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The Internet

PA ISP to Restrict P2P Uploads 332

Maleko writes "PenTeleData, once an innovator in broadband internet service, (was one of, if not the first cable internet providers in the USA) has decided that their customers need to disable P2P uploads or face possible filtering to stop uploads. DSLReports has the story." While an interesting solution on the part of the ISP, it will definitely increase the number of "leechers" on file-sharing systems.
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PA ISP to Restrict P2P Uploads

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  • not surprising (Score:3, Interesting)

    by TheLastUser ( 550621 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:03PM (#4632452)
    Upstream has always been a problem for cable providers. The system was designed to move content down not up. Just use dsl instead.
    • Re:not surprising (Score:3, Insightful)

      by moonbender ( 547943 )
      DSL? The most common form seems to be ADSL (A for asynchronous) which has the exact same design - it moves more data down than up. Here in Germany the vast majority (I don't have any factual data, but I'd guess more than 95%) are 768/128 kbit ADSL links.
      • US is even worse than that, the average Adsl line is actually 384/128 with about 15% missing from that for overhead. If the subscribers are on a contract, and the company has altered their access during said contract period you might have a case, otherwise, time to switch ISP's. One point I always look for is unlimited transfer. If they apply a cap it is NOT unlimited always on access. But of course here in Wonderful America, the truth in advertising APPLIES ONLY to the printed sections, the ones that flash by so small no one could possibly read them, All the announcer hype and BS they SHOW has no validity and is not required to be true. In effect it lets the ISP "say unlimited use, always on, and advertise their connection for blazing fast downloads of MP3, while actually not allowing the applications needed to access those MP3s, and restricting bandwidth which in turns restricts everything else. I have a 768 SDSL connect on a business class line. If they tried to tell me I could not have synchronous 768 24 hours a day 7 days a week I'd drop them so fast. I guess if you really want what you pay for you have go SOHO or business connection, otherwise you are just a cash cow to be milked by large ISP who actually hopes you drop dead the day after paying your next ISP bill.
  • Berman (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dolo666 ( 195584 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:04PM (#4632457) Journal
    disable P2P uploads

    Marshall Berman [csus.edu] said, in "All that is Solid Melts into Air", that you can't stop progress, and anyone that attempts to stop progress will be torn asunder by it. I'm paraphrasing with that statement, but you get the point. I find it ironic that the very elements the Bourgeois Elite employ seem to dethrone them, time and time again.

    Supply and Demand will solve this problem. :)
    • Re:Berman (Score:5, Insightful)

      by dubious9 ( 580994 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:57PM (#4632998) Journal
      How is P2P progress? I assume that's the point that you are making.

      <rant>Way too many people think P2P access is an inalienable right. How many people here couldn't get even lousy HTTP connections because too many people were downloading full length porn movies and programs? As a sysadmin its a major headache to try and deal out bandwidth fairly. If people could use P2P on my network and not decrease my bandwidth to about 10K, then I'd allow it. P2P sucks up all available bandwidth. Until TCP/IP comes up with a more fair bandwidth sharing protocol, I'm with cutting P2P down. It's simply not fair to other people on the network. How can you justify 1000 CS people not being able to compile stuff on our unix server because too many people in the dorms are downloading music?

      At my university, P2P accounted for all major slow downs this year, even when taking into account a three day blackout.

      I don't care what you do with "your" bandwidth, as long as it doesn't effect mine. All you P2P advocates people are selfish and greedy. How much more responsive would the net be without P2P? Is porn and wharez and music that much of a nessesity?

      IPs are starting to increasingly limit all upload material since they can't effictively block P2P traffic. It's simply not fair that I can't run a small personal website simply because a lot of horny P2P need more material

      God think about other people for once. </rant>
      • Re:Berman (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mattbelcher ( 519012 )
        Until TCP/IP comes up with a more fair bandwidth sharing protocol, I'm with cutting P2P down.

        Since you are the sysadmin, see what you can do with the configuration on your routers. Since nearly all routers on the Internet today use the Droptail queueing discipline, these issues are epidemic. Try reconfiguring your routers to use Fair Queueing or, better yet, Rate Inverse Scheduling. If your router doesn't support these, ask your vendor why not. Since TCP is a client-side protocol, you can never trust the users to use it properly (as Droptail assumes).

  • Excellent (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:05PM (#4632463)
    While an interesting solution on the part of the ISP, it will definitely increase the number of "leechers" on file-sharing systems.

    And hopefully this will lead to the end of systems like Kazaa. While I have no problem with peer-to-peer file trading systems, Kazaa is run by a bunch of crooks (like most of these companies) that are hell-bent on filling your PC up with spyware and crapware. I personally hope they die a fiery death. The network is nice, the company is not.
  • by darkov ( 261309 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:06PM (#4632464)
    ...it'll ruin my sex life.
    • ...it'll ruin my sex life.

      Jeez, get a life man. More importanltly, what I'd like to know, is why are ISPs hell bent on pleading poverty in respect to bandwidth and network usage in a period when bandwidth is arguably cheap. All over the place I hear about telcos going broke becuase they overbuilt massive networks in readiness for the broadband revolution and now they are supposedly willing to pay you to take it off their hands.

      Are ISPs so bereft of ideas that this is the only way of relieving customers of their money? Can't they add some value somewhere?
  • private enterprise (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Servo ( 9177 ) <dstringfNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:07PM (#4632466) Journal
    Within limits of course, they can do whatever they want. This will either hurt them by losing too many customers, or make their network better for all involved. I can't see it making a huge difference anyway. Worst case, they lose a small percentage of people who will be upset by their decision, IMHO. I don't see it making a huge impact on bandwidth either, since people will still be leeching away. Most *my* bandwidth goes to downloading, not uploading.
    • by thasmudyan ( 460603 ) <<udo.schroeter> <at> <gmail.com>> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:13PM (#4632503) Homepage
      No, i don't think such action would hurt any provider. After all - even if 10% of your customers are P2P guys and even if they all left, that would really mean that you're left with the juicy 90% of your audience. Because these 90% are just moms and pops who don't create more network load than a modem user on a lazy day. Those are the people that make broadband very profitable. Not the other 10%, they produce a negative income situation because they use 80% of the network's bandwith. Screwing them and finally disconnecting them is actually good business sense.
      So, enough with the percent ;-)

      PS: don't get me wrong, I'm not a "good" broadband consumer either...
      • Read thru all of my comment. In the end, I really don't see them negatively impacted. Simply limiting uploads won't help them out either, bandwidth wise. You still have them downloading.

        This seems to be more of a ploy for legal reasons, than bandwidth. By disabling uploads, they won't have to deal with requests to shut down accounts of those offering files.
        • Even though they're still downloading, you have to admit, with them not all uploading, their ISP doesnt so much view them as a field of hungry high speed servers, who all want a piece. Even if all an ISPs customers were leechers, and the ISP was able to handle it, by limiting their uploads to a very small amount, you have just saved half of your aggregate bandwidth.

