Google Stadia Is About To Show Everyone Why Broadband Usage Caps Are Bullshit

from the running-straight-at-a-wall dept

We've noted for years how broadband providers have increasingly imposed arbitrary, confusing, and punitive usage caps and overage fees to cash in on the lack of competition in US broadband. Not only have industry executives admitted these limits aren't technically necessary, they've increasingly been abused to hamstring competitors. AT&T, for example, doesn't impose the limits on its broadband customers who use its streaming video service (DirecTV Now), but will impose the added charges if you use a competitor like Netflix.

For more than a decade ISPs have slowly but surely imposed such limits hoping that consumers wouldn't notice (think of the frog in the pot of boiling water metaphor with you as the frog). But as video streaming services have increasingly embraced high-bandwidth 4K streaming, consumer usage has started to collide with this arbitrary restrictions.

On the other hand, the rise of game streaming services like Google Stadia is going to blow right past these caps, finally highlighting the problem in stark detail. Services like Stadia eliminate the need for local gaming hardware, with all of the processing occurring in the cloud. The bandwidth consumption of these services will be fairly incredible:

"Google says that users who stream games at 720p, 1080p, or full 4K will eat through bandwidth at a rate of 4.5 GB, 9 GB, or 15.75 GB per hour, respectively.

Were you to stream Stadia games at full 4K, you’ll easily burn through a terabyte of data in less than three days. In the usage cap era, that’s a fairly obvious problem. Presumably, users would be looking at similar data usage for other upcoming streaming services.

Comcast, for example, imposes a 1 terabyte monthly cap on its users, who have the option of either buying buckets of additional data at $10 per 50 GB, or paying a flat fee of $50 (on top of their already high broadband bill) to remove the cap entirely. Using Google Stadia at full 4K resolution will blow through that cap in less than three days. And Comcast's 1 terabyte cap is among the more generous. Many DSL providers (like AT&T) impose usage caps as low as 150 GB a month. Many other rural ISPs have caps as low as 10 to 50 GB per month.

In the wake of the launch of Google Stadia (and other similar products from the likes of Microsoft) there's going to be a lot of surprised consumers with sore wallets. And that anger is only going to rejuvenate questions as to why these arbitrary and unnecessary limits exist (to make the telecom industry more money, duh) and why regulators have done absolutely nothing about what's a fairly obvious cash grab (regulatory capture and corruption, duh).

The other problem that we're going to face is on the net neutrality front. Many ISPs are developing their own cloud gaming platforms. Given the abuse of zero rating and usage caps in streaming video, it's very likely that ISPs will apply usage caps to customers who use competing gaming services but not their own, distorting the playing field, and harming innovation and competition. All told, it's going to be a crash course in why net neutrality is important, and why the recent tech policy fixation on "big tech" exclusively views the problems in tech through too narrow of a peephole.

Filed Under: broadband, broadband caps, data caps, games, stadia, streaming, streaming games, video games
Companies: google


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  • icon
    Thad (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:31pm

    I'd like to see Google Stadia create more consumer backlash against usage caps, but...I think your assumptions about the size of Stadia's customer base may be optimistic.

    Aside from latency concerns, the pricing structure looks very unappealing: there's no PlayStation Now-style tier where you pay a subscription fee and get unlimited access to a selection of games; instead, you pay a subscription fee and, on top of that, have to "buy" games, individually. Where "buy" means "not actually buy, but pay to access from servers run by a company with a hard-won reputation for canceling services."

    (Apparently there will be a tier later which doesn't require a monthly subscription fee, but that only solves one of the several major problems with this pricing structure.)

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    • icon
      Gary (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      And you need special hardware purchase to get you in on the ground floor. So I think they are planning on a limited rollout. But still, does not look like a good value so far.

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    • icon
      radix (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:35pm

      Re:

      10 Google half-asses a new service
      20 Few people use it
      30 Google cancels the service that few people were using
      40 goto 10

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:55am

      Re:

      You have a point, but I think it's a mistake to consider Stadia in isolation. They're the ones who will grab the headlines, but they represent a possible shift in the industry that will have the effect overall even if that particular platform fails to deliver.

      It's all optimistic at this point anyway, but there is something to be said for the idea that between game streaming, 4K patches, game subscriptions and higher quality movie streaming services, etc., many more people are going to be coming up against bandwidth caps much more often.

