Music Freedom Or Holding Consumers Hostage? Letting ISPs Pick Winners And Losers Is A Problem

from the pushing-the-edges dept

With all of the current arguing over net neutrality lately, it's important to recognize that the people who actually supply your internet access have pretty much already figured out ways to get around anything the FCC is currently talking about. As we've discussed, Comcast (and others) recently realized that they can get the exact same solution (fast lanes and slow lanes, and getting big internet services to double pay for the bandwidth you already bought) by focusing on interconnection issues and purposely letting their ports get clogged. Separately, AT&T and Verizon are increasingly putting their focus on wireless over DSL/fiber anyway -- in part because they know that the original (now rejected by the courts) open internet rules and any new FCC rules don't apply to wireless networks.

AT&T has exploited this with its sponsored data efforts, in which service providers can pay AT&T so that their data doesn't apply towards the ridiculously low data caps they've placed on their mobile broadband offerings. T-Mobile has now done something similar, though it's not quite as nefarious. It's offering a program called Music Freedom, in which certain music streaming services (which can certainly eat up some bandwidth) don't count against the data cap. Now, unlike AT&T's sponsored data program, at least T-Mobile isn't charging the music services to be on the list -- but it is still a limited list of participants. T-Mobile is letting its users "vote" on other services to be exempted from the data cap limits.

Here's the nefarious bit about all of this: this is all promoted and spun as being for the consumer's benefit. And, in a way, it is. You get to listen to music streaming on your phone without any concern about it eating up your data cap. Consumers win! Except... not really. Think through the details here: consumers are "winning" only because some pre-selected services are being granted an exemption from the ridiculously low caps set by the mobile operators themselves. Now you see the problem? It's the mobile operator "saving" the consumer from the artificial limits the mobile operators themselves set up. And then the mobile operators themselves get to "pick" the winning services (T-Mobile) or see who will pay the most to be the winner (AT&T).

Saving a child from a burning building makes you a hero. Setting fire to the building to then save the child? Not so much.

And that's where the big problem lies. When the company that provides you access to the internet has the ability to pick the winners and losers for service providers, a key part of what makes the internet so powerful and useful... goes away. That they're spinning this as being for the consumer is particularly problematic. Down in Chile, they seem to recognize this. Just a few days ago, we wrote about how Chile has found that this kind of thing violates its net neutrality rules by giving preferential treatment. In that case, the issue may seem even trickier, because it banned so-called "zero-rated" social media apps. In many places where mobile data is paid for on a rate basis, Facebook (especially) and others have been able to better penetrate those markets by paying the local mobile operators for their users' access to those apps. On the one hand that seems great, as it offers up these services to users for free when otherwise they'd have to pay. But it also locks in the big companies with the money to pay.

Either way, what the T-Mobile program (especially) shows is that it is clearly artificially setting up very low data caps for no good reason. By offering Music Freedom, it is flat out admitting that the low data caps are not necessary because of any traffic issues, because it can easily handle much more data (for free, even). T-Mobile could have just said any music streaming service is automatically included -- but instead it chose to pick winners and losers -- meaning that consumers (and less popular or new music services) lose. That's a big problem. There are plenty of reasons why various internet services may succeed or fail, but adding in the end user's internet access provider/mobile operator to the equation just puts up another (very large) hurdle.

Reader Comments (rss)

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:24am

    How much is the RIAA and MPAA behind these machinations. If they can turn the ISPs into tied distributors, they can become the gate keepers to the Internet, and make almost all the profit from the endeavors of creators. The ISPs will find out their mistake when the have to start to pay for the content that they deliver, because the gatekeepers have gained control over all of it.

     

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    Michael, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:25am

    Saving a child from a burning building makes you a hero. Setting fire to the building to then save the child? Not so much

    Don't forget they are going to charge you for the ambulance ride.

     

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    Sheogorath (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:46am

    Let me make John Legere's argument for him before someone else thinks of it: "Just as Tom Wheeler is not a dingo, I am not an arsonist. And before John Oliver chimes in, the proof is in the fact that I have never been charged with such crimes."

     

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    John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:48am

    Music? Really?

    You get to listen to music streaming on your phone without any concern about it eating up your data cap.


    I don't need their help to do this anyway -- I just load my music up on my phone myself and play it all day long without using a single byte of wireless data.

     

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      Michael, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:50am

      Re: Music? Really?

      Pirate!

