Fantasy Island, Time Warner Style: You WANT To Pay More For Broadband

from the da-plane-boss-da-plane dept

techflaws.org alerted us to an Ars Technica piece about the wonderful illusory world of Time Warner Cable's CEO, Glenn Britt, and his prediction about how we, the people, will eventually learn to want to pay more for our broadband. Now, Britt made the following statement at a conference last week, but I find it much more useful to picture him saying these words as he lies naked on a private beach, one woman feeding him grapes while another woman...well, let's just say she's not feeding him grapes:
"I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who use very little broadband expect to pay less and people who use a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who reads e-mail once a week. I think there will always be an unlimited tier, but I think you'll see the element of consumption introduced over time."
The medical community defines a stroke, or a cerebrovascular accident, as a rapid loss of brain function due to the disturbance in the blood supply to the brain. They list the causes of a stroke as ischemia (flow blockage) or a hemorrhage (blood leakage), leaving the disturbed area unable to function. I think we can add "smart people say idiotic things that force our brains to shut down" as a third cause. Here's what happens: Someone like Britt, ostensibly a smart person, puts together a string of words filled with odd assertions and conclusions (wait...we're basing tiers for internet usage on grandmothers checking email once a week? Even when internet usage continues to do nothing but rise?), and our brains come to a screeching halt, ordering us to address this intrusion on the world of logic and reason. Here's the problem. The brain begins going into a cataclysmic collapse, realizing that there are many things wrong with these words and attempting to send the limited blood supply in the brain in several different directions to simultaneously address these grievances.

And the person strokes (not the good way).

So what's the cure? Well, my sweet internet hog friends (why aren't you checking your goddamn email!!!???), I have your cure for you. Get that blood flowing with singular purpose! Thought experiment time. If people will gradually and reasonlessly come to accept tiered broadband because they secretly want it, what likewise things will we come to accept for similarly secret reasons? I came up with a few to get you started (and to get that blood flowing again), but I'm sure the community can do even better:
  1. People will eventually evolve to simply accept DRM in everything, because secretly we all know we're criminals and should be treated as such. Some people might complain, proclaiming themselves non-criminals, but what would you expect a secret criminal to say?
  2. I anticipate an evolution in which the silly little people of this country will finally realize that it's entirely appropriate for moderately paid TSA agents to gently twist their nibblits in the name of security. No real reason for that evolution. Just 'cause. Sure, some uppity people might complain, but deep down they'll realize that testicular tortion is a small price to pay for feeling a little safer.
  3. I think we'll naturally see a world evolve where immigrants will finally realize that American law is the law and will finally stop crossing our borders illegally simply because we can offer them a better life on our side of the imaginary lines. Why would they stop, you ask? Well...because we said so. And if our saying it doesn't work, maybe we can just get Glenn Britt to say it, for that will make it so.
Well, there you have it. Dr. Dark Helmet has saved your lives. What am I asking for in return? Make me laugh....


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    "I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who watch very little television expect to pay less and people who watch a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who watches television once a week. I think there will always be an unlimited tier, but I think you'll see the element of consumption introduced over time."

     

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 11:49am

    Also of interest:

    This quote:

    "The growth of the category has been very much affected by what is going on in the housing market," Britt said, adding that home ownership is down about 350 basis points from before the recession and household vacancy rates are at a 30-to-40 year high. "Until the housing market settles down, we're not going to see robust category growth."

    So, while busy stroking off, Britt has decided that internet users will also assume the cost of the downwardly spiraling housing market.

    I wonder if the new price tiers will be tied to foreclosure rates like some sort of bizarre telcom CDO. And if so, can we short it?

     

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    chris (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    i think you will find

    people will eventually evolve to simply accept government surveillance because the terrorists know that they deserve it. sure, everyone in the united states will complain, but those 6 people who are thinking about taking steps toward the possibility of blowing something up will realize that the government is so busy spying on its citizens that it couldn't possibly track down an actual terror plot.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 11:58am

      Re: i think you will find

      Fortunately we won't have to worry about all that, because I think you'll see evolve a world in which middle easterners will simply accept foreign presence on their soil as we establish Marine Camp Mecca. Some of them may complain, but deep down they'll know that America rocks harder than any other mother-humping nation and our way is the only way.

      Yay, random American acceptance!!!

       

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    Capitalist Lion Tamer (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Question.

    Are you an actual Doctor, DH? Because if so, then I am an incredibly contentious med student. LOL.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:04pm

    Well,

    As a matter of fact, while reading this the next tab over IS my email... And in the other browser is my other email (same service, gotta use different browser for simultaneous access).

    When I get rich (tee hee, *snort) I shall start an internet/cellular company whose prices and service will shame all providers!

     

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    rubberpants, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:05pm

    "I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who rarely listen to a song they've purchased pay less and people who listen to the song a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who only plays that song once a week. I think there will always be an unlimited tier, but I think you'll see the element of consumption introduced over time."

     

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    Michael, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:06pm

    Taxes

    I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people who work the least will expect to pay lower taxes and people who pay a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who can offer benefits to the politicians. I think there will always be whiners, but I think you'll see some kind of lubrication introduced over time.


    Oh wait...I think this already happened.

     

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    Chris in Utah (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:25pm

    Thinking idealist

    I anticipate the evolution of Nascar like patches on our representatives not only to condone there alliances but to also get an ideal sense of government in action.

    I also aggregate a whole section to censors of any type where upon utterance of anything derogatory to make the person(s), sites(s) or alien an abjuratory person of interest. This system will be called Net 2.0 will send the DMCA notice, request or other international type awareness to said site and have it, its subsidiaries, its monetary accounts and subsequent banishment from its country automatic. We will not call this SkyNet but SkyWebz.

    I'm favoriting this one for lulz because I"m pretty sure these are just off the top of my head.

