Now, Apparently It's Not Just Content Providers That Are Getting A Free Ride On Broadband Networks, But Consumers Too

from the my-$70-per-month-DSL-bill-doesn't-agree dept

One of US telcos' favorite talking points is the "free ride" that Google and other content providers get on their networks. It's fundamentally wrong, since Google and others obviously pay their bandwidth bills, but it's also conceptually flawed, as telco execs seem to think it's their networks, rather than the content which travels over it, that consumers value. The stupidity isn't bounded by this country's borders, though, with the head of a UK broadband-via-satellite provider saying that "Neither consumers or providers are bearing the cost" of data traffic over broadband networks. With that, we'd like to extend our usual challenge to the exec: if neither consumers or content providers are paying, how about paying their bandwidth bills for a month?

The exec contends that broadband providers will all eventually move to usage-based pricing, and in a letter to the Financial Times, says that when they do, "content free loaders will suddenly find that demand falls dramatically". Perhaps it's just a typo, and he meant to say "broadband providers will suddenly find that demand falls dramatically"? Once again, the exec fails to understand that people don't buy network access from his company just for the sake of it, they buy it for access to content. If he, or any other provider, starts putting walls up between consumers and the content they want to access, whether through walled gardens or usage-based pricing (really just a code word for "much higher fees"), they will reduce the value of their customers' connections, and subsequently what they'll pay for it. So if the end result of a shift to usage-based pricing is decreased usage -- and subsequently no real change in providers' revenues -- what good is the shift?


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:08pm

    you forget that peer to peer creates a double demand for each user. they download and they share the same material. a 1 gig file actually uses 2 or more gig when downloaded and peered again. the question isnt access to content for large bandwidth users its access to free content they dont want to pay for legally.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:13pm

      Re:

      Communication. The internet is about communication and not content.

      But even then, more legal content flows through the wires than illegal content.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re:

        yes but free and legal content typically doesnt flow twice. half of the cost is picked up by the company / site / service that provides that legal content. eliminating p2p communications would cut a great deal of bandwidth off of each ISPs bill without reducing any of the free and legal content online.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:22pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          No, it wouldn't.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          A different AC, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Or how about in that case half the cost is picked up by each end of the p2p connection... Not rocket science here.

           

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

          •  
            identicon
            K, Aug 5th, 2010 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            half the cost is picked up by each end of the p2p connection

            Um.

            It IS.

            You're right, it's not rocket science. It's so simple, that that's how it works.

             

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Um, what?

          The transfer of a 1GB file does not take "2 or more gig." Let me school you in computer science with the use of an analogy.

          You know how your mom gives you a sack lunch every morning before you run off to kindergarten? Has she ever handed you lunch and then ... I guess magically maybe ... there are suddenly two lunches? No, when she hands over your sack, it is transfered from her to you. At no point are there two lunches.

          Even if she gives it to your dad and then he gives it to you ... still only 1 lunch.

          Even if she gives it to your dad and he drops it off with the school secretary who gives it to your teacher who gives it to you ... still only 1 lunch.

          There may be many hops, but it is never more or less being transfered.

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Sean T Henry (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:39pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I think what he was trying to say is that if you download a 1gig file via FTP or http there is only 1gig of transfer total. But if the file is downloaded from a p2p network that you will still have 1gig sent to you but you also will upload some of the file now making the total transfer more than 1gig.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              Nick Coghlan (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 2:25pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Except that your uploads are going to *someone else* that is downloading the file. You can't count both upload *and* download bandwidth for your traffic volumes because every download is balanced with an upload somewhere.

               

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

              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 3:27pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                sure you can. connectivity costs either direction. your 1gb download almost used 1 gb of some other isps bandwidth. when you reshare it, you will use another 1gb of bandwidth putting it up, and so on. it isnt magic.

                 

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

                •  
                  icon
                  John Fenderson (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:20pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  But you're double-counting the file transfer, by counting the upload from person A and the download to person B as two different things, when in reality it's the same transfer and should only be counted once.

                   

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

                  •  
                    identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:22pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    nope. i am on isp a and you are on isp b. you download a file for me. isp a used 1 gb, and isp b used 1 gb. total bandwidth to move the file is 2gb. connectivity is paid for at both ends. stuff doesnt just magically appear from nowhere.

                     

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

                    •  
                      icon
                      John Fenderson (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 6:24pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      "total bandwidth to move the file is 2gb"

                      Ok, you're simply factually wrong about this. The amount of data moved was 1 gig, so by definition the bandwidth used was 1 gig. That each person paid for their leg of the journey doesn't enter into it.

                      "connectivity is paid for at both ends. stuff doesnt just magically appear from nowhere."

                      You're the one positing that the data magically doubled somewhere in transit.

                       

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

                    •  
                      identicon
                      Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 7:43am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      bandwidth isn't measured in gigabytes.