       

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        John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:34am

        Re: Re: Music? Really?

        Nope, all of my music is legally acquired.

         

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          Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:57pm

          Re: Re: Re: Music? Really?

          John,

          Out of curiosity, not of yourself necessarily, but of the trend, would the RIAA consider your usage legal (ie. broken DRM or some other), or is it all from older CD's or other that did not have such? (even then the RIAA might call you a pirate, incorrectly).

           

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:08pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Music? Really?

            I don't care what RIAA thinks for two reasons. First, the courts say that my use is not an infringement (so RIAA can suck eggs) and second, I haven't purchased music produced on a RIAA member label for about 20 years now (so RIAA can suck eggs).

            Interestingly, once I started ignoring RIAA label music I discovered the other perverse thing about the label system: it keeps you away from the really good music. Most of the truly incredible music being made is coming from the independents.

             

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              Zonker, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 4:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music? Really?

              According to the RIAA, buying music from independents is piracy because the RIAA makes no money from them. See Universal Music declaring 50 Cent's own website a pirate site for selling his own music. That is the true reason behind their every attack on the Internet. Still, the RIAA can suck eggs as far as we care because selling or distributing your own music outside the RIAA is not copyright infringement.

               

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Music? Really?

            Oh, I neglected to answer your direct questions:

            CDs do not have copy protection, so there's nothing to break. Most of my music is purchased as downloads nowadays, though, and none of them have any DRM to break (since I buy from independent artists).

             

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    Violynne (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:50am

    I can't wait for the write-up on YouTube's latest "screwing", which takes this issue and one-ups it.

    No, make that ten-ups it.

     

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      ThatFatMan (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:52am

      Re:

      haven't heard of this, what "screwing" do you speak of?

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:56am

        Re: Re:

        The "screwing" is a misunderstanding by most people and irrelevant to this conversation. Violynne, there is a "Submit a Story" link at the bottom of every page.

         

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          zip, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think there is really no need to "Submit a Story" on old news that's already been reported on and discussed by just about everyone on the planet by now. I'm sure the Techdirt writers would have known about such a big story long ago (And even if not, I had already sent in a news link shortly after this story 'broke' - and perhaps many other readers did as well)

          For anyone who missed it, Youtube will now ban independent artists who refuse to sign Youtube's new "my way or the highway" contract for its upcoming *paid* music subscription service.

          http://www.ft.com/cms/s/ea6728e2-f568-11e3-afd3-00144feabdc0,Authorised=false.html

           

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    ThatFatMan (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:51am

    Where is the FTC?

    A few days ago Mike made a reasonable argument for why the FTC should get involved in issues like Net Neutrality. I'm no expert on what the FTC does or how it does it, but it seems this kind of situation is more up their alley. Mike makes a good point that these providers, especially T-Mobile have just admitted, at least implicitly, that the data-caps they've imposed were artificial, and not consumer-friendly. I'm inclined to agree (but I'll admit I've always thought the data-caps were bogus so maybe I am a tad biased there). So what, if anything, can the FTC do here to help? How likely is it that they would?

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:54am

    "consumers are "winning" only because some pre-selected services are being granted an exemption from the ridiculously low caps set by the mobile operators themselves. Now you see the problem? It's the mobile operator "saving" the consumer from the artificial limits the mobile operators themselves set up."

    This is the precise argument I make quite often when I'm debating Christians/Muslims - their God sets up the problem (sin), then swoops in and saves the believer from the problem he himself set up.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:58am

    T-Mobile is setting themselves up to show that they don't need Net-Nutrality laws. They're only making things better by improving parts of their service. Then, when everyone has forgotten the debate, they start degrading services without telling anyone.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:09am

    Artificial limits? Really? Sorry, but you are incorrect. The first issue is the limits imposed by the radios involved in LTE. It is not artificially limited, there is a physical constraint. There is also the constraint of available bandwidth options to the cell site.

    As far as monthly bandwidth caps, I think you will find that there is a cost to purchasing bandwidth. ADM's and ROADM's are not cheap by any stretch if they are laying their own fiber (check out the cost of 40Gbps or 100Gbps optics). And if they are using LEC's then they are paying tariff rates for the circuits. Then they are probably paying even more.

    I understand why cell companies have limits since I understand the technology involved. In short, it costs a lot of money to move a lot of bandwidth around and have a robust, resilient network.