    Lets all take a trip on the Heart of Gold. I nominate DH as the subsequent end all in all command decisions.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Wait, let me guess: The solution is that you are going to pirate broadband! Yeah! That's it!

     

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    HothMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

    I think you will naturally see evolve a world where people see wiretapping as a service. If the blogsphere and social networking have proved anything its that people want to be heard no matter how trivial the information they are providing. Some people already share everything they think and expect to be heard other people who currently share less may complain but they will know in their hearts that someone listening to their every word is really just validating them as a person. Sure there will always be some things that are private but I think you will see people are going to be ok as we increase surveillance over time.

     

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    Who? Me!, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:37pm

    Economics

    Let's try electricity - I get charged by how much I use. Oh! is that impossible to understand or just hard to accept? I have my broadband with a contention based ISP so if it's set at 1:50 and I use most of the bandwidth then my fellow users just have to live with it.

    What is so tough about accepting that bandwidth has a cost - yes it does have a cost - it isn't infinite.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:43pm

      Re: Economics

      Let's try electricity - I get charged by how much I use.

      My solar panel says differently.

       

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      BigKeithO (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

      Re: Economics

      I already pay for my bandwidth every month, last time I checked I wasn't getting my internet for free. Seems like I'm already paying for the cost of my bandwidth, why do I suddenly need to pay more?

      Ah, electricity - the comparison doesn't work. You see utilities are not an infinite good like bandwidth is. Electricity (all utilities in fact) have a finite supply, once someone stops making more electricity it is gone. People can accept paying for something like that. Bandwidth is more like a highway (an information highway?...), once the highway is built it is built, you can just keep on driving on it. Trying to classify bandwidth as a utility just doesn't work, they aren't the same thing.

       

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        ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re: Economics

        "...You see utilities are not an infinite good like bandwidth is..."

        Fiber has a fixed bandwidth (speed and capacity). Copper has a fixed bandwidth (speed and capacity). Microwave has a fixed bandwidth (speed and capacity). Switching technologies have fixed max number of switches per second. Faster technology costs more. Takes more expertise to setup (which has a cost associated with it). When they break (and they do) it costs more to replace. It all runs on electricity - electricity costs money. Add another pipe - it takes more electricity to make it work.

        Those are all real costs that can be broken down by usage. You're not going to light up the "dark fiber" until your revenue can support it.

        So.... How is bandwidth an infinite good?

        -CF

         

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          Steven (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:45pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          It's not the same.

          The difference is between layout costs and marginal costs.

          It doesn't cost more between me reading email and me watching youtube. There is no marginal cost difference.

          There is a layout cost and a maintenance cost but those costs don't go up according to usage. If overall usage goes up there may need to be a layout cost, but that is the providers choice (better service vs cheaper cost)

          If we actually had competition in the broadband space we wouldn't even be talking about this.

           

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          Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          I upgraded my network to Gigabit. It cost me less total then my previous upgrade to 100base. After the fixed costs of the upgrade, I only pay for electricity. The upgraded hardware uses less electricity then the old hardware. All in all, I can now transfer 10x the amount of data and it costs me less.

          Anyone who knows networking knows that this tiered crap is just that; crap.

           

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            Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Economics

            Oh, and speed and threw-put at any one moment is finite, but the amount of data that can be transferred total is infinite.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 9:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Economics

            Inside your own house or business, it isn't an issue. You can crank your internal speed up to anything you like, it doesn't change your external link (web).

            Go try to get peering to the internet and find out that moving from 100base to gigabit will cost you quite a bit more.

             

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          Greevar (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          Bandwidth isn't a consumable resource anymore than physical space is a consumable resource. The more that is used by the more people using it only means that your share of the whole gets smaller, not more expensive. 100Gb of bandwidth costs the same no matter how much of it is in use. It only costs more money when the capacity is expanded.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          Quote:
          Those are all real costs that can be broken down by usage. You're not going to light up the "dark fiber" until your revenue can support it.


          Well, your clearly didn't read the financial reports from the ISP's did you? every single quarter is about a billion dollar in profits and gasp it is under the flat-rate scheme.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 9:50pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          It's not, because if it were infinite it would be free. The notion, though, is that unlike water and electricity, there isn't a clearly definable marginal cost per byte, but these monopolies want to charge as if there is. Since most non-techies don't know this, what these companies are trying to do is use this fakery to continue to rake in cash without having to put any out to improve their infrastructure.

           

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      imbrucy (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

      Re: Economics

      You are charged by how much you use for electricity because there is a very real cost depending on how much is used. If you use more electricity the power plant uses more fuel and therefore the cost to you is higher. If you use less then they don't burn fuel and they save money so you are charged less.

      With broadband there is a high cost to build the network but once the network is built there is no cost per byte. The network costs are (roughly) the same regardless of if you are at 5% capacity or 90% capacity.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

        Re: Re: Economics

        If they were only using 5%, they could cut the connection size down, use cheaper equipment, buy less peering, etc.

        It isn't free.

         

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      HothMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:07pm

      Re: Economics

      Not really the same though. I am gonna use coal power in this example, i understand there are other types of power but its the same principal.

      To provide electricity coal is burned and the electricity is fed to my neighborhood for us to consume. If we consume more electricity more coal needs to be burned if we use less electricity less coal is burned. The amount of electricity I use correlates to the amount of coal that needs to be burned.**

      To provide my neighborhood with broadband a network infrastructure is created. That network can provide so much bandwidth. If 1 person is on the network it costs the same to maintain as when there are 100 people on the network. If I use my connection 8 hours a day but at odd hours (11pm-7am) and everyone else in the neighborhood uses the internet 1 hour a day but everyone is on between 5pm and 6pm which do you think stresses the network more? But either way the cost is still the same to maintain the existing network.