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      • icon
        Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:27am

        Re: Re:

        It's all optimistic at this point anyway, but there is something to be said for the idea that between game streaming, 4K patches, game subscriptions and higher quality movie streaming services, etc., many more people are going to be coming up against bandwidth caps much more often.

        Agreed, but not all of these things are going to have equal subscriber bases.

        I think 4K streaming is the biggie. (I could be wrong; maybe 720p will be enough for most Netflix subscribers.) There are a whole lot more people who stream video than play video games.

        Game downloads are big too; a whole lot more people are downloading games than streaming them. (That could change, though as I mentioned, latency and pricing structure are two reasons I don't see that happening in the immediate future.) Downloading games is a great way to hit your bandwidth cap quickly.

        I've been burned by overage fees a couple times during months I downloaded a lot of games. (I've since taken to checking how much bandwidth I have left at the end of the month and, if I have enough left over, pre-emptively downloading a bunch of games even if I don't intend to play them right away -- just in case I want to play them later.)

        Streaming games? I'm not sure how widespread that's going to be, or how much of a backlash against overage fees it's likely to provoke. Especially not compared to the other sources of high bandwidth use you've mentioned.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:45am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Agreed, but not all of these things are going to have equal subscriber bases."

          They don't need to, there only needs to be an overall effect.

          One of the major excuses they've used for not updating infrastructure is because the extra traffic is all related to piracy. If there's a significant rise in overall traffic directly following the highly publicised release of new services, that kills that argument.

          Of course, they'll probably start falling back on the lie that service providers are magically getting bandwidth without paying for it, but they should find it more difficult to do that when consumers start complaining about overage en masse, especially if the big services start releasing their bandwidth figures.

          "Game downloads are big too"

          Yep, this is a gradual thing, but will definitely increase as time goes on. With MS, for example, not only are they really pushing Game Pass on both PC and XBox, they offer free 4K patches for many older games. These can run into hundreds of gig of download on top of the game itself. Since having access to the Game Pass library will encourage people to download more titles, it's almost certain that people will blow through the smaller bandwidth caps very easily.

          So, yes, while it's possibly unlikely that people will start paying significant amounts just because of Stadia, the combination of legal services will almost certainly cause more people to be affected and demand action.

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          • icon
            Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:50am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I don't disagree with any of that, but the headline is "Google Stadia Is About To Show Everyone Why Broadband Usage Caps Are Bullshit" and the premise of the article is that Google Stadia is some sort of important tipping point rather than just one more piece of straw on the camel. And probably a small one at that.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 10:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yeah, I'm not sure a bullshit service will do much to prove other bullshit is bullshit.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 15 Jun 2019 @ 1:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well yeah it's an attention grabbing headline, no surprise there. But, we'll wait and see. As someone who has always had plenty of ISP choice and never had to deal with a cap on non-mobile bandwidth, I'm interested to see what becomes the tipping point.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 11:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm not sure how widespread that's going to be, or how much of a backlash against overage fees it's likely to provoke.

          Would it matter anyway? So there's a "backlash" against Comcast. Why should they care? They're already among the most hated companies in the US and it doesn't matter.

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          • icon
            Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:16pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's one more place that builds pressure for a government solution -- litigation, regulation, or both.

            Court challenges take a long time, but Comcast is facing plenty of them. And while it's true that we're not going to see any restrictions on Comcast's business model passed by this FCC or this Congress, we have presidential elections every four years and congressional elections every two years; the current regulatory regime is not permanent.

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            • icon
              nasch (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:34pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I don't see any realistic solution in the medium term besides competition from municipal broadband. In the long term (like 50-100+ years) maybe we'll figure out that the infrastructure needs to be a publicly owned utility with ISPs competing on top of that, but that will be a very long time coming, if ever.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2019 @ 5:12pm

      Re:

      Where "buy" means "not actually buy, but pay to access from servers run by a company with a hard-won reputation for canceling services."

      That's the entire point of GaaS. (Gaming as a Service)

      Interactive media, unlike it's non-interactive counterparts, is incomplete until a user starts giving it input. Further, the output doesn't require further processing to be usable by a human. Indeed the output is a video, I.e. non-interactive media. This means a user of interactive media can be entertained, while withholding the actual processing requirement as secret sauce.