          As an ISP, I have to admit that doing this to avoid legal reasons is a good idea, although it's a band aid, lazy, and irresponsable. Sometimes you gotta do these things when you're understaffed and cant pay a legal department to do it the Right Way.
      • It won't hurt them in the short run, which seems to be all most companies think about these days. In the long run, the type customer they're shutting out will bring about the competitor that will crush them.

        As the new ISP conglomerates alienate the very customers that helped make their new products viable - the early adopters - they drive these customers to find new providers that support more interesting uses of the technology, rather than simply catering to the lowest common denominator in order to maximize profits.

        I just hope it happens sooner rather than later.
    • This will either hurt them by losing too many customers, or make their network better for all involved.

      Well, the problem is that there are more than two options. One other scenario is that the ISP does not lose customers, their network stays the same, and it becomes the p2p community that loses though the tragedy of the commons. Already (on a t1, to counter your "ADSL" reply elsewhere) I can't get at 99% of the things that I'm searching for because there are always 60 people in the queue and seemingly most of the source nodes do not leave their machines on 24/7. So there are tons of leeches who don't even share anything, which now that I think about it is a fourth alternative in this scenario: the users give the record and movie industries what they want by assuming the role of pure consumers who don't share. Oh sure, there are 6 or 7 people pulling from me at any time of the day, but look at my backlog of ~100 songs that have been sitting their for a week. I cut people off who aren't sharing anything.
  • Just think of it, being a merchant that has to tell his/her customers that they can not buy so many goods from them. After all ISP's are nothing but value added bit resellers...

    So, what will happen ? Well, there are other merchants. Looks like these guys just shot themselves in the foot.
  • by Angry White Guy ( 521337 ) <CaptainBurly[AT]goodbadmovies.com> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:08PM (#4632473)
    I don't understand the business planning that went into the broadband market. The adopters of broadband got broadband not just for faster net access, but for more. These companies catered to that, with commercials showing video conferencing, highlighting music sharing and telling the public that the sky's the limit. Now that they have a customer base, they are telling us that they lied, that we are only supposed to be looking at web pages. They attempted to control the stream by adopting adsl and asymmetric cable, proxy servers on their own network, and it just isn't good enough! Is access to internet backbones that expensive or are we getting hosed as consumers here?
    • The Telecomunications act of 1996 made DSL possible and services started from there, but entrenched intersts have been working to undo that. Since then the local Bells and ATT have worked to choke the upstarts as they represented serious competition to their planned long distance voice services and "internet" offerings. The local bells not allowing these upstarts information and equipment access, as required by law, has gone unpunished and indeed has been forgiven. ATT bought a large portion of @home cable and insured it's demise. Entertainment companies and other large publishers have joined the chorus that helped destroy "internet" service as we know it. What you are left with are expensive "services" that will only get worse as the survivors purchase backbones for pennies on the dollar and keep them shut down until they can figure a way to make money off them for themselves. It's not going to work and they will all lose money when they are circumvented AGAIN, but you won't be a part of it their plans.

      Why does PenTeleData prohibit ProLog Express Internet customers from uploading through file-sharing applications? -Serving files from a residential account - whether FTP or file-sharing -- is a violation of the Acceptable Use Policy.

      "Internet" service without servers is not an internet. Good luck to them blocking ftp. AOL uses port 21 for it's instant messenger program. Unless AOL changes that, or they can distinguish traffic, their block will do little good.

      I already hate my cable company as they have violated my Acceptable Service Policy. The day they block FTP is the day they lose my static IP charges. The day I have a choice in providers is the day they lose me.

    • The problem is that P2P is an inefficient use of bandwidth. Lots of traffic for little "gain". Furthermore, people don't realize just how much bandwidth it sucks up because they just leave it on in the background.

      The solution ultimately is for an ISP to permit P2P within their network (maybe even promote it?), possibly cache some external data or common searches, and block downloads from outside their network.

      Is there any proxy server applications to cache P2P data at the perimeter of an ISP?
      • The problem is that P2P is an inefficient use of bandwidth. Lots of traffic for little "gain".

        P2P has been with us since the very earliest days of the internet. P2P is NOT inherently inefficient. However a lot of implementations of P2P are inherently inefficient.

        Trust me, you do not want the ISP fiddling with your traffic in some nefarious way in their network.

    • Well when I worked for a local pa dialup isp circa 96, I would say nearly 90% of our users were only connected for less than an hour a month and during that time they would check e-mail and browse the web a little.

      I bet most of these broadband isps have business plans that depend on most of the users using the service very sparingly, but when non-techies start leaving P2P programs on, their bandwidth costs go through the roof. Broadband costs MONEY, the #1 goal of an ISP is to make a PROFIT, not share pr0n with the rest of the world.

    • The business planning was simply this: can we sell more than we have? Just like dial-up ISPs used to have 10x the customers to phone lines. My cable ISP, much as I love the service, gave me grief about 'excessive use' recently. I sent off a very nicely worded e-mail stating that on all of their advertising, they say their service is 'unlimited'. Here's part of the response:

      "Unlimited access" in an Internet account context refers only to time

      duration limits. Traditional Internet providers often include weekly,
      daily, or monthly time limits on usage and are not designed for 24 hour
      "on-demand" usage. The Shaw High-Speed Internet service places no such time
      limits on usage, and a user of our service is free to connect their computer
      to the Internet 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Activities that use large
      amounts of the bandwidth can negatively impact the speed of your connection.


      I don't know just who they think they're kidding, but I haven't had an ISP in the past 6 years who limited me in terms of duration. Neither does their real competition (DSL). Picking some $4.95/month 10 hours local ISP as the standard to compare against is NOT logical - but this is how they weasal out of their 'unlimited access' lie.

      They've way oversold their product and they continue to lie about the service - unfortunately it's not like there's much else in the way of competition :(
      • Yes, I just love how they redifine english words for the purpose of advertising. Somehow they find a way to limit even the unlimited. Must be, er, innovation.

        Free* Internet Access!!!!!

        * - Free refers to the customer's ability to use the service without a straightjacket and legirons. The cost to the customer is $9.95/minute.

    • Technology improvements follow moores law with it getting cheaper and cheaper with every passing day..and these companies have the nerve to tell us what to do with the high speed sevices we buy off them, they also have the nerve to use this cheaper technology to monitor what we do.. it's time they were told what to do and use that better technolgy to provide better service for us. It's also about time that the holdover of data bit pricing that is lovinglly worshipped by these big companies was thrown out too, it's not the 1950's with expansive telephone service (voice only), it's the 21st century with exponentially growing technolgy of fiber optics (most installed fibers currentlly not used) where technolgy allows increasing amounts of data to be put thru fibers. So the excuse that it's expensive to send data bits thru an ISP network is crap, it's getting cheaper all the time with no end in site, it's time to dump this obsolete pricing model and move on..
  • by Palos ( 527071 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:08PM (#4632476)
    A majority of the people receiving this will probably just disable their uploads because they don't know any better. I'm sure there will be ways around it, but for the majority of the users I'm sure this letter, and a simple filter will probably get rid of a reasonable amount of traffic. It would be funny if this was just ended up being a strongly worded warning and they didn't even implement any filters, but most users turned off their file sharing :)
  • by akincisor ( 603833 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:08PM (#4632477)
    While I am perfectly confident that this will prompt the innovative (read desperate) users to develop a workaround, some time now things like this will make the work required to work around them too much for most. This will kill all P2P apps, even the ones that don't violate copyrights. The irony is that the people who pirate professionaly will probably benifit from this.

