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testmarket

join:2010-10-18
Montreal, QC

Multiply per user data on any network

Hello everyone. It seems like most companies first post their products here and get feedback only after everything is already set. Since the users of DSL Reports are more technical and knowledgeable (most of the time) than the average internet subscriber, it makes sense to query your experience and expertise before launching a new service. At the end of the day, it will be your service, and if you don’t like it or aren’t interested, it shouldn’t be there in the first place.

There is a service that is reconfiguring the way providers cap data usage. Everyone knows that all providers have to live within the constraints of CRTC rulings and the various ways that incumbents turn the screws on their competition. Those providers who offer unlimited service are usually forced to buy bandwidth in bulk and at the lowest possible price (or simply oversubscribe their links). The customer’s connection is then unlimited in terms of data, but way below par in terms of quality. The only logic applied in responsible network data/bandwidth management thus far has been to apply per connection data caps so that the TPIA can manage bandwidth costs passed on to them by incumbents and uplink providers.

To break data allocations away from their application to each connection, the service will make connections available through wholesale relationships with existing providers. The service will purchase these connections and their related data usage at your direction. The data however will be purchased from the wholesalers based on the same premise as TPIA providers are billed for data: in aggregate.

Subscribers to the service would then have a per connection cap that they could share across multiple users. For example, you direct the service to purchase a connection (that is provisioned by the wholesaler through their TPIA relationship with an incumbent) that has a 300gig data cap. Then you do the same for your parents for a lighter service with a 100gig data cap. The shared data across both connections would then be 400gig per month. If your parents only use 30gig of their cap because they “just need their email” then your available data for the month would be 370gig. All of this would be tracked both through a complete customer portal and email alerts when certain shared data usage thresholds have been reached. Shared data could be increased without limit.

It’s clear that for a consumer to know the difference between marketing-speak and how they’ll actually be treated after signing up is a difficult thing when considering service from a 3rd-party ISP. To solve this problem, the service will offer a 110% money-back guarantee applying to the first 90-days of your connection. If you’re not happy, for whatever reason, you will be refunded 110% of your money, no questions asked. If you spend $50.00, you’ll get $55.00 back. If you spend $100.00, you’ll get $110.00 back. No small print. No delays. No haggling. No fighting.

Access to one wholesale network will be made available at launch and then expanded to those networks providing the widest service footprint and the highest quality connections. The service will expand to where there is demand.

The service would give you the choice of whether or not you want to use data over and above your shared data usage. By default, the service would suspend connections when a collection of users reach 96% of their shared data usage. The connections would be reinstated when a new month of service began. If you choose in your customer portal to use extra data, your connection will not be suspended and you will only be charged for the data that you consume over your connection once your shared data allowance has been surpassed. You will never be charged for someone else’s data. Extra usage will be charged at the wholesaler’s cost.

The pricing for connections purchased through the service would average a 12% mark-up on the average retail price for cable connections offering a comparable service area and connection quality. That would result in about $5.00 extra per month. The service would pass along all possible promotions made available from its wholesale partners.

The number one operating cost for providers is support. The service will provide every avenue to submit tickets to the wholesaler helpdesk (via smart phone, etc.). Tickets will be tracked in the customer portal and email alerts will be sent providing updates and resolutions. No telephone support is offered.

The users of the service are envisioned as knowledgeable about the basics of internet troubleshooting and versed in the methods of submitting tickets and seeing them resolved. The service would track all orders from submission, through provisioning, shipping and installation and report all progress in the customer portal and via email.

If one of the incumbent installers doesn’t show up for an installation and you’re frustrated, you can cancel and get 110% of your money back, guaranteed. You can intervene in the process at any-time and provide feedback to the wholesaler. No more do you have to worry about an underpaid and undertrained CSR making a mistake on your address that knocks your installation off-track.

That’s the high-level. Any feedback is appreciated.


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
As CBB charges are applied on a per-link basis, and all but the smallest wholesale ISPs require more than a single link (since Bell is still stalling on offering anything above 1 Gbps), there is no real benefit to your planned consolidation of AHSSPI links among multiple ISPs. There would be no cost reduction/savings/sharing amongst the wholesalers, and such a relationship is already possible through the wholesale arrangements offered by the largest wholesalers. Teksavvy, for example, already has such relationships, where small ISPs wholesale through Teksavvy's infrastructure, while taking a much more pro-active role (and profit) than a mere reseller.

