(Mis)Uses of Technology

by Mike Masnick

Our Cable Connection Is Fast... But Don't Try To Really Use It

from the the-speed-is-just-for-show dept

It seems that many broadband providers have realized that they get attention for playing the "speed game." They keep announcing faster broadband speeds, even if sometimes the announcements are a bit misleading. BroadbandReports calls Canadian cable company Shaw out for bragging about their speed increases while capping downloads at a paltry 30 gigs a month while also using traffic shaping apps to throttle BitTorrent usage. In other words: here's your super fast cable broadband service, but you can't actually use it for much.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Jimmy Z (if you're nasty!), Sep 15th, 2005 @ 2:47pm

    Connection quality

    I think more focus should be put on connection quality rather than bandwidth. Who cares if you have an 8Mb d/l if you're getting a ton of packet loss and your connection is unstable.

    But, as was mentioned, bandwidth is the metric used as a selling point and consumers are eating it up.

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

  2. identicon
    Jorge Rodriguez - RedPlaneta, Sep 15th, 2005 @ 2:47pm

    And I thought that happened only on developing cou

    Well... it seems that "transfer caps", "bittorrent blocking" and misleading speed info is not only the domain of those of us who live in developing countries (Venezuela in my case). Most cable Internet access companies here impose transfer caps to their customers, you think 30 GB/month is ridiculous??, tell me about 300 MB/month.
    Fortunately Venezuela's major broandband player (CANTV the national Telco), who gives ADSL access has been providing unlimited, uncapped broadband access to their customers for a few years, and although the speed plans are not something to wow about (the affordable plan is only 384 Kbps for $50/month) their service is very decent. Faster plans are absurdly expensive, topping at 1.5 Mbps at around $175/month. At least you have a handful of competitors in the US who are still providing fast, unlimited, uncapped service to millions of customers.

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

  3. identicon
    David, Sep 15th, 2005 @ 2:54pm


    I use rogers service at 5Mb upload and 800 Kb d/l and the service is great. Had a couple of complaints last month when latency was around 4550 ms but that has now been reduced to 53ms with a max wait time of around 32ms. Speed is nothing with packet loss.

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

  4. identicon
    Jimmy Z (if you're nasty!), Sep 15th, 2005 @ 3:04pm

    Re: speed

    What did you use to test your latency?

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

  5. identicon
    Luke, Sep 15th, 2005 @ 5:23pm


    One time I downloaded 120 GB in one month and Shaw got really mad at me. Of course, they shut down the internet for a day and said don't do it again. Since then, there have been no problems. I normally use a bout 30 GB a month now.

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

  6. identicon
    zcat, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 2:26am

    Stupid analogy

    Here in Hamilton, NZ, we get a free water supply (technically a fixed monthly amount which is part of the rates)

    The assumption is that almost all people will use water 'sensibly'. I could run a fountain directly off the watersupply and into the stormwater, or I could change my swimming pool water every weekend instead of using the filter, but that would be a very wasteful and selfish thing to do. If more than a few people in Hamilton were as selfish as that, we would very quickly find ourselves on a metered water supply.

    Broadband, in my opinion, should be the same. It's nice that it's always on and it's nice that it's fast when you need it, but that's no reason to run Kazaa at full rate 24/7 downloading gigs of crap that you'll probably only watch once if ever, and screw up affordable useful flat-rate broadband for everybody else.

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

  7. identicon
    MBains, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 4:48am

    Bad Caps

    I don't see a problem with total download size as long as they make it plain up front; before I agree to pay for the service.

    But if they're offering 8mbs speed then that is what I expect; no matter what software I'm using for my downloading. They're charging me for the use of their technology so they need to give me what I'm paying them for.

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

  8. identicon
    Mikester, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 11:44am

    No monitoring tools

    It's pretty much hypocritical for Shaw (which I use) to flaunt their high speed connections but then cap by GB/month or worse, block or cap certain applications (like BT).
    I wasn't aware Shaw was hampering BT before I read these comments and I think it sets a dangerous precedent. I know others have discussed this before, but if they are really doing this, doesn't it allow them to hamper other applications like VOIP (especially if for competitors' applications) ?

    The worse part of the XX/Gb per month capping is that AFAIK, it is not a published limitation nor do they provide customers with the tools to monitor their own usage.
    I don't have a problem with the 30Gb/month download as long as it's published and customers have signed to that agreement. Otherwise, it's just an arbitrary limit unlike cell phone plans which are very specific in customer usage limits and rates.
    Also, give me a page where I can go to see my monthly usage stats so I know when I need to back off music/video streaming/downloading.

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

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 12:25pm

    No Subject Given

    I have an idea for a new business model: Unlimited electricity for a monthly flat rate, and then just disconnect the unprofitable customers.

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

  10. identicon
    Mikester, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 12:52pm

    Re: No Subject Given

    Don't forget to patent it!

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

  11. identicon
    zcat, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 1:29pm

    Re: No Subject Given (another stupid analogy)

    This is a real-world analogy and prior art for the suggestion of 'free electricity but refuse unprofitable customers';

    My friends (couple, no kids) own a fairly large house quite close to university. They rent out half of it to help pay the mortgage. A separate power meter would require having the whole house rewired which would be insanely expensive, so the electricity for thetenants is unmetered. Verne estimates 'about half' of the usual power cost' as part of the rent and requests that the tenants will be sensible about using electricity.

    And now he refuses to have students as tenants, because in the past they've run electric heaters
    and large numbers of computers 24/7 and ended up costing more in power than they were paying in rent.

    It's always the students. :-)

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

  12. identicon
    fuzzmanmatt, Sep 16th, 2005 @ 4:30pm

    Re: No Subject Given (another stupid analogy)

    I know it! we're just so horrid! I have three computers on 24/7, one of them always running BitTorrent, usually have gnutella running, streaming audio with iTunes. It's not that big a deal to download three or four gigs of data a day. Hooray for internets!

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

  13. identicon
    Jeff, Mar 29th, 2006 @ 6:25pm

    So glad we still have uncapped, unmetered internet with Comcast. AS soon as that changes, I'll be shopping for providers. Seems like Yahoo and Google with the email space; it's going to become very competitive in the future to allow higher/more bandwidth/data... so not sure if this will really become a problem or not. As long as the ISPs charge for bandwidth outbound as they do now, I wonder how P2P will play out; the only way to meter that is at the receiver, not the provider's end.

    Right now, P2P is very limited to a few people that understand torrent, etc, and with propaganda and lawsuits, lots of folks I know don't want to tempt fate. Good!

    But I think eventually P2P will become the prefered distribution mechanism, as hosts figure out they can save millions on storage and bandwith, let alone electricity costs to distribute the work out to its users. At some point, there could be a problem... it's not inconceivable. A perfect excuse to do all kinds of nasty things to internet users, as far as the telecoms are concerned!

    For me, I plan to download the entire known content of humanities creation before my provider caps me or bills me for bandwidth. ;-)

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

  14. identicon
    JT, Jul 20th, 2006 @ 7:41am

    You think thats expensive?

    You guys think thats expensive out here in Pakistan our Software Company is getting CIR (non-shared) 256k DSL connection for $250/month.
    But it use to be a lot more...its dropping in price about 30% per year...it should drop like 30% every 3 months but we are just starting to build up internet capacity.
    The price is more in india

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

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