      It's the literal holy grail of the interactive media industry that's unique to the nature of their product. With GaaS, the industry can rent games to the entire world forever. The "Disney Vault" concept can apply to the entire video game industry. Only this time ebay and other resellers will be of no recourse. As the only thing they, or anyone else, will have is a let's play video. The industry can rewrite the history of the games by deprecating the older releases. (Just ask WoW players about the Cataclysm expansion.) Or engage in mass group-think by retroactively changing older releases. The industry can boldly proclaim sales figures, hardware specs, and pixel counts that are unaccountable. The industry can distort the cost of actual production and maintenance of the service. In short the entire industry can become just as bad as Comcast and it's ilk, with none of the alternatives or risk of alternatives.

      Sure people will be quick to point out: "But what about the games already released? They can't do anything about that." Most of the games released in the last decade have some online requirement or are dependent on dying hardware. "Keep passing around the tapes" only goes so far. Further, new games means the gap between generations will only grow. Eventually, the cannon for a game may be completely different from how it was prior to the switch to streaming only. (Just ask fans of the Zelda franchise.) People will be disinterested in it as time goes on, and the current games become increasingly different, or irrelevant plot wise, from the older ones. Sure there will be a transition period while the industry works the kinks out, but the industry will want that period to be as short as possible. To keep as much of the newer IPs and big reveals to streaming only as possible.

      The only recourse anyone may have is to re-implement the game based on observation. Which you can bet will be made illegal as much as humanly possible, and the AntiCheat systems themselves will be on the look out for. Even if it's risks are successfully avoided, the task is impossible to do for every game. The sheer amount of assets that would need to be remade would make attempts to do so extremely time consuming. Prohibiting work on other titles. Nevermind the fact that a true re-implementation isn't anything like today's emulators or source ports that depend on the original copyrighted data. As streaming keeps the original copyrighted assets out of the hands of consumers, the single greatest risk to any such re-implementation efforts would be Copyright itself. As a re-implementation of a streaming game as a standalone product and the recreation all of the assets required to do so, would be a clear, by the book, classic case of blatant Copyright Infringement.

      GaaS makes "purchase" and "customer satisfaction" irrelevant to the industry. If it seems like a bad pricing structure to you, that's because it's designed to extract as much money from your wallet as possible, while giving you no other choice. To rent is to be subservient. To own is to be in control. Guess which one GaaS is for the industry and which one GaaS is for you.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:19pm

    More likely...

    Consumers will hit the cap first month using Stadia, and then either reduce the resolution they play at, or cancel the service entirely with the presumption that there's no way they can use it with their currently ISP.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:39pm

    To hell with Stadia, and any corporation that has wet dreams about complimenting of their global domination plans, and having complete control of all property until the end of time.

    May they play Atari's E.T. on emulators wired into their brains for the rest of eternity.

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  • icon
    Spaceboy (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 3:56pm

    All fine and dandy until Google decides to demonetize a developer because their game offended someone.

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    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 6:21pm

      Re:

      Valve did that with Hatred and a game that promoted rape on Steam. They should also go it alone if they're insistent on not being punished for their content. If you think it can't be done, look at how many downloads Deltarune: Chapter 1 were downloaded from the website after the success of Undertale and even resulted in more people purchasing the original game!

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:15am

        Re: Re:

        As with all the Nazis whining about being blocked from social media - these devs are not being blocked from selling their game. They're just being told they can't use a specific other person's property to sell it if they don't want to have it in stock.

        Strange how this never seems to be an issue offline. When WalMart (IIRC) decided to stop selling a stripper pole as a kids toy due to backlash, I don't recall there being whining about "de-platforming" and civil rights being violated when they did so. It was just business, and makes of that toy either sold it somewhere else or decided to make products that WalMart would stock.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:55am

      Re:

      So, you think that third parties should be forced to host particular games even if they lose business by having them there?

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    • icon
      Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:32am

      Re:

      Aside from the point other posters have already made about how private companies are under no obligation to host anybody's speech, I don't see any immediate evidence that Stadia will allow arbitrary uploads like YouTube. At least so far, it's a curated store. Games are reviewed and rated before release on Stadia. That's categorically different from YouTube, or even Steam.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:47am

        Re: Re:

        Plus, as I mentioned - so what? It's hardly unprecedented for a retailer to decide to remove a product from sale due to negative feedback. It's not an infringement of anybody's rights if it happens online.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's hardly unprecedented for a retailer to decide to remove a product from sale due to negative feedback.