                       

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

                •  
                  icon
                  Nick Coghlan (profile), May 12th, 2010 @ 7:20am

                  Counting bandwidth

                  Came across this again after claiming a bunch of comments I had made when not logged in.

                  I'll try and break this down for the edification of anyone that happens across this thread in the future.

                  Scenario 1 (download from central server):
                  - Server owner pays ISP X for a net connection
                  - Client A pays ISP Y for a net connection
                  - Client A downloads 1 Gigabyte file from Server
                  - Client B pays ISP Z for a net connection
                  - Client B downloads 1 Gigabyte file from Server

                  ISP X has sent 1 gigabyte each to ISP Y and ISP Z
                  Total bytes transferred: 2 Gigabytes
                  Each ISP has been paid by one end user, inter-ISP transfers are accounted for under whatever peering arrangements are in place.

                  Scenario 2 (peer-to-peer transfer):
                  - Server owner pays ISP X for a net connection
                  - Client A pays ISP Y for a net connection
                  - Client A downloads 1 Gigabyte file from Server
                  - Client B pays ISP Z for a net connection
                  - Client B downloads 1 Gigabyte file from Client A via P2P

                  ISP X has sent 1 gigabyte to ISP Y
                  ISP Y has sent 1 gigabyte to ISP Z
                  Total bytes transferred: 2 Gigabytes
                  Each ISP has been paid by one end user, inter-ISP transfers are accounted for under whatever peering arrangements are in place.

                  So, two downloads of a 1 gigabyte file result in 2 gigabytes being transferred across the internet, regardless of whether the second download is from the original server or from a different client that had already downloaded the file.

                  P2P vs central dowload *does* make a difference when it comes to ISP peering arrangements and the bandwidth requirements for the server provider, but those have to do with the *distribution* of the data traffic rather than its overall volume.

                   

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

            •  
              identicon
              Umm, Apr 26th, 2010 @ 12:30am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              How does this create any more demand. Are you saying you will send parts of the file to people that didn't want it? That makes no sense, if 5 people want the file, 5 people will get it regardless if it's from the original site or via p2p.

               

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 3:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            if mom doesnt buy the lunch there is nothing in your bag. no free lunch. where does your 1 gb file come from? when you share, do you think it takes no bandwidth to share?

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            JEDIDIAH, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 11:16am

            The Blond leading the Blond...

            > The transfer of a 1GB file does not take "2 or more gig." Let me school you in computer science with the use of an analogy.

            No. You better not.

            The whole point of modern file sharing software is that you UPLOAD as well as download. Download bandwidth is increased by aggregating everyone's capacity. This uploading is why modern P2P software is dangerous to the end user: you will get pinched for not just downloading stuff but for "distributing" it as well.

            I think 60 minutes had a nice animation of BT that you should hunt down and watch.

            I could certainly turn off uploading in BT. However, that would make me a leech. That's being even more anti-social than being a pirate.

            Most people aren't saavy enough to turn of the downloading part of their P2P client.

             

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "yes but free and legal content typically doesnt flow twice."

          You mean me torrenting Ubuntu was just a dream then?

          I'd better get this news out to the linux only torrent sites so they can wake up!

           

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

        •  
          icon
          Karl (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:32pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          yes but free and legal content typically doesnt flow twice.

          Ah, I see what you're saying now.

          Leaving aside the idea that P2P is used exclusively for "illegal" content - which is completely false - there's still a serious flaw in your argument.

          When you use torrent software, what you're really doing is sharing the bandwidth. Rather than all the bandwidth being the sole burden of the provider, it's spread out between the provider and all the users.

          In other words, outlawing distributed filesharing methods (like torrents) would actually increase bandwidth usage.

          This is why torrents are the preferred distribution method for Linux distributions.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          Michael, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:58pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You need to read up on PTP. If you have a single place to get a bit of content, you have all requests for that content going through that one place. So, one pipe (say between Buffalo and New York City) has to support ALL of the traffic.

          PTP is more efficient. It allows the content to come from closer locations and from multiple pipes. More content ending up on PTP would decrease their costs significantly and make the entire network more reliable.

          Network providers should be touting PTP as a way to speed up their networks and reduce traffic.

          I know for a fact that cable providers understand this. One of the major US cable companies considered using PTP for on-demand programming so they could offload traffic from their systems and get it to run from your closest neighbor's house (who had recently watched the same content) directly to yours.

