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FFH
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1 recommendation

reply to sortofageek

Re: Bandwidth Limits - All discussion here

Well, it looks like the majority of users feel that a defined 250GB cap is preferable to one that is movable depending on a concept like "harm other users".

The one thing most people want to see is some way to check on how far along you are to reaching the cap as the month goes by.

A hard cap isn't very useful if there isn't a way to check what you are using (according to Comcast's database - the database they would use to disconnect you if you go over the cap).


Maybe the Comcast reps that post here will carry that request back to management. Any goodwill that Comcast can garner by having provided a hard cap would be lost without a tool to check on usage.

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funchords
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2 edits

said by FFH:

Well, it looks like the majority of users feel that a defined 250GB cap is preferable to one that is movable depending on a concept like "harm other users".
Let's not kid ourselves -- most Comcast users don't know about the cap. And both you and I seem too passionate to accurately judge either way.

That said, I can't completely hate it, and if Comcast is really determined to have a cap as a judge of abuse, it ought to be (1) disclosed, (2) high, (3) capable of being checked, and (4) increased as consumer demand for bandwidth normally increases. With me, Comcast's cap passes on only the first two of those four points.
said by FFH:

The one thing most people want to see is some way to check on how far along you are to reaching the cap as the month goes by.

A hard cap isn't very useful if there isn't a way to check what you are using (according to Comcast's database - the database they would use to disconnect you if you go over the cap).
I've read most of the responses as well and for those willing to accept the cap, a way to check on their own usage seems to be the number-one request/demand/need/want.

...and back to your first line...
said by FFH:

...preferable to one that is movable depending on a concept like "harm other users". ....
Let's remember that's what this was about.

Comcast first started this across-the-board threatening and disconnection of higher-bandwidth users 5 years ago, based on their TOS provision against someone using the service in a way that negatively impacted it. The trouble is, they were using the bandwidth amount without ever showing a negative impact -- they simply rationalized that someone who was using over (some undisclosed number) that they simply must be causing an undue impact. That undisclosed number became known as the "invisible cap" because it was a "defacto" cap and remained absolutely undisclosed except through making the same hard-to-read inference to that "impact" part of Comcast's TOS.

Now, 5 years later, we have a number. Good? No, that wasn't the problem! If that's what they wanted to solve, then they just made their service worse. They're still not proving that the users that they are kicking off the service have caused any negative impact. Instead, they've disclosed a number used in executing this lazy (or economical) method. By doing so, they have now limited a previously unlimited service. But in a very Comcastic way, they also talk out of the other side of their mouth and say that nothing has changed. They won't warn anyone or cut them off unless they're exceeding 250 GB and are one of the "top users" (a threshold that they don't define). If one had a suspicious mind, one might wonder if this is to disarm any claim of bait-and-switch by both being able to disclose a limit yet also be able to claim that there isn't a limit since they're really grading on a curve.

That's not as eye-rolling as "we don't throttle," but it's close.
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netcool

@comcast.net

said by funchords:

Comcast first started this across-the-board threatening and disconnection of higher-bandwidth users 5 years ago, based on their TOS provision against someone using the service in a way that negatively impacted it. The trouble is, they were using the bandwidth amount without ever showing a negative impact -- they simply rationalized that someone who was using over (some undisclosed number) that they simply must be causing an undue impact. That undisclosed number became known as the "invisible cap" because it was a "defacto" cap and remained absolutely undisclosed except through making the same hard-to-read inference to that "impact" part of Comcast's TOS.
That sounds like you are making a few leaps of faith there. Abuse is handled on a case by case basis from what I've seen. If many users start complaining about slow speeds off a certain node it is passed over to abuse for investigation. Or conversely if the market engineers notice that a node with only 50 subscribers is routinely running hot on their capacity reports it is passed over to abuse.

I don't think the top .01% are kicked off every year for abuse or even get "the call." If that were the case I would imagine we would see quite a few more posts here complaining about it. It seems to me that it would be a waste of resources to investigate every sub who went over 250gb UNLESS they were actually causing an issue.


funchords
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said by netcool :

That sounds like you are making a few leaps of faith there. Abuse is handled on a case by case basis from what I've seen.
That was my sense a few years ago, but lately it seems more like "status quo." How confident are you that it's still been running case-by-case?
said by netcool :

I don't think the top .01% are kicked off every year for abuse or even get "the call." If that were the case I would imagine we would see quite a few more posts here complaining about it. It seems to me that it would be a waste of resources to investigate every sub who went over 250gb UNLESS they were actually causing an issue.
I think the number is low-ball. As someone said previously, it really is a very useful number for someone who has just received "the call."

If it turns out that your sense on this is right, My God! What an overreaction this all has been!
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netcool

@comcast.net

said by funchords:

How confident are you that it's still been running case-by-case?
Fairly confident.

said by funchords:


If it turns out that your sense on this is right, My God! What an overreaction this all has been!
An overreaction on who's part? The small faction of people who made a stink about getting kicked off or Comcast itself?