          It's basically unprecedented for a retailer to revoke or modify a product from everyone who bought it. Google are using the language of "buying" games, but what happens if they change their mind about selling it after you've done that? If they stop hosting the game on their server, what can you do? You don't have a copy, and the "game system" you bought wouldn't have enough power to play it if you did. Maybe they'll give you a refund. Maybe. If they remove the best parts after someone claims they're offensive? The possibility of historical revisionism is straight out of 1984.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's basically unprecedented for a retailer to revoke or modify a product from everyone who bought it.

            Video games get modified post-purchase all the time. Revocation is a different matter.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            It's basically unprecedented for a retailer to revoke or modify a product from everyone who bought it.

            Have you not heard of product recalls because of safety fears? They are recalls for a refund or free safety modifications, It happens all the time.

            What is unique to software, games and music/video is killing a product by killing the DRM servers.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Safety recalls are not automatic and often not mandatory. If Google want a game I bought to be removed from Stadia, it'll be gone like when Amazon removed "1984" from Kindles. If the space heater I bought at Walmart turns out to be dangerous they won't be sending people into my house to get it back. (I mean, not yet, we'll see how things change with smart locks...)

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              • icon
                PaulT (profile), 15 Jun 2019 @ 2:02am

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

                "If Google want a game I bought to be removed from Stadia, it'll be gone like when Amazon removed "1984" from Kindles"'

                Those are two different issues, though. With the Kindle, that was very wrong - a contract issue between a retailer and supplier should not mean they get to take back the property you bought in a legal transaction between you and the retailer.

                With Google's Stadia, though? What you're essentially doing is negotiating a contract with them to access something on their property. If that contract is revoked, for whatever reason, it's not wrong for them to also revoke the access to their property.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 15 Jun 2019 @ 1:59am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Google are using the language of "buying" games"

            That is wrong, but you have to be pretty oblivious to what you're paying for if you pay for a product that's literally hosted on someone else's property and think you'll always have access to it.

            "The possibility of historical revisionism is straight out of 1984"

            That is hyperbole, but the fix for it is to buy physical property you own rather than rent something someone else has. No matter what language they use, if you can't hold it, you don't own it.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 15 Jun 2019 @ 8:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That is hyperbole

              Maybe a little, but we're in a world where Amazon literally removed the book "1984" from Kindles. If people were offended by some content in a Stadia game and started a controversy like "Hot Coffee", I'd expect the relevant content to be gone the next day.

              There's also the practical matter that, due to the speed of light, the datacenter will need to be close to the player, which means they'll have to comply with local censorship laws. As an example, Nazi symbols in your "purchased" game may disappear when played in Germany. Or courts could order things removed. You won't be able to escape this because you bought it earlier, or imported in from another country.

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        • icon
          Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'd say this case is a little different because we're talking about people "buying" games when they're actually just paying for streaming access. If Google wants to delist games and stop making them available for new "purchases", that's okay, but if they want to take them down entirely and block access for subscribers who've already paid for it, that's something I'd have a problem with.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 10:25am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            And the inevitable total shutdown of Stadia because reasons will piss people off, too. But Google has a long and storied history of doing exactly that.

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            • icon
              Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 11:45am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              I think there's a pretty good chance Stadia won't see much adoption in the first place, partially because of that long and storied history.

              I think it would have to "sell" those games for really cheap -- like a buck a pop -- for the value proposition to become more appealing than "eh, I'll just wait for a Steam sale."

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:03pm

    'No really, we PROMISE we'll support this one...'

    Between 'Requires actual high-speed, consistent broadband' and 'Will eat through a data cap in literal days' the market for this in the US at least is going to be mighty slim, and that's not even getting into the idea of a 'console' where your entire library can disappear overnight, run by a company that has an unfortunate tendency to drop things on a whim.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:18pm

    Here in the UK....

    The idea of usage caps, to anyone here, would be like returning directly to the dark ages.
    Even my phone averages 24GB/month, with that measurement coming closer to daily usage on my home connection. And I don't even have a Netflix account like most of my friends do.