Furthermore, multiple wholesalers already offered tiered plans to accommodate varying levels of usage. TekSavvy typically offers 75GB, 300GB, and unlimited, for example, while Electronic Box offers (on one plan as an example at least) 100GB, 250GB, and unlimited. This is a very simple way of structuring the service that consumers generally understand: they buy the right amount of transfer for their needs, and get unlimited if they don't want to worry about it.

What you're proposing is far more complex and requires frequent effort from the customer to adjust their plan by buying additional transfer. It seems ill-advised. I don't see why anyone would want to take that approach instead of the simple and effective tiered plan system everybody is using today.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org

testmarket

join:2010-10-18
Montreal, QC
said by Guspaz:

As CBB charges are applied on a per-link basis, and all but the smallest wholesale ISPs require more than a single link (since Bell is still stalling on offering anything above 1 Gbps), there is no real benefit to your planned consolidation of AHSSPI links among multiple ISPs. There would be no cost reduction/savings/sharing amongst the wholesalers,

I appreciate your reply Guspaz but I think I may have been unclear, the service would not be for the likes of Teksavvy [T], Distributel[D] or others, but for the end user. The service would forge wholesale relationships with providers like [T] or [D] for example and make connections provisioned by them available to users. Example companies I note above are charged for data in aggregate across links with incumbents like Bell [AHSSPI] or Rogers. It is only after that the aggregate, projected usage is applied to each connection. The intention is to increase the data available to each user while maintaining the wholesaler's ability to manage bandwidth costs.

said by Guspaz:

and such a relationship is already possible through the wholesale arrangements offered by the largest wholesalers. Teksavvy, for example, already has such relationships, where small ISPs wholesale through Teksavvy's infrastructure, while taking a much more pro-active role (and profit) than a mere reseller.

I agree. These are exactly the type of relationships that the service would take advantage of.

said by Guspaz:

Furthermore, multiple wholesalers already offered tiered plans to accommodate varying levels of usage. TekSavvy typically offers 75GB, 300GB, and unlimited, for example, while Electronic Box offers (on one plan as an example at least) 100GB, 250GB, and unlimited. This is a very simple way of structuring the service that consumers generally understand: they buy the right amount of transfer for their needs, and get unlimited if they don't want to worry about it.

I think you would agree that for cable services specifically, tiered offerings do not usually extend to unlimited and that those providers offering unlimited cable internet plans are usually as loose with data as they are with quality. It seems to me that a solution would be to let other providers manage their network data/bandwidth by applying per connection caps while this service offers a supplementary method via which consumers can increase their available data exponentially.

said by Guspaz:

What you're proposing is far more complex and requires frequent effort from the customer to adjust their plan by buying additional transfer. It seems ill-advised. I don't see why anyone would want to take that approach instead of the simple and effective tiered plan system everybody is using today.

Actually, I think we agree with one another Guspaz. The service will offer the same speeds and data tiers that are comfortable for and easily understood by consumers, yet they will finally be able to break through their per connection cap and increase their shared data to unlimited quantity without sacrificing quality.


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23
said by testmarket:

I appreciate your reply Guspaz but I think I may have been unclear, the service would not be for the likes of Teksavvy [T], Distributel[D] or others, but for the end user. The service would forge wholesale relationships with providers like [T] or [D] for example and make connections provisioned by them available to users. Example companies I note above are charged for data in aggregate across links with incumbents like Bell [AHSSPI] or Rogers. It is only after that the aggregate, projected usage is applied to each connection. The intention is to increase the data available to each user while maintaining the wholesaler's ability to manage bandwidth costs.

But how is that different than those companies' own customers? They are already taking advantage of an aggregated system.

said by testmarket:

I think you would agree that for cable services specifically, tiered offerings do not usually extend to unlimited and that those providers offering unlimited cable internet plans are usually as loose with data as they are with quality. It seems to me that a solution would be to let other providers manage their network data/bandwidth by applying per connection caps while this service offers a supplementary method via which consumers can increase their available data exponentially.

The CRTC, in the not so distant past, unified the regulations behind both TPIA (cable) and GAS (DSL). The same rules now drive tariffs and CBB costs. At least some cable ISPs have lower CBB costs than some DSL ISPs (Ex: Videotron vs Bell), and there is more than one ISP offering unlimited cable connection. TekSavvy, for example, makes unlimited connections available on all tiers, both DSL and cable. Some, like Electronic Box, don't, but that has to do with high CBB costs and high-throughput connections, not cable versus DSL.

said by testmarket:

Actually, I think we agree with one another Guspaz. The service will offer the same speeds and data tiers that are comfortable for and easily understood by consumers, yet they will finally be able to break through their per connection cap and increase their shared data to unlimited quantity without sacrificing quality.

