Tobold's Blog
Thursday, June 19, 2008
 
Fire extinguishing

As the post itself and the commentaries evolving from it proved to be too incendiary, I deleted my post about internet provider AT&T planning to cap monthly volumes to either get rid of, or at least get more money of, the 5% of users they say use 50% of their bandwith. I'm sorry if it appeared as if I was calling every heavy internet user a pirate, that was certainly not my intention, even if P2P filesharing is unarguable one of the top sources of internet traffic.

There is a pervading myth on the internet that the companies making money from making operating systems, software, providing internet services, or producing content like music and videos are "evil" if they don't give away all of that for free or at least under cost. I am a capitalist, and proud of it, and don't agree with that point of view. As I get paid for in my day job for inventing stuff, I have a strong belief that innovation costs money, and the same is true for the creation of content. If people are not willing to pay for technology and content, then innovation will dry up, and content will be reduced to amateur writing (like this blog), amateur videos and music.

I do know that having a capitalist opinion on a anti-capitalist platform is difficult. Nevertheless I insist on my right to have an opinion. You do have the right to disagree with me. You do have the right to voice your concerns about the downsides of the capitalist system, and the abuses of that system, which certainly do exist. You do not have the right to tell me that I'm stupid, don't know what I am talking about, haven't researched the issue properly, am not entitled to an opinion because I'm not American, or that I should stick to MMO reporting. If you don't want to read my opinion about politics, technology, or the capitalist system, feel free to skip those posts. If you want to read them and disagree with my point of view, state your own point of view without attacking my point as being invalid. There is no such thing as one universal truth about subjects as who the next president of the USA should be, or how the business model for internet providers should look. There are only opinions, and my opinion is exactly as valid as your opinion.

If flame wars errupt on this blog, I will make use of my right of censorship to extinguish the flames, either by deleting individual comments, or by completely closing or removing the discussion. On the day where I feel that I can't freely express my opinion at all any more, I will stop blogging. To those of you who are threatening to unsubscribe if I continue to express non-MMO opinions that you don't agree with, I'm still waiting for a good explanation of how that is going to hurt me, as you neither pay any subscription fees nor generate any advertising revenue for me. If you, my readers, manage to shut me up, I'm afraid it's your loss, not mine.
Comments:
Way to go Tobold! I missed the earlier flame war I'm afraid but your article makes a lot of sense. The internet ain't a socialist paradise. You want to ride the highway you gotta pay the toll.
 
Tobold, don't let the overly self-important commentators dictact what you can and cannot put on your blog. I agree with what your said and you shouldn't retract your post because of them.

I don't like having a cap but it sure beats having to pay double my monthly bill in order to offset the costs of these leechers.
 
Well, even if the original post's gone, I'd still like to mention my view on the topic, which has absolutely nothing to do with the flame war ;)

I'm also looking at it from a captalistic perspective, but with a marketing background. And for me the long-term success of cap-based pricing models is by far not guaranteed.

Read why at http://insidevr.blogspot.com/2008/06/price-of-bandwidth.html
 
If you want to read them and disagree with my point of view, state your own point of view without attacking my point as being invalid.
Wait, what? I can understand denouncing ad hominem attacks, but attacking your point should be fair game.
 
I DISAGREE with what you said, but I don't feel you should retract your post; It's your blog, you are certainly allowed to have your own opinion, even if I feel it is wrong. Hell, ESPECIALLY if I feel it is wrong, this is the internet after all.

I still, personally, feel that you keep setting up strawmen arguments. Instead of addressing the variety of points as to why people disagree with you, you ignore the reasonable comments, make a caricature of the opposing side (Those damn socialist anti-business pirates that see corporations as evil!) and then tear it down in a flurry of ad hominem attacks. I know this isn't a debate blog, it's your own person blog, but give yourself some credit here. If you feel strongly about your position, support it! Be proud of it! But don't use weasel tactics to make yourself feel better about having it. Challenge yourself in having that viewpoint by addressing the biggest critisms head on! After all, if you are right it will only make your convictions strong, and if you are wrong you will help yourself.

But still. You shouldn't feel the need to delete that post. I know it sucks when you get ganged up on, but it can be helpful, especially since I feel there were a lot of good comments amidst the not so good ones.

I challenge you to find some data backing up your statement "P2P filesharing is unarguable one of the top sources of internet traffic." You literally say it is unarguable, but you provide absolutely no proof whatsoever, just what your general feeling is on it. I think you are wrong, so on some level it IS arguable. If you can find proof to back up your statement I will eat my words and change my mind, but until then I will persist in saying that you are wrong. You are letting your own person feelings, your own past experiences with some idiots cloud your judgement.

Whatever. I love your comments on MMOs regardless of your ideology outside it. I don't plan to unsubscribe just because we disagree on some issues. This isn't a political blog, it's an MMO blog! I MAY unsubscribe if you tie in every single MMO post in the future to this issue though =P
 
The first study I found: http://www.ipoque.com/news_&_events/internet_studies/internet_study_2007

Critizised here: http://blog.wired.com/27bstroke6/2008/05/how-much-file-s.html
 
Karchon beat me to posting the Wired article, which discusses the issue, as well as the difficulty of getting exact numbers. For example Comcast is claiming that filesharing is over half of their traffic, while a new study states streaming media now beat P2P with 46 to 37 percent. What I was saying is that even if 37 percent is true, that is still a very significant number, much bigger than lets say online games or surfing sites without streaming media. Is anyone really believing that there is not a big amount of pirating going on?

Wait, what? I can understand denouncing ad hominem attacks, but attacking your point should be fair game.

Depends on how you attack the point. Caleb saying that he doesn't believe my numbers is fair game. People making blanket statements that my whole post and opinion is invalid and not thought out isn't, because it is in fact a disguised ad hominem attack. So are all attacks saying that "MMO bloggers shouldn't have an opinion on any other subject than MMOs".
 
Ohoho! I will take that revised statement if you want to make it official Tobold! =) I will very happily take "there are a lot of pirates", I was angry at you using terms like "mostly" and "majority" and things like that. My point wasn't so much that you had fuzzy math, it was that there are legitimate concerns about this issue on the opposing side as you, Tobold, and I felt you were far too easily discounting them by labeling them "Pirates" so you could dismiss their concerns!

Even with a large percentage of people using torrent programs, I also have to point out that torrent doesn't necessarily mean pirate. Although the roots of torrents are firmly planted in scallywagging, torrents are quite literally the wave of the future. They are by far the easiest, fastest, and most useful way to transfer information over the internet. The majority of torrents today are most likely still pirating, but that is going to change, and is changing. After all, we download WoW patches by torrent already, and you can legitimately buy things for digital download that download through torrent.
 
I still, personally, feel that you keep setting up strawmen arguments. Instead of addressing the variety of points as to why people disagree with you, you ignore the reasonable comments, make a caricature of the opposing side (Those damn socialist anti-business pirates that see corporations as evil!) and then tear it down in a flurry of ad hominem attacks. I know this isn't a debate blog, it's your own person blog, but give yourself some credit here. If you feel strongly about your position, support it! Be proud of it! But don't use weasel tactics to make yourself feel better about having it. Challenge yourself in having that viewpoint by addressing the biggest critisms head on! After all, if you are right it will only make your convictions strong, and if you are wrong you will help yourself.