           

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

        •  
          icon
          chris (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:20pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          yes but free and legal content typically doesnt flow twice. half of the cost is picked up by the company / site / service that provides that legal content.

          assuming you are talking about seeding once a download finishes, it's pretty tough to hit a 2.0 ratio (2 mb uploaded for every 1mb pulled down) unless you are seeding something rare and popular (like a 0day release), and even then, whomever you are seeding to is paying for their bandwidth as well.

          it can take months to break even on a big download, which is why all the FAQ's on private trackers tell you to wait and download big releases from public trackers.

          eliminating p2p communications would cut a great deal of bandwidth off of each ISPs bill without reducing any of the free and legal content online.

          based on my smoothwall statistics, i have pulled down 89gb of data in the 35 days my router has been up. i have uploaded 45gb in that same time for a total of 134gb of transfer. i have DSL and i pay $40 a month for 5mbit down and 1mbit up. i never see those speeds, but that's another story. i download gobs of stuff via bittorrent plus my family streams stuff from netflicks, plays xbox live, steam, and a couple of MMO's, plus i have a VOIP phone systems with 3 trunks in addition to the POTS telephone line. with all of that stuff, i would say my connection is maxed out pretty much 24/7.

          i also have a linode hosted virtual private server that i pay $20 a month for and get 200gb of transfer each month. now, assuming that linode sells me transfer at cost (which i doubt) and that they don't charge me anything for the VPS itself (which i also doubt), then the linode price for bandwidth is 10gb per 1$.

          let's compare that to the $45 per month i spend on DSL for 134gb of transfer, which comes out to 2.97gb per 1$. now, i know the phone company has other costs besides bandwidth, but is a 3 fold markup compared to a datacenter really justified?

           

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

          •  
            icon
            Nick Coghlan (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 2:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This is all somewhat missing the point anyway. Downloads are always balanced by uploads from somewhere, the only question is who is doing the uploading.

            Conventional download of 1 GB file: 1 GB downloaded by recipient, 1 GB uploaded by content provider.

            P2P download of 1 GB file: 1 GB downloaded by recipient, 1 GB uploaded by peers.

            Either way, a total of 1 GB of content is transferred over the central network. However, most P2P applications are optimised to prefer "local" (i.e. same ISP) peers, so the providers are actually better off since transfers will typically require less upstream bandwidth.

             

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

          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            the difference is commitment and scale. think about your phone company network number of people required etc. hosting is huge scale but small distances very little communication. your phone company is wires distance support networking, scale. its all a question of scale and how much bandwidth they can commit to. linode is selling you bandwidth at or below their cost hoping you dont use it all. business is predicated on probably 20% usage average.

             

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

            •  
              icon
              chris (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 8:40am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              your phone company is wires distance support networking, scale. its all a question of scale and how much bandwidth they can commit to. linode is selling you bandwidth at or below their cost hoping you dont use it all. business is predicated on probably 20% usage average.

              yeah, wires that were run with government subsidy. wires that i have to pay an additional $25 a month for telephone service in order to access. not really seeing the hardship for the phone company here.

              if the phone company can't handle me using their service, how is that my problem?

               

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

        •  
          icon
          Jeremy2020 (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 2:21pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did you not read the part where they clam Google is getting a 'free ride' while paying 'half the cost'?

          I also send videos back and forth to myself all the time for work. I'm pretty sure that isn't illegal.

           

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

        •  
          identicon
          byteme, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 1:49pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Okay, 1: What about online gaming? Whether it be casual games on Pogo or World of Warcraft, it involves continuous downloading AND uploading of data...and it's completely legal. Need another example? How about video chat? Again, continuous downloading and uploading...again, legal. There are many more examples, but you can find them for yourself.

          2: Most ISPs provide a much higher download speed than uploading. Last time I checked my connection, I was getting about 11mbps down and less than 350kpbs up...yes, that's KILOBITS per second on the upload speed.

          3: When advertising their "unlimited" internet connections, at no time do ISPs even hint that users are not allowed to both download and upload at the same time. Perhaps the ISPs should be schooled as to the meaning of "unlimited" before their next round of advertising.

           

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

    •  
      icon
      :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:15pm

      Re: Wow

      An amazingly free-flowing assumption you have there...

      Have you considered some bismuth subsalicylate? That'll help your assumptions to be more regular...

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re: Wow

        Have you considered some bismuth subsalicylate?

        Haha

        At least you didn't use the 'D' word... 'It's his stomach, OK??!?!'


        p2pp (extra p for added effect) is killing the every-industry! stop updating your WoW client already!

         

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

    •  
      icon
      Designerfx (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:17pm

      Re:

      I fail to understand why the bandwidth use matters.

      Bandwidth costs for large providers are far from astronomical. They're in the range of "negligible". For you and I, $30k or $100k a month might sound huge. However, for a company that makes tens millions a year at a minimum? Quite a piddly business expense.

      This is just whining that they can't double dip. Remember that they're complaining while deliberately monetizing users who go to their websites via clickstream/impressions/ads.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:43pm

        Re: Re:

        No. They already double dip. I watch YouTube; I pay, Google pays.

        What ISPs want is to triple or quadruple dip: I pay for ISP service, Netflix pays for their net connections. Then I should give the ISP a surcharge if I download a Netflix movie, and Netflix should give the telco a cut of their revenue. That's fair in a lobbyist's world.