    I wonder what lengths people will go to share files illegaly, and when the ??AA will realise that there are reasons for this desperation other than that people like to break the law. Good music and competitive pricing will be the only way to kill piracy.
    • The irony is that the people who pirate professionaly will probably benifit from this.

      The people that "pirate"* professionally aren't fucking around with P2P. They're buying a CD and mass-producing it, which isn't hindered in the least by any of the mechanisms the industry claims to be putting into place to prevent "piracy."

      Honest and ethical business practices are what will get me to start buying music again. I don't spend money on CDs anymore because I believe that what the music industry companies are trying to get away with is deplorable.

      * I know piracy is easier to say than "obtaining through illegitimate means," but using that term is really only contributing to the music industry's fraud. People downloading music on the Internet aren't plundering ships on the high seas, they're trying to listen to music by the most convenient means. There are lots of things that I can do with music available through P2P that I can't do otherwise. There are many songs/artists that I've found through P2P, by searching for lyrics and downloading songs until I find the one I was looking for. This would have lead to my buying many more CDs than I otherwise would have, if I wasn't so opposed to spending my money on depriving the world of a just copyright system.

  • Inevitable (Score:5, Interesting)

    by mao che minh ( 611166 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:08PM (#4632478) Journal
    How pointy hairs over at that cable company had their pockets lined, I wonder? Well, it is their business, and if it is in their business's best interests to prevent their customers from using P2P internet technologies, then that's how it has to be. It would be moronic to say that the vast majority of P2P users are not using it to trade copyrighted material - it's becoming a social norm. I suppose it was only a matter of time before something like this happened.

    I just hope that my ISP doesn't implement similar "defensive" measures - you never know, it might effect my SETI contributions somehow, or even the legitimate file swapping I do with people all over the planet.

  • by nurb432 ( 527695 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:08PM (#4632479) Homepage Journal
    All you have to do is use other non p2p ports, and encrypt..

    Unless they jst cut off all traffic except for known protocols such as ICQ, etc.

    Sux though, if you pay service, you should do with it as you please.

    If they want to simply *reasonably* throttle rates ( monthly caps on amount of packets are unreasaonable until the issue of spam is dealt with ), then thats acceptable, but not to control the content. Thats borderline censorship.
    • It is also jeopardizing thier legal liability exemption they can claim because of their common carrier status. The FTC is already after this [ftc.gov] and the common carrier exemption is all but gone in the UK [swarb.co.uk].

      If the ISP is going to start eliminating specific services for the same fees, it opens up a big Pandora's Box on their liability for people doing illegal things over their network. For example, should they be allowing known SPAM, traffic that has a high probability of being malicious (ie: fragged IP or Christmas tree packets) if they are going to start blocking P2P upload. Like the previous author says, firewall rules applied at the first IP device (like Nortel's Shasta BSN [nortelnetworks.com] )to apply filtering policy to least privilege traffic is bad news for the Internet.

      Or maybe not since it will all be in XML over HTTP over SSL soon anyway... :P

      B

  • by the-banker ( 169258 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:09PM (#4632481)
    Basically if many ISPs decide to adopt a similar policy across all P2P apps, even the most distributed P2P networks like Gnutella end up being centralized servers (unblocked) with many leeching clients (blocked). It ends up being little different than a massive, searchable FTP.

    Whether this sort of thing is justified comes down to one argument: whether having many copyrighted works being traded overrides the legitimate uses of P2P or it does not. Regardless of technology every argument on the topic boils down this. I tend to fall to the side that just because laws CAN be violated with a tool does not disqualify the tool from public consumption. Each individual is responsible for the content they make available and they download. This is little different than, "We know you can't make a rational decision about breaking the law or not, so we are going to take any opportunity away from you. Sorry about the fact that we also remove legal uses of the tool." We need to return to the age of personal responsibility.

    • Basically your ISP doesn't want you to use their pipe. They're happy to rent out the line but the more you actually use it, the more it costs them in terms of keeping infrastructure in place that won't get saturated by the users. Get rid of the hard core users and you become much more profitable. They'll ban anything that sucks up huge amounts of bandwidth -- online games, streaming video, pretty much anything's a target.

      I'm thinking that it'd be pretty easy to start building a world wide VPN node by node. That'd make it pretty much impossible for your ISP to monitor exactly what you're doing. They'd still be able to tell how many megabytes you used each month, but they wouldn't know what you were doing with that traffic.


    • So you're saying that this will kill file sharing? I don't think so.

      Its whack-a-mole. "They" bring the system down and you will have a new way to distribute files in probably under a week after that.

      Bammo. Your files are back.

      Also, with a microphone, I can circumvent any copy restrictions. SO THERE. Hilarious.
  • by soreno ( 563079 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:10PM (#4632489)
    We sell you bandwidth - but encourage you not to use it.
  • by tshak ( 173364 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:11PM (#4632498) Homepage
    Utilities (and I consider broadband a utility just as much as electricity or water) should not be able to control what you do with bandwidth. What they can do, is sell you a limited amount of bandwidth. If my provider is giving me 1.5Mb/down, and 256kb up (burstable), then it shouldn't matter if I'm using it all day or not. Filtering packets based on what you're doing is, in my opinion, like the telephone company saying that I talk to my Uncle too much on the phone so they're going to block his number.

    I have no problem with the enforcing of copyrights, but that is not (and should never be) the ISP's job. We all know that this has absolutely nothing to do with the ISP's "respect" for copyrights, rather, this is simply about saving money by limiting bandwidth usage.
    • The power company does care, to some degree, what' you're doing with your power. If you use juice in massive surges, i.e. causing brownouts in your neighborhood, then letting it go back to normal, they will be on your ass.