There are several reasons why deleting ended up being the best option, even if it did destroy good arguments from both sides. One is that linking two separate opinions (piracy is bad & people should pay more if they use more) in one post was a bad idea from the start. You're right in saying that I shot myself in the foot by using piracy as an argument against unlimited volumes. The amount of filesharing going on has been estimated in various studies to be between 6% and 83% of total internet traffic (see links in the comments above), so there is obviously no consensus. I should have just stuck to the argument that people who use a resource more should pay more, because flat prices always overcharge light users and undercharge heavy users. There is a subject for an interesting debate here, because if a company has high fixed cost and low variable cost, a flat rate might still be the optimum solution.

The other problem is that people don't always react rationally to change, especially not if that change is a price increase. We often hear stories of "price gouging", be it from oil companies or telephone companies. Seen rationally, there is an easy way to verify whether you have been gouged: Most of the companies in question are publicly traded, and so they are required to make public their numbers on things like profit margins or return on investment. And if for example you compare the profit margins from Exxon, AT&T, and Blizzard, you'll find to your surprise that the one company that is gouging you the most is Blizzard, with their ultra-fat profit margin of 40% to 50%. AT&T and Exxon's profit margin are less than half that. The huge profit numbers you'll hear are gained by volume, not by taking a huge percentage.
 
I still cling to the thought that Fiber Optics will help to provide reasonable bandwidth caps.

Of course, if I have to decide between my cable and my DSL I'll take the DSL. It's my backup PVR.
 
Well, it could also be argued is that all that matters is net profit. Profit margins are interesting numbers, but if you are getting 3 cents to the dollar and making 17 billion dollars net profit off that, it could be argued that you can still price gouge, and perhaps should pass the savings on to the consumer to the point that you make 2 cents on the dollar. But I won't make that argument, because I am pretty much neutral in the capitalist/socialist fighting and appreciate the benefits of both =P.

I DO agree that your argument about resource use is a much, much stronger argument that doesn't draw in all sorts of baggage. I would be curious to know what exactly the costs of being an ISP are exactly. I am not into telecommunications, so I am unfamiliar here. Does it take more money when people take more bandwidth, and why? Bandwidth isn't a physical commodity, it is only limited by time as far as I am aware. I have to be missing something, but all I can see is that it takes away from the allotted bandwidth of other users in the same local cable network...

I'd appreciate someone in the know or with better webfu to explain the costs associated with being a major ISP, at least when it comes to amount of bandwidth. Fixed costs are VERY high, but the companies have received government welfare to help cover the laying of cable and such. What are the variable costs associated with bandwidth use by the end user?
 
There is a subject for an interesting debate here, because if a company has high fixed cost and low variable cost, a flat rate might still be the optimum solution.

And this is (one of) the reasons why games such as our Western-style MMOs tend to charge by the month rather than by the hour or the minute. I don't know what the cost structure for one's typical ISP looks like, but I imagine it is more fixed cost-heavy than the average industry.

With regard to the point about pirating, it's not that incidents of piracy are incredibly high, but rather than bandwith use per incident of piracy is so staggering compared to virtually any other internet activity. Additionally, the barriers to entry for internet piracy are virtually nonexistant, are so low, and the opportunity cost for engaging in online piracy is virtually nil (what else would you be doing with that bandwith while you sleep?)

Shouldn't we be attacking what makes piracy so attractive rather than imposing what amounts to blanket-wide sanctions?
 
its good that you apologize for your 'pirate' generalization. and i hope you dont respond to fiery comment with expletives. its too immature.

just dont lump all who disagree with you as trolls/flamers. you do realize ppl might have different opinion ?

in my opinion you are better / more objective in writing about MMORPGs. but that just me.

i have a little suggestion on blog topic :

i played LOTRO because i read about your journey in middle earth (farming and etc). seem like you havin fun back then. but i dont see that when you played AOC. so why dont you compare your impression on LOTRO VS AOC in 30 days ?
 
Shouldn't we be attacking what makes piracy so attractive rather than imposing what amounts to blanket-wide sanctions?

Probably also a too incendiary topic, because it lends itself to circular argumets: Piracy is popular because legal downloads / CDs / DVDs are too expensive vs. legal downloads / CDs / DVDs would be less expensive if everyone paid up.

I DO agree that your argument about resource use is a much, much stronger argument that doesn't draw in all sorts of baggage. I would be curious to know what exactly the costs of being an ISP are exactly. I am not into telecommunications, so I am unfamiliar here. Does it take more money when people take more bandwidth, and why? Bandwidth isn't a physical commodity, it is only limited by time as far as I am aware. I have to be missing something, but all I can see is that it takes away from the allotted bandwidth of other users in the same local cable network...

I have read, but haven't got a link to the source, that bandwith in the USA used to be plentiful because of overinvestment during the dot.com years. With the dot.com crash investment stopped, and now slowly actual bandwith usage is approaching capacity. Which means that at some point either bandwith per user has to be reduced (which could be done by capping), or new investment into more bandwith has to be done. So bandwith isn't totally without cost, because if you have to invest to give your customers enough of it, it costs money.

in my opinion you are better / more objective in writing about MMORPGs.

No, I'm not. My opinions about MMORPGs are exactly as valid as my opinions about politics or capitalism. Some people just choose to label me a MMORPG pundit and put more faith in my MMORPG opinions than into my other opinions. But other people might agree more with my political opinions and be vehemently opposed to my opinons on lets say World of Warcraft. I really do not like to be labeled as being only valid on MMORPG topics. In fact there are some other subjects where objectively I know more about than I know about MMORPGs, I just don't blog about them very often, mostly because it could get me into trouble at work.
 
And see, there is where we get to my disagreement with what they are doing. BOTH solutions are better than charging different rates with "over bandwidth" charges. First, capping speeds is MUCH more reasonable. AFAIK, some already do it. It isn't fun to have your speed capped, but it is certainly more reasonable than having to pay more money. Secondly, investment in additional bandwidth can be partially subsidized by the government, or hell, covered by an increase in rate charged.

What I am trying to say is that there are plenty of ways to fix the problem that doesn't throw out something very precious to the internet. The reason they are turning to this particular solution is another agenda; They want to make THIS pill easier to swallow when the time comes.
 
I'm a bit confused by this debate, probably due to not knowing how the pricing system for internet usage works in the USA today. In Norway your deal with your ISP usually gives you different uploading and downloading speeds in kbps based on how much you pay pr month. Is this about the same thing, or something different?
 
Well, in the US it isn't quite as clear cut as that, but it is more or less the same. Generally, each ISP only advertises one speed, which is a pretty standard speed. They don't advertise specific speeds at all, at least on TV spots, they just give a comparison to dial up or a competitor (We're x times faster than dial up!). Generally they DO offer some different speed packages if you want a faster connection, but they usually aren't very good deals and most people don't know or care about the the higher speed options. I would hazzard a complete and utter guess to be that 85% or more of people just go with the basic speed. But I have to stress that most people don't even know it is the basic speed, they just know it is the speed associated with the provider.

So technically it is the same thing, but a WAY different feel.
 
