heck of a disorganized company, where the left hand has no clue what the right is doing.
  • Re:Reality check (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Fly ( 18255 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:08AM (#2955316) Homepage
    Time Warner cable has a someone better (IMO) strategy. Because network traffic is typically bursty, they didnt'/don't charge for extra megabytes. However, when the local network is saturated, they throttle the connections (to 128Mbps dl) of everyone on that subnet so no one person hogs all the bandwidth. I don't think I've ever seen this happen so I don't know how it would feel.

    It seems like my provider is interested in dealing with those who abuse our shared resource (which expands beyond the local subnet, despite what the DLS commercials claim) to keep the overal QoS high for the rest of the users.

    I wouldn't be surprised if I download a gigabyte or more per month. I also occasionally work from home, (but please don't tell Time Warner, they'll want to double my fees for a "business" connection). I don't think that I cause a problem for the network; one of my neighbors also works with me, and he provides just as much traffic as I do, but I've not noticed degraded performace locally for years (except when my modem needed to be replaced.)

    I much prefer this method of controlling usage. Bandwidth needs have been increasing. Downloads keep getting bigger. As long as we have competition, service should improve. Those who want to consume the more of the service while degrading the QoS for other should expect to pay a bit more.

    "[The] law is meant not for a righteous person but for the lawless and unruly[.]" 1 Tim 1:9
    If you don't like the above because Paul said it, here's a similar theme: As always, with the power of broadband come responsibility. Are you using yours responsibly?

  • by pagley ( 225355 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:36AM (#2955475)
    What's the point of broadband if I can't use it to its full extent?

    Go ahead, moderate this as flamebait or troll, but what exactly is it with the whiny 14 year olds who post crap like this?

    Listen, for those of you who think that your provider "owes" you or is "obligated" to open the flood gates of bandwidth for you, all for the low, low price of $49.95 (or whatever), here's two words to live by: Screw Off.

    You're paying for exactly two things 1) an always "on" connection, and 2) the "ability" to download content at a rate faster than dialup. No guarantees are made, nor is anyone ever obligated to roll out the red capret of resources and let you track mud all over it.

    Broadband service is sold and priced as a statistically "multiplexed" service, meaning that on average, a T1 worth of bandwidth should suffice to serve 100 customers, or whatever. There is likely 10's to 100's of thousands of dollars in infrastructure that's being used to deliver that service to you (which has to be maintained, upgraded, and eventually paid for - yes, paid for), as well as monthly fees for bandwidth from various backbone providers and whatnot (yes, believe it or not, providers don't get bandwidth for free).

    It gets said all over the place when articles like this are posted, and I'll just join the few that do have a clue and reinforce it. If you want unrestricted access to a T1's worth of bandwidth, both up and down so you can run your "servers", then STFU and pay for it, all $1000 or more a month of it. Period, end of discussion.

    If you wish to join the rest of the civilized public, pay your way accordingly, and enjoy a decent, convienient service for a very reasonable fee, then you're welcome to join in.

    But I refuse to pay for, or allow "little Johnny" down the street to download pr0n from the Gnutella network at an average rate of 600kbps 18 hours a day, 7 days a week, degrading service for the other 99 or whatever users that bandwidth statistically should be serving, and pay the same rate as I do. That's totally BS, and no reasonable person with a clue can argue against it.

    What would happen if telephone service or electricity was sold "buffet style" like broadband is/was? The US would turn into a third world country virtually overnight from a technology standpoint. Certainly no electricity for most of the country (unless you could generate your own), and telephone service would be worthless. Chaos the norm, piss-poor service at it's absolute best. Sound familiar? Welcome to the typical world of broadband.

    Grow up, use the service provided responsibly, and pay your way.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @11:44AM (#2955513)
    Actually a couple of years ago Sprint Canada introduced "unlimited" long distance for calls within Canada for $20. Soon enough, people were calling their SO's and just leaving the phone off the hook when they went to sleep. About a month later, Sprint cancelled the "unlimited" plan and put in a cap of 800 hours.
  • by Shelled ( 81123 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:10PM (#2955689)
    "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."

    Bad example, because that's exactly the case. A person who rarely uses their home phone pays the same as someone with five teenagers and two dial-up accounts, long distance excluded. The phone companies don't charge for usage on local calls.

    The other aspect, of course, is that Rogers customers have already signed a service agreement specifying one rate for uncapped access. How can the company legal justify unilaterally tearing up a signed contract without compensation to the other party? Or are cutomers the alone bound by the stipulations of the agreement?

  • Let them, BUT..... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Wintermancer ( 134128 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:31PM (#2955841)
    Get them to pull their collective heads out of their asses as well. This may be the hardest thing to do, since Cableco's just don't seem to have a clue.

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

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

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

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

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

    That's all I can think of off the top of my head. I'm sure others can think of plenty more.
  • by nolife ( 233813 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:35PM (#2955872) Homepage Journal
    I took a tour of the RR facility in Hawaii a few years ago. They had bandwidth usage charts that clearly showed a large reduction in bandwidth used between 12am and 3pm with a few spikes around 7am and lunch time. I assume peoples online times are about the same now so why not limit bandwidth during the peak hours and let the rest be free.

    Another small point. Do you pay attantion to the broadband commercials? Do not advertise the advantages of always on, "multimedia" ready bandwidth with nice charts comparing speed to a 28k modem if you are not willing to support it. They sign you up under one assumption and then bill you for something else. If I planned on browsing the web all day I'd stick to my $12/month 56k dialup.
  • Re:Reality check (Score:3, Interesting)

    by scoove ( 71173 ) on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @12:50PM (#2955992)
    Run their traffic through a router with fair queueing,QOS, and rate limiting. Offer the customer a fair committed rate burstable to 1Mb and make a fair profit.

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

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

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

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

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

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

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2002 @02:10PM (#2956642)
    If I download at offpeak time, I don't harm anyone. there is only me on Shaw's six-person hub and I get loads of bandwidth and high traffic. But how can it harm you? You're sleeping (unless you download loads of stuff too, in that case we are in same situation and both deserve to have the bandwidth of the hub shared between us evenly).
    The cost of offpeak bandwidth is extremely low. Why should I pay 80 bucks for using cable when others don't? It's like paying more when you drive at 100mph on highway because others don't drive now.

    The whole problem with internet is providing enough bandwidth during peak times, during all other times all backbones are half-empty. They MUST be up all the time, so why can't I use them a little?

    Summarizing: I agree to pay more for traffic if they take into account that traffic can be peak or offpeak.

The unfacts, did we have them, are too imprecisely few to warrant our certitude.