    Can you imagine the complaints about service if everyone was unlimited? The congestion would reduce quality of service very quickly if you happened to live near a few people who were streaming Netflix at high rates to their TV. It happens today on wireline networks to the home (separate from the interconnection issues), so how would a wireless network with considerably lower capacity be able to do the same? The answer is simply that it would not.

     

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      Sheogorath (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:35am

      Re:

      Choo talkin' 'bout, Willis? Everyone knows that broadband itself is unlimited, and if what you say about LTE radios is true, then that is a physical limitation, not a limitation of the bandwidth. In fact, according to this Wikipedia article, broadband is unlimited because it isn't just what we use modems to access, but also includes dial-up Internet, landlines, analogue TV, and more. Did you even try to do your research before coming out with that crap?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:18pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, as a long time network engineer who works with this stuff every day, no, I did not consult Wikipedia.

        Perhaps you could do some research yourself though? Then you could point me to the IEEE standard for unlimited bandwidth broadband. I'd be interested in the PHY and PMD specifications for such a standard.

        Or perhaps you could elaborate on why Comcast, et.al. do not take advantage of this 'unlimited broadband' in their networks?

        No?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 6:07pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Can you imagine the complaints about service if everyone was unlimited ... simply because that is what the customer was lead to believe they were purchasing?

          If it cost more, then charge more. Do not bullshit.

           

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          Sheogorath (profile), Jun 21st, 2014 @ 3:20am

          Re: Re: Re:

          AC said: Or perhaps you could elaborate on why Comcast, et.al. do not take advantage of this 'unlimited broadband' in their networks?
          Oh, gee. I don't know. Maybe to make more money out of people by imposing artificial limitations and then charging more for greater access? Because I do know that I'm surfing on an unlimited internet right now, courtesy of BT.

           

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      KoD, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:38am

      Re:

      Maybe he should have said arbitrary? The point is that data caps do little to help with data congestion. People still use most of their data during the same peak hours.

       

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        Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:39pm

        Re: Re:

        "People still use most of their data during the same peak hours."

        Sure. But they are increasingly conscious of it as they do, and thus moderate their consumption. In an unbounded plan, people would behave less discriminately.

        Furthermore, there are powerful secondary effects to bandwidth caps, specifically, developers are far more concerned today with building data-efficient apps then they were four years ago.

        A developer who builds a "chatty" app that consumes far more data than it is worth will summarily be uninstalled and one-star rated as "uses all your data". This is not speculation or theory, this is what happened ONLY after caps were implemented. Remember how the original iPhone affected the AT&T network. Crappy network in that era, sure, but no developer had ANY economic incentive to build a data-traffic-efficient app.

        Skip to today; app developers of bandwidth-intensive apps like streaming music and video continue to pursue better ways of saving data. Some good ideas, some not, but examples include:

        - better codecs
        - Pandora randomly stops and asks you "are you still listening?"
        - Apps cache as much as possible of the visual templates in the original install download, so as to reduce mobile bandwidth
        - YouTube now doesn't pre-load the whole video, but waits until you watch some before downloading the next chunk
        - video resolutions are optimized to suit the device, so that we don't send 1080p to a 720p screen
        - Samsung's notion that video stops playing when you look away from the screen

        Thus, even during peak hours, the positive impact of bandwidth caps is something I appreciate every day. If I pay more, I can get more, and I won't be crowded out by the tragedy of the commons.

        At Techdirt, we often talk about "chilling effects". I LIKE the chilling effect of incentivizing developers into thinking of data traffic as something of value > 0.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 12:15am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Furthermore, there are powerful secondary effects to bandwidth caps, specifically, developers are far more concerned today with building data-efficient apps then they were four years ago.

          And yet they are nowhere near as concerned as they were fourteen years ago!

          A developer who builds a "chatty" app that consumes far more data than it is worth will summarily be uninstalled and one-star rated as "uses all your data".

          Only if you can actually tell which app is using the data. You might not get a data usage notification until several days (weeks) after you install the app, so unless your device is able to tell you how much data each program is responsible for it takes quite some effort to determine.

          Crappy network in that era, sure, but no developer had ANY economic incentive to build a data-traffic-efficient app.

          Having an app be more responsive by not requiring as much data is certainly an incentive.

          I agree with you that data-efficient apps are a good idea and something we should strive for and encourage. I'm not sure that I agree with you that data caps are a good way to achieve that.