Hey Tobold, without having read your 'upsetting' post (unfortunately, now that it seems to cause this whole debate) I fully agree with this very last post. Of course, YOU can decide on what to write about and how to do this. It is fair that people can discuss later on but as usual:
It's not what you say, but how you say it. And implying you, as the 'owner' of this blog, SHOULD not write about something like 'capitalism in the internet' is complete nonsense and quite condescending. But as long as the person doing this is expressing himself/herself in a polite way - just another opinion :-)

Cannot stand people who cannot stand other peoples opinions...
 
People making blanket statements that my whole post and opinion is invalid and not thought out isn't, because it is in fact a disguised ad hominem attack.
Indeed, and thus they are not attacking your point.

So are all attacks saying that "MMO bloggers shouldn't have an opinion on any other subject than MMOs".
Er.. an inverse Appeal to Authority is an ad hominem attack.
 
Tobold doesnt feed trolls, he sets them on fire :)

ISPs can charge whatever they want to charge, for whatever reason, so long as they don't hold a monopoly in the areas that they are providing service (and sometimes they can get away with that as well).

Welcome to governmentally regulated capitalism, please enjoy your stay. Pirating is illegal, and if pirating is most of an ISPs bandwith usage, so they want to jack the price for heavy users, guess who's not going to stop them.
 
tobold you can blog about anything you like. but you should realized some topic is just too hot to handle.

You should be prepared to get differing opinion from other pplm and to reply without resorting to deletion or obscenity. whats the point of deleting dissenting comment and leaving only comments that praise you, agree with you , adore you ?

Just like what wolfhusky said

"Cannot stand people who cannot stand other peoples opinions..."

this goes both ways you know ?

cheerio
mahir
 
It's kind of interesting - I have AT&T, and I was in the Conan beta. Which was eating what would have been my month's allotment on a seemingly daily basis.

As for the folks asking about costs for providing bandwidth, it's worth remembering that transmission of data along certain types of connection can get faster without requiring additional manpower or equipment. The tech for sending data down fiber, for example, can get better, and without any changes to your standard equipment replacement schedule you might find yourself with faster connections.
 
mahir said whats the point of deleting dissenting comment and leaving only comments that praise you, agree with you , adore you ?

Note that I deleted ALL comments, including my original post, not just the dissenting ones. And mahir, you've been directly responsible in part for that decision. I quote from your post in that threat: You called me "elitist", "holier-than-thou", "very immature", "stupid", and suggested that I "just accept the critizicm humbly". And all that with bad spelling and without using any capital letters. And then you are surprised if I delete the thread? Get real!
 
There are several systems in which a company can go about restricting unlimited downloading/uploading potential.

Charging a customer per gig download is ridiculous, especially for the amount that these companies want to charge. Being a capitalist doesn't have to go hand in hand with greed. That's exactly what is happening here. As the years go on bandwidth has gotten cheaper, hardware has gotten cheaper, paying technicians has gotten cheaper, everything has gotten cheaper. This model is not cheaper, it's to make customers pay through the nose and inflate profits. The little known fact is that most internet providers pay double-triple what they actually put out in expenses. That's very good.

Besides that. Why do we have to charge per gig? The company I work for has multi-tier packages. If a customer is the average type of person who just checks email, browses pays a lower rate but gets capped bandwidth at 768k.
Those who want faster access can pay for a 4meg download connection. As the years have gone on our prices have remained the same, but we've upgraded the bandwidth per packages every year as it becomes cheaper. That way people still get unlimited access, unlimited downloading, but they don't get unlimited upload/download speed.
Capped.

Charging per Gig download is silly. The future of the internet would be destroyed by such a thing. It's socialist to begin with as well. It's built around the sharing of information and services. Sites like Youtube, news sites, television sites like NBC,CBS,FOX,Comedy Central, would be worthless. Noone could afford to watch the free content.

Sure there are folks out there that steal software. But I've never been one to punish the many for the faults of a few.
 
I wish I had read your original post. My comment deals with my Internet service provider, Hughesnet, satellite internet. I have to use them for broadband as my location doesn't allow for any other services, still waiting for Comcast and AT&T to come out to my corner of the state...

But Hughesnet has "Fair Access" Use policy. The gist of it is that if I use more than a certain threshold of downloads or uploads in a 24 hour period, they cut my speed to well below dialup, rendering my connection essentially useless for the next 24 hours. It drives me so freakin crazy, because the daily limit is a paltry 200mb! Yes, Two Hundred MB, and I pay more for the privilege of using their service than either Verizon, COmcast, or AT&T should those services be available to me.

With only 200MB, you can imagine my issues. On patch day, forget about it, I need to download the patches from work and burn them to a CD or DVD to take home and install on my PC. I do the same with uploading digital photographs as well. Movies aren't even an option. I find it hard to believe how antiquated their system is, but I suppose bandwidth in Outer space comes at a premium.

If only had another option. We're currently looking to move for other reasons, but I told my wife that I'm only interested in new houses with FiOS ready to roll.

SO for AT&T to charge more for higher usage, I say go for it, just don't make it too restrictive as Hughesnet has.

PS For MMORPG play in general, avoid satellite internet like the plague. I've adapted my play, but my DPS goes up tremendously when I play form somewhere other than my home.
 
I meant to say "The little known fact is that most internet providers (CHARGE) double-triple what they pay for upkeep/support/service themselves. That's very good.

on the 768k that's per second, not total. The 4meg is per second not total. Our customers could download information all month on our lowest package, but the download speed would not exceed 768k.
 
Charging per Gig download is silly.

I don't think anyone plans a straight charge per Gig download. The AT&T proposal was a 4 Gig for $30, or 20 Gig, or 40 Gig for $50 deal. Only if you went for one plan and ended up using more, you'd pay $1 per Gig of extra usage.

My internet provider actually gives me unlimited volume. Only once I go past my 35 Gig monthly cap, I either need to actively purchase 5 Gig "volume packs" for $5 (which are transferable if I don't use all of them in one month). Or my download speed is reduced from 6 MB to 128 kB per second. Essentially if I go past the cap, my DSL downgrades itself to modem speed. I'm never totally disconnected.

I wonder how many of you, living in a world without caps, know how many Gigabyte you are actually using per month. Might be a lot less than you think. I spend a large part of my life on the internet, and really, really rarely reach my cap. And I pay more for my 35 GB than the $50 AT&T proposed for the 40 GB cap. If I could get that deal, I'd sign up immediately.
 
Heres a thought. What if these bandwidth issues are just the beginning? What if the next step is for your ISP to start charging YOU the blogger for generating too many clicks per day? Would you stop blogging? Would you start selling ads to gold farmers to make up the difference?

If pirates are taking up 50% of the companies bandwidth, then I say they go after the pirates using law enforcement or lawsuits. Terms and conditions are there for a reason, and I don't think that I should have to suffer because of the actions of another. I have never pirated a single movie or song to my laptop/homecomputer nor will I ever as I consider it to be the virtual equivalent of pickpocketing. But it sure pisses me off to think that I will have to pay because some jerkoff is doing it 24/7.

Capitalism is one thing, but this policy represents a deevolution of the internet. Whats next? Do we all go back to the days of pre-paid timecards?