Lawsuits like this:

»jacksonville.bizjournals.com/jac···y38.html

Probably encouraged Comcast to publicly state a cap. Not to mention all the scrutiny the FCC investigation drummed up. The FCC wanted Comcast to be as transparent as they could about their network management policies so I think the cap is partly a result of that.

MrSpock29

join:2008-02-09
Hammonton, NJ
reply to netcool

said by netcool :

said by funchords:

Comcast first started this across-the-board threatening and disconnection of higher-bandwidth users 5 years ago, based on their TOS provision against someone using the service in a way that negatively impacted it. The trouble is, they were using the bandwidth amount without ever showing a negative impact -- they simply rationalized that someone who was using over (some undisclosed number) that they simply must be causing an undue impact. That undisclosed number became known as the "invisible cap" because it was a "defacto" cap and remained absolutely undisclosed except through making the same hard-to-read inference to that "impact" part of Comcast's TOS.
That sounds like you are making a few leaps of faith there. Abuse is handled on a case by case basis from what I've seen. If many users start complaining about slow speeds off a certain node it is passed over to abuse for investigation. Or conversely if the market engineers notice that a node with only 50 subscribers is routinely running hot on their capacity reports it is passed over to abuse.

I don't think the top .01% are kicked off every year for abuse or even get "the call." If that were the case I would imagine we would see quite a few more posts here complaining about it. It seems to me that it would be a waste of resources to investigate every sub who went over 250gb UNLESS they were actually causing an issue.
I don't agree at all. I got the call (and part of the reason was their fault-service didn't work properly) and after thorough investigation, I was told that no one complained, and that I was NOT negatively impacting my node. As one guy from "Quality Assurance" (what a misleading name) told me, "you made the list". He said it was his job to call, not allow me to speak to anyone else, and not to give his name. If I didn't like it, then I should sue them. He said some other things too. I had Comcast triple play, switched it all, and what happened to me got others to switch just for the point of how they acted. I will never go back to them, even though I am back to 3 MBPS DSL. I don't care.
You should do internet searches and just see how many people get the call.

Comcast wouldn't have so many people complaining to the FCC, FTC, etc, if they were honest about things, so remember that also. It isn't up to others either to judge how much is ok and how much isn't. Unfortunately, the ignorant point of view is that "If you use xyz amount you are doing illegal things". And yes, Comcast took this view with me, until I informed him that I showed EVERYTHING I was downloading to the tech when he came out to fix my service problem. After all, we had to test it to make sure he fixed it. Funny how he also did not take me up on my offer to have them come over any time they wanted without warning, and I'd give them full access to the computer to see what was done. They did a lot of ASSUMING, and you know what they say about that.


netcool

@comcast.net

How much did you download?

I'm not denying that people get kicked off, again I just don't think 14,000 people are getting "the call" each year. Most of the evidence we have is anecdotal and comes from a very vocal minority.

Logically why would you want to waste resources on non-issues (i.e people using lots of bandwidth but NOT adversely affecting the system?) To get bad PR, make sure you hire extra people to handle all the abuse calls? I suppose it could be true but I have to think Comcast is just trying to protect its bottom line.


MrSpock29

join:2008-02-09
Hammonton, NJ

said by netcool :

How much did you download?

I'm not denying that people get kicked off, again I just don't think 14,000 people are getting "the call" each year. Most of the evidence we have is anecdotal and comes from a very vocal minority.

Logically why would you want to waste resources on non-issues (i.e people using lots of bandwidth but NOT adversely affecting the system?) To get bad PR, make sure you hire extra people to handle all the abuse calls? I suppose it could be true but I have to think Comcast is just trying to protect its bottom line.
It's 14,000 per MONTH. They told me the lists and calls are monthly, at the percentages quoted often. Comcast is trying to avoid getting their infrastructure into the 21st Century, and they don't want people streaming movies and everything else that would hurt their own business. My total was a little north of 250. In the AUP it says they can do this if you are harming your neighbors (paraphrasing). They admitted I was not and they had zero complaints.


funchords
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reply to netcool

said by netcool :

said by funchords:

If it turns out that your sense on this is right, My God! What an overreaction this all has been!
An overreaction on who's part? The small faction of people who made a stink about getting kicked off or Comcast itself?
YES! If you're right, then everyone is overreacting.

Think about it. If warnings and disconnections really only happen 0.01% of the time (1 per 10,000 customers), then Comcast has shot itself in the foot and got a lot of people excited over nothing. If true, then it doesn't have a 250 GB cap!

If the only people that get a call are people who Comcast can demonstrate are operating their Internet connection in a way that unduly impacts others, then there is no bandwidth cap. The bandwidth measure is just an "early indicator" not unlike possible other indicators of accounts with atypical patterns that would tell an investigator who might be a likely source for user-to-user interference.

I don't think you're pulling my leg, but I do think that you've got the wrong impression about what has been going on -- especially recently.

