ISP Slows Access To High Bandwidth Services 12 Hours Every Day

from the time-to-find-a-new-ISP dept

Over and over again we've seen folks on the tech side of ISPs admit that basic network upgrades can handle whatever traffic growth is happening on the network, without resorting to draconian efforts to slow down traffic. Apparently, there's an ISP in the Netherlands that didn't get the message. Broadband Reports is noting that Dutch ISP, UPC is slowing down all traffic to "high bandwidth services" from noon to midnight every single day. They're cutting bandwidth to these services by 2/3. So, apparently, if you have to do high bandwidth stuff, get it done in the morning.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 26th, 2009 @ 10:56pm

    "Over and over again we've seen folks on the tech side of ISPs admit that basic network upgrades can handle whatever traffic growth is happening on the network"

    Not that I don't believe you, but do you have references? I would like some. Thanks.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    identicon
    Yosi, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:38am

    You get what you paid for

    Hi Mike, please meet my friend - Reality; Reality - this is Mike.
    You see, Mike, this "broadband connection" you have at home is result of awfully oversubscribed network. About 1/1000 or even more. Since your "degree" is MBA and not engineering, I will explain you what those numbers mean. They mean, that for every 1 bps in outgoing (from ISP) line, there's 1000 bps (or more) coming down to subscribers (users).
    So, when ISP cells you 5Mbps line, this never meant to be guaranteed bandwidth. This is _maximum_ _allowed_ speed from your endpoint to ISP's inner ring.
    Moreover, it also mean, that on 1 out of 1000 users can utilize uplink connection in any given time.

    This model built upon assumption that majority of users care about "momentary" speed (how fast www pages are coming) and not care about sustained transfer rate (ftp session for example). With P2P programs and HD streaming this model is less and less true.

    And since consumers are not willing to pay more - the result for them will be throttling.

    So, no - "basic updates" will not fix this. You need rework underlying network.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:40am

    ISP's screwing customers in India as well

    Many ISP's in India have takena cue from their American counterparts and started implementing such restrictions here as well. One of them is Airtel.
    1. They put such a policy in place without even informing their customers.
    2. As of date, they still donot have the exact details of their policy on their website. All they have is a generic document (PDF) suggesting that such a policy is in place.
    3. As per the policy, there are different download quotas based on different plans, and after the quota is reached, they cut the speeds to half
    4. Even after reducing the speeds, they continue to charge the users as per plans
    5. Does not provide users, any tools to verify the accuracy the of their usage limits.

    Not to mention, the broadband speeds a extremely low to begin with - 256/284/512 Kbps - yes Kbps. If they cant handle these speeds, they probably shouldnt be in the ISP business

    Aparently, a petition is being made at the India broadband Forums against Airtel's (un)fair usage policy. (PS: either the site id down or Airtel is blocking it - here is the google cache version)

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:44am

    OMG - I posted the comment above - something is causing the format to mess up - the preview looked fine

    sorry :(

     

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  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:45am

    Many ISP's in India have takena cue from their American counterparts and started implementing such restrictions here as well. One of them is Airtel.
    1. They put such a policy in place without even informing their customers.
    2. As of date, they still donot have the exact details of their policy on their website. All they have is a generic document (PDF) suggesting that such a policy is in place.
    3. As per the policy, there are different download quotas based on different plans, and after the quota is reached, they cut the speeds to half
    4. Even after reducing the speeds, they continue to charge the users as per FULL RATE plans
    5. Does not provide users, any tools to verify the accuracy the of their usage limits.

    Not to mention, the broadband speeds a extremely low to begin with - 256/284/512 Kbps - yes Kbps. If they cant handle these speeds, they probably shouldnt be in the ISP business Aparently, a petition is being made at the India broadband Forums against Airtel's (un)fair usage policy. (PS: either the site id down or Airtel is blocking it - here is the google cache version)

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 12:46am

    http://www.v3.co.uk/v3/news/2248371/dutch-isp-set-first-europe-net

    Not sure it has been implemented or that it will go ahead at all

     

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  7.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 27th, 2009 @ 1:04am

    Re:

    Not that I don't believe you, but do you have references? I would like some. Thanks.