           

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            John Fenderson (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 6:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "And yet they are nowhere near as concerned as they were fourteen years ago!"

            True. Apps tend to use more bandwidth than ever, and often very wastefully. I don't see the where efficiency has been prioritized by developers at all.

            "Only if you can actually tell which app is using the data."

            If you're using Android, you can tell this easily. There's a Data Usage page in the settings that lists how much data each app is using.

            "I'm not sure that I agree with you that data caps are a good way to achieve that."

            I see no reason to think that data caps are encouraging app efficiency to any appreciable degree. They certainly have for apps that inherently use tons of data (Netflix, etc.) but other apps use more data than ever.

             

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              Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 11:39am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I don't see the where efficiency has been prioritized by developers at all."

              First, I didn't say "prioritized", I said "far more concerned". Obviously, most devs prioritize a good looking app that does something of value to users, spreads virally, and makes them $$.

              Where is there evidence of my claim? I can help you with that. For example, in 2012 AT&T produced a dev tool called the ARO (resource optimizer), with the obvious intention of helping developers reduce the load on their network and customer's batteries.

              The ARO was immediately used by devs, in fact worldwide, to evaluate their apps and see where they are causing unnecessary battery or data burdens. In the 2012 article linked below, you'll hear from Pandora who was an early adopter. Pandora's Tom Conrad has said that "Pandora is now able to use your data to much greater effect and with much less damaging effect on your monthly bills. "

              http://www.fiercedeveloper.com/story/pandora-zynga-build-network-efficient-apps-through-atts-aro-and -9-tips-deve/2012-08-14

              That's just a sample of the overwhelming evidence that devs are more concerned about data than before. They've essentially gone from giving 0 shits, to giving a shit. The same can be said of users. But even if users all use their apps at peak times, they'll be using more efficient apps.

              http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/pressrelease/41206.wss

               

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          Sheogorath (profile), Jun 21st, 2014 @ 3:24am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Derek Kerton said: Samsung's notion that video stops playing when you look away from the screen
          Tha Lord help Blind people who can only watch videos by listening to them, which doesn't necessarily involve looking at the screen.

           

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            nasch (profile), Jun 23rd, 2014 @ 10:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Tha Lord help Blind people who can only watch videos by listening to them, which doesn't necessarily involve looking at the screen.

            Do they really need divine intervention to turn that feature off? Worst case scenario would be asking for help at the store, I would think.

             

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          LHolden, Jul 30th, 2014 @ 3:52pm

          cache

          trouble is now we have data caps and apps trying to cache on phones with only 8 or 16 GB that cannot move apps to SD cards!

           

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      Rikuo (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:46am

      Re:

      Your entire post can be refuted very simply by re-reading this article, especially the part about preferential treatment for certain services. If the ISPs see no problem with certain services not counting against a bandwidth cap, then there is no physical difference against data coming from those services and data coming from any other service. The cost to the ISP would be the exact same.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:12pm

        Re: Re:

        Um, no you are incorrect. There is a big difference between streaming music @ 160kbps (typical Spotify) and video streaming at 1.5Mbps or more. Your claim is silly on it's face.

        And before someone chimes in the http traffic is low bandwidth, take a look at some of the pages out there. Especially the ones the stream video, and there are a lot of them. Since they use http port 80 or https port 443 (and is encrypted) there is no way to differentiate the traffic.

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:39pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There is a big difference between streaming music @ 160kbps (typical Spotify) and video streaming at 1.5Mbps or more. Your claim is silly on it's face.

          I think the problem is more a definition of bandwidth vs bandwidth caps (which really shouldn't be called bandwidth cap, but instead called usage cap.) What you are describing is bandwidth, i.e. how many bits you can theoretically push through the wire at one time. What my ISP charges me for is for a bandwidth cap of 4GB per month. My ISP charges me whether I eat it all in 20 seconds or spread it out over time. Bandwidth is limited, total bandwidth usage over the month isn't so much.

          There is no technical reason why AT&T/T-Mobile/etc., can't up their bandwidth caps while still limiting continuous bandwidth. If there are periods of the day where usage is high, than they can limit the bandwidth used by each user during that time (though, in reality, the protocol and cell availability will do that for them anyway.) The cell isn't 100% utilized the entire day, and there are plenty of times where a user can get an extremely high throughput. Bandwidth caps are, technically and in practice, a way of screwing the customer by forcing them to pay multiple times for the connection they already paid for.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 22nd, 2014 @ 3:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            There is a big difference between streaming music @ 160kbps (typical Spotify) and video streaming at 1.5Mbps or more. Your claim is silly on it's face.