-Wolfgangdoom
 
Unfortunately this comment thread has gone too long so I'm not sure if my post will even be read.

The problem with plans where you sign up for a certain amount of bandwidth each month is that it puts users at the mercy of overage charges. Now I'm sure at first these overage charages would be fair like the 5GB per 5$ volume bundles that Tobold mentioned.

The problem is that American companies have shown a willingness to take advantage of overage fees like the cellphone and banking industry. Introducing plans and overage fees would introduce the same problems into internet service providers and probably negatively effect new streaming video sites like Hulu.

Charging a flat rate per GB of bandwidth used each month would have much less potential for being abused. The main reason ATT is going for this model is that I'm willing to bet a majority of their profit is from fees on their cellphone networks and not the actual monthly payments.


http://relmstein.blogspot.com/2008/06/gaming-and-tiered-internet-pricing.html
 
I am torn on the issue. On one hand I don't want "tolls" to be placed on some people, on the other, I look around at public transportation and every other instance where government heavily regulates in order to ensure equal price and access for everyone, and I see utter failure and public transportation hemoraghes money and has to be propped up with taxes.

I would not like to see companies responsible for the internet backbone to not pour money into R&D because they can't make money. Or those companies to sell that part of their businesses to the government.
 
I didn't get to read the comments on the original thread, but now the comments on this thread are re-starting the debate (I think). So I almost feel you should have stuck to your guns and kept the original post up.

People like mahair? Bad spelling, grammar, and especially bad argumentation reflects poorly on the writer. I tend not to seriously listen to people like that in a debate unless their point is valid to a degree that we can look beyond that.

Tobold : Kingdom of Loathing - Ghost of the English Language, nuff said :)
 
Welcome to governmentally regulated capitalism, please enjoy your stay

Here is the crux of the problem. Its the same issue affecting the US airlines right now. for almost 40 years the government has given the big telecoms and airlines interest free and low interest loans to bail them out anytime the economy gets rough. The problem is that these loans come with no conditions. What has really happened is they used the loans to subsidize thier rates allowing them to undercut the competetion. Now the Airlines are sucking wind because it's caught up with them.

Telecom is a bit different because they are using lines the government subsidized. But its the same thing that's hitting our social security. For 40 years very little maintenance was done on the lines because we deregulated too much stuff and gave the companies interest free loans to ride out the change. Now they are sitting on old antiquated lines and some 3rd world countries have better Broadband infrastructure than we do. And instead of embarking on a 25 year plan to upgrade they are trying to squeeze us all and do it in 3 years.
 
schroey while there tends to be a lot of hasty bad posting on the internet,( and I'm really bad about posting something as fast as I think about it and not editing it first) I think you need to remember that albert Einstien couldn't tie his shoes, drive or spell worth a damn.

Ignoring someone simply because of bad grammer, or spelling is usually the sign of an over-educated small minded person.
 
I did manage to read most of the blog + comments before it got deleted, and I have to say that I'm surprised that of all things, it's this subject that turns into a big flamewar. I wouldn't have guessed that beforehand.

Philosophically, I'm against the caps. I already watching the occasional streaming movie from Netflix, and it's my understanding that movie downloads from iTunes is growing rapidly. It'd be a shame to see this option dry up because my ISP started putting a cap on my bandwidth. If they have to do it, then so be it. I'd probably switch to a competitor if it was available. I'm not particularly happy with Comcast, but they're ok. Admittedly, part of me is looking for an excuse to go with someone else.

I see it like this: you were offering it w/o a cap previously. If you change the conditions of what you're providing, then it's in my best interests to see what the impact will be, and whether I should switch to someone else.

Like others have said, it feels more like a corporation getting greedy and wanting to grab a few extra $$ for having control over that last 1/2 mile between my home and their office equipment. I'm already getting nickel and dimed by both Comcast and AT&T. It wouldn't surprise me to see it get worse.
 
LOL - this is still a great discussion. Comments here are much more logical and well-considered than the prior post. Bummer that Tobold had to delete it, but I can also understand why. ;)

I wonder, thinking back to the original $200 billion provided telecos in '96, if cable companies can't keep up with demands and are looking at capping usage, whereas AT&T would have been part of that original payout and they're just riding the coattails of cable broadband issues for more revenue?

What I mean is, the baby Bells promised FiOS to homes by the year 2000. They were paid and failed to deliver. http://www.pbs.org/cringely/pulpit/2007/pulpit_20070810_002683.html. I'm guessing that cable companies weren't part of that government subsidy and built their networks out on their own dime, then got caught in a price war with DSL and weren't able to recoup. I don't really know all of that history, I'm simply a customer and front-end web developer. When I was on cable service, I was told I could get "speeds up to 6Mb!" which was never the case due to being on shared nodes. My speeds topped out around 3Mb at 4am (generally 1.2-1.5Mb during peak hours), and they were charging me more for that connection. Switched cable operators, which is an option that a LOT of people don't have, and received the exact same speeds. They simply have too many people on their dropped nodes where I live. So we switched to DSL.

Currently we're paying approx. $90 US for DSL service at 10Mb/sec downstream with 128Mb upstream...still very, very far from FiOS capable speeds.

I told Tobold that I have no clue what our household internet usage amounts to, but I'd guarantee that it's over a 40GB cap monthly. Probably more like 60-65 based on our usage of the iTunes music store but he is right, we have no idea and could be surprised at what our actual usage looks like. ;)

I can understand if the cable companies don't have the infrastructure to keep up - I think they've been functioning under a seriously flawed design from the start. I guess we might need to be asking why the phone companies failed to live up to their end of the funding for fibre? And we should start asking for monthly usage reports before caps are enforced if possible. I'd really like to know what my usage looks like before a cap is imposed. My regional DSL provider doesn't impose limits and are still seeing double-digit growth in broadband revenue; I've heard nothing about proposed caps in this area.

I don't mind paying for higher download usage (frankly I feel that I already am b/c my monthly bill is already fairly high compared to the norm), but I'd also expect higher speeds.
 
Cable companies do have the infrastructure to keep up.

Also think about this
With expanding wireless router access, how much fun would it be when your neighbor steals your wifi and downloads 60gigs of movies/music/etc and you get hit with a $30 overage fee. or Trojans, zombies, malware of all sorts constantly streams from your computer without your knowledge

I actually am a tech for a cable company. I deal all day long with customers who do not know their Monitor from their PC case. Their desktop from their boot menu. What windows version they're using, whether or not they're using IE, OE, or some other program. The masses are ignorant when in comes to computers and the Internet. They know enough to get on line.

You throw in overage and innocent folks are going to be hit with some hefty fees. Beleive me this type of system would end up hurting the common person more than then HIGH usage people.

I still contend that a few people as power users are eating up 50% of a companies bandwidth. I would find that highly unlikely. Especially knowing the stats on our system which are contrary to the what's being propagated around the internets in favor of overage internet fees!
 
Tobold said: And I pay more for my 35 GB than the $50 AT&T proposed for the 40 GB cap. If I could get that deal, I'd sign up immediately.