      Yes if a network reaches its limit where all the bandwidth is being used at all times they provider will have to expand the network. Should I pay more so that they now have a faster network and can sign up more subscribers? If the providers are not willing to increase the power of their network they can say sorry we are not taking anymore clients in your area and open the door for companies who are willing to provide new infrastructure at their own expense so they can have subscribers.

      Saying you can only be on the internet so many hours a month or can only move so many bits a month does not help with over congestion at peak hours and its not a fair way to base ow much you owe. Again if I use the network more than you but use it when less people are on I am not costing the provider anything additional. If you barely use the internet but use it at the busiest hours your not costing the provider anything more but you are diminishing the quality of the neighborhoods connection (if the network is maxing out).

      Closer to fair would be to offer packages that include different times. For example if i want 24hr a day access i pay X. If I want to pay less I dont get access during peak hours. If I only use the network during business hours I can by a connection that lasts from 8-6. Or i just use it an hour a day before bed I just buy that timeslot. Again though it shouldn't be the consumers job to alleviate the providers costs of doing business. If you network can handle 100 people on line at once don't sign up 101. If you want to upgrade and have 200 subscribers you pay to do that because you will reap the benefits of subscription costs.

      **Unfortunately this is not how power plants work. The system provides no feedback of how much power is being used in real time. They just use educated guesses. So if from 5-8pm on Mondays they know they have had brownouts for burning less then X amount of coal they make sure to burn more than X. If on a particular Monday only half of X is being consumed they have no idea and still burn more than X.

       

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        ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

        Re: Re: Economics

        Another way to do this is throttle (in a multiplexing scheme) the connection. If I expect 200 people are going to connect to my little router so that I can share Internet access, and I want to be "fair" to everyone while also letting everyone on, I can only promise a slow connection - or purchase more equipment/connections.

        If half my clients a willing to pay a bit more, I can move them to a second faster/less congested router. (Hence dialup vs dsl vs cable vs T1 vs FiOS)

        For a given speed/capacity - bandwidth is most definitely NOT an infinite resource. I can lower the data rate to allow more people, or up the data rate if I keep the number of connections down. Sure the cost to operate in either method is the same - but number of bytes/second that you can handle is fixed.


        -CF

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          Please don't confuse the discussion with facts. Nobody wants facts here!

           

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          "For a given speed/capacity - bandwidth is most definitely NOT an infinite resource."

          Agreed. It is however generally a FIXED resource, meaning that the costs incurred by the provider aren't marginal, but sunk/fixed. I fail to see how a metered system makes sense with non-marginal expenses....

           

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          Steven (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          Or maybe if, as a provider, I advertised XmB/sec speeds! I would be sure that my infrastructure had sufficient bandwidth to allow that speed per user.

          Or if we actually had honest providers they might say XmB/sec max speed, YmB/sec expected during peak times. They could even offer speed tiers, pay some more for more max speed and/or more speed at peak times (Businesses often pay for QOS).

          The problem is they are limiting the number of bits when that has no bearing on the problem.

           

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          HotMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          I agree mr fish, in part.

          A network costs X to maintain and X is constant no matter if the network is at 99% capacity or 25% capacity. Obviously upgrading costs more. Should I pay more so they can have faster equipment though or to maintain there existing equipment? Lets look at a Burger King fryer which I think correlates well. The fryers are only so big and can only cook so many fries. Now if they get one order for large fries an hour the cost to maintain the fryer is lower than if they get 30 orders an hour. The oil browns faster cooking more product and the guy who cleans it has a bigger mess.(just as a busy network uses a more electricity and may require maintenance more often)Do the frys go up in cost? No because this increase in cost to them is offset by the increase in profit from additional orders. Now if 30 orders an hour is all the fryer can handle and they start taking 40 orders an hour they have to get a bigger fryer. Do the customers pay more for the new fryer, again no BK buys it because it increases the business they can do and they expect the fryer to pay for itself with the increased business. If BK doesn't want to buy a bigger fryer do they put less fries in an order and charge the same amount? No, a McDonalds opens across the street to handle the overflow.

          This works for any other business if I make shirts and orders are too big for me to meet I increase capacity in hopes that more orders will cover the cost or I don't take the orders and allow people to go else were and buy their shirts.

          We already have a tiered system that allows people to pay based on how fast of a connection they need/want. So why do we need another tier for how much they can use the connection they want.

          Yes Bandwidth is not unlimited in the sense that a network can handle any traffic that comes in. But it is unlimited in that once a network is built its not going to someday run out of bandwidth like its a well. I pay to have access to that network at a speed I selected. If more people are entering the network and it has to be upgraded either do that or tell people they can't get on and allow others to set up a network. Except that would lead to competition which would definitely be worse for them. So instead they let as many people on as will sign up. Reap the benefits of a larger subscription base until people complain the network is to slow. Then they say oh well its not our fault you are using to much internet you should pay more and we will build an adequate network in your area.

           

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            ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Economics

            "...We already have a tiered system that allows people to pay based on how fast of a connection they need/want. So why do we need another tier for how much they can use the connection they want..."

            There is really no difference in the two. Either you pay based on what you think you'll use on a system that will limit your max throughput or you pay by the bit. One is an estimate the other is closer to reality - in the end your bill will probably the same.

            If this is what we are left with, then all we are really debating is marketing schemes. In which case I ask all my TD brothern: Why the hell do we care how a company markets their Internet Connection. (as long as they're being truthful)

            From a Net Neutrality issue, we should only be concerned about how they (if they do) split up the data. Are they packet forming? Do they charge me for text at a different rate than video? Are they trying to double-charge Google or other sites I go to? Are they preventing VOIP? These are real concerns.

            Whether AT&T charges me by the bit, nibble, byte, wordlength, packet, estimated usage, time-of-day, MB/week, GB/Month, TB/Month for a 10MB/sec 20MB/sec 100MB/sec connection..... who cares? Sure I care at a individual consumer level - but not from a general "there should be a law against this" policy level.

