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.

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Companies: upc

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Comments on “ISP Slows Access To High Bandwidth Services 12 Hours Every Day”

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35 Comments
Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Doctor Strange says:

Re: 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).

BobinBaltimore (profile) says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 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.

Yosi says:

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.

Luci says:

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.

Noel (profile) says:

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.

Jeff Rife says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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)

Anonymous Coward says:

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)

Richard says:

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.

Yosi says:

Re: 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?

Rich Kulawiec says:

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.

Anonymous Coward says:

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.

Xanius says:

Re: 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.

Rich Kulawiec says:

Re: 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.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: 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.

Sheinen says:

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!

Lindsay says:

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.

Simon (user link) says:

just read this article

Canada currently has the 2nd most expensive internet (only behind the United States) of the G7 countries for speeds over 41 Mbps and has consistently been the 2nd or 3rd most expensive for at least the past 5 years. There is no “cheap” internet in Canada.

The Big 5 Canadian Internet Service Providers (ISPs) such as Bell, Rogers, Telus, Shaw and Videotron, receive 73.3% of the market’s revenues and charge higher prices due to lack of competition.

The lack of competition is due to a wide variety of factors including the industry’s high barrier to entry, large market share, restricted foreign investment, potential for price coordination and history of privatization and acquisitions.

The national telecom companies have a go-to list of reasons why prices are high, commissioning their own studies to try and disprove the cost disparity by claiming that the prices are “affordable” and trying to discredit independent studies (not paid for by Canadian telecoms) by claiming their methods are flawed.

Actions taken by the government and CRTC over the years to address industry competition, affordability and consumer choice have brought about slow or even halted progress.

https://www.cannettel.com/blog/why-internet-expensive-canada

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