      One reason that companies that use huge amounts of electricity over short spans of time (like electric arc furnaces or something) generally have to have made special arrangements with the power company...and sometimes they're simply restricted from using said electricity.
      • Right, but this has to do with the volume of electricity. Again, I have no problem with ISP's either A) capping my bandwidth or B) charging me for additional bandwidth usage. The power company does not care if you are powering a computer or heat lamps for growing pot.
  • Big Brother (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Ashish Kulkarni ( 454988 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:13PM (#4632504) Homepage
    What is scary is that this is possibly the start of something like Big Brother. I mean, I pay the ISP for MY net usage, not what he thinks is appropriate for me. I can agree with higher charges for P2P (heavy leeching causes slow networks here) but interfering in any way pisses me off. Soon they'll protect us from porn, terrorist propoganda, etc. and before you know it, you have a media oligarchy which controls all aspects communication, just like in the feudal ages.
    • What the hell does Big Brother have to do with ISPs? 1984 probably has more misused ideas than any other book of all time. You're comparing a private company that has decided to discontinue offering a particular unprofitable service to save themselves money...to a state-controlled regime.
  • by Minna Kirai ( 624281 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:15PM (#4632516)
    Funny, they've decided to block their users from contributory copyright violation, while still letting them download all the MP3s they want.

    But one legal defense ISPs use against charges of copyright infringment themselves (and a bevy of other crimes) is "We just move the data from one side to another- we never know what's inside it". That's why USENET still has its binaries groups moving at full tilt- ISPs don't want to get into a position of accepting/rejecting individual blobs of content.

    For one thing, the workload would be enormous. For another, they'd begin serving in an editoral role, and have some responsiblity for the content they do let through. And some attorneys general will be happy to attack them with "you didn't reject it, so you must've accepted it, so you're a party to the crime!". (I can particularly imagine someone in a music-industry consitutency doing this)

    Of course, per-file (checksum/watermark?), per-newsgroup, or per-filename blocking is a far cry from the simplistic protocol level denial this ISP is doing. They're still a common carrier for a while (denying data not by its contents, but by its format and packaging).

    Although this change won't immediately hurt the availability of files on P2P filesharing (P2Pfs) much, it could be the start of a trend where all ISPs might block outgoing sharing. Leading to a chase where the P2Pfs software takes refuge inside one unblocked port and unfiltered protocol after another...

    A race like that could (in 10 years or so) chase P2P programs entirely onto other allowed procotols, maybe even something like email messages. As the disguising of the P2Pfs packets becomes ever-more sophisticated, the only way to detect them will be to read more and more closely into every user's transmission. At some point, you become a real censor.
  • spread spectrum (Score:5, Interesting)

    by devonbowen ( 231626 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:23PM (#4632555) Homepage
    Someone needs to develop a spread-spectrum protocol for network ports. Spread the data across lots of ports and have it intelligent enough to adjust if a port or set of ports is being filtered. With the packets encrypted, they'd never be able to filter again.

    Devon
    • That would be almost completely useless. The whole point is to fade into the background noise of network traffic. Your suggestion is one of the absolutely stupidest things you could do in terms of attracting attention. It would set off port scan detectors, anything measuring bandwidth used by an arbitrary protocol (which has logged no traffic for the thing for months, probably) would go off, any programs looking for corrupted packets of a particular type would set off warnings...
  • Ironic (Score:5, Insightful)

    by perfects ( 598301 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:27PM (#4632576)
    > it will definitely increase the number of
    > "leechers" on file-sharing systems.

    Does anybody else find it ironic that a community that is based on file-sharing would use the term "leechers" as a disparaging term?

    I guess I shouldn't be surprised. It's common practice these days to use a carefully-chosen word in order to inherit a negative -- or positive -- meaning "by association".

    "Leech". Yuck! That can't be good.

    "Sharing". Gee, that sounds so... nice, doesn't it? It must be ok.
    • "Sharing" (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MacAndrew ( 463832 )
      Well, the merry file sharers are sharing, in a voluntary association amongst themselves -- I'll show you mine if you show me yours, or even if you don't -- as opposed to the victimized copyright holders. So maybe you want the term "cooperative leeches" or "distributed leeches"? Or, the proven old term "pirates."

      Point well taken. Thievery by any other name would smell the same. But no one wants to be called a hypocrite, least of all by themselves.

      I realize this may provide an unintentional springboard for speeches by the piracy rationalizers. To being it back sharply on-topic, if the broadband providers do need to contain costs I'd rather they try to single old the illegal uses first. (If they're doing this just to maximize profit, then we have a market failure.)

      Back when VCR's were introduced to the public it was argued they would be used to violate copyright, but because the courts found VCR's had legitimate uses as well (your nephew bar mitzvah, etc.) they were not per se illegitimate.
    • The name "leeching" precedes p2p. You need to go back to beginings of the FTP/usenet days to see it's origin.
    • Re:Ironic (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Alex Thorpe ( 575736 )
      Not at all. There's a difference between Sharing and 'downloading all night without allowing uploads'. The latter is selfish and antisocial.

      Though some days, when nothing I request will even start downloading, I feel like a 'reverse-leech'.

  • by Fnkmaster ( 89084 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:35PM (#4632614)
    I had to disable my roommate's Kazaa uploads the other day. AT&T BroadBand has set up their bandwidth throttling to be so severe that even with Kazaa set on max 2 uploads and supposedly throttled at 24kbps, it was causing severe latency problems with our net access. In particular, I was getting 1 second - 2 second pings in Counter-Strike, web access was crawling, and everything just felt slow as shit. No problems since I disabled it.


    Of course, even with the throttling set to 24kbps, it still looked like there was over 32kbps going upstream. I don't like being a leech, and I'd love to share some bandwidth to a reasonable degree, but with such tight limits on our upstream bandwidth, there's not much I can do. Also, my old strategy (when I wanted to play Counter-Strike or latency was being problematic, I'd just block port 1214 at our router) doesn't work any more because new versions of Kazaa do crazy port-hopping stuff to prevent being blocked. No choice but to disable it entirely.


    I guess my point is that there is blame to go around here. Companies like Kazaa need to provide better throttling in P2P products (there is no way to throttle to less than 24kbps... that's fucking retarded) and need to ship with throttling enabled to avoid flooding networks. And ISPs should realize that blocking is retarded - it will just piss customers off. Bandwidth throttling is okay, but give us reasonable limits. My service shouldn't slow to a crawl just because I am using 24kbps of upstream (ATT Broadband), and my service shouldn't get disabled for 60 seconds because I open a lot of connections (Verizon DSL - doing a server refresh in Counter-Strike makes the connection throttle and then shut down after polling a couple thousand servers, and it won't come back to life for 60 seconds).


    Crippling the software I choose to run is unacceptable, and if you do it, I will be forced to shop elsewhere.. err... you have a monopoly. I guess I'll just have to take it in the rumpelstiltskin. Never mind.

    • The issue is not just the number of downloads... Thare are other settings that would affect your bandwidth. Example: The supernode setting and if you are sharing any files....

      As soon as your node becomes "live", you may be getting hundreds of query requests (searches...etc); This is made worse if you have a NAT/PAT router. This is because your node is advertising that it exists {remmember, it is seeing the OUTSIDE Public address as the sourse of the connection]; other nodes try to connect to it... but cant reach it so the connection has to time out first... {at up to 2 mins for a tcp port to time out].... this can mean thousands of connections opening to your public IP. If the isp throttles based on incoming connections, then your modem may disconnect...