    Sure... was a pain to look up earlier, but should have included in the post.

    CTO from Qwest: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20060328/1859213.shtml

    CTO from BT: http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070413/011103.shtml

    There are some others as well. But they all basically say that basic upgrades should handle any issues. Meanwhile, folks like Andrew Odlyzko who monitor traffic growth claim that growth is slowing down and not posing any real networking threat. It's a myth to make gov'ts feel they need to hand over large chunks of change to telcos.

     

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  8.  
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    Doctor Strange, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 1:27am

    Re: Re:

    The Qwest CTO article you (didn't) link has a short statement that says nothing at all about upgrades to the network. What he said - three-and-a-half years ago - is that file sharing traffic was taking up less of the bandwidth on his network than others were claiming. He doesn't even provide any numbers, he just says that he did not find "significant double-digit penetration of peer-to-peer traffic," whatever that means.

    The BT article you (didn't) link actually does address the point - the CTO indicates that the new "21CN" network they're (still) building will have enough bandwidth to handle the traffic. These "basic" upgrades are slated to take only five years and cost a mere 10 billion GBP (that's a short-scale billion: one-thousand million), so only $16 billion (USD).

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 1:49am

    Yosi is an idiot

    yes, yes Yosi is.

    really, i think he is. blabing on about something he has know knowledge of. I feel sick when idiots like that post, when they think they know how crap works

     

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  10.  
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    Richard, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 1:54am

    You need to look at all the technical data not just the raw speed. An "honest" ISP like the one I use will tell you your speed AND your contention ratio. Typical consumer broadband will have contention ratio in the order of 50:1 (i.e. if everyone hits the net at the same moment then you speed drops to 1/50th of the advertised peak. My ISP grades its packages by contention ratio so you can have 50:1 , 20:1 or (by paying a lot more) 1:1.

     

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  11.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 4:49am

    Required reading on this topic

    David Isenberg's "Rise of the Stupid Network", at http://isen.com/stupid.html, is one of the best things ever written on this topic.

    One of the (many) great ironies of this discussion is that much of the bandwidth that the duopolies whine about is being used by the prolific abuse flowing in and out of their own networks. Their failure to grasp -- decades after the principle was well-established -- that egress filtering is just as important as ingress filtering, is in large part responsible for their own problems.

     

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  12.  
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    NullOp, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 5:34am

    Bandwidth

    Now there's a red flag if ever I saw one. Time to switch ISPs methinks...

     

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  13.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Aug 27th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well done, Doctor.

    Mike, I get your point, but as the good doctor points out, you are way oversimplifying the cost and complexity of keeping up with bandwidth demands. This is capital and engineering-intensive work. Not say that it shouldn't or can't be done, but bandwidth management is expensive and complex, requiring that technology and capacity bets be placed well in advance. Of course, the way this ISP is dealing with their limitations is amateurish at best and deserves ridicule.

     

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  14.  
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    imbrucy (profile), Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:00am

    Re: You get what you paid for

    They don't need to rework the underlying network. They simply need to stop overselling their capacity and then not delivering what was paid for.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:15am

    Re: Re:

    thanks

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perhaps he is oversimplifying a bit but his post does link to posts like this

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070405/190255.shtml

    and there is indeed a lack of competition being that the government unethically grants government sanctioned monopolies on the infrastructure and monopolies almost always lead to less aggregate output (ie: less bandwidth) at a higher price. So it does seem that a lack of competition does substantially lower bandwidth and higher prices.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If there was more competition on the infrastructure and bandwidth prices don't change (and I'm sure they will) then I'll believe the problem is due to natural limiting factors and not artificial ones. But until then I see no reason to believe so no matter how much the telcos and cablecos tell me otherwise, of course they have incentive to keep their monopolies on the infrastructure, why shouldn't they? That's just the nature of monopoly and it's what monopolies do.