            -CF

             

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              HothMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Economics

              Damn your rationality. Agreed completely.

              The issue I would spin from your compromising attitude is are they being truthful? Is this about network congestion and fair pricing or is this about getting more money for the same service.

              Also I don't think they want to change it from MB/sec to GB/month, which I agree is just another angle on the same thing, but now want to make it MB/sec up to a certain GB limit then you owe us $per additional GB.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          yes and does costs are already covered by the actual payment method and it gives ample margin for profits as seen by the ISP financial reports so why again do they need to meter things again?

          Besides as you said we are already metered, we already have tiers, so why again they need to charge per gigabyte?

          Because there is no competition and they simply can do it, it is not about costs is about increasing the bottom line by cutting service quality to customers.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

        Re: Re: Economics

        Unfortunately this is not how power plants work. The system provides no feedback of how much power is being used in real time. They just use educated guesses.

        As far as I know, no. They do have real time feedback.

        If the use of electrical power increases, the line voltage sags. The generator, trying to maintain the line voltage and frequency, increases its power to compensate (by burning more coal in your example). If the use of electrical power decreases, the line voltage increases, and again the generator adjusts its power input to try to maintain the output voltage and frequency. And if the use of electrical power reduces too much (for instance, if the generator is suddenly cut from the grid), the generator shuts down automatically to prevent overspeed.

         

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          HothMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re: Economics

          http://www.eesi.org/smart-grid-how-does-it-work-and-why-do-we-need-it-08-jan-2009

          http://www.oe.e nergy.gov/smartgrid.htm

          http://www.cio.com/article/492267/Why_We_Need_a_Smart_Power_Grid

          I cant find the one I want but the cio.com is pretty good at explaining it but doesn't go into detail I just skimmed the other two links.

          The system you talk about is the ideal but rare. The majority of power is consumed on a one way system that pushes power out and receives little or no feedback.

          The first time this was brought to my attention was when i read about a coal plant near chicago that is run all day at full power. This is always enough for none peak hours. During peak hours the fire up another smaller plant and run it at full capacity till peak time is over. They know the average, high and low by reading peoples meters and do there best to stay above the highest demand at all times whether right now is that high or not, because they don't know. If consumption increases they cant just say "oh throw some more coal on", the process takes time so they have to constantly be generating what is needed without really knowing what is currently needed.

          I was surprised when I learned about this too. To be frank it was something I researched heavily learned a bunch, then stuck it in the part of my brain i keep things I loathe but have no control over. So the information in my head is dated and maybe jumbled but I recommend checking it out on your own.

           

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

      Re: Economics

      My electricity bill goes up based on exactly how much electricity I use and the actual price of electricity (set in advance by negotiations between the power company and local government). No problems there. I can verify how much I used by going to the meter and looking at the readout. I can verify the meter is working correctly by measuring it - if I really wanted to, I could unplug everything in the house, make sure it stops, and plug something in with a known energy use and make sure the meter is accurate. If my bill doesn't match whats on the meter, I can dispute it. My water bill would be an identical situation.

      Both water and electricity are scarce resources. Here's the thing. Bandwidth really isn't a scarce resource. Find someplace with genuine competition and I think you'll see it isn't. However, even if it isn't a scarce resource, I have no problems with paying for *exactly* what I use.

      So what's the price per megabyte? Does the price relate in anyway to the ISP's cost for each additional megabyte? Will it be the same price both for up and down traffic? Will I be charged for the various traffic that hits my IP address that I do not request (from worms and port scanners and file sharing networks).

      Where's the independently verifiable meter? Sure, I could build a dual-NIC Linux box to function as one (as well as a better firewall than you'll find in a home router). But I doubt if TimeWarner will accept my readout if I dispute the bill. And I sure as heck don't trust some meter in the cloud to be accurate or auditable.

      Bandwidth caps as they are currently being proposed are another way for ISPs to double charge customers, and kill off upstart companies that threaten another piece of their revenue (video services, mostly).

      What I will not do is pay for an "unlimited" style price per month, and then get penalized with usurious rates that bear no relation to the actual cost for the additional bandwidth when I have no choice over who I get broadband from because the two companies that provide it are de facto monopolies who built their networks financed by local tax dollars.

       

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      Michael, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 7:28am

      Re: Economics

      You do not need to generate bandwidth as you do electricity. The comparison is silly.

       

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    A Dan (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Torsion

    Please don't mention testicular torsion. Any time I think about that I feel it's happening to me, which is a really unpleasant sensation. It's just like I don't want to imagine someone torturing me, or what it would be like to choke to death.

     

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    sevenof9fl (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

    Um . . . wait . .

    Is Britt serious or did I sleep til April 1st?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:53pm

    this guy is so full of shit.

    when i hear UBB, i'm thinking a cheap connection fee (with some sort of cap) with my (extra) usage on top. so that maybe grandma can get broadband for 10-15/month. i don't think anyone would have a problem with that- even the hogs.

    but you know these assholes would just keep the "connection fee" at $50-60, have a low cap and then beat you to death on the UBB.

     

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    Jon B. (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    I came to say the same thing about electricity, but respectfully, because I like Tim.

    That said, the bit Tim quoted doesn't sound particularly bad to me. People's paid utilities - electricity, gas, and water - are metered, so metering bandwidth isn't that big of a stretch. Now the wholesale cost of bandwidth doesn't have quite as direct a relationship to usage as other utilities, but there is a relationship.

    It's a bit funny that it hasn't been that long since people were clamoring for a la carte cable channels, which is a mostly silly concept. "Why do I pay for all these channels I don't use?" Because somehow blocking those channels just for you would cost more than you think you'd be saving.