         

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

    •  
      icon
      Karl (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:21pm

      Re: P2P

      What does that have to do with "freeloading" bandwidth?

      Okay, lots of P2P users are infringing. Lots of others are downloading Linux distros or NIN tracks that Reznor made public.

      But by far the highest bandwidth users are folks who watch Hulu, or listen to music on MySpace, or watch the latest Lolcat video on YouTube. You know, the perfectly legal things that nearly everyone does every day.

      None of that means that anyone is "freeloading." Whether you're infringing or not, you're still paying your broadband bill.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:34pm

      Re:

      These complaints would disappear with competition.

      Seriously, is there a single competitive industry where companies who are very profitable and provide poor customer service get to whine about how they could be making more?

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re:

        The airline industry, the too-big-to-fail banking industry, the MSM, the auto industry...I could go on.

         

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

        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:30pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Since you asked, I'll go on: The oil industry, the power industry (gas, electric), the movie industry, the recording industry.

          See the pattern: [Insert category] industry. Try tourism, construction, or any other.

          It's either cognitive dissonance or a complete disregard for consumer reality. But when has that ever gotten in the way.

          It is the last resort for the middle class family: incorporate.

           

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

    •  
      icon
      DJ (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:02pm

      Re:

      "access to free content they dont want to pay for legally."

      1)Most, though admittedly not all, people access the internet via an ISP for which they are paying.
      2)If they're paying for internet access, and they're not breaking any laws, who cares what or how they download? Caveat: a lot of laws need to be changed; moving on.
      3)Syntax fail: how does one pay for content ILlegally? Why are they PAYING for FREE content?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      nasch (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

      Re:

      a 1 gig file actually uses 2 or more gig when downloaded and peered again.

      In case it still isn't clear from the other responses, if Bill and Tom both download the file, it gets transferred twice no matter what. The only difference is whether it gets transferred once from filesite.com to Bill and then from Bill to Tom, or if both Bill and Tom download it directly from filesite.com. There is no increase in demand when it's transferred using P2P.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:39pm

      Re:

      you forget that peer to peer means both peers are paying for the bandwidth.

      i payed to transfer.. he payed to receive

      or (can you believe it?!)

      he payed to transfer, I payed to receive

      who's freeloading?

      Please provide an example of this magical, freeloading land you live in.

      your last point has nothing to do with the article. shill.

       

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

      •  
        icon
        chris (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 1:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Please provide an example of this magical, freeloading land you live in.

        let me break this down for you:

        i upload a 1GB file. you download that 1GB file.

        i pay comcast to access the internet. you pay time warner.

        that's like a whole terabyte of data and disney and AT&T don't make a dime. why is that so hard for you to understand?

         

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

    •  
      icon
      harbingerofdoom (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 3:19pm

      Re:

      thats a load of BS...

      1 gig is 1 gig and it doesnt matter which direction its going. by paying your monthly services fees you are paying for the bandwidth.

      and nice trolling there with trying to make the conversation about illegal activity when that has nothing to do with the conversation.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      abc gum, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 6:42pm

      Re: double demand

      "a 1 gig file actually uses 2 or more gig when downloaded and peered again."

      - Did you mean to say ... "downloaded and shared again" ???

      "access to free content they dont want to pay for legally"

      - I have to now pay for things offered for free ?

       

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

    •  
      icon
      The Groove Tiger (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 2:13am

      Re:

      I just realized that when people travel on airplanes, not only they are flying FROM somewhere, they are also flying TO another location!! That's TWO airplane trips they're using but they only pay for ONE ticket!! And that's not counting the return trip!! Something must be done to stop these airline abusers who aren't covering the costs of all the travelling they're doing!!

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 7:48am

        Re: Re:

        I tried to make this same argument with the lunch analogy but i think an airplane works even better.

        Did you know that some people's flights don't go directly where they are headed and so they have to go somewhere in between? I bet there are people everyday going to and from 4, 8, even 12 places - and they only paid for their $1,200 ticket once. What a bunch of freeloaders.

         

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

      •  
        icon
        Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:49pm

        Re: Re:

        It's worse.

        As it turns out, the traveler actually WANTED to go to that TO destination. They had fun experiences, and spent money there.

        1) Shouldn't the airline get supplemental payment for the fact that the traveler had fun experiences at the destination (content). That could not have happened without the airline, so they should get remuneration.

        2) The traveler spent money while away. Those businesses made revenue OFF THE BACK AND TOIL OF THE AIRLINE without paying a cent. Shouldn't the airline get a cut of any hotel or restaurant revenues made off the traveler they brought there.

        Thanks. Just thought I'd drop in and provide more Ed Whitacre logic.