    • Companies like Kazaa need to provide better throttling in P2P products

      Try WinMx [winmx.com], it has good throttling/limiting options.

      My service shouldn't slow to a crawl just because I am using 24kbps of upstream

      You could be saturating your upstream, which will always trash your downstream. When downloading a file over TCP, every packet must be confirmed as "ACK'ed", meaning you received the packet correctly. If your upstream is working overtime, these ACK packets get queued, and the download slows as the server lowers the TCP window, which is the number of packets to send before waiting for acknowledgement. This is how the internet handles flow-control.

      If you are finding problems, I'd recommend getting a rooter/firewall that can do throttling with traffic shaping. Once you have a system that prioritises ACKs, games and http over the p2p traffic and limits the upstream to 90-95% if your maximum, you should never really notice that p2p is running. In theory.

  • Give-Take (Score:3, Insightful)

    by stevejsmith ( 614145 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:38PM (#4632627) Homepage
    This may be obvious, but it's still pissing me off. Cable and DSL companies have just been taking and taking without letting up anything. They raise the prices, they kill our static IPs, they lower our uploads, they kill our web space, but they never give anything back! Never, "Oh, let's raise the cap," or, "oh, let's give them back their static IPs." Eventually broadband will just become so empty that it will be useless. Geeks will begin to see the use of shared T1 lines, and the rest will soon follow.
    • This may be obvious, but it's still pissing me off. Cable and DSL companies have just been taking and taking without letting up anything.

      Then why are you still paying for this service? You are not powerless to solve the problem. Cable/DSL is not an essential life function.
      • Re:Give-Take (Score:2, Interesting)

        by stevejsmith ( 614145 )
        Because there is no other option. 56k is actually just as, if not more expensive (service and extra phone line). In it's hey day, broadband was amazing.

        What are you talking about, "not an essential life function"? It is, too! Do you use broadband? Well, even if you don't, I know many people that would be lost without it.
  • Attention (Score:2, Funny)

    by soreno ( 563079 )
    All your bandwidth are belong to us.
    • Henceforth there will be an exponentially increasing fine schedule for use of this phrase and its uninspired derivatives.

      Sorry. :)
  • by Corvaith ( 538529 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:44PM (#4632652) Homepage
    It seems to be more and more common, these days--companies that are selling more resources than I actually have.

    If you tell me that my connection will go a certain speed, I should be able to use that speed all night and all day if I want to, because that's what I'm paying you for. Counting on the idea that I won't use those resources you provide me is not, in my opinion, a good business model.

    Yet, internet providers of all types use it. Web hosts give you insane amounts of disk space... and then, surprisingly enough, their disks start getting overfilled when people start using more than just a tenth of what they pay for.

    If these places want to limit the bandwidth, they ought to be saying that right off the bat. "For this monthly fee, you get X mb of downloads, and Y megabytes of uploads, at speeds up to Z kb/sec."

    That way, people can start using what they have sensibly. "Okay, I know I only have this much upload, so I won't share files on these P2P networks." Or maybe they'll just share smaller files, or only share a few days a month, or whatever... it's their decision, now, what to do with the resources they've paid for.

    I think depending on under-usage has always been dangerous, and it was only a matter of time before something came along that started encouraging everyday users to actually make use of their broadband connections.
    • I have friends overseas who pay little (5-25 bux) for high speed dsl, the catch is, they only get about 20 gigs of transfers included.

      Really, for 25 bux you cant expect a T1 for that price. I pay 102 bux for a 144K line, thats a little more than market price for that portion of a T1. I'm running the sys-admin package from covad that allows me to run servers, unfiltered, extra ips, unlimited transfer cap. Checking dslreports you could buy service that is market value. A 768/768 business dsl for servers for about 150-200 bux a month, a 1500/1500 for 450, or a 7000/1500 for 1500 a month.

      Its strange, some ISPs will try sell you a 56K frame relay for 200 bux a month, while you can get full T1 for 600 with unlimited transfers from others. I once had a 10mbit line for 3500 a month with unlimited transfer charges. You can chop that up and resell it, and make a nice profit.

      Really what we need is tiered pricing that each level has unlimited transfer charge. Then the people who want really high speed transfers will pay for it. Look at how many people upgraded to higher speeds on cable modems, lots of people want high speed and will pay for it.

  • by SwedishChef ( 69313 ) <craig@@@networkessentials...net> on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:45PM (#4632656) Homepage Journal
    are bandwidth usage and copyright legalities. Taking the last issue first, as an (admittedly reluctant) ISP, we don't have the financial resources to fight RIAA and MPAA over the alleged copyright violations of our users. No small ISP does, and few large ones do (or would be willing to fight them off even if they had the funds). We don't get daily demands to disconnect users for alleged copyright violations, but we do get them weekly and following up takes our time and costs us money. When it gets to the point where we'd have to hire employees to handle the load we would either have to raise our prices (and our margins are razor thin now to compete) or implement the exact policy we see here.

    Taking the bandwidth issue, most ISPs have separate accounts available for people who wish to "serve" files. In the days of dial-up most people didn't have the bandwidth for serving files or the static IP required to get to them. This is no longer true. P2P made a static IP irrelevant; people found you through a central registry of users and broadband gave you enough bandwidth to move packets fast enough to make the file exchanges possible. Suddenly the ISPs, which normally have to pay for bandwidth both ways, were faced with much higher charges for *their* links to the 'net.

    If you think that P2P doesn't greatly increase bandwidth usage you haven't seen the MRTG graphs I have. When we did the engineering for 3 providers we could watch the effect of one user making available a popular new movie (like "Harry Potter"). It was dramatic! Bandwidth would often jump to the caps and stay there for hours at a time, drop down and then jump back.

    An ISP buys bandwidth at a set guarenteed rate with the proviso that short bursts of usage above that rate wouldn't be charged for unless it lasts for longer than a minimum (agreed upon) amount of time. P2P changed this so that suddenly ISPs were faced with uplink bills of twice their usual amount!

    Look at it from their point of view. How would you like it if you offered a room for rent and discovered that the new occupant was doubling your power, water and garbage bills? My guess is that you'd toss them out on their ear or make them pay for the excess. ISPs are in that position regarding bandwidth.

    The combination of the litigation exposure plus the bandwidth costs will make every ISP look closely at making the same changes that this one has. They won't have much choice unless something else changes the equation.
  • by jdkane ( 588293 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:48PM (#4632677)
    PenTeleData seems to be taking a very fair approach to a multitude of issues brought about by P2P file sharing. We may want to complain that they don't have the right to disallow us P2P, but on the other hand they seem to be doing a good job of protecting their users from the legal ramifications of P2P. Obviously they are not seeking out and prosecuting users who share illegal files. A warning followed by an account shutdown is pretty easy compared to the real legalaties that could be brought against the user.