    I think bandwidth throttling make a helluva lot more sense. That's what we have now. But maybe I'm wrong:

    In the future, as max internet speeds increase, the divide between the bandwidth of heavy users and light users increase. Maybe the light users should pay less. My suggestion is to simply use speed throttling, but that may not be reasonable. For example, a "light user" may be someone who watches 4 hours of streaming video a month. A heavy user may be someone who watches 4 hours of streaming video a day (in lieu of TV, maybe even separate rooms, concurrently). You can't throttle the "light user" to the point where he can't stream high-quality video, or he won't get that 4 hours a month he's paying for. So, you need a better way to differentiate the light user from the heavy user if you want to make his 4 hours cheaper than the other guy's connection. Metering may be the way to go. As long as it's fairly implemented.

     

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      HothMonster, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:23pm

      Re:

      "In the future, as max internet speeds increase, the divide between the bandwidth of heavy users and light users increase. Maybe the light users should pay less. My suggestion is to simply use speed throttling, but that may not be reasonable. For example, a "light user" may be someone who watches 4 hours of streaming video a month. A heavy user may be someone who watches 4 hours of streaming video a day (in lieu of TV, maybe even separate rooms, concurrently). You can't throttle the "light user" to the point where he can't stream high-quality video, or he won't get that 4 hours a month he's paying for. So, you need a better way to differentiate the light user from the heavy user if you want to make his 4 hours cheaper than the other guy's connection. Metering may be the way to go. As long as it's fairly implemented."


      Isn't this how the system is already set up? The pricing is already tiered by speed. If I want to stream highspeed video or do large downloads I pay more for a faster connection. If I just use normal browsing I can get the cheaper and slower connection. If I am somebodys grandma that checks emails once a week I can pay 9$ a month of dial up or magic jack. If I want to upload I have to get a business class connection.

      So its seems they already have a system to allow different prices for heavy and light users. Now they want to say that in addition to paying more for a real fast connection if I take advantage of that speed on a regular basis I have to pay more because I am using what I got for what I got it for?

      """Why do I pay for all these channels I don't use?" Because somehow blocking those channels just for you would cost more than you think you'd be saving."

      Highly debatable but off topic so Ill leave it alone unless you wanna discuss.

       

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        Jon B., Mar 19th, 2011 @ 6:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Sure, what we have now is tiers based on speed.

        My assertion was that in the future, "light users" will require more speed (i.e. enough speed for streaming HD video), but less overall bandwidth (because they only use it a few hours a month), so tiers based on speed may not work anymore.

        I don't wanna get too deep into the TV thing, but I think my point is pretty well solid for analog cable and satellite where one-way communication is it. Digital cable may be different. But turning on and off individual channels per user is costly and harder to maintain. Yeah, it's off topic, but I was just making the comparison to the situation here.

         

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

      Re:

      Jon:

      Others have offered explanations as to why Broadband and utilities like electricity are different: consumption by the end user causing rise in consumption at the power company, the existence of marginal costs for the power companies vs. mostly sunk costs for the broadband provider, etc. But here's a couple other things to think about when considering broadband as a utility:

      1. If AT&T wants the benefits of providing a utility, they have to accept the responsibilities of that as well. Chiefly, this means virtually ZERO outtages that aren't a result of "Acts of God", disaster, terrorism, etc. Are they living up to their end on that?

      2. Broadband would have to be neutral. ComEd doesn't care if they're supplying their power to my TV, my wireless router, my phone, or my DVR. It's just power. Does Time Warner behave that way?

      3. True national access. No more of this rural area bias nonsense if you're a utility. You have to make yourself available to everyone (speaking of broadband in general). Does AT&T and Time Warner do that?

      4. Abundance of bandwidth. When's the last time you butted up against the limits of water in your home? Or power? Other than due to a reaction to natural occurrences (like a heatwave, for instance), when was the last time your power company "throttled back" your electricity or water? Does AT&T or Time Warner behave this way?

      The problem is that this talk is crap. With point number 4 above, even if they meter as a utility, they STILL have to vastly upgrade their infrastructure. But that isn't what they're talking about, is it? They're saying they have to meter to work within the EXISTING infrastructure.

      That isn't how utilities work....

       

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        ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

        Re: Re:

        "...Abundance of bandwidth. When's the last time you butted up against the limits of water in your home? Or power? Other than due to a reaction to natural occurrences (like a heatwave, for instance), when was the last time your power company "throttled back" your electricity or water? Does AT&T or Time Warner behave this way?...."

        DH - you clearly don't live in the North East (US) do you?

        Your caveat "due natural occurrences" is misleading. In a heatwave there is not less electricity. There is more demand. There may be so much demand that the power station has rolling brown-outs - aka throttled access. Peak demand is peak demand. In the ISP world its by time of day. In electric/gas world it's by the time of year (and then by the time of day).

        In terms of water, Rusty and lead infiltrated water is the norm due to old infrastructure. Rust occurs when there is heavy flooding - or heavy usage. That's a QOS issue. Old infrastructure is old infrastructure. In the water world you can get away with 75 year-old pipes. In the ISP world 10 year-old pipes would be pushing it.

        It may not be an exact match - but it's pretty damn close.

        Having said that, I would think that the large ISP would want to stay away from a utility model, if nothing else because it become too easy a target for the municipalities to take control.

        The large ISPs DON'T want municipality run Internet. But if you look like a utility and smell like a utility - all of the sudden you're a quasi-governmental agency.

        -CF

         

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          Shooter (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 9:04am

          Re: Re: Re:

          ChronoFish skated right up to the edge of the issue. All of the metered services deemed to be utilities (such as electricity, gas or water) are subject to governmental oversight through the state utility boards. Ideally, these boards mandate a minimum level of service and infrastructure quality and place a cap on usage costs in exchange for an effective monopoly. The utilities charge a (relatively) low monthly fee for the connection to the grid, then charge the customer for true metered usage, subject to dispute resolution procedures.