         

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    From the statements made by these executives, it seems pretty clear that they have no real knowledge of how the internet, or any network, works. They think its a service like landline phones. 25 years ago this thinking would have been valid but now its rather absurd.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:41pm

    If Im not paying for my internet media usage, then how the hell am I on the internet? Further more, where is the money Im paying for internet going to? Is it some black hole in an executive's pocket?

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 2:46pm

      Re:

      someone please show me anywhere in the word that I can "plug-in" to a carriers network for free... totally free , not a cafe that pays the carrier to have bandwidth I mean free...

      Everyone pays to get connected - this is the carriers business model - no one is online totally free. we all pay -Their fees are based on what they can get away with and have a profitable business. - now we all know carriers are lazy, cheap and have some 1920's business model - heck I would be surprised if the top execs even knew what they do..

      just another way to make us think they are doing us a favor buy overcharging use each month an providing the minimum bandwidth they can get away with.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    kyle clements (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Broadband providers are in a similar position to oil companies. Countless other businesses rely on their service. For many, business simply cannot be done without them.

    Unfortunately (for them), broadband providers can't use vague excuses like 'trouble in the middle east' to arbitrarily raise prices.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    aikiwolfie (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:55pm

    I remember this system. It used to be called AOL and CopuServe before the simpler ISP model became more attractive. Ya know ... company A gives you an open connection to the web for a monthly flat fee V company B telling you what to do and making you pay for the privilege.

    I know which provider I'd choose every time.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 12:56pm

    There is a difference between "Not paying for" and "not bearing the burden of."

    The former presumes that the end user is paying nothing. Zero. Does not pay a bill each month.

    The later is an argument that each user is not paying ENOUGH to pay for his individual usage. That he is paying less in fees than is the actual cost of his actual usage.

    This is not untrue. However, everything is subsidized. It could be said that a cable user is not bearing the cost of what it costs the provider. However, that "loss" is subsidized by advertisers, paid programming, licensing deals, etc.

    But in the end, yes, they are making excuses to have the government subsidize them even more, and to jack up the bills of the consumers.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Free Capitalist (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:10pm

      Re:

      he is paying less in fees than is the actual cost of his actual usage.

      This is not untrue.


      Have you checked AT&T's yearly earnings report for 09?

      I call shenanigans on the claim that they are undercharging.. both on the mobile and wired networks.

      If they want more money from me out of pity, it would be a good start to stop having "best profit ever!" year after year during an economic downturn.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 8:43pm

      Re: Paying for your connection

      "This is not untrue. However, everything is subsidized. It could be said that a cable user is not bearing the cost of what it costs the provider. However, that "loss" is subsidized by advertisers, paid programming, licensing deals, etc."

      Based on what they reduce your charge if you have Internet and Cable TV, that Provision Cost is in the $10-$15 range. Once you have more than one service on the link, the connection cost has been paid by the charge for the first service. Thus if I have both and get a $10 discount, that $10 is the ACTUAL cost of the connection. Thus a $55 fee for the Internet is $45 for the Internet Service and $10 for the connection. If it costs them more than $45 for the Internet Service (and it is much less) the $55 fee would be higher.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Paolo, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:00pm

    Bill & Keep and the real aim of the telcos

    Not only US telcos are supporting such claims, but also some European ones. The obvious question which comes to mind is, if a content provider like Google is not paying usage of telcos' network, then what are the telcos' customers paying for?

    The truth is that telcos wish to forget, when it's useful for them, the working, in force model "Bill & Keep" http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_and_keep, according to which at the networks interconnection each telco pays its side of the network.

    This implies that they can require payment to only one of the subjects: either the customer of their access network or the customer of their transit network. Not necessarily a content provider belongs to those categories (surely not Google).

    If the cost of the transit could vary according to the size of the object, the time needed for the object to reach the receiver, the distance and/or any other parameter, we would have a carrier (the telco) which interferes with the object, i.e. a discriminatory carrier. This is exactly the aim of such declarations of "Google free rides" and similar nonsense: to create the framework to justify a discriminatory behaviour (some would say non-neutral) in order to predate the economic revenues both of the sender and the receiver.

    If this idea were to infiltrate the minds of the policy makers, a telco could freely decide, whenever there's a party which is raising a substantial income from its commercial activities on the Internet, to discriminate that party's contents (deprioritization, filtering, blocks etc.) in order to force the party or the end-user or both to donate part of the income, in the form of an "additional tariff", to the telco itself.

    In this way, a telco potentially can become an "imposed commercial partner" of any and each economic activity on the Internet.