            So what, 10 people taking advantage of cap free streaming will demand the same bandwidth as one movie, and because it does not count towards caps, they are likely to make much more use of such services. Therefore on can conclude caps are creating an artificial shortage to be used to extract more money directly and indirectly from the subscribers.

             

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          Rikuo (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 1:50pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "There is a big difference between streaming music @ 160kbps (typical Spotify) and video streaming at 1.5Mbps or more. "

          That is not what I said and not what is happening here. What's happening here is Music Service A which streams music @ 160 kbps (to take your example) is not being counted against a usage cap, while Music Service B which streams music @ 160 kbps (or maybe even lower, ya never know) is counted against a cap, even though at the end of the day, it's all data. They're fundamentally the exact same.
          Since they're the same, there is no technological problem being solved by what the ISPs are doing here. There is no problem at all.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 2:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            But it is also turning those selected services into gatekeepers, by requiring an aspiring musician or band join such a service or risk being ignored.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            OK, but how do you differentiate the traffic? I assume they have worked with these services and they know what IP and ASN to these services are coming from. That would be how they can properly classify it, but that isn't necessarily the case with new players.

            Personally I think they should add as many as can be accommodated, but as someone else noted, how would you tell the difference between video and audio from Google Play?

            You can't rely on the udp port it's coming in on. That can be changed quite easily to bypass constraints.

             

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              techflaws (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 10:18pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So he *was* right and now your claim was silly on its face?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 9:26am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                Um, not sure where you are getting that. Try reading his initial comment, which was not one music streamer versus another, it was about 'data' services. Then he qualified what he meant. His initial comment would have *any* data services treated the same way, regardless of it's impact on the network.

                 

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          Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 20th, 2014 @ 11:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Adding to your argument, Kris Rinne, the network exec at AT&T, said that some music streaming apps use 10x the data traffic what other optimized streaming apps use, with no perceptible gain in quality or performance.

          Whether you trust an AT&T exec or not is up to you, but it is not unreasonable to guess that some music services are more efficient than others.

          Given that, would it not be true that if AT&T partners with one of the efficient ones, and they work together to further refine the efficiency, the end result will be optimized for minimal data traffic? And then, would it not make sense for AT&T to offer THAT service for free, since it could actually REDUCE the total load on their network, by pulling customers away from less efficient streams.

          In this argument, I'm not saying it's right or wrong for AT&T to pick the winners. But I am saying that you guys are wrong to say "It makes no difference, a streaming service is a streaming service."

           

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      ThatFatMan (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      I remember when AT&T, Verizon, etc. had unlimited data plans. Some people have even managed to keep them, thanks to grandfathering. I used to have an AT&T unlimited data plan, and was grandfathered in. The difference in performance any time I used that data AFTER the bogus caps were put in place? NONE. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Nothing changed. It wasn't faster because data caps suddenly popped into existence. The only thing that increased was the rate at which these companies made profits.

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:10pm

        Re: Re:

        "I remember when AT&T, Verizon, etc. had unlimited data plans."

        T-Mobile still offers truly unlimited data plans. You have to ask for it specifically (and be vary specific), but they do offer it.

        That combined with this new policy of unlimited for everyone for specific places means that there is no bandwidth crunch, it's a ploy.

         

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          ltlw0lf (profile), Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          T-Mobile still offers truly unlimited data plans. You have to ask for it specifically (and be vary specific), but they do offer it.

          Also, note, that they *do not* offer it for data devices, such as USB modems or MIFI devices. And if you "tether" a smartphone to a computer, you don't even get the bandwidth cap of your phone (but instead are limited to 512MB.) However, this isn't a problem for rooted phones, cause they can't tell.

          But another thing to note is that T-Mobile just limits 4G speeds at your cap, you can still access the internet after you exceeded your cap...just at a much slower speed (the Ars Technica article says 128kb, but I know I've been able to access youtube after going over my cap with no problems on the lowest streaming settings.)

           

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    •  
      identicon
      Michael, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      Artificial limits? Really? Sorry, but you are incorrect. The first issue is the limits imposed by the radios involved in LTE. It is not artificially limited, there is a physical constraint. There is also the constraint of available bandwidth options to the cell site.