     

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  18.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't disagree with those points. But the basic over-simplification is still problematic. He's over-simplifying a lot.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:58am

    if you have problems thinking how american telco companies can possibly put out such huge bandwidth, keep in mind that many countries offer much better bandwidth than most dream of. For the amount you pay for a 15meg connection in america you can get a 100meg connection in Japan because they don't have duopolies.

    stop and think about that. in japan (among other countries) the telcos can afford to provide 100meg cheaply and aren't having problems while other telcos are saying that they need to reduce the bandwidth by 5-10 megs to handle the load, there's something wrong there.

    Also, I can't find the source right now, but there are people who have gone on record saying that most telcos have not spent the money in maintaining a standard upgrade model to phas out old hardware and keep current and that those who have haven't been using most of their network.

     

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  20.  
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    Yosi, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 6:59am

    Re:

    1/50th is clear bullshit. Talk about honesty here. 1/1 is called "guaranteed bandwidth", and cost a fortune, not "a lot more".

    Here's real-word representing example (not from US):
    * some $ISP have about 1M subscribers.
    * Typical connection speed is 2-5 Mbps
    * Bandwidth of uplink (under-see cable) is about 3Gbps according to ISP's own statement.

    Let's calculate a approximate ratio: 3*1M/3G = 1/000. See my point?

     

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  21.  
    identicon
    roger, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Internet must be RATIONED

    because there is not enough to go around.
    Perfect economic sense.

     

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  22.  
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    aston techno, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 7:13am

    no speed no value

    put a fork in it if you take away the speed whataya got

    a red light with your foot on the accelerator while

    you're in neutral

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Luci, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 7:26am

    Re: You get what you paid for

    How amusing. Your reality and mine don't seem to mesh. You see, my cable line has speeds up to 8Mbps. Having monitored my own bandwidth, I can tell you that my 24 hour average speed, on a friday, is 7.8Mbps. Peak? 8.7Mbps. The reality is that the very big names are the ones that oversell. The smaller, locally run companies or franchises (mine is a Cablesystem franchise, with all phone monkies and techs local people) tend to build up their infrastructure properly because they know their community.

    Also helps them avoid penetration from things like AT&T, dish companies, etcetera.

     

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  24.  
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    Noel (profile), Aug 27th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    Re: You get what you paid for

    Uh, hey buddy! Moore's law also applies.
    Gigabit ethernet, lighting up dark fiber and fat pipes mean that, changing that 1-to-1000 ratio to 1-to-100 isn't that expensive. So yes, they could do that right now.

    But you know what ... doing nothing and throttling the connection is EVEN CHEAPER. It's called CORPORATE GREED, and it's not an evil plot, it's a natural reaction of execs such as myself to shareholders bashing us about wanting more and more profit. Which is why you need a regulatory agency to step in.

     

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  25.  
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    Xanius, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 7:42am

    Re:

    While it's true that other countries have better speeds and networks than we do it's for a reason.
    Those countries are significantly smaller than the United States. Upgrading a network for a country smaller than california costs almost nothing when you compare it to upgrading the entirety of the US.

    I'm not saying our ISP's aren't douchebags and don't need to upgrade, because they are and need to, but you can't compare japan to the US when it comes to infrastructure they are in entirely different leagues.

     

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  26.  
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    Travis, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re:

    Xanius, you should realize that they put the infrastructure in place in what is essentially the largest Metropolis in the world w/o major distruptions. Japan is approximately the size of California, but the population is about 1/3 of the total population of the US.

     

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  27.  
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    Sheinen, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    I watched 'the gadget show' on UK's Channel 5 last week where they claimed that Japan have dirt cheap internet access with speeds in excess of 1gb/ps...

    I tested my 12mb connection the other day and it was running at closer to 2 - wtf is the point?

    I appreciate that the advertised speed is a max, but it should surely be atleast close to what you're actually getting!

    It's like when you order a Big-Mac - the pictures and box look so pretty and then you're presented with a bite-size mess...lock the fuckers up!

