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Comments on news posted 2011-11-30 14:44:24: You might recall that back in 2009, we mentioned a piece claiming that the "bandwidth hog," a term used ceaselessly by industry executives to justify rate hikes, net neutrality infractions, and pretty much everything else -- was a myth. ..

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pnh102
Reptiles Are Cuddly And Pretty
Premium
join:2002-05-02
Mount Airy, MD

Duh

You don't need a study to confirm this. Anyone with basic reasoning skills can see that a combination of low caps, high speeds and overage charges are just another revenue stream for an ISP. There's no financial incentive to upgrade network infrastructure if your existing structure can earn you tons of money in overage charges.
--
"Net Neutrality" zealots - the people you can thank for your capped Internet service.


ptrowski
Got Helix?
Premium
join:2005-03-14
Putnam, CT
kudos:4
Of course. But this is good as it is using real data to counter the claims of the ISP's an doesn't use the same mythical data the ISP's use. Poking holes in fiction with real numbers is always fun.


del ftl

@comcast.net

Laymans terms

I'm not a fan of car analogies but this is the gist of the report.

1% of vehicle drivers on the road travel a disproportionate amount of miles compared to the average driver. But they are on the road all the time. Most of the time they are on the road there is no rush hour congestion.
The heavy drivers are likely to be involved in rush hour traffic jams, but only represent a small, not terribly relevant, fraction of total drivers in the traffic jam.
Limiting the amount of miles a driver can drive, does nothing to widen the roads and little to keep people off the roads during traffic jams, thus does not help with congestion.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2

1 recommendation

Why we have caps

How quickly people forget.

»news.cnet.com/8301-13578_3-10004508-38.html

Comcast decided to throttle/filter bittorrent which was hammering their network. Bittorrent is one of the highest users of bandwidth.

FCC said that was illegal, and you have to disclose how you manage your network, and it must be fair.

No problem, 250GB cap for all... up front, disclosed, fair.

I think the crowd here won't be happy until they get the most speed available, unlimited bandwidth with no conditions at all for a rock bottom price.


thistool

@144.70.2.x
reply to del ftl

Re: Laymans terms

Layman or not great analogy.


JasonOD

@comcast.net
reply to fifty nine

Re: Why we have caps

Except, they were kicking people off anyway before that- roughly the top 1,000 hogs a month I think. Now they cap, but offer no overages. Leaving stockholders and customers that would prefer that option scratching their heads.

elray

join:2000-12-16
Santa Monica, CA

1 recommendation

If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

Then caps are of no consequence.


DarkLogix
Texan and Proud
Premium
join:2008-10-23
Baytown, TX
kudos:3
reply to fifty nine

Re: Why we have caps

you're getting actions and reactions mixed

the 250GB cap is due to the FL attorney general ordering them to state what they called high usage as they were already booting people for using to much, but the cap is soft and they still really only go after people that are causing issues not just over the cap

the bittorrent issue was, bad network managment and an FCC order which held almost no weight but they changed their managment to a protocol agnostic one

also comcast doesn't have overages


msilbey

@verizon.net

Concurrency

Congestion issues are about concurrency - the number of people clogging up the pipes at any given time. The utility companies try to promote non-peak-time energy usage to combat the same problem. But it's hard to see that approach working with the Internet. I can save my laundry load for the late night, but I'm not going to hold off working online or watching Netfllix until off-peak hours. Caps are crude, but better than nothing as far as carriers are concerned.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to thistool

Re: Laymans terms

To me, it's crystal clear what they are trying to say. Capping miles driven per month or even per day to smooth traffic jams doesn't work. It doesn't work because there's no incentive to drive your allotment when it's not rush hour.

What might work is converting the roads to tollways and permitting free travel during off-peak times and charging stiff fees during peak hours.

So what's your problem with this analogy?

Applied to ISPs, it means going to 100% UBB where they charge less for off-peak hours and more for peak hours. There could even be "free" periods much like cell companies offer free nights and week ends. The free periods would cause the "hogs" to make sure their activity is performed when most other folks don't use the system.

The power companies incent business to use less power during peak periods by charging them less per Kwh during off-peak periods. Of course power is a poor analogy because building a new plant is crazy costly vs. upgrading a CMTS to handle channel bonding and employing other technological advances that transfer 10 times the data over the same strand of fiber.


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
reply to elray

Re: If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

said by elray:

Then caps are of no consequence.

Logic fail.


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000
reply to msilbey

Re: Concurrency

The problem with regular utilities is they have real scarcity.