    The US telcos need sorting out.
    Possibly in a manner befitting their behaviour, I'd suggest looking to certain popular Scorsese films for inspiration there.

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  • icon
    tom (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 5:22pm

    Yet another move by a company that moves us toward a world where the end user doesn't own anything but a collection of monthly service bills.

    Its not just the ISP drop to the end users that will be strained by this. Probably a lot of neighborhood trunk lines that will be swamped by the traffic if this and 4K video streaming catches on.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 5:26pm

      Re:

      Well, it was inevitable once they ran out of public property to privatise, that they'd move to privatise every last possible bit of our personal property they could get their hands on next.

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    identicon
    One Cheeseburger Away From Keeling Over, 13 Jun 2019 @ 7:49pm

    Oh, joy. Another GOOGLE puff piece.

    Actually will only prove that caps are necessary because the Laws Of Physics don't bend even to the opinion of gamers.

    After railing at bandwidth caps, the minion states surprise at the number of bytes

    The bandwidth consumption of these services will be fairly incredible:

    You cannot square railing and surprise. You know full well that's a heap of data, beyond most current installations.

    Now, I know Techdirt's / minion's / fanboy's position is that cable companies should spend any amount required for hardware / fiber so that gamers can waste their time in higher resolution, and yet should charge far less than at present, and in particular gamers who suck up most of the bandwidth should be subsidized by everyone else, but it's not reality.

    And by the way: while Techdirt constantly attacks cable companies for high fees, you never criticize GOOGLE for its advertising rates! Why can't we be "served" the same ads for a fraction of what it charges? Why are cable company profits BAD and Google's outrageous 30-40% profit margins for doing next to nothing GOOD?

    Anyhoo, I'm going to bet that this flops because the games won't be great and costs will be high.

    There's also a big implication you've missed... brace yourselves, pirates... because relies on central server sending massive amounts of data, not just rendering instructions, games soon won't be pirate-able!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 10:50pm

      Re: Oh, joy. Another ootb puff piece.

      Remember when you promised to leave forever bro?

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    • identicon
      abulurd, 13 Jun 2019 @ 11:31pm

      Re: Oh, joy. Another GOOGLE puff piece.

      The American public has been subsidising the telcos for decades and gotten ever-increasingly poor service for it.

      The truth is that telcos are nowhere near delivering the state of the current art in performance. The Grid, CERN’s data grid for transporting the data they generate to their tier 3 processing facilities, is 91 faster than broadband. Broadband as defined in countries that actually have broadband, not what the US telcos jocularly refer to as ‘broadband’, which is about the 1980s with regards to performance.

      If the telcos won’t provide service customers want, it should be up to the states to implement it.

      How long are you going to keep using this bullshit argument that ‘it can’t be delivered at that price’ when telcos are decades behind in technical performance?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:17am

      Re: Oh, joy. Another GOOGLE puff piece.

      "Actually will only prove that caps are necessary because the Laws Of Physics don't bend even to the opinion of gamers."

      Are the laws of physics somehow different in the US than they are in countries where there are not any bandwidth caps at all? Because I've never had a bandwidth cap.

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    • identicon
      Rocky, 14 Jun 2019 @ 3:23am

      Re: Oh, joy. Another GOOGLE puff piece.

      So, how much do you get for shit-posting here?

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:50am

      Re: Oh, joy. Another GOOGLE puff piece.

      Actually will only prove that caps are necessary because the Laws Of Physics don't bend even to the opinion of gamers.

      Gamer and IT pro here, the laws of physics say you are wrong, there's plenty of bandwidth to go around for this.

      You cannot square railing and surprise. You know full well that's a heap of data, beyond most current installations.

      You do realize this is a streaming service right? As such there are no installations of anything. It's a constant video stream with some return input.

      position is that cable companies should spend any amount required for hardware / fiber so that gamers can waste their time in higher resolution

      Um, what? That's not even close to what he said. As a gamer, personally I don't like the new direction of game streaming. I want to own my games and be able to play them offline or on slower connections if I want/need to. Besides high game resolution isn't the only reason people need fast speeds and no data caps. More people are telecommuting for work, school, and other life essential reasons. Putting an artificial cap on their ability to do that is ridiculous.

      in particular gamers who suck up most of the bandwidth should be subsidized by everyone else

      Um, actually gaming sucks up less than 10% of total internet bandwidth based on reports that came out late last year. Video streaming on the other hand takes up more than 50%. And since game streaming isn't actually a thing yet, you're just flat out wrong.

      you never criticize GOOGLE for its advertising rates! Why can't we be "served" the same ads for a fraction of what it charges?