It’s not quite fair to make direct comparisons like that and I think your perception of the situation in the US might be skewed by your belief that we are spoiled under our current plans. As others have pointed out before, all levels of our government (local, state and federal) have heavily subsidized the infrastructure that allows high-speed internet. In addition, the “market forces” required for capitalism to work are really not in play due to the regional monopolies that our service providers enjoy. Our dollar is also devalued at the moment so while it’s worth less to you, I’m still making the same amount of money.

I have a question, Tobold. It wasn’t that long ago that an 8GB drive was considered large by computer standards. Nowadays, I don’t think you can even buy a computer with less than an 80GB drive and most are upwards of 300-500GB. My point is that it would have been unheard of to exceed downloading 15GB a month six or seven years ago, but today – 15GB might be downright commonplace, particularly for anyone who watches streaming video. With more and more content going online, we can reasonably expect that trend to continue for the foreseeable future. So does this static cap go up, or do we just pay more as our usage inevitably grows with technology?

Now consider that in the US, all our service providers derive revenue from three areas: Internet, Cable TV, or Phone service. In 10 years, the Cable TV and Phone service business units will have dwindled drastically as they are replaced with comparable services over the Internet. In addition, the Cable companies also receive significant Advertising revenue that disappear in favor of the online advertising giants like Google. If the service provider wants to make the same revenue, they have to start charging more for Internet services. It’s not entirely about them offering more service, but about them being able to make the same profit in a changing market place. The market forces at play are destroying their business and rather than adapt, they want to use their regional monopolies to exercise control over it.

This whole 5% of users use 95% is just sleight of hand to misdirect us while they exert control. You will notice that they didn’t say that 5% use more than 35GB. They don’t want to tell you that % because they know it’s much higher than 5%.
 
I don't understand why you bring up capitalism as an argument for internet providers. I'm not getting free internet provided by the state. I pay Ma Bell for my internet service (the most expensive plan at that). Yet it seems you are implying I'm a communist (or should I say anti-capitalist?), because I am complaining that a service, that I am PAYING for, may be changed drastically.

Obviously, Tobold, you don't see it as a drastic change, because thats all you know. Americans see it as a drastic change because we've been eating at the all-you-can-eat internet buffet, since high-speed internet has been on the scene. We remember the crappy pay-per-minute days, from AOL and early ISPs, in the late 80s early 90s, and thats essentially what paying per/GB is. It sucked then, and it could get expensive fast.

I don't think anyone plans a straight charge per Gig download. The AT&T proposal was a 4 Gig for $30, or 20 Gig, or 40 Gig for $50 deal. Only if you went for one plan and ended up using more, you'd pay $1 per Gig of extra usage.

To me, what you just said is paying per Gig. And the prices you quotes aren't discounts from current AT&T prices. Last I checked, $30/month is the cheapest DSL package you can get from AT&T. The guy who uses less isn't going to save any money. Instead, he's going to get a crappier service for the same price.
 
As the owner of a tiny insignificant internet radio station, if caps were put on bandwidth, I'm sure I'd loose a LOT of my listeners. Streaming audio would put most people over the cap in a few days. I have a lot of friends in Australia, where things there are capped, and I know they can't tune in to my station or risk being unable to play the games they love so much due to hitting the bandwidth cap quickly.

One person in particular I know, has a 40g package, and she plays 1 game, Second Life, and by playing that 1 game, she reaches her cap nearly every month. I'll fully admit, that SL uses a lot of bandwidth, going to clubs with live DJ's (streaming audio), even tv's with video feeds (streaming video), etc.. she has to pay overages constantly.

I guess its better than having no option at all but like another commenter mentioned previously, Tobold, imagine if you had to pay based on how many readers you had. You'd have a cap on the size of your audience. Would you still keep writing?
 
Your blog, you get to delete what you like. I never even saw the original flame war, but I can understand why it got heated.

The issue is that most of the proposed caps are SO low that they'll impact the average gamer fairly severely. This implies that the "5%" they're targeting are not leechers and file sharers, but rather everyone who ISN'T grandma and grandpa who only check e-mail twice a week.

Also, charging the portion who use the most bandwidth more is only equitable if those who use less bandwidth get charged LESS. But wait, you don't get a discount if you use very little bandwidth, you pay just as much as always. Under the current system the under-consumers are funding the over-consumers. These companies aren't losing money, they're still turning a tidy profit off their internet business, but if they charge the people who use the internet the most MORE, that's more profit! Ka-ching! Genius!

A great example is Time Warner's plan of a 5 gigabyte cap. If you had participated in the AoC beta you could have pretty much bought the retail game for the fees you'd have paid in overage charges.

I don't have an issue with caps, per se, so long as those caps are significantly high enough to not impact users who aren't engaged in rampant file sharing. The 250gb a month cap proposed by comcast doesn't bother me, the 5gb cap proposed by Time Warner is idiotic.
 
Tobold, imagine if you had to pay based on how many readers you had. You'd have a cap on the size of your audience. Would you still keep writing?

Sure, I would keep writing but put up a subscription system where you had to pay me to read what I write. In the end it is ALWAYS the end user who pays. And that is exactly my point: if through increased use of streaming media or other new applications the bandwith capacity in the USA hits a limit, what do YOU propose should be done? If you don't like caps, then more capacity infrastructure would have to be build. And the cost of that would have to be paid by the end users in some way. Either the price for everybody goes up, or the price for the biggest users goes up. All I'm saying is that it is more fair if grandma who is reading her e-mail once a day pays less for her internet service than somebody using lots of capacity, be it legally or illegally.
 
There was quite an interesting article on this in The Guardian today.
 
Tobold, please respond to sid67's latest post if you can, it's spot-on.
 
Tobold, what is being a capitalist?
If it means having the notion that getting payed for one's work is fair then I think most of us are.
The thing is Capitalism makes Profit the only end goal of the economic activity. That means that everything must be made in order to increase Profit and everything else around is tied to that goal.
When a company decides to invest into environmentally safe pratices is just because it will lead to more profit. If it's more profitable to pay pollution fines, it will keep polluting. This is the kind of Capitalism some people are against.
You probably are also a Liberal (in the European sense). Although i have some Liberal ideas myself, there is one point I cannot understand. Humans group themselves in societies because there are advantages in that, being security one of them. But i feel that the individualistic notion of both capitalism and liberalism fail to grasp the profound interdependence in one another. That coupled with a lack of understanding of social phenomena makes some people say absurdities such as "the poor are lazy". Nevertheless the prosperity of a society is based on the collective effort of everyone, so who in Elune's name could in good conscience negate a universal health care system? What kind of society allows a person to die from sickeness just because he/she cannot afford a private health insurance? That's my beef with capitalism.
That and the fact that Capitalism was the way that most of the world leadership of this time is Nepotic and Plutocratic. For example: do you really believe that there was another motivation in the war in Iraq than extending the area of influence, getting controlling of oil reserves and yes more Profit? That's the capitalism ugly face. As for the rest, i really believe that everyone should reap the benefits of their work. And the ones who work more should reap more.
Sorry for the off-topic. I just hope that you're not the kind of desensitized capitalist who finds normal to drive the price of grain skyhigh even if it means starving millions in the third world.
 
Your Blog remains the most consistent and fair I've seen, and the only one I've chosen to bookmark.

I'm saddened you felt the need to delete your post. Heh, it seemed you could sense the flames coming though!

