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Edgewood, TX

Datacaps are a scam. Does nothing for congestion.

This is partially why I got terminated from Exede for raising a stink about there low caps. Sames goes with HNG4. It's all bullcrap with curbing congestion..

(From the New America Foundation report)

Internet users have been complaining about data caps — and the costly penalties for going over said caps — for years, while both wireless and fixed broadband providers claimed these caps were an absolute necessity to curb runaway use. But a new report attempts to debunk many of the ISP industry’s claims.

“Broadband appears to be one of few industries that seek to discourage their customers from consuming more of their product,” reads the new study from the folks at the New America Foundation.

At the heart of the NAF’s argument is that the costs associated with delivering data to consumers has dropped while the number of consumers subscribing to broadband services has increased.

“The trend is driven in large part by a woefully uncompetitive market that allows the nation’s largest providers to generate enormous profits as well as protect legacy business models from new services and innovators,” reads the report.

To back up its claims, the report cites Time Warner Cable’s own numbers, which show that connectivity costs (as a percentage of revenue) have decreased by from 1.20% in 2008 to a little over 0.60% in 2011. The NAF also points out that between 2007 and 2010, Comcast’s operating expenses for high-speed Internet services went from an average fo $147 million per quarter to $122 million per quarter, while the number of customers increased from 13 million to 16.5 million during those years. It’s worth noting that Comcast has not publicly broken out this cost since 2010.

“Despite the substantial decrease in the cost of operating a network and transporting data, consumers have not seen a resulting decline in the cost of service,” writes the NAF, “nor have many providers increased the usage caps to reflect the decline in costs for Internet connectivity.”

As for wireless carriers, the report calls them out for instituting flat data caps for all customers regardless of when or where they use their device to access the Internet.

“Though mobile providers may need to utilize some usage limitations on their network given greater capacity constraints as compared to wired broadband,” reads the report, “the use of flat monthly caps makes little sense when congestion on the network is likely to be time and geographically limited.”

The NAF says the push to get customers onto tiered and shared data plans isn’t driven out of concerns about congestion, but is “largely influenced by Wall Street demands to report ever-growing revenue and profit margins. Rather than effectively managing use of the network, data caps are a strategy for ISPs to increase their revenue per user.”

In that regard, the report says AT&T and Verizon are successful: “Tiered pricing and data caps have also become a cash cow for the two largest mobile providers… who already were making impressive margins on their mobile data service before abandoning unlimited plans.”

The report takes issue with ISPs’ claims that caps are in any way intended to prevent congestion, citing a letter from Comcast to the FCC where the Kabletown folks admit that its broadband data caps do “not address the issue of network congestion, which results from traffic levels that vary from minute to minute.”

If you’re interested, you should check out the entire report, which is quite clearly written for a study on a topic that is usually bogged down in industry jargon and policy-speak.

[via Ars Technica]


1 recommendation

Caps only serve a purpose if they stop people from doing intensive activities, specifically during peak time. If you raise a cap too high, you might as well not have a cap at all. Because once your users have enough capacity to stream Netflix, torrent movies, download large games, they are almost certainly going to do so during peak because that is when it is most convenient to them and the cap becomes worthless. Peak is the only time that matters. For this reason, I would argue that all landline service caps are useless from a congestion countering perspective. Their caps are high enough that they don't limit people during peak.

Wireless based services are another story. The caps on the new satellites are too low. I think there is only one person on this board who would argue against that. But I would argue that they do exactly what they are supposed to do. They are so low that most users won't stream Netflix at all, and they will do most of their downloads when it is less convenient or off peak, particularly the night where they have extra usage. This lowers congestion during peak. The question becomes whether or not it is necessary to do this. It doesn't take many people to fill one of these satellites. In fact less than 10,000 people maxing their connections can completely fill one of these new satellites and significantly less for the older satellites providing Exede 5. These satellites simply do not have enough capacity to deliver high bandwidth services to hundreds of thousands of people. I do see why they have them where they are. The caps are not so much about ripping people off as they are simply being a business decision made to try to maximize network performance. They do the job, but they should be bumped up a bit to keep up with the growing demand. They are last generation caps in a next generation world.

Verizon does the same thing on their wireless network. Their CEO said he doesn't want people to be watching Netflix on his 4G network. That's why the caps on HomeFusion are so low. You can do most of your daily tasks, but you can't do the high-bandwidth, network-congesting ones. It is not to rip people off, it is to protect the network.


Just so you know, it isn't the users crippling the Gen4 and Exede12 satellites... It is the ground stations... These satellites can in theory handle ~2 MILLION people at peak hours. They just can't get a large enough pipe to handle what the satellite can handle currently.

said by C0RR0SIVE88 :

Just so you know, it isn't the users crippling the Gen4 and Exede12 satellites... It is the ground stations... These satellites can in theory handle ~2 MILLION people at peak hours. They just can't get a large enough pipe to handle what the satellite can handle currently.

Those high numbers were estimates that were made because the caps are in place. If they were not in place, the estimates made would be substantially less. To the point that the satellites would never pay themselves off.

A single pair of fiber using Dense Wavelength Division Multiplexing (DWDM) used in network cores can move terabits. Viasat-1 can only move a theoretical 134Gbps and Echostar XVII slightly less. That is massive for satellites, but in reality tiny when you offer 10Mbps+/1Mbps+ to a multitude of subscribers.

Backhaul capacity is relatively easy to purchase. When you buy bandwidth from a Tier 1 or Tier 2 at scale, they will provide. In fact I am not sure if that is truly Hughes' problem. It could be a problem inside the gateways, not the backhaul. It almost has to be an internal network issue. As I have said before, I have seen small nonprofit rural cooperatives with more backhaul capacity than Viasat-1 and Echostar XVII combined.


You do know the majority of people rarely ever cause a connection to hit 10Mbps for very long, right? Maybe 2-3 seconds. That is why in theory the system can handle so many people at a time. There are other reasons coming in the near future that I currently can't explain.

And it could also possibly be the gateways are overloaded, but, from my limited knowledge, the maintenance they did the other night for the beams listed on their forum was for gateway work (Think they was upgrading it for my beam....) more than anything. I still have yet to see corrected speeds.