          If I go away on vacation for three weeks, my utility bills are a small fraction of the usual amount; but my phone, cable and internet bills remain the same as every other month. This results in much greater profit for them. I don't see these companies offering to discount my bill for the reduced usage. The "service" (quotes used to differentiate them from utilities, not meant as a slight) providers want the best of both worlds. They want to rake in the cash without having their feet held to the fire when it comes to quality of service or universal accessibility. In most other industries competition largely substitutes for government oversight, but in many areas there are usually just a few (sometimes only one) "service" providers for consumers to choose from. So far as I can tell, the only reason that these types of providers are not regulated as utilities is due to the huge political contributions they make with the money they get from us. The "service" providers may claim that, unlike utilities, they provide "non-essential" services, and should therefore be exempt from regulation, but this is rapidly changing in our fast-paced modern world.

           

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        Jon B., Mar 19th, 2011 @ 6:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Tim, those are good points, but most of them really don't have to do with the topic. I didn't mean to say "DSL is a utility" just that the service is similar (but not the same!) to electricity in levels of scarcity and the dimensions of measurement.

        I'm not defending ISP behavior either. I'm just trying to step back and look at the situation in an 'ideal' scenario.

        I'm just giving an argument why speed-based tiers are good to the consumer NOW, but not necessarily good for the consumer later. Change the quote above from "guy who checks his email twice a month" to "guy who watches a couple HD movies a month".

        Now, you make a good point about infrastructure. The infrastructure required to meter EVERY user's bandwidth may not be in place. At the least it would probably require replacing your modem.

        The guy did say he thought there would always be an 'unlimited' tier.

        But regarding electricity, I much prefer living in a house where I can have all the Watts I want, and just try to stay below a certain number of kWh, as opposed to living in a house where I can only use 3kW at a time since I'm paying for the lower tier. Hypothetically, I get the same price either way, but my way, I get to turn all my lights on and watch TV sometimes as long as I stay on the meter.

         

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    Transbot9, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 12:57pm

    They tried that...

    This has been tried with dialup. The eventual failure of that business model should be a sign that this won't work for broadband.

     

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      ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

      Re: They tried that...

      Dial up didn't fail. On the contrary it was hugely successful. They had to (could) charge different rates based on time of day usage (and data consumption) because it was so successful. The only problem with dial up was that it became obsolete. Copper lines (and the switches behind them) have a max bandwidth (again - not an infinite good).

      DSL then Cable eclipsed the technology. It had nothing to do with pricing schemes.

      I mean once you're able to get backbone speeds (at the time) direct to your house at a not much higher price, why would you even consider a 56k dialup?

      It got to be considered so slow (due to the alternatives being so fast) that it couldn't even be given away ('NetZero anyone?)

      -CF

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Re: They tried that...

        Excuse me, I remember very clearly that dial-up was supplanted not by obsolence but by the various flatrates schemes people just didn't want to use metered and flocked away from it.

        If you weren't offering flat you weren't in the game, now that some people are comfortable in their positions they want to try and bring back that old model, which is harmful to consumers.

         

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        Transbot9, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re: They tried that...

        And you think the same can't happen here? Someone will eventually break their model with newer, cheaper, faster technology. If it succeeds, it will only do so for a limited time.

         

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    ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:12pm

    Hmm... I missed it...

    "...people who use very little broadband expect to pay less and people who use a whole lot may complain, but in their hearts know they are going to pay more than somebody who reads e-mail once a week...."

    I don't see where he's saying subscribers "want" to pay more. I see where he says subscribers will "expect" to pay less when they use less and pay more when they use more - but "expecting" has nothing to do with "wanting".

    I expect to get a ticket when I fly by a highway patrol car doing 30 over. I certainly don't want that ticket.

    Maybe I need to drink more TD cool-aid. I'm just not seeing the issue here.


    -CF

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

      Re: Hmm... I missed it...

      Maybe you need some more cool-aid, because the issues here are clear:

      This is not about network problems is about the bottom line, if it was about network operations they wouldn't be posting billions in profits every year.

      I used metered and I didn't like it, I remember very clear how horrible it was and when flatrates came along everybody jumped on them and if you wans't offering flat you weren't in the game.

      The costs of networks have come down significantly lattelly due to advances in technologies that not only offer faster speeds they consume less energy, explain to us all why do we need to pay for bandwidth when we have a perfect model that it is working right now? it wasn't a problem when the equipment was pre-historic why it is a problem now? it gets cheaper to transfer loads of data every year not more expensive so why is this BS about we need to control the quantity of data flowing? Because the ISP want to put more and more people on the same pipe and then it claims it is having a problem with congestion?

      Why would we allow that to happen? it will impact negatively future uses of the internet and possibly job creation as people are starting to do telecommuting, telemedicine that needs a fat pipe at low prices to operate,

      Laws need to be changed to allow, communities to build their own networks and IXP(Internet Exchange Points), the internet started public it was owned by the government I see no problems going back to government control or having a secondary network controlled by someone else but there needs to be a second network to counter this BS from ISP's.

       

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        Transbot9, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

        Re: Re: Hmm... I missed it...

        There are other issues with Gov. ran ISP services. Creating a false monopoly and the government having a big kill switch are two of them.

         

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    Josef Anvil (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    Reality check

    I really don't think Glenn Britt is insane enough to believe what he said. I think that he simply misspoke. He is correct in assuming that people who use the net less will expect to pay less, as that is just natural human nature. I don't think he meant that people will "in their hearts" know they are going to pay more. He most likely meant that people are sheep and will simply accept the tiered pricing that his company imposes upon them because they can and they will justify it by blaming it on usage. Not that it has anything to do with network congestion, but rather TW needs to increase its profit margin as its customers realize that they no longer need its cable TV offering or voice products.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:46pm

    Is this really a TechDirt article? Is there a point being made here or is TechDirt lowering it's articles to complete non-sequiturs?