Let the teenage pirates make their noise. Like buzzing flies, the only impact they can make is to occasionally annoy.

You, Tobold, actually contribute. And thank you for doing so.

*applauds*
 
I think its pretty simple. If ISPs want to charge people based on the amount of bandwidth usage, it's fine, but the caps should not be so low as to constitute a de facto price gouge. I don't want to all of a sudden start paying per gb. I don't have the patience to pre-plan my internet usage for the next month, nor the desire to get shocked with a $300 dollar ISP bill because I was bored and surfed youtube for a few hours.

In fact, I think the whole argument is basically about how big the caps should be, regardless of the Capitalism is good/bad arguments being thrown around.

The ISPs should give reasonable caps, like 50gb a month caps, and offer "booster" gb packages, like what Tobold has, that are relatively cheap and easy to acquire. I don't download a lot of files, so I'm sure I use less than 50gb, so I may be biased, but it seems at least somewhat reasonable...if you are going to implement caps.

But, the caps they are introducing do strike me a little odd, for my own personal reason.

The main problem is that the people who have been paying for high-speed internet for 10+ years, like myself, shouldn't be instantly penalized for using what I've been paying for those 10 years.

At least theoretically, I helped my ISP by giving them more money per month that they could reinvest into infrastructure, advertising and dividends... for the past 10 years. To be instantly relegated to "overuser" overnight is a major problem that I have with the caps.

When everyone else was using AoL or extremely slow dial up modems, I was one of the people with cable internet and fast speeds. While I was reaping the benefits of the faster speeds, I was also investing in infrastructure that is now in existence to even allow most people to also use high speed internet.

Basically, a cap system favors people who subscribe to a monthly service that is constantly available, but isn't actually used, whereas the people who use the service have a chance of being penalized for actually using the service.

I personally believe that if I pay for "X" upload and download speed, I should receive that speed for that month. Much like how WoW is and should remain: a flat monthly fee. I'm paying for the ability to play 1 hour a month, or 200 hours a month.

And one final thought. Once you start limiting how much content you are allowed to view per month, you are standing on the doorstep of internet censorship. Just like the picture linked by Caleb, if all ISPs implemented the same plans, avoiding anti-trust issues of course, then the internet goes from being free speech and ideas, to one giant advertisement that the ISPs have decided is safe for you to view.

Caps aren't inherently evil, and I understand the reasoning behind them. But at the same time, caps can be evil, if it penalizes people for using the internet for the exact reason the internet exists.

As someone who has always received high speed internet for a fee, to be told that now I am limited in how much internet I can have access to, I would think that I would either get a discount, since I'm receiving LESS than before, or have the option to still receive unlimited high speed bandwidth, and pay the same amount.

I don't know your readership numbers Tobold, nor the nationalities of your readers (how about a post about that, I'm sure you can look at IP addresses to see where your readers are located without giving private information) but I can tell you, I'm definitely an American. As such, for better or for worse, when someone comes along and tells me that I will now be receiving less of something for the same price, it upsets me and gets me a little angry. I didn't get to read your first post, and I certainly don't use ad hominem attacks (although I've had them used against me in your blogs before, even if by accident :P) I think this post upsets fellow Americans because we don't like getting less and paying the same for it.

We're weird like that.
 
I'm firmly of the opinion that a metered system is an awful plan and I admit, it's because I would have to pay more for it - or adjust my habits.

I didn't see the original post, but I would just like to mention that in today's world, there are lots of legitimate, legal reasons people would be using a large volume of bandwidth.

For one thing, I'm a huge fan of streaming television - I recently got the Roku Netflix player and even with the selection still being rough, I love it. But it's not uncommon for me to stream, legitimately, a DVD or two worth of traffic a night.

Add that to downloading trials of games, patches, downloading full betas - very quickly I have moved into the higher users.

I already pay more. I pay more because my plan is one in which I pay for higher download and upload speeds - in part because I'm impatient and in part because streaming video is very quality based.

Having to pay twice over - once to get things at a decent speed and a second for the amount that I end up getting - that is what seems unfair. And that is what most people are probably feeling. We already *pay* for a particular high-speed service - now the companies want to charge us twice.
 
I think this post upsets fellow Americans because we don't like getting less and paying the same for it. We're weird like that.

Ah, that explains your reaction to your incredibly cheap $4 per gallon petrol. Europeans pay $9 per gallon and complain less.
 
Why can't AT&T or any company charge whatever however they want. There are plenty of options for other people if they don;t like how they charge....
 
Actually in Denmark we pay US $11,21 for a gallon of octan 95 unleaded...

Then again we pay US $349.000 for a new Audi S6.
 
Ah, that explains your reaction to your incredibly cheap $4 per gallon petrol. Europeans pay $9 per gallon and complain less.

I have to say that monetary comparisons like this always bother me because it presumes that the person living in a country benefits from a favorable exchange rate. It’s like saying that because the Mexican peso is valued less than the American dollar -- things are cheap, so Mexicans don’t pay much for things. In relative terms, the Mexican is still paid in the same amount of pesos so the “thing” is not cheap to the Mexican. The point is that the perceived valuation is out-of-context to anyone not living in the country due to the exchange rate.

About 10-15 years ago, there was a really popular “white” apple that Washington farmers sold in Japan that could be imprinted with a logo. The apple fetched upwards of almost $100 US dollars in Japan and people in the US often remarked that they couldn’t believe that the Japanese would pay such ridiculous sums of money for an apple. Of course, in relative terms, the Japanese were paying a more reasonable price for an apple and it was only the exchange rate the skewed the perception. The Yen was simply worth significantly more than the US dollar, so Americans would viewed everything in Japan as being incredibly expensive.

It’s easy to say that when you travel to the US, you can buy things at a 30% discount due to the exchange rate. Relative to your buying power at home – that’s a true statement. Of course, to US citizens, there is no discount because we are still being paid the same amount. Quite the opposite actually, since our buying power has been reduced and imports suddenly shoot up by 30% due to that same exchange rate. That’s a pretty good cause to complain. Comments like the one I quoted from you are insensitive to that issue because it’s only making a comparison to your own economy. You also did the exact same thing when you stated that $50 is a “deal” for 40GB that you would take in a heartbeat.
 
Exchange rate only play a small part in that. I pay 6 Euro per gallon, which even at 1:1 exchange rate would be 50% more than Americans pay. The difference is mostly taxes.

And of course oil is an internationally traded commodity, where local fluctuations of purchase power don't work. The price of a barril increased not so much when expressed in Euro. But when the dollar fell in value, and the oil producers wanted to still get the same amount of money value for their oil, the oil price expressed in dollar went up. Local prices, especially for things like services or rent, are a lot more sticky, so they don't go up that fast when the dollar goes down. But prices for commodities like oil or metals do.
 
"Ah, that explains your reaction to your incredibly cheap $4 per gallon petrol. Europeans pay $9 per gallon and complain less."

I took this with a side of humor, but I can see how this could be taken other ways. We already have one fire on our hands here...no reason to start another.

To make comments like these you would have to start discussing all the fundamental differences between societal infrastructure and a comparison of private, as well as public, transportation methods or lack thereof in certain locations.
 