    This Big Brother crap is over the top. The ISPs are protecting themselves from legal ramifications. They probably don't really care about the users that much .. the benefits brought about by PenTeleData covering their own butts just filter down to the users which is arguably good. No Big Brother entity is pushing anything here like propaganda. The two ideas don't correlate well at all, except that a few angry users are making over-the-top comments because they'll say anything to garner arguments for getting their precious P2P back.

    A world without free flow of P2P access! We've had our cake and ate it too. Expect the world to change. Maybe something better will come about.

    Giving bandwidth and taking it away -- that's another meaningless argument. Just as you have to pay for your bandwidth usage, so does your ISP. Do you think they get it for free to give to you? Most purchase bandwidth from other companies.
    Maybe the price of gas shouldn't increase either. Maybe the gas station should pay more over time, but never pass those costs onto the drivers. It doesn't take a business mind to see the problem here.

    I certainly am willing to pay more to use P2P while it's still here. However there is increasingly more focus on the law surrounding illegal P2P content. How much longer will be *want* to use P2P, even if we can? How many of us are already in future legal battles [slashdot.org] that we don't know about yet?

    The idea about encrypting the content is cool. It's already being done over at the FreeNet Project [freenetproject.org], but it's so slow! However leave it up to somebody to sooner or later write a P2P app on top of the FreeNet network.

    What if ISPs close all unusual ports to prevent against P2P? Well then somebody can write encoders/decoders that work over normal ports like ICQ, HTTP, etc. and format that file parts in that protocol. Wouldn't that be cool.

    However what starts to freak me out is no matter how many times P2P succeeds at getting around the barriers, those barriers exist for many reasons -- many are legal reasons -- and soon that may come down on P2P users like a tonne of bricks. And I certainly don't want to be there when it happens. Nobody does. It's seeming like more of a gamble each day.

  • by zogger ( 617870 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:50PM (#4632684) Homepage Journal
    --I am betting this is like cal energy crisis. artificially high prices brought about by artifically manipulated supply "numbers". Now I honestly don't know if the middleman bandwith "traders" exist or not like the "spot market" for the middleman profit leeches do with electricity and natural gas, but I am more than suspicious of this bandwith crunch and cost. Ya it's expensive, here's the solution, the cable/phone/whatever call them DATA companies are still protected monopolies most areas. If they got rid of the monopoly, then *perhaps* there would be some competition, especially "last mile". I mean really, home many cable television companies got their monopoly status back in the 70's? Their cables aren't paid for yet? How long are they going to be able to milk that excuse cash cow? And the local telcos? How long are they going to be paying for the same copper they ran back in 1948? Wazzup with that noise?

    There needs to be an easier way to get fat pipes to people's homes and turn the internet "on" more, just like the interstate highway system finally made it feasible to drive cross country at a decent average speed and on decent roads, so do we need some better amount of bandwith AND people should not be restricted from hosting at home, that's just ridiculous. p2p and hosting restrictions is like the us post office or fed ex saying only packages in, no packages or letters out. That's nuts, so are these restrictions. But we won't KNOW until there's honesty in accounting back in US business, I go from a default position now they are all liars, cook the books, skim money and cry poverty. I am sorry to have that opinion, but recent revelations with big US corporate "ethics" and honesty leave a lot to be desired.

    There's no way to discuss this rationally without VERIFIABLE numbers to use -bandwith/cost/middleman-whatever, all that we have to look at is vaporware accounting numbers. The ONLY verifiable number we have to look at is the end run highest retail price the individual pays, after that it gets into accounting voodoo.
  • by skajake ( 613518 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @01:51PM (#4632691)
    Due to congestion on interstate highways, and increased road construction costs, Illinois residents will be limited to driving TO their home. Road blocks will be set up to ensure they do not depart from their home... Local authorities state that as more and more people are blockaded in their homes, road congestion will become less of an issue..
    • This analogy is actually supposed to be applicable?

      1) ISPs have voluntary terms of service.
      2) Paying for/using a particular ISP is voluntary.
      3) If not being able to upload files over P2P affects your life in any real way, I am very sorry. Maybe you should have thought a little harder before accepting #1 or #2.
  • by MrPerfekt ( 414248 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:01PM (#4632729) Homepage Journal
    I'm so tired of ISP's whining about subscribers using bandwidth. If we can't use it, then what are they selling? "Bandwidth costs" blah blah blah, well, you should've use a little better formula when computing your prices.

    On the bright side, this irresponsibility may once again give rise to smaller ISPs. Especially with wireless technology advancing daily, it may be time to dethrone greedy cable ISPs. At least, I can only hope.
  • by FearUncertaintyDoubt ( 578295 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:10PM (#4632779)
    I've noticed that the RIAA is leaning away from aggressive action against people downloading music, i.e., people who are engaging in activity that the RIAA generally wants, i.e., consuming music. Their measures are against distribution; going after super-nodes, file sharing programs/services, and copy prevention (keeps you from uploading it, but does nothing to stop downloading once a copy is out there).

    Having goofed by declaring war on every kid who downloads a song, we're going to see more of the shift both in tactics and rhetoric to those who distribute. Perhaps they will be demonized as "dealers" or even "pushers" who entice wide-eyed young would-be ConsumerCitizens into filthy pirates.

    So how does this work, since many, if not most, downloaders are also uploaders? Shut down uploading, be it via technology (blocking ports, DRM, copy prevention-enabled CDs), legal means (suing super-nodes and people who break technological means), and PR (portraying uploaders as the real villains). Now, you've still got uploading, but it's confined to a subset of people who are really committed to uploading. I base this on the assumption that a lot of people upload because all it takes is a checkbox -- it really doesn't cost me much time, effort, or worry. If you have to start fooling around with ports, worrying about a subpoena showing up, and losing your job for being branded a "pusher", maybe I just uncheck that little box that says "share files".

    So now we've separated the hard core from the fringes. This hard core is small enough, evil enough, and important enough that it is worth the cost necessary to stop (shutting down accounts, legal action, hacking their hard drives, etc). And now without the hard core, the fringe will starve. The mistake of the attack on Napster was that there is now no central distributor to strike. It looks like a gradual movement toward coalescing the mass of distributors back to a short list of targets.

    Will this strategy work? Some of this may have to do with how much people care about their ability to upload. If my uploading is shut off by my ISP, do I care? Do I raise a fuss, or do I say, oh, well, I can still download. Maybe the RIAA is saying quietly to the ISPs, look, just block the uploads, and nobody will complain about that. And now you don't have to worry about a lawsuit from us anymore. Everybody wins (wink wink).

  • by Anonymous Coward
    why not move to freenet - here's the link to install it on your machine http://freenetproject.org/cgi-bin/twiki/view/Main/ WebHome
  • Server Operation: Dial-up and high speed access customers are not permitted to knowingly operate information servers of any type. Servers include, but are not limited to, Web servers, FTP servers, Mail servers, IRC servers, etc. Any customer accounts found knowingly operating a server of any type may face immediate and permanent revocation of service. If customers wish to operate any type of server, contact Commercial Sales to establish a Commercial Dedicated account.