    In the European Union such practices are at the moment impossible to be implemented (they would violate the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, artt. 102 and 103, for anticompetitive practices, and would also raise some serious problems with e-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) and Access & Interconnection Directive (2002/19/EC)) but there's no doubt that there's a lot of pressure to find alleged "loopholes" which tend to justify a discriminatory, non-neutral behaviour. It is important to inform and raise awareness on the policy makers, on both sides of the ocean, about this sinister plot.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Paolo, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:06pm

      Re: Bill & Keep and the real aim of the telcos

      Sorry, about the TFEU, I was obviously referring to articles 101 and 102, not 103.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:55pm

      Re: Bill & Keep and the real aim of the telcos

      "whenever there's a party which is raising a substantial income from its commercial activities on the Internet, to discriminate that party's contents (deprioritization, filtering, blocks etc.) in order to force the party or the end-user or both to donate part of the income, in the form of an "additional tariff", to the telco itself."

      a.k.a. Ransom (o secuestros)

       

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

  •  
    icon
    JTO (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:12pm

    I don't know about the English, but I pay a fee every month for my bandwidth. In fact, I pay a premium for greater bandwidth because I'm impatient and use it for work.

    When you pay the CableCo or TelCo for your broadband, you get two pipes, one up and one down. The downstream pipe (to your computer) is generally much faster than the upstream pipe. That's one of the big reasons P2P *sux* . But you pay for it. Both ways, whether you use it or not.

    Trust me, every single broadband company out there knows there are no freeloaders on their networks. EVERYONE pays for bandwidth whether they use it or not. The gross majority of users never come close to stressing the network. Even high-cap users shouldn't really be a burden. This is just another attempt at getting people to pay a lot of money for nothing.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:18pm

    I think his point is not that consumers don't pay for bandwidth, but that the heavy users don't pay their share for the bandwidth they use.

    Why should Grandma pay the same amount for the little bandwidth she uses up every month while a file sharer uses up 1,000 times the bandwidth while paying the same bill?

    Of course, I don't ever expect Grandmas bill to actually go down.

     

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

      Re:

      Man it's too bad they are stuck with a static business model. If only there weren't the Spider Queen nesting over corporate office preventing them from deciding to do things differently.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      Let me say that ALL telco/cable companies have tiered subscription services. Your granny needs to get smarter children if she's paying the same as Joe Internet.

       

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:43pm

        Re: Re:

        Why use logic and reason when your arguments rely on fiction?

         

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

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:53pm

        Re: Re:

        If the people who are against cable companies switching to more profitable business models were capable of critical thought, they wouldn't be against it. So long as there are people who will pull the "Are you saying my grandma should pay as much as a file pirate terrorist commie who uses 9001 times the bandwidth as her?! Do you want my granda on the steets begging for food with hobos?!" argument, we will never make any progress. Short-sighted execs and their shills will drive the companies into the ground and use tax-payer money to bail themselves out.

        We can complain all we want and try to show them how to make more money and serve their customers better, but let's face it: they aren't going to change.

         

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

  •  
    icon
    Zog469 (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    I get it free

    I fortunate to live in Mountain View, CA. Google's Main Campus is here, and the whole city is wired for wifi. I dropped my Comcast account years ago. Sure, Google knows everything I do, just like Comcast did, but now I don't have to shell out $70 a month. If a company like Google can make a profit, and allow the community it resides in, free service, then I'm not one to argue.

    Happy Earth Day!

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 3:59pm

      Re: I get it free

      Note that Google does not operate the Mountain View WiFi profitably. It was a test market for a national expansion of muni Wi-Fi, to see if it would be viable for Google.

      I think you can judge by the rate of expansion just how successful it was.

      Google has since moved on to the 700MHz spectrum auction, and now Google Fiber. I applaud their willingness to throw the pasta at the wall and see what sticks, but Muni Wi-Fi most certainly did not.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    dem0n1 (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 1:26pm

    Good way to kill cloud computing too.

    Charging extra for use would make it uneconomical to host applications on a server pushing them back down to the hard drive and back into media in boxes at your local software retailer (assuming one still exists).

     

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

  •  
    icon
    Nick Coghlan (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 2:33pm

    Download quotas

    Download quotas and tiered service aren't great, but I don't think they're quite the "OMG the sky is falling" disaster they're sometimes made out to be by those accustomed to the US free-for-all model where the guy only using his net connection for email and Facebook pays the same as the one using it to watch HDTV video.

    Go over quota for the month and you have to live with a slow, dodgy connection until you hit your monthly quota reset.

    Then again, maybe the Australian ISPs just have us all conditioned to accept that way of doing things *twitch*

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Greevar (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 7:39pm

      Re: Download quotas

      I have Comcast's 15Mbps service. They impose a 250GB transfer cap per month. If I utilized that fully (1.875 MB/s), I could hit my cap in 38 hours just on downloads alone. It would be even faster if I was also uploading. They do this failing to realize that people are consuming more content over the internet than ever and it's only growing. People are watching TV and YouTube online, downloading games from services like Steam or Direct2Drive, and they're communicating with VoIP clients like Skype. Those are all perfectly legal usage.