Well, I don't complain at all about gas prices. In fact, I find it humorous since my car gets decent mpg (about 30) and since I live in the city, rather than suburban hell, I don't have to drive much.

Point was, telling me that I've been paying "X" for unlimited bandwidth for 10 years now, but now I'll have to pay more, or use less internet, just doesn't sit well with me, or many other people.

I understand the caps, but it doesn't make them right. It's similar to changing a contract after you're already agreed to the terms, because you would like to earn more money from it. In legal terms, a breach of contract. It doesn't help when business and government have the same exact goals: increasing business profits. Because then people like me have no real recourse but to pay, or go away. The law turns a blind eye because the government and my ISP have agreed to breach my contract.

Gas prices aside, I brought up Americans because I am one, and because this blog is in English, I assume that there are other Americans who were posting. Maybe they never thought of it the way I said, or it isn't a concern, but I know we are pretty stubborn people, and once we get something for a certain price, we don't like being charged more for it overnight, for no discernible reason other than the seller wants to make more money.

Seriously though Tobold, I know you look over the number of hits you get annually, but I don't recall you ever going over where your readers live. It'd be interesting to see where your readership lives or posts from.
 
Strictly speaking, it’s easy to make a comparison of absolute values. However, my issue is that once you start asking why people complain or how they feel about prices, then the context is really about relative values in THAT country and the exchange rate doesn’t really matter. To determine relative value, the appropriate comparison would be to divide the local price by the median income of that country. The resulting % could then be used to draw relative comparisons between countries.
 
Exchange rate only play a small part in that. I pay 6 Euro per gallon, which even at 1:1 exchange rate would be 50% more than Americans pay. The difference is mostly taxes.

I have to add haveing lived in Europe that those taxes are why Europe has a far better Public transportation system than the US. They've been investing a portion of those gas taxes for decades in things like public transportation.

I think that is a huge chunk of the explosion on the other post. Our Baby Boomer leaders have been putting everything from social security debt, to infrastructure debt on the credit card and now all those bills are coming due. Its going to get a lot worse before it gets better.
 
The thing that always confused me with broadband marketing in the UK is that it's advertised as UNLIMITED. Which apparently means, as much as the PROVIDER wants you to use.
Now that p2p traffic, TV viewing over the net and so forth is on the rise, these companies who haven't invested enough into the bandwidth would rather punish users for using stuff that's unlimited. It's definitely unsustainable - and they're quite right to start 'traffic shapping' BUT we really, really can't accept UNLIMITED that isn't. It just isn't fair, and it's lying, plain and simple.
 
Interesting. You didn't care for being called "uneducated" on an issue, because someone automatically assumed that you hadn't done prerequisite research on a given topic. Yet a blanket statement such as, "Ah, that explains your reaction to your incredibly cheap $4 per gallon petrol," is automatically assuming that all Americans are whining about the cost of gas. I can tell you that those rising costs will curb my household's usage, but I think it's ultimately good for the world to cut dependence on what can become a scarce commodity from such a volatile region. It would be equally silly for me to claim that you're not faced with the same type of geographic challenges because of the relative size of our countries. Our societies are different so I'm not going to paint you with my brush - that would not draw a meaningful or realistic comparison. Making sweeping generalizations isn't really a smart way for any of us to go here...

We should probably all be investing more in alternative fuels, modern public transportation systems, and curbed personal use. That's just better for the planet in the long run.

As for the topic at hand, would it really be that difficult to target users who have higher bandwidth demands on a 24-hour table and tack on extra fees, rather than penalize everyone in a manner that looks like the broadband providers are simply trying to make more coin? I couldn't say with a straight face that I think telecos should aspire to make the same, or less, money than they are currently - they're in business to make money. But I'd MUCH rather see them making higher profits while offering better service. Offering FiOS to homes, cheaper services for lower usage, Wi-max to areas that fall into the "last mile." All of these would pacify a lot of the outcry of proposed download caps.

I think what's become very obvious in this, and the prior, discussions is how different our respective parts of the world are. How that helps shape our individual perspectives and how challenging life and communication will continue to be in a globally connected world.

And refreshing how may of us tend to take a break from our more distinct points of view when sharing the common distraction of online games. Nice to see there can be some common ground. ;)
 

Ah, that explains your reaction to your incredibly cheap $4 per gallon petrol. Europeans pay $9 per gallon and complain less.


Yes, but much of that is in the form of a gas tax, isn't it? That goes to pay for completely unrelated government services?

Really, until you have to bear the brunt of your own health care cost, everything is relative.

It's a bit galling to hear someone who gets four weeks of vacation a year tell us to suck it up.
 
What on earth was the point of pulling the original post if both the author and the responders are just going to continue the argument in the very next post?
 
As a Canadian living in Australia I think I can contribute a little to the original discussion.

When I moved out here (2006) I was kind of put off that the cable internet that I have here is capped, because I never knew how much my internet usage was.

I pay $44.50(AUD) a month for 2,000kbps speed with a 10GB limit. It is an extra $10 for 20GB limit or an extra $20 for a 40GB limit (there is a 500MB limit too for $10 less but that is just a farce).

If you go over their cap they slow you down to 56K modem speeds. I would link the price structure as a good example for how the American ISPs might do it but that would probably look like an advertisement...

As for usage, I game a lot with my wife, 3 hours a night, so in the neighbourhood of 120-160 hours a month of MMO gaming. For patches we just download them to each computer because it is more convenient. My wife downloads a fair bit of music, about 20-30 songs a week, and streams radio most of the day (local radio in rural Western Australia sucks!). I would classify our Youtube viewing (video streaming) as light, maybe 5-6 hours a month. I will download 1 game install on some months. Generally that 1 download is 1/2 of my monthly use.

I've never hit the cap, not in 20 months. The closest I ever got to my 10GB cap was ~9.2GB in a month, when I downloaded the high-def LotRO client. Generally usage is between 3.5GB and 5.5GB.

That's all without monitoring or curbing my use (and my wife doesn't even know we are on a cap, hehe).

If I DID go over in that month, the option to pay $1 (for an extra GB) to maintain my speed would sure as hell be preferable to having my speed cut back ^^ but as others have stated, being hit with unforeseen costs is annoying so the "cruise control" option might be more palatable for the masses.

Ultimately I would hope that slowing down the connections of over-users would only happen when other people need the bandwidth (i.e. during off-peak times).

Oh, and a walk to the local video store is good exercise :-)
 
The petrol comment was a joke, but the reaction proves n1ck's point.

I'm wondering whether increasing prices and capping volumes is actually a breach of contact. I'm pretty certain that if you read the many pages of small print you signed with your internet provider, they added some weasel paragraphs in there which allows them to legally do pretty much anything. And while I understand how annoying that is, I think the situation in other businesses is much worse. How about credit cards advertised with ultra-low interest rates, which then skyrocket as soon as you actually use them?

And nobody answered my question what they propose to do when internet traffic grows so much that the installed bandwith capacity is insufficient.
 