And how is this different from a customer directly with the wholesale ISPs you propose to wholesale in turn? If a TekSavvy user goes over his cap, he is charged a relatively minimal overage fee until he hits a $25/mth maximum overage, at which point his connection is effectively unlimited. I don't see how what you propose is more advantageous to the consumer.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org

testmarket

join:2010-10-18
Montreal, QC
said by Guspaz:

But how is that different than those companies' own customers? They are already taking advantage of an aggregated system.

The companies you mention apply tiered usage per connection without alternative. The service would allow someone who prefers say a 10.0Mbps connection (not needing a higher speed) to increase what they feel is an insufficient data cap (say 100gig per month). If that person signs up a friend for the same speed and same cap, between the two of them they would have a shared data allowance of 200gig per month. If the friend uses only 50gig then the first user would have 150gig of data available per month.

said by Guspaz:

The CRTC, in the not so distant past, unified the regulations behind both TPIA (cable) and GAS (DSL). The same rules now drive tariffs and CBB costs. At least some cable ISPs have lower CBB costs than some DSL ISPs (Ex: Videotron vs Bell), and there is more than one ISP offering unlimited cable connection. TekSavvy, for example, makes unlimited connections available on all tiers, both DSL and cable. Some, like Electronic Box, don't, but that has to do with high CBB costs and high-throughput connections, not cable versus DSL.

My point was not that there is a difference in tariffs for DSL versus cable, only that providers are more concerned about data consumption over cable connections because of higher upstream and downstream speeds. I would still posit that those companies offering unlimited service are doing so at the expense of quality. Offering unlimited service necessitates a sacrifice in quality if only because network management metrics become unknown: the provider no longer knows when and how much a user will consume. They then must mitigate the risk of overages by purchasing lower quality bandwidth and leaving behind the ability to manage congestion and oversubscription.

said by Guspaz:

And how is this different from a customer directly with the wholesale ISPs you propose to wholesale in turn? If a TekSavvy user goes over his cap, he is charged a relatively minimal overage fee until he hits a $25/mth maximum overage, at which point his connection is effectively unlimited. I don't see how what you propose is more advantageous to the consumer.

Yes, some companies route unlimited traffic over a different link than capped services but most on the market now are either trying to recover from hyper growth or are simply not interested in providing quality connections and would rather market unlimited data whatever the quality.

Asking a consumer to spend an additional $25.00 per month for an ostensibly unlimited connection should not make sense to anyone. The proposition is that the service will allow users to pool their data per month and therefore not need to purchase more speed for more usage, sacrifice connection quality for unlimited data, or pay a significant amount more per month so that they can continue with their regular data consumption.

testmarket

join:2010-10-18
Montreal, QC
reply to testmarket
Click for full size
Shared Data
This might clarify things ...

CanadianISP
Premium
join:2008-04-09
Pembroke, ON
Personally, I think this is a rather neat idea; There is a very, *very* large segment of the market that is sensitive to additional costs - While an additional $25 a month may not seem like a whole lot to some, I can guarantee there are those who would see red over this charge.

I think there are definitely people out there who would be thinking that if they have multiple linked accounts, they should be able to share the aggregate cap without being forced to pay extra if one goes over, but the others do not.

This is similar to a Koodo (cellular) plan I recently saw: I use Koodo for my daughter and I: We can pool our minutes, if we so desire, and one of us can use 300 minutes, while the other uses only 20. Come to think of it, most of the large cellular carriers also offer something similar and have for some time.

Frankly, I'm a little surprised this didn't pop up in the ISP world the nanosecond caps were introduced

-Marc
--
Marc Bissonnette
Chief BOFH
»www.canadianisp.com

HeadSpinning
MNSi Internet

join:2005-05-29
Windsor, ON
kudos:5
reply to testmarket
The problem with the entire idea is that usage caps and overage charges are a proxy for the real cost - peak hour utilization. The cap levels and overage costs are a sort of round about way to tie a particular customer's usage back to peak hour utilization.

The concept is that it's based on averages and approximations of usage patterns - sometimes it fits, sometimes it doesn't. The ISP counts on how light users affect the averaging.

What counts is not how many gigabytes you transfer in a month - it's WHEN you transfer it, so data pooling does nothing but add for the potential of congesting the the links MORE at peak hour.
--
MNSi Internet - »www.mnsi.net