      The only physical limit to the amount of data that could be used is the supported bandwidth multiplied by time - which is EXACTLY how they bill it when they sell it (30 mb/s). Considering this is what they sell, their networks should support my use of the full amount of bandwidth for the entire time. Any usage cap is entirely artificial - it is the same as throwing out someone at the all you can eat buffet because they are eating too much.

      As far as monthly bandwidth caps, I think you will find that there is a cost to purchasing bandwidth. ADM's and ROADM's are not cheap by any stretch if they are laying their own fiber (check out the cost of 40Gbps or 100Gbps optics).

      Yes, it is expensive to build out a network to support a lot of bandwidth all of the time. However, that is what they already sold - if they have oversold their network, it is their problem to build it out to support what people are already paying for - slapping a usage cap on people is not a solution.

      I understand why cell companies have limits since I understand the technology involved. In short, it costs a lot of money to move a lot of bandwidth around and have a robust, resilient network.

      Yes, absolutely, but that is what they have already sold. If everyone in my neighborhood spins up Netflix at the same time, it is Comcast's problem - they are the ones that sold 1000 30 mb/s connections on a network that can only support 6.

      Can you imagine the complaints about service if everyone was unlimited? The congestion would reduce quality of service very quickly if you happened to live near a few people who were streaming Netflix at high rates to their TV.

      I worked in civil engineering for years making sure that everyone's toilet would still flush if two fire hydrants were being used on the block at the same time. If you cannot support the number of customers you have sold your service to, the FTC should be slapping you HARD for misrepresenting your service. Any other industry that oversells their product has to either refund their customers or build out more product (even the airlines are better than ISP's).

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 3:40pm

        Re: Re:

        Well, the thing is that the cell carriers *did't* sell you 10mbps or whatever the ISP's are selling. They sold you a set amount of capacity to use each month. Big difference.

        And I agree wholeheartedly that the ISP's should provide what they are selling. And that they shouldn't try to double-dip with content providers.

         

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        identicon
        Cecil Aadvark, Aug 20th, 2014 @ 6:11am

        Re: Re:

        You are absolutely right in what you are stating. These companies are taking our money as profits instead of using that money to build their networks to support the traffic that they have established by selling their service. In other words, we ain't getting what we paid for. These companies know it. Now they are imposing limits so that they don't have to build out their networks to support the services that they have sold to us. It's clearly bait and switch (which I understand is against the law). They baited us with bandwidth that they never intended to deliver. They take our money as profit and make excuses for stealing our money for services they never intended to render. Much as airlines and hotels overbook and make excuses why they cannot honor your purchased seat or room because they don't have enough to go around.

         

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 4:25pm

      Re:

      Then they should stop selling these services as unlimited LTE.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 19th, 2014 @ 11:31am

    Sadly a bunch of idiots are buying into this marketing garbage

    At reddit I can't believe the number of comments to this story that think this is a good idea.

    T-Mobile's plan guarantees that the established music streaming sites of today will be the only players in the music streaming industry of tomorrow.

    Those not big enough today to get the support for no data caps will quickly wither and die among T-Mobile customers when their more popular competitors don't have any data caps. And no start up investor is ever going to fund a new music streaming service, because it won't ever get the support to not have T-Mobile data caps.

    Under T-Mobile's plan, if you think the cable companies are bad, just wait till you see the Music Streaming companies of tomorrow that don't have to worry about new competitors emerging or needing to keep innovating.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2014 @ 8:28am

      Re: Sadly a bunch of idiots are buying into this marketing garbage

      Yup. /r/tmobile is just eating it up. Saying it doesn't matter because they aren't charging like AT&T.

      *Sigh* I don't even bother arguing anymore.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2014 @ 1:55am

    "Saving a child from a burning building makes you a hero. Setting fire to the building to then save the child? Not so much."

    More like setting fire to a daycare center then asking which 3 or 4 babies you wish to be saved.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    andypandy, Jul 16th, 2014 @ 12:33pm

    great article

    If the providers do not have enough bandwidth to give internet full access they should not be allowed to create caps they should be upgrading their network but this action proves they do have enough bandwidth they would rather use it to charge and make more money giving consumers what they should already be getting.

    Hopefully pointing this out encourages them to change their tactics and I am talking about the FCC.

     

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    Berkleys (profile), Sep 11th, 2014 @ 5:48pm

    Agreeable

    I think i agree with everyone above in one way or another.

     

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


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