    Commercial Postings: Commercial postings, those for monetary gain whether for profit or non-profit, via e-mail, newsgroup postings etc, except those in which it is specifically permitted, is prohibited by PTD.

    Commercial Use: Web pages provided as part of the Internet Access Service are for residential use only. PTD prohibits commercial use of these Web Pages. The offending page must be altered or removed upon a warning being issued or access to it will be denied. This includes but is not limited to commercial advertising, commercial banners, etc. Commercial web pages are available at additional charges. Information can be found at info@ptd.net.

    Obscene: The personal use of or commercial distribution of vulgar language, sexually suggestive language, obscene language, obscene images or vulgar images which are transmitted, posted, or displayed are prohibited to traverse any PTD system or any system accessible through PTD. Obscenities may result in the immediate and permanent termination of your customer privileges. These activities may border on criminal depending upon circumstances and could result in Federal, State or Local Law Enforcement involvement.

    Customers are responsible and are solely legally accountable for all liability including but not limited to defamatory comments, copyright and trademark violations. Residential home pages are not to contain profanity and obscenities. The substitution of alternate characters in place of letters for profanity is not permissible. Residential Home Pages may not contain banner advertisements promoting commercial or monetary gain.

    Unacceptable Content for Residential Home Pages

    The following are prohibited:

    1. Advertising products or services by non-profit entities (such as Charitable Organizations, Professional Societies, Service Groups) as well as for profit entities.
    a. Display of Advertisements, including banner exchange services.
    b. Conducting raffles, lotteries, or contests.
    c. Pages that are patently offensive, as determined by PTD, including but not limited to bigotry, racism, hatred and profanity.
    d. Pages that promote physical harm or injury to any group or individual.
    e. Pages that contain nudity, pornography or obscenities of any kind.
    2. Pages that promote illegal activities including but not limited to hacking, cracking, warez, denial of services, phreaking, etc.
    3. Password only and restricted access pages.
    4. Pages with hidden images or pages.
    5. Pages with unauthorized third party copyrighted, trademarked, service marked, or trade secret materials.
    6. Use of the page that would otherwise violate the PTD Acceptable Usage Policy or Service Agreement.
  • Personal Views (Score:5, Insightful)

    by XenoPhage ( 242134 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:32PM (#4632885) Homepage
    First off, I work for Penteledata. However, I have no authority to speak for the company in this matter. As such, these opinions are mine.

    There are a lot of views that can be taken on this matter. From an ISP view, ISP's need to protect themselves from the current "regime" of money hungry corporations. It seems that due to copyright laws, a company can and will do anything in their power to prevent anyone from breaking those copyrights. In a way, they're right. And, in a way, I think they're wrong. But of course, this isn't about them being right and wrong.

    From the perspective of service, it is in an ISP's best interests to serve all of the customers equally. Due to the "always on" way that cable and dsl work, customers are prone to leaving their computers running 24 hours a day. Or, maybe they're leaving them on while they're at work so they can download everything they have queued... Either way, because P2P sharing is a 2 way system, while they're downloading, someone else can be downloading from them. The may not intend to become a download spot, but they may. This uses up bandwidth within the ISP's network, decreasing the available bandwidth to the rest of the customers in the network.

    Yes, ISP's can limit bandwidth, but then customers complain about that. ISP's usually have an AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) and in the case of Penteledata, it strictly prohibits "residential" customers from running servers. While those servers may be "free" and the customer does not benefit financially from them, if ISP's allow this, then those customers that do benefit financially from running servers have a rock-solid argument against purchasing a commercial account.

    There is also the security standpoint. As you know, security on one system can affect everyone else. Nimda, Code Red, and others caused widespread problems for more users that were not infected than those that were. Allowing residential customers to run servers opens up many security holes. While there are some very smart residential users out there, I'd have to say that the majority don't know what it takes to secure a system. Thus, they get infected, and attacks launch from their systems. It would be extremely hard, and, IMHO, unethical to try and screen users abilities before allowing them to run servers.

    Some ISP's take the stance to prevent users from running servers, both to protect themselves, and to protect the users.

    ISP's may lose customers over this, and they may gain customers because of it. There will be those customers that will find workarounds and continue the file sharing. I'd probably do the same thing myself. Although, I can honestly say that I don't use these P2P programs for many reasons. The point is that the ISP needs to protect itself and do what it can to protect it's customers.

    I work each day designing networks, writing software, and troubleshooting problems. The software I write allows us as an ISP to better monitor the traffic patterns on the network. It forewarns us when we hit bandwidth limits and gives us a head start on alleviating those limits. It allows us to quickly see DOS and other attacks. All in the interest of keeping the customers running as smoothly and with as much bandwidth available as we can.

    We take measures to contain any problems as quickly and as efficiently as possible. If this means turning off a customer while the customer deals with the problem on their side, then so be it. I think we've had a great deal of success with this.

    I think a lot of people have blown this way out of proportion. ISP's will do what they need to protect both themselves and the customer. They will also do what they need to enforce the rules they've set forward. Upon signup, each customer has given their consent to obey the AUP... I doubt most customers read that document. But, just like EULA's, they are there...

    Again, my views are not representative of the company in question. My views are my views. And just as a point, I'm no big fan of EULA's, AUP's, etc. But, without them, some users feel they need to take advantage of the services they're getting, not caring who they cause problems for.

    PTD, like any other ISP has it's flaws. But overall, as a provider, I think they provide above average service. I use them at home, and I have no real complaints. I have the same service as any other residential customer and I'm expected to follow the AUP as well.
  • by cel4145 ( 468272 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:36PM (#4632903) Homepage
    Additionally, PenTeleData may soon implement filters to prevent ProLog Express customers from uploading files to peer-to-peer networks. ProLog Express users who download files from peer-to-peer networks will not lose their ability to download, but once the filters are in place, you will lose the ability to upload files to the peer-to-peer networks.

    imagine, a p2p network where everyone can only download, not upload--there's something wrong with this picture :)
  • Bandwidth quanta (Score:4, Interesting)

    by skookum ( 598945 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @02:56PM (#4632991)
    The problem in general is this: For many years, most ISP customers were on dialup. For a long time, the status quo was that you paid about $15 to $25 and in return got about 25kpbs - 45kbps. Then xDSL and cable was offered, and that price ratio suddenly went off the map. The average fee approximately doubled to the $40-$50 range, while the (peak) bandwidth jumped 10x-30x. As an ISP, suddenly you are receiving much less money relative to the amount of bandwidth you must provision.

    But there are other factors as well. In the days when dialup was king, it was common to have a single T1 for an entire ISP, perhaps a few thousand users, I don't know the exact numbers. Anyway, if you do the math you soon realize that no ISP with half a brain provisions their bandwidth with the expectation that every possible user is transmitting at full blast constantly. I think a common rule of thumb is around 100:1 or so, i.e. the actual bandwidth available is 1/100th of what would be necessary to support every connection at full speed. This worked fine, since most people did not leave their dialup connected all the time and even if they did they were not transmitting constantly.