    The author provides no rebuttal to the actual quote other than to say "I almost died reading it it's so bad, hahaha, here are some other outlandish ideas".

    Really, you don't even offer a real rebuttal.

    Internet service is another utility. I pay for water, electricity,natural gas, gas for my car, food - in fact just about everything - based on how much I consume. If TechDirt authors want to make a point against bandwidth capped services maybe they need to consider this point and make a smart rebuttal against it?

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 1:55pm

      Re:

      Take a deep breath. Now let it out. Feel better?

      Good. Now, this wasn't the typical Techdirt post. It was an attempt at humor and fun. There was a bit of a message (oh, something along the lines of how things don't just happen because we want them to) but perhaps it was too subtle for some (w/o a sense of humor) who I won't mention (you).

      That said, some people gave their rebuttals in the comments, as is often the case at Techdirt. One of them in particular was good at explaining why broadband isn't being treated like a utility by the providers either (the guy who wrote it is the most handsome man on the planet). Perhaps you missed all that?

       

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:00pm

      Re:

      Take a deep breath. Now let it out. Feel better?

      Good. Now, this wasn't the typical Techdirt post. It was an attempt at humor and fun. There was a bit of a message (oh, something along the lines of how things don't just happen because we want them to) but perhaps it was too subtle for some (w/o a sense of humor) who I won't mention (you).

      That said, some people gave their rebuttals in the comments, as is often the case at Techdirt. One of them in particular was good at explaining why broadband isn't being treated like a utility by the providers either (the guy who wrote it is the most handsome man on the planet). Perhaps you missed all that?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:13pm

    So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

    Hey DH, did you get paid for this post? If not, then you are losing because Mike *is* getting paid for your post through on page ads. You should be getting a cut. When you do the work for him then he gets paid even more than usual.

     

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

      Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

      Actually, you have it backwards. I am the parent owner of Techdirt and Mike works for me. Therefore he's making ME tons of money most of the time and I just thought I'd lighten his load a bit by writing a post for today.

      I also own you, coincidentally enough. I've actually been trying to sell you for some time, but unfortunately there's little market for the kind of stupidity that'd make Charlie Sheen look like Albert Einstein.

      Don't worry though, I won't give up. We'll get you sold, my uncreative little commenting cock-gobbler....

       

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        ChronoFish (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

        Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

        It's like watching Chad Vader get fed up, grow 2 feet and turn into Darth Vader right before you eyes. Complete with glowing red light saber.

        Nothing left of AC but a pile of steaming...clothes.

         

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:52pm

          Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

          "Nothing left of AC but a pile of steaming...clothes."

          His clothes are only steaming because I pooped on them.

          I shit fire, yo....

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:33pm

        Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

        I'll take that to mean you are not getting paid. Sad. The worst part is that you are butt hurt over it.

        You are the definition of shill.

         

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          teka, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 9:47pm

          Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

          You don't actually know what any of those words mean, do you?

           

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 3:42am

          Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

          The definition of a shill is NOT getting paid to write something for FUN and LAUGHS?

          What's your deal?

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 10:13am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

            You do not have to be paid to be a shill. I never said you were *good* at being a shill. You are a shill nonetheless.

             

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              eclecticdave (profile), Mar 20th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

              A shill or plant is a person who helps another person or organization to sell goods or services without disclosing that he or she has a close relationship with the seller. The shill pretends to have no association with the seller/group and gives onlookers the impression that he or she is an enthusiastic independent customer

              Seriously dude, it's Wikipedia and the first result on Google. How does the person writing an article on Techdirt manage to do so whilst pretending to have no association with Techdirt? You're making no sense!

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Mar 21st, 2011 @ 1:41pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: So 'insiders' do work for techdirt

                So, I should assume that DH works for td? Other than being a popular character from *outside* of td and having purchased at least an insider badge, DH has no association with td. At the point dh begins writing for td then he becomes a shill. Views of pages that dh writes are displaying ads and thus are helping make money for td. DH wants you to have the impression that he is an enthusiastic independent writer.

                 

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    eclecticdave (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 2:27pm

    How about ...

    "People will eventually come to accept that the US Constitution is an ancient out-dated document written by people with quaint, naive ideas that no longer apply to the corporate-led reality of the 21st century. Sure, some will complain, but once word gets around about how accident-prone such subversives tend to be ..."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    I think this BS is why Google launched their own satellites around the world and is laying down trans-oceanic fiber all around the world and building their own network(slowly but surely), this is maybe why Facebook and Microsoft should also get in the game of laying down fiber because otherwise they will be at the mercy of business people that want to harm their core business.

    If nobody knew one of the members of the CCIA is Microsoft, I know I was shocked when I read that too.

     

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    Jameth, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 3:25pm

    mmmhmmm

    As an engineer for a small/medium ISP, some of these comments really boggle my mind.

    The bottom line is this, there is a finite amount of data that can be modulated over a a piece of coax, in the air using RF, or on a fiber using light.

    Period!

    No amount of back end upgrades can change this.

    Until technology evolves (higher modulation of data), or everyone in the US has fiber literally ran from their house to the data carriers head end, this issue is not going away.

    The real problem is in the way broadband is marketed and sold. The whole ISP industry, much like the telcos, is based upon over subscription (not everyone uses at the same time).

    You want a guaranteed speed, all the time, no matter what?
    Guess what, they have those, and they are in the THOUSANDS of dollars a month price range.

    You want fast speed for $50 a month? Well you are going to have to deal with the reality that it is going to be shared to a much larger degree.

    The bottom line is the marketing of broadband in the US has created its own problem, it never was unlimited, and never will be, regardless of how hard they advertised it as such.

