The Problem Of Building Broadband To Expected Capacity

from the there-will-always-be-new-demands dept

Broadband Reports is pointing out that Verizon is over capacity on their DSL offering in some parts of New York City, leading them to turn away potential customers. Verizon defends this decision by saying: “You can’t wire everything for unlimited capacity. It’s more effective to engineer capacity to be a fixed percentage above the average use in a given day.” What this actually shows is that Verizon has done a terrible job of predicting capacity. When you engineer capacity to be a fixed percentage above average use of today’s bandwidth, you’re absolutely going to run into trouble. Anyone who’s followed internet usage patterns over the years has known that usage always rises up towards capacity. Increase capacity, and new applications show up that eat up more of that capacity. If you build a broadband network expecting people will only be doing some web surfing and email, they’re going to cause problems when they start downloading music and videos. Assuming that usage won’t keep growing only causes problems, and shows one of the problems the telcos face in building out their networks. The telcos need to be building out capacity recognizing the likelihood that usage is only going to keep going up. While hopefully they’re doing this with the new fiber installation efforts, so far many of those still seem built on the idea that most of the bandwidth won’t actually be used — and that could cause problems down the road for these telcos. Also, it’s interesting to note that Verizon has been one of the loudest complainers saying that they wouldn’t upgrade their networks without special regulatory help, either in the form of ending linesharing requirements or denying net neutrality legislation. Yet, it seems like there’s enough demand that Verizon should be upgrading their networks simply to serve that demand.


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Comments on “The Problem Of Building Broadband To Expected Capacity”

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19 Comments
Jason says:

Verizon SUCKS.

We have the “broadband access” from verizon wireless, who the other day sent me a letter stating that our unlimited data transfer card has exceeded 10 Gigs of info a couple of months in the past 6 months…. therefor they are canceling our access to the web…. now im not brilliant but unlimited means unlimited right?

after reading the fine print. turns out that they expect the businesses of today. to use these mobile laptop cards. for only emails and internet surfing/intranet. anything else is prohibited, such as streaming videos, downloading/uploading music or games….

so their reasoning…. you had to be streaming and downloading music therefor we are canceling your subscription.

being the computer nerd i am. half the overages were cause from download software for work…. verizon can kiss my ass.

Rick says:

USF

“they wouldn’t upgrade their networks without special regulatory help”

Fine, give us back the $13 BILLION a year we give you in Universal Service Fund fees and we’ll pay you AFTER you upgrade the networks for your hard work.

It’s time to dump the telcos, they’re obviously not capable of serving the public anymore – just their shareholders.

I never understood why it was legal for a utility with a legal monopoly to be publically traded – how can you serve two bosses; the state and your shareholders?

A small, rural telco owner says:

Re: USF

While I agree that the telcos would love to use the USF as a further slush fund to destroy competition with, I think most people have an unrealistic attitude towards broadband capacity, including the commentator here at TechDirt. Basically, everyone wants unlimited capacity, but no one wants to pay for it. The telcos are digging their own graves by offering “unlimited” broadband at $14.95/mo. or other rediculously low price points and then wondering why their networks get congested when users take them at their word and start downloading videos, games, music, etc. I believe that we’ll soon see more careful segmentation (it’s already happening…look at the new advertising on Verizon’s “unlimited” wireless broadband service…for surfing and email…etc.) of broadband services. Lot’s of caveats for the cheap services…as it has to be. You can’t build out capacity if you don’t have the revenue to do it with.

RantMax says:

omg we don't live in utopia!

Building for average load, overselling: it’s part of GOOD business.

Even cell phone networks get overloaded on holidays. Should they just charge 10x and upgrade their networks to handle extremely high traffic for those rare moments?

If you don’t oversell AT ALL: you are wasting resources you paid for, which go unused, and you can’t sell.

If you oversell way too much: you can’t deliver at all and gotta perpetually lie and put other obstacles in front of your customers to hide your defficiency.

But there’s no golden center, as time goes, businesses go a little towards the one edge or the other, and balance in time.

If someone claims he’s so hot and knows more for ISP business than ISP’s: get a job there or start your own. Let’s see how that goes.

Anonymous Coward says:

A few questions here. How does Verizon have a monopoly? Don’t cable companies offer phone service? Don’t wireless companies offer phone service that replaces that wire?

Also, in terms of regulatory relief, how is using your own equipment (the copper line) and not allowing a competitor to use it seeking regulatory relief? Should data become just like anything else? Do you want taxes on purchases made over the internet?

Verizon is laying fiber to the home, of course they are not going to spend a lot of money on their DSL offering. $18 billion for the fiber seems to quite an investment.

Net neutrality really is a simple issue in my opinion. What is wrong with a company making sure that the services it sells operates correctly? QoS has to be done, at least in terms of voice and video streaming. Bandwidth alone won’t solve the problems, so some traffic has to be prioritized.

If someone wants to buy cheap phone service by Vonage, they are getting what they pay for. A best effort. Sometimes it will be good and sometimes not so good. If you want something to work when you need it, you had better expect to pay for it.

Paul (user link) says:

filled to capacity

When verizon is talking about filling that location to capacity in this case they probably mean they ran out of ports to plug in new customers into the DSLAM in the central office, it’s not that they ran out of bandwidth, they ran out of space to plug in DSL phone lines on a physical device. They’ll get another DSLAM to expand capacity if their is enough demand for more DSL lines in that area.

chris (profile) says:

they are still stuck on old thinking

telco’s all operate on this total users vs. total capacity algorithm that was perfected in the 70’s. now, more than 30 years later, the telecomunications landscape has changed significantly thanks to the rise of internet access.

these old companies are used to building infrastructure with government handouts, and then milking it for piles of cash for three decades. more and more people are really only interested in internet access, they should change their price structures to reflect that.

why not just go to the pricing model that they use for hosting companies, where you pay for your total transfer? (you know, 10gb/month and $X for additional gbs as needed)

i’ll tell you why, because once DSL and cable internet access is an apples to apples price and quality comparison, that will start a price war between the cable operators and the phone companies, since at that point they are prtty much offering the same service, and customers will

the telco landscape is fast approaching a time when there are only two business models that work:
1) providing content and applications over any network
2) providing network access to all content and applications

simple networks mean competition, and competition means low prices. two things that cable and telephone companies are actively working to prevent.

pho3n1x says:

i realise that our infrastructure is far larger than say, Korea or Japan or anything, but you people do realise that Korea/Japan pay the equiv of $30/mo for 10m both directions, right?

the download speeds that telcos and cable providers are giving is fine. i need more on the upload side… but no, then you might run a business out of your basement… you couldn’t possible be just… gaming…

Shel says:

Nobody Gets This...

100 years ago, “Ma Bell” installed a lot of copper wire. The only upgrades were for repairs, or addition of new customers.

They made a decision to re-use the wire, until its half-life causes the copper atoms to bcome some other element.

Until we “customers” bombard our legislators with requests to return the universal service fund money, the telephone companies will never install fiber to the premise. And fiber is the only reasonable way to get true broadband capacity.

Vampiro. Moon Glorious. says:

Re: Nobody Gets This...

Copper atoms don’t become some other element! Have you ever seen a penny metamorph into “some other element”?!!
You so crazy.
Very few write the legislatures, and don’t waste a stamp since refunds to the government are never made. The service fee was spent lobbying their best interests into law…

I want to see fast and cheap internet service as well. Fiber is not the only way, Wi-Max and other means yet to be deployed are on the way. May take another 5 years before nationwide service is in effect. But, by that time, electronic pulse bombs will probably knock the service out (as well as all other electrical devices in vicinity).

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