      It's not our consumption habits that are the problem, it's the ISPs' lack of will to update the networks to support it and compete with the rest of the world that has left us behind in terms of internet connectivity. They still think the internet is only for web browsing, email, and "Windows Update". The internet is more than just the world wide web. It's a network that carries communications of numerous protocols and devices.

       

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

  •  
    icon
    Pickle Monger (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 3:01pm

    I was calling around different companies yesterday to see if I can get a rate better than the one I currently have with Bell Canada. Since Bell insists I go over the limit every month even though I upgrdaded my plan 3 times in the last 6 months, I am looking for a no-cap plan. At one of the places I was told that Bell Canada is pushing CRTC (Canadian counterpart of USA's FCC) to mandate the caps of 60 GB per months per user for all ISPs in Quebec and Ontario as well as usage-based pricing. They claim that there are too many people out there downloading too much stuff and their systems are stressed too much. Bell Canada doesn't offer an unlimited usage plan. Many ISPs do. I guess this is Bell's way to remain competitive.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    tatheg (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:02pm

    What?

    Last I heard T3 connections weren't cheap ..... and though 1 is just a drop in the bucket for Google, I imagine they use many more than just 1 ...... per data center.

    And for the love of Pete $65US is not very cheap for 4 meg down / 512k up

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Greevar (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 7:41pm

      Re: What?

      Actually, a company as big as Google doesn't use T3 lines. They're too slow. They use OC3 lines which are hundreds of times higher in bandwidth.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    And all this time, I've been paying for an internet connection for no reason, when everyone else is supposedly getting it for free!?

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Robert W, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 4:33pm

    Problem here...

    Google pays for the bandwidth they use. I pay for the bandwidth I use. The internet upon itself is not owned by anyone.

    I do have a solution though - since essentially the internet is controlled by the Government any company that wants to charge content providers AND users for simply using the internet through them should be REMOVED from the internet. That way no one elses content goes through their network.

    Let's see how much business they get without access to content.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    PPNSteve (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 5:27pm

    why in hell..

    .. would I, as a internet content provider (multiple websites, videos, podcasts, etc.), want to pay TWICE or more for delivery of my content? I ALREADY pay a provider for bandwidth and their peering/transit connections in order to have my content available to any web surfer. I would NEVER consider paying any end-user ISP for content delivery, ever.

    As a consumer, what doers my monthly internet bill pay for? I pay for an unbridled, unblocked connection to the internet. How I use it or what I do on it is ONLY my business.

    To me this is just the left behind telco's attempt to wring money out of an old, bad business plan.

     

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

  •  
    icon
    whatnow (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 6:06pm

    who pays for the upgrades

    The problem is as one telco exec said the bandwidth demand on the system is going up 50% a year and the revenue is only increasing by 3%.
    The internet changed when video streaming became common and cheap to send and receive and store. In the past the internet was e-mail and static web sites now you can watch TV/movies over your internet. You may be paying the same amount based on your speed but you are downloading more and more. If each of your neighbors does the same thing unless the pipe you are on was designed to handle every connection running at top speed at the same time (which is doubtful) then when enough customers using the pipe max out its capacity the ISP has to upgrade or have unhappy customers. The ISP is not bringing in any more revenue but their expenses may be doubling. The customer and content providers have change the game but the the ISP is stuck on revenue based on speed which is connected to usage but not the same thing. So one side of the equation has changed but the ISP cost side is not allowed too.

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Greevar (profile), Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 7:47pm

      Re: who pays for the upgrades

      I have to call bullshit on that. They can't meet demand because the were complacent and greedy in the past. They're running our internet on outdated and slow infrastructure. We paid them (through tax incentives and relaxed price regulation) to build us a new network. Instead of doing what we paid them to do, they sat on the money and kept things as they are. We're not the freeloaders, they are. They're just hoping we have a short memory.

       

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

    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 7:54am

      Re: who pays for the upgrades

      this ignores the fact that equipment capability has been increasing by 100-200% per year. If telcos make a continuous investment in their network, they can stay ahead of bandwidth needs easily until the equipment capability increases level out.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 6:07pm

    Everyone is coming up with creative ways looking for a handout. F' them....

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 6:07pm

    Everyone is coming up with creative ways looking for a handout. F' them....

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 8:46pm

    ITT: TAM displays his complete lack of even basic knowledge on bandwidth, uploading, downloading, file sharing, the internet, and reality.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 10:14pm

    Why must the U.S. and the U.K. be the retards of the world. Seriously, STOP GIVING MONOPOLY POWER TO A BUNCH OF MONOPOLISTS and open up the broadband market to actual competition!!! Enough is enough.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    NAMELESS.ONE, Apr 22nd, 2010 @ 10:50pm

    easy solution

    raise your prices until NO ONE PAYS YOU
    HAHA
    stupid ISP of the year award will gooooooo tooo

    and maybe if we have William shatner as prime minister as he says he'd like ot we could fire some phasors at some of these KLINGON'S trying to invade our federation

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:52am

    "So if the end result of a shift to usage-based pricing is decreased usage -- and subsequently no real change in providers' revenues -- what good is the shift?"