     

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  28.  
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    Rich Kulawiec, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 9:37am

    Re: Re:

    No, that's not the problem. I highly recommend getting on Dave Farber's IP ("Interesting People") list and/or reading its archives and/or finding Bob Frankston's blog. There have been innumerable articles written by Bob (who is as clued-in about this as anyone on the planet) and one of the things that he points out -- and which should be repeated as many times as is necessary until it sinks in -- is that the duopoly is not in the business of providing bandwidth: they're in the business of generating billable events. And in order to make sure that there are billable events, they need to maintain scarcity.

    If you need an example, consider the cost of text messaging, which is several orders of magnitude above the actual cost of transmitting the bits.

    So the reason we in the US pay far too much for far too little has nothing to do with the size of the country or demographics or underlying economics: it has everything to do with the desire by the duopoly to extract as much revenue as possible.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 10:09am

    Re: Re:

    I think it is perfectly fair to compare Japan considered they are serving more people-per-acre at higher speeds and lower costs, and not just by a marginal amount, but by more than tenfold the standard consumer rates in other countries (most people get 5-8, some get 10-15, so I think going with an average of 10 for most consumers is more than fair).

    The money that most telcos are making by gouging their customers more then offsets the cost of upgrading their portion of the physical network.

     

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  30.  
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    Justin Davis, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    internet access/rationing/etc

    Interesting article. Where did you first hear about this? Justin Davis Internet Filter

     

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  31.  
    identicon
    Lindsay, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 4:00pm

    Internet data caps and throttling are standard in other countries

    Living in NZ, I find it amusing that you spend so much time and space on the idea that ISPs might throttle or cap a broadband connection.

    All our ISPs, every one, every plan, bar none, has a data cap or a billing system that charges for the amount of data you use. There are 'limitless' plans but they throttle your traffic at peak times and have restrictions on fair use.

    If you want to peruse the plans try

    http://www.vodafone.co.nz/home-phone-and-broadband/
    https://www.telecom.co.nz/broadband/select/ 1,10627,205728-204466,00.html

    Data caps start at 1Gb. Some are around 40Gb. Speeds are not yet up to ADSL2 standards. Its good enough to get work done but the concept of fast unlimited internet is alien to us. Your situation in the US is pretty good in comparison. By the way, recording data usage accurately doesn't seem to be a problem either, with accurate usage meters down to the hour available through the ISP web page.

    The reason this is so is due is partly due to a long term telco monopoly (which is no longer the case, unbundling has recently happended), but more importantly the overhead of getting data out of nz and into the US or Australia. There are only a couple of cables over the Tasman or Pacific, so bandwidth is scarce, hence the cost of internet traffic.

    So while it appears some believe that unlimited internet is a right its not even available in some parts of the world.

     

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  32.  
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    Greg, Aug 27th, 2009 @ 9:05pm

    THROTTLING

    If you ever had satellite (such as Wildblue or Hughesnet)...
    this is nothing new. they do it all the time....

    from 4pm to 12pm.....300Kbps......

    You live with it, or cancel it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    Jeff Rife, Oct 2nd, 2009 @ 11:26am

    Re: You get what you paid for

    You see, Mike, this "broadband connection" you have at home is result of awfully oversubscribed network. About 1/1000 or even more.

    This is only true for ISPs that don't do the right thing.

    Verizon FIOS is not oversubscribed. Even if they get 100% uptake in every neighborhood, that will limit each house to about 17Mbps guaranteed, but upgrades that are mostly done are raising that limit to 81Mbps. With just a few houses not subscribing (or a few subscribing to lower speed plans), you end up with everyone having guaranteed bandwidth 24/7.

     

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  34.  
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    rolf, Oct 29th, 2009 @ 2:29am

    fmeh

    Lebanon:
    - Monthly quota (always less then 10 gb, unless you are paying 3 digit figures)
    - double speed at night
    - 18 h/day electricity

    Come here!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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