In an effort to find out how much bandwidth my family & I have been personally consuming I logged in to my account online, but that was no help. I spoke to an online chat specialist but she couldn't help me. I called Customer Service but the woman with the Indian-sounding accent couldn't help me so she transferred me to an "Account Specialist". The A/S told me what my bandwidth speeds should be, but couldn't help me with bandwidth consumption, so she transferred me to someone she said would have that information. The new fellow also told me what my bandwidth speeds should be and recommended a website where I could verify them myself. Finally I made him understand that I was after total bandwidth consumption, not UL & DL speeds. Naturally he couldn't help me so he transferred me back to another A/S and finally I was speaking to someone with an American (albeit Hispanic) accent...who told me he couldn't help me either.

However, he was aware of the tests Time Warner are currently running in Beaumont, TX, but more importantly, he admitted to receiving official TW emails stating that Broadband Caps will be coming to the Los Angeles area.

Folks, it's going to happen. Kick, scream, cry, shout, do whatever you want, but Broadband Caps are coming. And you can bet your bottom dollar that if TW and AT&T are going this route, everyone else will jump on the bandwagon.

Bottom line. After spending an hour online and on the phone, no-one at my ISP was able to provide me with my total bandwidth consumption for the last month or billing cycle, even though this is obviously information that someone, somewhere at my ISP and almost assuredly at yours, too, is monitoring.

My only hope lies with an anonymous Canadian living in W.A. whose internet usage appears somewhat similar to my own.
 
And you can bet your bottom dollar that if TW and AT&T are going this route, everyone else will jump on the bandwagon.
Or just enjoy the influx of customers fleeing from TW and AT&T. Competition is a wonderful thing.
 
And nobody answered my question what they propose to do when internet traffic grows so much that the installed bandwith capacity is insufficient.

I imagine they'll do what they did the last time, and the government will subsidize larger internet pipes. Unlike oil, bandwidth is not a depleting commodity. Worrying about running out of bandwidth, is like worrying that your 3Ghz processor is going to be too slow in 5 years. Current technology will become obsolete, as new tech replaces it.

Besides you are wrong, a few people addressed this when they mentioned FiOS as the next technology step from Cable/DSL. FiOS bandwidths are huge compared to today's pipes. You just chose to ignore this and take potshots at Americans about the price of gas.
 
FiOS is hardly relevant when discussing the capacity of existing copper cables in the US. FiOS is fiber-optics, thus requires new glass fiber cables to be laid. That will cost money, and Verizon will get that money back from the customers by charging them accordingly. I doubt that your monthly fee for a 20 MBit FiOS connection will be lower than that for a 6 MBit DSL connection. And nobody says that FiOS won't be capped in volume one day as well.

Technology is not always a cheap miracle solution. During the dot.com boom years it only appeared that way, because investors piled lots of money into building up capacities that ended up not being used all that fast. Cheap internet connections now are in fact financed by the people who lost money on certain dot.com stocks. I doubt that history will repeat itself exactly like that in the fibre optics field. Laying fibre cables costs money, and somebody has to pay for that in the end.
 
Competition IS a wonderful thing... when there is competition. Many areas do not have a lot of choice, and zero competition.

That is why the American government imposed universal service standards on Telecom all those years ago, to ensure that companies did not just cherry pick areas with the most population density and profit, leaving more rural areas in a communication black-out without even running telephone lines there.

Even so, as many have already said, their choices are extremely limited. Just because "someone" HAS to service an area, does not mean that there will be more than one such "someones" there.

Capitalism is a good system, but it has proven to fall apart without a few guard rails. The trick is finding the right balance, but it is overly simplistic to apply basic market principles like competition in today's complex business world.

Left on its own, those market forces will almost always gravitate towards monopoly and abuse.

That abuse lives long in our social memory (as I mentioned in the deleted post, the AT&T Hushaphone case being a great example of unearthing such abuse) so it is small wonder that Americans are up in verbal arms about these proposed changes. the ones who are most verbal are the ones who have the least amount of choice in the matter.
 
Missed the flames wars too, but I tend to agree that economic forces rule the world we live in today, and will continue to do so. However, I imagine that internet access will continue to drop in price, and may eventually cost next to nothing.

One thing that scared me even about your retraction, and also revealed some bitterness, which is unusal for your posts: "my opinion is as valid as yours" - how could you claim that? Maybe you know what you're talking about... and maybe you dont. Everyone has opinions, but no body has a god-given right to an opinion that is as valid as anyone else's. As a gross, very high level generalization, opinions that are less valid tend to give way to opinions that are more valid.
 
"All I'm saying is that it is more fair if grandma who is reading her e-mail once a day pays less for her internet service than somebody using lots of capacity, be it legally or illegally."

Yeah, it's called 10 dollar dial up versus 60 dollar DSL. Looks like the person who uses the capacity of the net less pays less.

And I worded it that way to say that caps are dumb. The bandwidth is a capacity, not a storage value. Yes it might take more hardware if it isn't already in place, but just allow everyone to get some piece of the line.

Don't break up the tiers more because you'll get too many grandmas paying 30 bucks for cheap dsl instead of paying 60 bucks for the faster dsl that they don't really need. More money if they pay 60 of course.

Just have limitations in place against power users during peak usage. Isn't that pretty much what happens with Cable? When they get so many of their registered users online that they go above the Cable's cap, everyone's speed will be slower than the advertised speed.

I don't understand why you had to bring up Capitalism vs Piracy in a post about internet caps. Did I miss something besides the flamefest?
 
This comment has been removed by the author.
 
FiOS is hardly relevant when discussing the capacity of existing copper cables in the US. FiOS is fiber-optics, thus requires new glass fiber cables to be laid. That will cost money, and Verizon will get that money back from the customers by charging them accordingly. I doubt that your monthly fee for a 20 MBit FiOS connection will be lower than that for a 6 MBit DSL connection. And nobody says that FiOS won't be capped in volume one day as well.

Technology is not always a cheap miracle solution. During the dot.com boom years it only appeared that way, because investors piled lots of money into building up capacities that ended up not being used all that fast. Cheap internet connections now are in fact financed by the people who lost money on certain dot.com stocks. I doubt that history will repeat itself exactly like that in the fibre optics field. Laying fibre cables costs money, and somebody has to pay for that in the end.


Except you keep ignoring the fact that none of the major US TelCos paid for the copper currently out there. It was all paid for by US government subsidies. The same is the case with the fiber lines that are currently being laid. All verizon is really paying for is the right to use that bandwidth to redistribute it. They don't own a single bit of it.

The reason people in the US get so up in arms over broadband pricing is this exact reason. The providers didn't pay for the bandwidth; they are simply authorized redistributers. on top of that, they've been advertising unlimited bandwidth consumption for a decade or more, and now they want to pull that rug out from underneath their customers? Bait and switch practices like this are highly unethical. It's not an inevitabilty, and it doesn't need to be done.

On a different note, I'm fine with tiered pricing systems. I require more available bandwidth, and am willing to pay for that as a premium. Consumption, however, shouldn't fit into the picutre at all. If a company can't provide me with what I'm paying for, then they shouldn't be offering it.
 
"The NBC Olympics On The Go software is designed to keep you up-to-date with the latest Olympic events. The software will initiate downloads without notification. Since the NBC Olympics On The Go software delivers large video files, it may use a lot of bandwidth. This software is not recommended for people with dial-up or metered broadband Internet access."
 
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