The majority of "scarcity" on networks is self inflicted through bad network management and absolutely pitiful amounts of corporate greed. The unwillingness to speed even a small % of profits for upgrades unless direct and real competition is at hand.

When cable competes with Fiber they often somehow, magically are able to offer faster uncapped plans. Funny right?

GeoStar

join:2011-02-10
j2e6f5
Congestion occurs when the isp tries to deep packet inspect every packet , slowing the network down so it can resell the (legally ? really ?) obtained data to advertisers to spam its own customers to maximize profits, not service while not improving the network hardware or software.

Therefore the net hogg does exist in the form of fat greedy major isp s

in other words you penalize the victims....

only in kanadu you say ?

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to elray

Re: If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

I disagree. Caps do have a consequence. There's always a cause and effect. I believe what the article and Karl are trying to state is that caps are being used for reasons that cannot be substantiated by facts. Rather than targeting the "Bandwidth Hog", the facts conclude that caps simply target those who transfer a lot of data in a given time period and that the correlation between "a lot of data per month" and "peak bandwidth usage" (aka the bandwidth hog) is weak.

Based on these conclusions, either the ISPs are clueless as to managing their network or they employ caps for different reasons. Those reasons could be to control total data transferred in an effort to make the service unattractive for uses that require a lot of data to be transferred. One possible service is video. To put another way, streaming DVD-quality H.264 video doesn't use too much bandwidth (~1.5Mbps-2Mbps) but with caps, over time it transfers too much data.

axus

join:2001-06-18
Washington, DC
Reviews:
·Comcast
reply to pnh102

Re: Duh

Since so few people hit the caps currently, I don't think it's good as an immediate source of income. I'd guess it's more to save on current infrastructure costs that would be needed for future growth.

I suppose it's possible that slowing progress in wired connections makes wireless more attractive, which can charge more for. Investments in lobbying and buying out wireless competitors seems like a better use of funds than going into FTTH and better backbone.


DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

1 recommendation

reply to elray

Re: If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

Carriers have realized that Forced Artificial Scarcity is a very large potential revenue source.

In a totally open market they would simply be competed out of existence, but since special interests and government keep a largely Duopoly / Monopoly market under the corporate mindset of financial growth or die , we the consumer are Fucked.

America is on the fast track to last in Tech/Communications, public transportation, health care, and job prospects. A wealthy nation squandered by Corporate special interests and their strangle hold over State and Federal government.

Look at this site, it is regularly trolled by Corporate shills who try to tell us why we should accept shitty rates and even shittier service.

A real Mind Fuck isn't it?

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to DataRiker

Re: Concurrency

said by DataRiker:

... The unwillingness to speed even a small % of profits for upgrades unless direct and real competition is at hand.

I have no problem with that. The problem isn't necessarily corporate greed (that's more an ethics/scruples discussion). If I was an investor in said company, I would want more dividends rather than watching the company invest when it doesn't have to. (As a consumer this sucks but that's beside the point.)

As you inferred, the problem is competition. Either we regulate them or figure out a way to introduce multiple (dozens) of competitors. However, regulation may not work since that could lead to fixed prices and crappy service. What really doesn't work is incumbents throwing up road blocks to prevent competition so they make money in spite of anti-consumer practices.


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to rradina

Re: Laymans terms

said by rradina:

Applied to ISPs, it means going to 100% UBB where they charge less for off-peak hours and more for peak hours. There could even be "free" periods much like cell companies offer free nights and week ends. The free periods would cause the "hogs" to make sure their activity is performed when most other folks don't use the system.

That is an interesting idea on how to manage bandwidth usage and is worth a try by a big ISP just to see how it worked.
--
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
»www.politico.com/rss/2012-election-blog.xml



88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
reply to elray

Re: If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

said by elray:

Then caps are of no consequence.

Sure they are. My cap is 250 GB thus the cap is causing me to not be able to use more than 250 GB. Just because I'm using 250 GB or even 1 TB does not make me a "hog"

Prespd

join:2004-03-10
Wyoming, MI

bandwith vs. caps

I tried to read between the lines with this summary and I think it captures the debate pretty well. Nice reporting. It does raise a question I would like to pose based on a conversation I had with my wife in the car.

Bandwidth, while available isn't able to be conserved liked say the allowed minutes on a rollover phone plan. At any given time, a network has a certain amount of available bandwidth and the capability to serve a certain number of users.