      Well, I don't what universe you live in but I don't pay for ads and I use an adblocker so I don't even see free ads. So, you're an idiot?

      Why are cable company profits BAD and Google's outrageous 30-40% profit margins for doing next to nothing GOOD?

      Nobody said their profits were bad, just the method they used to get those profits. Google makes money off of a lot of legitimately useful, good, beneficial services. Yes, we should be concerned about the amount of data they collect on us, but that has nothing to do with their other money making products and services.

      I'm going to bet that this flops because the games won't be great

      Doom and Assassin's Creed are some of the front runners for their service. Your argument is invalid.

      costs will be high

      Remains to be seen as only some initial pricing has been announced. None of which is particularly outrageous.

      games soon won't be pirate-able!

      You just said this would flop. Which is it? Besides which, there's always going to be a market for games released traditionally on platforms like Steam. Your argument is once again invalid.

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  • icon
    MikeVx (profile), 13 Jun 2019 @ 8:30pm

    One more time...

    I've said this before, and, despite getting chewed on by telecom shills, I'll say it again.

    The only legitimate business model for being an ISP is selling unlimited connections. The only volume limiter should be the speed of the connections.

    Do not take more customers than you can handle on a perpetual saturation basis. If you can handle 1000 customers with saturated connections, do not accept customer 1001.

    In terms of volume, todays "data hogs" are tomorrows "carrier pigeons are more than fast enough" dataphobes.

    One of the problems with the issue is that it is not ethically possible to be an ISP and anything else. Since there is nothing in existence any more that is not in some way tied to the internet, it is a conflict of interest for an ISP to be anything other than a dedicated ISP that does nothing else. "Daves corner store and ISP service" would be in conflict because Dave would have incentive to favor his corner store in some ways.

    The current service model is a mess.

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 6:35am

      Re: One more time...

      If you can handle 1000 customers with saturated connections, do not accept customer 1001.

      There's really no need to go that far. If with customer 1000 your network at peak times is well under saturation, you're throwing money away for no reason if you stop accepting new customers. And with the woeful state of competition in the US, that's almost the last thing we want them to do, as then to get an internet connection, you would have to get on a waiting list and wait for someone else to move out. It's not as though they're going to invest much in the network, after all.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 Jun 2019 @ 10:51pm

    Less than 3 days?

    At 15.75GB/h you consume 1TB in ~63.5 hours. Thats less than 3 days round the clock, but about 2h/day for the whole month.

    You're still likely to hit the cap together with video streaming and general internet use, and it's much worse with lower caps, but the original wording is misleading.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:07am

      Re: Less than 3 days?

      This is economic Darwinism.

      "Net Neutrality" shouldn't be subsidizing businesses. Let them pay their freight for their digital footprint.

      An e-mail tax and a posting tax on video sites would be good as well, to keep the garbage to a minimum or at least to let it reduce the cost to others.

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

      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 1:20am

        Re: Re: Less than 3 days?

        "Let them pay their freight for their digital footprint."

        They do. The services pay for their internet connection and bandwidth used. The end users of those services pay for their connection and bandwidth used. Everybody is already paid.

        You are just trying to demand that the same bandwidth be paid for a third time, and are too dumb to understand why this is not an acceptable and fair business plan.

        "keep the garbage to a minimum"

        It wouldn't do too much to keep idiot children off the boards where knowledgeable adults are talking, though.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:14am

        Re: Re: Less than 3 days?

        ""Net Neutrality" shouldn't be subsidizing businesses."

        Please explain.

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

  • icon
    Karl (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 4:52am

    Some good points that won't get the readership nor serious consideration they deserve because of the use of obscenity in the headline.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 6:49am

      Re:

      While I agree that "usage cap" is an obscene term, I believe most people suffering under them will be able to get past their initial gut reaction and read the story.

