There's Some Echo On This Skype Call… Or Is It Just Doublespeak?

from the what-we-have-here-is-a-failure-to-communicate dept

Skype has been one of the louder voices in pushing for broadband providers to be forced to keep their networks open. One of the company’s execs has taken to its blog supporting net neutrality regulations in the EU, making some useful points about how it’s services like Skype that sell broadband subscriptions and, specifically, mobile data plans. But how does that reconcile with Skype’s mobile moves in the US, where it appears to be pushing exclusive deals with operators over “open” access? So, on the one hand, Skype doesn’t want to have to pay telcos for access to its customers. But then on the other, it looks like Skype wants to charge telcos to be able to offer its service to their customers. This makes it look like Skype is okay with pay-to-play systems, but only when it’s on the receiving end. Certainly Skype is free to use whatever business model it likes, but it certainly appears it’s trying to have the best of both worlds here.

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Companies: skype

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Comments on “There's Some Echo On This Skype Call… Or Is It Just Doublespeak?”

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22 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

skype will often use your computer to pass traffic for others. you could not make a single skype call and use plenty of bandwidth supporting the skype product anyway. you are basically reselling bandwidth to them which is against your customer agreement when you get residential service from an isp.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Wait is this true? TAM, did you make an argument based on logic? Is this actually how skype works? Of course, screw the customer agreement with a rake, but if they do use your badnwidth for calls other than your own, how much consent/information on that is there? I’m guessing there is a clause in their TOS saying “by using Skype(TM)(R)(LMFAO) you agree to blah blah blah…” Again, who cares about the BS agreement? The main thing here is that if true, in exchange for using their service, they require access to an undisclosed amount of your decidedly non-infinite badwidth. That’s kinda wonky.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Damnit TAM, why’d you have to go and screw it up? Nobody should care if some words on paper don’t match up quite right. The issue here is that Skype is doing something kind of shady by using you for their traffic. The terms on the agreement can be changed to fit whatever. A business that acts against their customers’ interest (Skype) is what was interesting about this. You had me agreeing with you on this one point, and now you come back in and say “lol u broke teh law get to the back to the bus ‘the parks'”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

it is the doubly whammy. skype makes you agree to something you cant agree with, buries the idea deep in their terms, and then effectively resells you bandwidth to other people who may pay for service. you cant resell your bandwidth, but skype has suckered a bunch of people into doing it really without them knowing. http://chris.pirillo.com/are-you-a-skype-supernode/ the default setting is on and active.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

“skype makes you agree to something you cant agree with”

Aaaannnd…I’m back on board on this issue. Even if I think that the ToS itself is bogus, Skype should not make me break it as a compuslory prerequisite of using their service. Because even if I don’t care if I break my ISP’s ToS, my ISP sure as hell will.

That option should be opt-in; especially when ISPs have caps and serious upstream limits.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“Is this actually how skype works? Of course, screw the customer agreement with a rake, but if they do use your badnwidth for calls other than your own”

They don’t carry calls through your connection. What they do is manage the routing using what are called “supernodes”. Supernodes are often people running skype on a decent computer, with a good connection, and steady uptime. Anyone can become a supernode, and thus have call handling/management and connection data passed through them. This is P2P.

The actual call is connected directly…um…P2P, but Skype uses the supernodes to help the caller find the callee.

Derek Kerton (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

See my explanation, above. I didn’t use the word “leech”, but Skype does potentially use a fair bit of bandwidth even if you are not currently making a call or chat.

One night, I was working on my desktop, and noticed my laptop’s cooling fan kept ramping up very high. This happens automatically when the processor is being used. I checked what process was burning cycles on my Centrino. It was Skype. I checked network use, and sure enough Skype was using my PC as a supernode. I consider this a cost of using Skype, so am not peeved. I don’t see it as evil. This is how P2P works…you have to pitch in to the network for the network to exist. You can call it “leeching”, but it’s not a secret. Any geek worth his salt would know that P2P doesn’t have central servers to manage traffic, so the work is pushed out to the edge.

However, since I wasn’t using it, I did exit Skype on the laptop, which ended the supernode.

Anonymous Coward says:

Carlo,

Get some facts straight..,
Qwest has the largest internet fiber backbone in the United States, and the 2nd largest internet backbone in the World. Provides fiber connections to 95% of all the Fortune 500 companies. And is one of only 3 backbone service providers for the U.S. Government. It’s not the small fry company you make it out to be.

mjb5406 (profile) says:

You Nailed It, Mike

When I started reading your post, the first thing that popped into my mind was Skype’s exclusive deal with Verizon, basically cutting off every other mobile carriers’ customers from Skype Mobile. What I find even more disingenuous is, when you look at the Skype Mobile site, they actually have a sign-up where they will alert you when your current cell contract is up so you can switch to Verizon Wireless! That takes a lot of balls… and I think it’ll just be a matter of time before Skype blocks alternative mobile programs, like Fring and iSkoot, from accessing its network. Great “neutrality”… neutral only if you have Verizon… anyone else, they tell you to get screwed.

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