I'll assume Sprint for a second here and go with my theory. I am Sprint. I want more customers and i know my total instant bandwidth available, and number of users I can support. The technology for 4G is pretty much limited to 8Mbps, so if I am running my network and I want good return on my equipment, I want to my customers to have all the available bandwidth I have, since it's lost if not used. So if Joe user 1 wants to stream whatever, he can have it and as much as he wants so long as i can support my user base. I want a 10-20% overhead of spare bandwidth for other reasons of backup, safety, etc... As more users get on, they all get the highest speed I can supply until my available bandwidth is consumed at that instant. I dynamically manage it to maintain the highest speeds for the users. As the system fills with my happy paying customers, I must slow down the network speed for each to allow the 200,001st user to also join in the fun.

I wouldn't cap anyone, and as long as I can keep it up, and utilized at 90% rate, my customers get my best effort and when congested the whole group balances to a steady if slower pace.

By using all my capability to provide bandwidth, I attract more customers which allows me to profit and add more equipment to add capacity.

Did I just sum up Sprint's plan?

If I use 1TB of data a month, but it's during the least congested time, say when available bandwidth is >50% of total capacity, why wouldn't my ISP want to let me have it to keep me a happy customer?

We all know why, to get ever larger profits. If only we could have a corporate structure that balanced profit and customer service to make everyone happy, life would be good. Now, the system is tilted toward the corporate profits and pissing on the customer. Only 1 guy doesn't do this yet, and Sprint quickly walling that ideal garden off to only allow smartphone unlimited. hmmm...

I think they can keep making money this way. Customer service plus large user base= large profits. I hope Sprint can do both and humble the other guys a little.

Note I am talking about Sprint and it sounds like I advocate throttling. Only as much as is need to keep giving all users access at the highest speeds possible. It sounds alot like the tiered speed plans you get with cable internet. Pay more for more guaranteed speed.

rradina

join:2000-08-08
Chesterfield, MO
reply to FFH5

Re: Laymans terms

Well don't hold your breath. Since there seems to be a quorum of negative opinions on ISPs ability to accurately track monthly usage, it seems a mighty big stretch to believe they could track it by the hour!


thistool

@144.70.2.x
reply to rradina
Did I need to thumbs up or favorite the post? I thought by expressing great analogy it was clear I like the post.


88615298
Premium
join:2004-07-28
West Tenness
reply to msilbey

Re: Concurrency

said by msilbey :

Congestion issues are about concurrency - the number of people clogging up the pipes at any given time. The utility companies try to promote non-peak-time energy usage to combat the same problem. But it's hard to see that approach working with the Internet. I can save my laundry load for the late night, but I'm not going to hold off working online or watching Netfllix until off-peak hours. Caps are crude, but better than nothing as far as carriers are concerned.

Netflix could help that by allowing "download now watch later" options. Then one could download at 2 AM and watch the next day.

But MONTHLY caps do NOTHING to prevent DAILY congestion. If 6 PM-11 PM is when there is congestion then that's when you cap.

If I max out my 30 Mbps connection between 1 AM and 6 AM every day I'd be downloading 2 TB a month but I'm not causing congestion.

If I stay within my 250 GB cap but I only use my connection between 8-10 PM I am certainly more likely to be causing congestion issues even though I'm downloading 1/8 as much.

shepd

join:2004-01-17
Kitchener, ON
kudos:1
reply to elray

Re: If the 'Bandwidth Hog is a Myth'

Of course there's a consequence. If I had data caps, rather than setting some items to download and forgetting about them, I'd only download a little bit, always during peak hours (because that's when it's convenient for me to just click something and grab it) and I'd continue my peak hours surfing.

That means I will use the internet slightly MORE during the times there is congestion. Which means the consequence is that caps will make things worse for the ISP. Or, if I were forced into a ridiculously low cap, I'd only surf, which happens during peak hours. Therefore the results of an ever increasing cap would be to continue the exact same congestion problem you have.

In other words, caps are instead either causing congestion, or they are doing nothing to combat it. They do reduce the consumption, but they do not solve any of the actual problems.


FFH5
Premium
join:2002-03-03
Tavistock NJ
kudos:5
reply to rradina

Re: Laymans terms

said by rradina:

Well don't hold your breath. Since there seems to be a quorum of negative opinions on ISPs ability to accurately track monthly usage, it seems a mighty big stretch to believe they could track it by the hour!

This analyst thinks UBB is coming from 1 major ISP next year:
»www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-11-3···ech.html

At least one major cable operator will institute so-called usage-based billing next year, predicts Craig Moffett, an analyst with Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. in New York. He said Cox Communications Inc., Charter Communications Inc. (CHTR) or Time Warner Cable may be first to charge Web-access customers for the amount of data they consume, not just transmission speed.