    As more and more people use services like Netflix to deliver their TV content, the more this problem rears its ugly head.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

      Re: mmmhmmm

      Then perhaps it's time to turn away from the Reacher Gilt model of business and add mroe to the infrastructure.

       

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      sevenof9fl (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 5:45pm

      Re: mmmhmmm

      Well, nobody thought my sarcasm was funny so I guess I'll have to weigh in on the one bright thought out of 75.

      I'd be willing to guess that 95% of the cable backbone in this country was laid as coax back in the late 70's and early 80's and has never been upgraded to Fiber. I know cable companies have their own basket of troubles with the way broadcast viewing is sold so it's anyone's guess as to whether the fact that they're crying "no money" for improvements is true or not.

      Where we went wrong is that "woullda shoullda coullda" Uncle Sam should have laid the backbone (as what happened in every other civilized country on the entire planet) and the cable providers leased the network and competed via their ability to built a better mousetrap via their delivery systems.

      Now, everybody and their brother and cousin is streaming YouTube, Netflix, Amazon, Crackle, your personal radio, not to mention file sharing, and some pesky bandwidth pig Flash application that every idiot web designer seems determined to run on every web site in the known universe.

      So yes, oversold bandwith on what amounts to a vast peer-to-peer neighborhood network is groaning under the strain.

      The glitch is that all the cable provides, in their greedy quest to urge people to dump DSL by promising "unlimited bandwith" (cable at the time being much faster than a split voice/data line any day) not only oversold their product but also never saw the explosion in bandwith gobbling applications and content coming Neither did the cable providers see the sea change in the way the internet has come to be used.

      Now we have, in the words of the bard, the engineer, hoist with his on petard.

       

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    Jameth, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    one more thing

    One more thing I wanted to mention.

    "Bandwidth" itself is pretty much unlimited, but the medium that "it" uses to get to you and from you is very limited.

    Usable radio frequency (wireless) is very limited.

    Cables ran under your town are in fact a VERY limited resource.

    Lets not even talk about fiber actually ran to homes.

    If you want to pay the half million dollars (VERY conservative number) it takes to bury a line from your local ISP's head end, direct to your house and only your house, I am pretty sure they would be glad to accommodate you, and probably even charge you a similar rate as to what they pay to have the data delivered to their head end location, which is certainly more then $50 /mo for 50 MB/s.

    Wireless spectrum is EXTREMELY limited, anyone who thinks that everyone should be able to get unlimited insane speeds all the time over wireless needs to do some serious reading.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 18th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    This is so stupid, we already pay for tiered internet bandwidth as is appropriate for his scenarios: the granny who checks her email once a week buys the $15/mo 768kbps aDSL, someone like most of the readers here who stream HD movies buys the 50Mbps DOCSIS 3.0 cable modem package for $99/mo (still a rip-off though). If the communications companies were giving everyone who signed up for $15/mo a 100Mbps symmetrical connection they'ed have a leg to stand on about capping and charging for usage, but they don't, so they don't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 19th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    I am still trying to get my hands around the concept that bandwidth is viewed by some as an infinite resource.

    Bandwidth had been likened here as a data "pipe" or "conduit", and like any "pipe" or "conduit" it does have a limit on the maximum amount of throughput that it can handle when considered in conjunction with the other components that service the "pipe" or "conduit".

    Should this naturally gravitate to a tiered system? Frankly, I do not know the answer. However, I do not believe it is accurate at this point in time to view current systems as representing infite resources.

    I do not know if it is an apt comparison, but perhaps the ability for persons to engage in DoS attacks illustrates the physical constraints inherent in current systems.

     

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    eclecticdave (profile), Mar 19th, 2011 @ 7:19pm

    Rate not quantity

    Several people have commented on whether bandwidth is limited or unlimited resource - all seem to be missing the key point. The question is not whether it is a limited resource - of course it is - the question is what is the nature of limit?

    Bandwidth is fundamentally a matter of rate not quantity - if a network has a maximum throughput of, say, 1TB/sec and a thousand subscribers then each subscriber can have a 1GB/sec link. If it has ten thousand subscribers then each can have a 100MB/sec link and so on.

    Tiers make perfect sense on the basis of connection speed - your ISP might offer a basic offering of 100MB/sec but if you want 1GB/sec you can have it for ten times as much - so you're paying for 10 subscribers worth of connection speed.

    Now, I'm oversimplifying here since all networks oversubscribe to some extent as not all their subscribers will be constantly downloading at the maximum rate all at the same time. Oversubscription means you're sharing your connection speed with other people and causes you to experience a variable rate. If you have a 1GB/sec connection on a 1:50 ratio you have a maximum rate of 1GB/sec when you're the only one online out the 50 and a minimum rate of 20MB/sec (ouch!) when everyone is downloading at the same time. (In practice however, there is usually flexibility to spread the high-usage subscribers around the network so that no-one gets really slow connections for long, except where the network is under a lot a strain overall).

    Tiers also make sense for contention ratios - pay more if you want a 1:20 ratio instead of 1:50. Perfectly reasonable.

    Notice that download quantity has yet to make an appearance here. Quantities indirectly affect the average connection speed - if you're on a 1:50 ratio but everybody in your group only downloads email once a week then you can expect to nearly always get the maximum connection speed. As more people in your group do more online then your connection speed is more variable and is therefore lower on average.

    Here's the clincher - when you're sold a connection it will always be on the basis of the maximum connection speed. It is not usually easy to even find out the contention ratio, much less the average rate you can expect. This means that you are already paying for a connection speed that you are almost certainly not getting most of the time. If your ISP is also charging for the amount you download, then they are effectively charging you twice for the same bytes!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 20th, 2011 @ 12:41am

    One woman feeding him grapes while another woman feeds on his grapes?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 22nd, 2011 @ 11:41am

    Please never write for this site again. Thanks.

     

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


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