    This changes with broadband. People do leave their broadband connection connected all the time, and with programs like Kazaa (which will remain running, minimized to the tray, even if the user clicks the "close" icon on the main window) it is not uncommon for sustained constant throughput to occur. The reason of course is that things that were unreasonable under dialup are now possible, like "sharing" full movies, warez images, etc. (I use quotes around sharing because it's still piracy, no matter how you spin it.)

    So my point is this: the revenue:bandwidth ratio is about 5 to 15 times smaller, and people's fundamental usage patterns have changed drastically. This is why ISPs are in such a precarious position, and why they appear to be enacting such desperate policies... because they're hurting. Even if you account for the fact that bandwidth has gotten cheaper (although not by factors of 10!), it does not alter the equation.

    Certainly, it's partly their fault. The aspects that are hurting them the most, the vastly higher BW and constant availability, are precisely those that they advertised the most. In that sense, it's their own fault. I see this as another facet of the late 90s tech bubble, in that management of these ISPs was more concerned with getting new technology out there and bragging about the number of customers then they were with sound financial decisions.

    Anyway, I think the way we will make it work is with tiering. The current situation is ludicrous: you have dialup at one end and full speed cable/dsl at the other. I know some ISPs have limited forms of price tiering, but the key word is limited. What we need is a plan that costs about $30 and is intended for the majority of internet users -- burstable high speeds for surfing and gaming, but on average a very low duty cycle. Cap it at around 500kbps burst and implement some form of traffic shaping to enforce a low total throughput, like 1GB a month or something. This is the plan you parents and non-hardcore friends use, and the ISP makes a decent profit. Use this to subsidise the $50 plan that allows more flexibility. Unfortunately you will never be able to offer a service that allows a continuous full rate transfer for $50 a month -- if you want this, check out a fractional T1, and expect to pay much more. So don't expect it from any consumer grade ISP, even if you can currently do this without repremand. It just doesn't work that way. Sorry.
  • by Nkwe ( 604125 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:02PM (#4633016)
    A lot of the discussion here seems to resolve around the issues of the RIAA, our rights, their rights, how could they?, I am gonna do xxx to get around this, etc.

    The real reason around this particular ISP is wanting to block or reduce uploads may actually be cost.

    My ISP (DSL-Only) told me that their upstream providers charge them by the amount of data they upload. The more upstream bandwidth they are allocated, the more it costs them. Download bandwidth does not have as a significant impact on their cost. My ISP (and I think most others) compensate by weighting the upload cost more heavily then the download cost to their customers. My ISP charges the following for bandwidth: (These numbers don't include the phone company charge for the DSL circuit, just the ISP portion.)
    $17.99 768k/128k
    $26.99 1544k/128k
    $26.99 384k/384k
    $47.99 1544k/384k
    $47.99 784k/784k
    Note that at the two options where the prices are the same the different amount of bandwidth you get is not symmetrical (at $27 you get a delta of 1160K down and 256K up, and at $48 you get a delta of 760K down and 400K up.)

    Perhaps the motive of the ISP in question is simple economics: If they discourage uploads then they reduce their upstream costs, and can make more money or pass the savings on.

    As a side note, my ISP rocks. They don't block any ports; they don't have any usage restrictions (other then you have to be legal, and can't resell bandwidth with a residential account); I always get the full bandwidth I pay for; they offer static addresses and routable subnets; and they are a small, independent company. Imagine that.
  • by Snafoo ( 38566 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @03:38PM (#4633149) Homepage
    Slashdot eds, you might consider using headlines more accessible to non-americans. When I saw this story I thought, "What? The Palestinian Authority is restricting P2P? Terrorist bastards!"

  • Obvious solution (Score:3, Insightful)

    by IamTheRealMike ( 537420 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @07:11PM (#4634228)
    Of course, if ISPs really wanted to put a long term solution for this in place, they'd get off their backsides and put IPv6 into place. All modern operating systems support it, and with IPv6 comes decent IP Multicast.

    This whole situation has been caused simply because a network stream is a 1:1 thing. If you make it a 1:many connection then suddenly you have far more efficient use of bandwidth, because if you're an ISP and 100 users are downloading a file, you only have to receive it once on your incoming link, instead of 100 times.

    Of course, you'd still have P2P file sharing, the reason that people use Kazaa is not because it's the best way of moving information around (it's not), it's because it's anonymous and you can't be taken down for it. Safety in numbers, safety in anonymity. If there were suddenly large pirate music servers transmitting albums on rotation via multicast 24/7 they would be much easier targets.

    Multicast has lots of other legal uses of course, that's what I'd want them for. But I can see that it'd help solve this situation. So come on ISPs, where are the v6 routers?

  • by Chordonblue ( 585047 ) on Saturday November 09, 2002 @10:01PM (#4634942) Journal
    Heh.. I was a customer of these guys for 3 three years. Their earliest cable modems (the old Zenith black box jobs) only did 500K bps (which in 1994 was THE shit!), but had NO manageability. The amazing thing was, PTD offered this service in Lancaster County, PA - Amish Country - one of the most unlikeliest of areas. When I moved to D.C. 2 years later, even THEY didn't have decent cable service until 2001!

    As a result, PenTeleData ended up coming up with some sort of rule that you couldn't download more than 128K bps over a 3 hour period. The per minute charge for overuse was unbelievable (it would have even made British Telecom blush).

    I bitched to them about it. First of all, there was nothing in our original agreement about "overuse". Secondly, how would I know when this seemingly arbitrary limit had been reached? The thing was, there was no telling Microsoft to not send me the newest beta of W2K at over 128K bps. Finally, we reached a reasonable agreement whereby I would try to do any extreme downloading after hours, and if they needed the bandwidth they would simply throttle me back or cut me off.

    About 2 months later, I went on a midnite downloading frenzy (on Napster) and suddenly {Snap!} I was cut off. Or so I thought. I soon discovered only Napster didn't work. Then I tried downloading off of various web sites. After a few minutes... {Snap!} Port 80 was dead. Later, and under VERY heavy use, I lost IRC, Newsgroups, and FTP. Basically, I had them manually shutting off ports all night. Yes, it was spiteful, but I was annoyed. ;)

    At any rate, at the end of the month, I received a bill from these folks and it was well over $800! After arguing with management over this bill (and threatening physical presence - always helpful when dealing with xenophobic phone people), they "remembered" our email conversation and let the bill slide. After I hung up the phone, I took the modem back and haven't dealt with them since.

    People in this area can now get DSL (www.jazzd.com) and I can tell you from my experience that it's better and faster than even the cableco's newest modems. Also, they haven't made any stupid bandwidth limitations.

    At any rate, I'm both amused and saddened that PTD is still trying to enforce the unenforceable. Either they need to get better bandwidth management tools, or a better management.

"Gotcha, you snot-necked weenies!" -- Post Bros. Comics

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