“As more video shifts to the Web, the cable operators will inevitably align their pricing models,” Moffett said in an interview. “With the right usage-based pricing plan, they can embrace the transition instead of resisting it.”

Rogers Communications Inc., the largest Canadian cable company, has been billing broadband customers based on consumption since 2008. U.S. providers AT&T Inc. (T) and St. Louis- based Suddenlink Communications LLC are experimenting with usage-based plans.
Cable companies see usage-based billing as a way to limit the appeal of online services like Netflix and Hulu LLC, and reduce the threat from new entrants like Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN) and Google Inc.

The incentives to focus on Web access are compelling. Cable’s broadband gross margins are about 95 percent, versus 60 percent for video, according to Moffett. As programming costs increase nearly 10 percent a year, video margins are crimped, he said.
Time Warner Cable is testing meters to measure broadband consumption for the purpose of tiered pricing, Chief Executive Officer Glenn Britt said in June. In April, he said usage-based billing is “inevitable.”

Charging by Web usage, cable companies may discourage customers from dropping traditional pay-TV service and slow the growth of Netflix, Hulu and an expanding list of online alternatives, Moffett said.
The possibility of usage-based pricing has brought protests from Los Gatos, California-based Netflix and warnings from Charlie Ergen, chairman of rival Dish Network Corp. (DISH), which operates the Blockbuster movie-rental business.

Cable’s best option is to find ways to profit from the online shift, said Moffett. If the companies were to lose all of their video customers, the revenue decline would be more than offset by a lower programming fees and set-top box spending, he said.
“In the end, it will be the best thing that ever happened to the cable industry,” Moffett said.


--
The nine most terrifying words in the English language are, I'm from the government and I'm here to help.
»www.politico.com/rss/2012-election-blog.xml


WernerSchutz

join:2009-08-04
Sugar Land, TX
Uh, Moffet, the great clown, always fun to hear his "thoughts".


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to DataRiker

Re: Concurrency

said by DataRiker:

The problem with regular utilities is they have real scarcity.

I don't think that is true. Take electricity for example. There is plenty of generation capacity but they need to build new transmission lines to carry the electricity generated. In fact, in some places renewables such as wind and solar have to be shut down because the grid has no capacity to carry it.

Yet individual customers are limited in how much they can use from the grid.

Take this for example from a local electric utility's tariff:

quote:
1.07 Curtailable Load Limitation: The curtailable load of all customers provided for under this Tariff shall not exceed 2.5% of the Company's annual peak load in the preceding calendar year.


fifty nine

join:2002-09-25
Sussex, NJ
kudos:2
reply to GeoStar
said by GeoStar:

Congestion occurs when the isp tries to deep packet inspect every packet , slowing the network down so it can resell the (legally ? really ?) obtained data to advertisers to spam its own customers to maximize profits, not service while not improving the network hardware or software.

Therefore the net hogg does exist in the form of fat greedy major isp s

in other words you penalize the victims....

only in kanadu you say ?

Proof?

Kearnstd
Space Elf
Premium
join:2002-01-22
Mullica Hill, NJ
kudos:1
reply to del ftl

Re: Laymans terms

Moffet is a loon.

UBB will never take off unless its meters and checked and regulated like power and the internet goes ad free and ISPs stop ALL spam.

basically Spam and rich media/streaming video adverts on websites would be come unauthorized usage. comparing to other metered services it would be like advertisers being able to turn my TV set on to sell me something as such causing the TV to use electrical power that I had no intention of using at that exact moment.
--
[65 Arcanist]Filan(High Elf) Zone: Broadband Reports


axiomatic

join:2006-08-23
Tomball, TX
reply to 88615298

Re: Concurrency

I respect what you are saying and I think that might be a good idea to "help" but the real question is; "Should Netflix even have to help?" Did Netflix not pay their bill? Are they using more bandwidth than was allotted in their contract with the Tier 3 ISP?

The Netflix argument is another farce. If they are the cause of the congestion (which reports do show that Netflix does in fact use a lot of the available bandwidth) then the Tier 3 ISP's are doing a really bad job of negotiating contracts and again that is not Netflix fault.

Us users pay for our connections to the net as well. There is more than enough $$$$ for both sides to upgrade the networks.

What is really in the way is corporate excessive profit and shareholder desires. They are counter-intuitive to providing a "consumer service."