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

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 8:29am

      Re:

      If you're going to pearl-clutch, at least learn the difference between profanity and obscenity.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:39am

        Re: Re:

        Are you suggesting that cap-free internet access should be considered sacred?

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          lolwut?

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 11:37am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Profane" is the opposite of "sacred". Some would say that the term "profanity" is only applicable to terms like "god damn" with religious roots, not "bullshit" (except where cattle are considered holy) or "data cap". "Obscenity", then, would be a more appropriate term.

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

          • identicon
            Robert Beckman, 14 Jun 2019 @ 5:58pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sacred is the antonym of profane.

            “... this isn’t profane”
            “So you’re saying it’s sacred?”

            This comes from old English and the catholic tradition that heavenly things are sacred, and earthly things are profane. “Profanity” is derived from that, as those terms by definition can’t be sacred.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 7:32am

    I don't have a usage cap. Still wouldn't waste any time or money on a platform where you have to "buy" things, but won't own them.

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

  • identicon
    I.T. Guy, 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:18am

    "game streaming services"
    As a gamer since video games started I will never subscribe to a video game service. Ever. When the day comes that everything goes streaming I will dedicate all of my technical ability to pirating those games.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 9:58am

    "game Subscription services"
    FTFY

    popcorn: check
    cynicism: check
    old school offline games: check
    I'm ready for the GaaS show

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

  • identicon
    Professor Ronny, 14 Jun 2019 @ 10:40am

    Many DSL providers (like AT&T) impose usage caps as low as 150 GB a month.

    I get your point but I've got DSL and there is no way in hell I could blow through a 150 GB cap in a month, it's just to damn slow!

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

  • identicon
    Rekrul, 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:16pm

    Services like Stadia eliminate the need for local gaming hardware, with all of the processing occurring in the cloud.

    Not to mention eliminating game collecting, game preservation, the ability to play your game if your net connection is down...

    Yeah, it'll be cheaper in terms of hardware required and maybe more convenient in that you don't have to insert a disc or download the game, but at what cost?

    "Hey Tim, wanna play some Striking Vipers?"

    "We can't, Google just deleted it yesterday."

    "Oh man, why? I loved that game!"

    "They said something about how the number of players had fallen and it was no longer profitable to devote server space to it."

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

    • icon
      nasch (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 12:38pm

      Re:

      There is some of that already. I can go back and play my Halo games solo or split screen, but everything before Halo: Reach (I think) has had the multiplayer servers shut down.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 5:36pm

        Re: Re:

        Which is a reason so many of us get so pissy about so many newer games having only online multiplayer, no LAN support.
        If I want to play the original Halo from 2001, in a 16-player LAN party, I have four XBoxes, and four copies of the game, I just hook them up to a network switch and we're good to go.

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

      • identicon
        Rekrul, 15 Jun 2019 @ 11:22am

        Re: Re:

        There is some of that already. I can go back and play my Halo games solo or split screen, but everything before Halo: Reach (I think) has had the multiplayer servers shut down.

        Even for single player games today, you can probably play the retail copy years from now (assuming they actually put the full game on the disc), but will you still be able to get all the patches and DLC? As far as I know, you can't really back that stuff up, especially if you need to replace your console. Because if you could restore it to a new console, you could "restore" it to a friend's console and that would cause the sky to fall!!!

        Is Sony going to keep all the patches and DLC for PS3 games available when they're pushing the PS6? Will they even let the older consoles still connect to the network?

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Jun 2019 @ 9:19pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The DLC thing is no big deal. Just sign in with an account with the rights to it, and you can download it on any console. At least on XBox; I assume Playstation is the same. That does depend on the stuff remaining available of course.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Jun 2019 @ 2:48pm

    The Bait and Switch of broadband

    One of the requirements of advertising broadband plans should be how long it takes to hit the cap using the advertised speed. I have seen services where you could hit the cap in a day and a half at full speed, but no idea that there was even a cap until you hit it head first. (And this was for a plan that used the word "unlimited" in the advertising a lot.) In any other form of advertising this would be considered fraud, but it is OK when the telcos do it.

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

  • icon
    Phoenix84 (profile), 14 Jun 2019 @ 3:08pm

    Optimistic view

    You have an optimistic view of Google Stadia.
    After their price reveal... it's DOA.

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


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