    No, monopolists always serve higher prices and less aggregate output than competitors. The solution is competition, plain and simple. Enough of this monopolist nonsense that the U.S. and U.K. insist must be the case adn that every other country has proven to be wrong.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:40am

    Reading through I think I understand what they mean and it's not what they are really saying.
    In a 'traditional' download the company, let's call them A, pays per gb of data transfered to their users. Users are on a flat monthly rate so they don't pay extra for the download.

    So the isp's get paid alot from company A and a little (well a lot) from the users of company A's data.

    In p2p the company uploads less data and so the isp's get less from company A but the same from the users of company A's data, so they get less.

    Now remember this is an industry and in industry any time they make less money someone is stealing from them.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 5:42am

    Reading through I think I understand what they mean and it's not what they are really saying.
    In a 'traditional' download the company, let's call them A, pays per gb of data transfered to their users. Users are on a flat monthly rate so they don't pay extra for the download.

    So the isp's get paid alot from company A and a little (well a lot) from the users of company A's data.

    In p2p the company uploads less data and so the isp's get less from company A but the same from the users of company A's data, so they get less.

    Now remember this is an industry and in industry any time they make less money someone is stealing from them.

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    Cipher-0, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 9:08am

    How is it...

    ... that the telephone companies of yore has no problem with a flat-rate pricing model regardless of usage, but the ISPs still can't figure it out?

    With the advent of the BBS systems, there were thousands of lines getting pounded with 24x7 usage and yet I'd never heard of any of them being kicked off for over-usage.

    Am I missing something?

     

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

    •  
      icon
      Greevar (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 9:25am

      Re: How is it...

      I believe you are missing a torch a pitchfork if you intend to join us.

       

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

    •  
      icon
      Derek Kerton (profile), Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 4:11pm

      Re: How is it...

      Really? I heard of that. In fact, it wasn't even the telcos that would boot the user off. The BBS or ISP (not a telco in those days) would auto-disconnect after a certain amount of time. Their ToS stressed an "acceptable use policy" for how long a user could be expected to be dialed in. Then, to be certain other users could access a modem in the modem pool, they would boot you every X hours. Certainly not every BBS or ISP, but definitely a whole bunch of them.

      And remember that many BBS or ISPs had per-minute pricing for dialing into the modem pool, for the desired effect of keeping people from staying on too long.

      Cipher-0, you can't just invent history and state it as if it happened that way. Maybe you never heard of anyone being kicked off for over-usage, but maybe you were not even there at the time.

      In that time, the telcos didn't boot you because they had sold the "unlimited use" local lines. But they did suffer and complain that the usage of these geeks was consuming more resources than they had expected. The upside for them was many people bought second phone lines for modem use.

      What's most disappointing is that the telcos seem to have learned nothing from the experience. They went out and marketed their DSL as "unlimited" again, and now we find them making the same complaints as 1990. Fool you once, shame on me. Fool you twice, shame on you.

      Bottom line: make something unlimited, and some people will ALWAYS use it way more than you want/expect. Either deliver and shutup, or stop marketing it as unlimited.

       

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

  •  
    identicon
    Brett Glass, Apr 23rd, 2010 @ 10:42am

    P2P bandwidth hoogging and cost shifting

    For accurate information on the ways in which P2P really does shift huge costs to ISPs in ways that streaming video does not, see my testimony before the FCC at http://www.brettglass.com/FCC/remarks.html

     

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

  •  
    identicon
    all right reserved to charge ISPs MY going rate pe, Apr 24th, 2010 @ 11:03am

    pay me and my other end users our fees for using our data for your commercial profit "usage-based pricing " model

    if the worlds ISP executive wnat to move to a "usage-based pricing " for comercial profit model then fine, you want to make money on an end users/MY private copyright protected datastream content by charging the requesting end users for the amount of My/Our data you transfer to them then PAY ME A Commercial FEE per Bit.

    its MY copyrighted datastream your companies ISP network is profiting from when you move over to your wanted "usage-based pricing model" and strat charging my visitor per Mbit transfered.

    so sign the commercial contract and PAY ME MY required Commercial rate per bit at 200% per "bit" the rate You are charging my visitor per "Byte" payed in cash per per every 24 hours with a compound intereste rate plus all costs charge per day, for late payment OR face Criminal charges of Commercial Piracy of content, illegal creation of "derivative works" for commercial profit etc, without a licence and potentially other related directives/laws for content YOU dont OWN.

    ALL RIGHT RESERVED as per the auto copyright and related laws given to every single content creator on the planet including end users unique datastream content creation.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This