Big case in point: Dave Winer ... this is the guy who, without exaggeration, is deserving of the most credit for everything we now call "Web 2.0." He's not some kiddie with a BitTorrent fetish. I find it unlikely that he was doing something nefarious. It is most likely that he rang the invisible bell simply by transferring podcasts from one server to another.
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said by funchords:

YES! If you're right, then everyone is overreacting.

Think about it. If warnings and disconnections really only happen 0.01% of the time (1 per 10,000 customers), then Comcast has shot itself in the foot and got a lot of people excited over nothing. If true, then it doesn't have a 250 GB cap!
Wait -- there's a lot of things you can blame on Comcast, but the mass panic has been incited by the media like your friends at Free Press and a certain news reporter here on this forum. You've taken a handful of cases, given them a nationwide megaphone, allowed them to make wild claims, and are surprised there's been a reaction? When people get caught by exception, they get angry about it -- and that's the message you're pushing forward. When was the last time you heard someone talk about getting a speeding ticket where they didn't talk about how they were unfairly picked out by the cop? Most of us don't take responsibility or blame very well, so when you have an out like Comcast having some questionable practices, it's going to be in our nature to shine as much of the spotlight on that as possible.

Writing articles about how the infrastructure actually works is boring. Nobody wants to hear that your local cable/DSL/FTTH segment can't move an unlimited number of bits every month, and due to the shared nature of it all every bit you use on the wire is a bit that your neighbors can't use. You get more press coverage if you talk about how big bad Comcast is screwing the average little user. The only problem here is, the users you're holding up as examples aren't average users.

said by funchords:

Big case in point: Dave Winer ... this is the guy who, without exaggeration, is deserving of the most credit for everything we now call "Web 2.0."
Exactly. Nobody represents the average broadband user more than Dave.


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1 edit

said by espaeth:

Wait -- there's a lot of things you can blame on Comcast, but the mass panic has been incited by the media like your friends at Free Press and a certain news reporter here on this forum.
Free Press had nothing to do with this. They got phone calls in response to this story. It looks like this story was a response to the Florida AG, who apparently was working on this in a cave somewhere.

said by espaeth:

When people get caught by exception, they get angry about it -- and that's the message you're pushing forward. When was the last time you heard someone talk about getting a speeding ticket where they didn't talk about how they were unfairly picked out by the cop?
That's not the same. In this case, the cop is giving out SUSPENSIONS for running cars off the road based soley on the output of a radar gun.

said by espaeth:

the users you're holding up as examples aren't average users.
No, they aren't average users. They are exceptional users of bandwidth, and I've only held up two specific users as examples -- one is Dave Winer, and the other one's story is still being written and -- like Dave -- he was using his bandwidth in a completely non-nefarious way.

(The disclosure of the invisible cap actually is a better thing for users like these, because now they can know something before making a purchase decision. No cap would be best, however.)
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MrSpock29

join:2008-02-09
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reply to espaeth

said by espaeth:

said by funchords:

YES! If you're right, then everyone is overreacting.

Think about it. If warnings and disconnections really only happen 0.01% of the time (1 per 10,000 customers), then Comcast has shot itself in the foot and got a lot of people excited over nothing. If true, then it doesn't have a 250 GB cap!
Wait -- there's a lot of things you can blame on Comcast, but the mass panic has been incited by the media like your friends at Free Press and a certain news reporter here on this forum. You've taken a handful of cases, given them a nationwide megaphone, allowed them to make wild claims, and are surprised there's been a reaction? When people get caught by exception, they get angry about it -- and that's the message you're pushing forward. When was the last time you heard someone talk about getting a speeding ticket where they didn't talk about how they were unfairly picked out by the cop? Most of us don't take responsibility or blame very well, so when you have an out like Comcast having some questionable practices, it's going to be in our nature to shine as much of the spotlight on that as possible.

Writing articles about how the infrastructure actually works is boring. Nobody wants to hear that your local cable/DSL/FTTH segment can't move an unlimited number of bits every month, and due to the shared nature of it all every bit you use on the wire is a bit that your neighbors can't use. You get more press coverage if you talk about how big bad Comcast is screwing the average little user. The only problem here is, the users you're holding up as examples aren't average users.

said by funchords:

Big case in point: Dave Winer ... this is the guy who, without exaggeration, is deserving of the most credit for everything we now call "Web 2.0."
Exactly. Nobody represents the average broadband user more than Dave.
Comcast gets the reaction they do because of their actions, it is not fair to blame that on everyone else. If they were so concerned about that, they should have thought of that before they handled things as poorly as they have. Lying about throttling when they had been caught is just one example.
I don't consider it a handful of cases, it's been going on for years and has been a cumulative situation. 1+1 only equals 2, but do it long enough, and eventually the numbers get pretty big.
Think about how different things MIGHT have been had they admitted to throttling when caught, and come up with a better defense, reaction, and solution. Same thing with the caps. Telling people there are none and then saying there are but we can't tell you because it changes every month doesn't fly. Yes, that's what was said to me, in the span of 2 different questions.


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reply to funchords

said by funchords:

No, they aren't average users. They are exceptional users of bandwidth, and I've only publicly held up two specific users as examples to members of the press -- one is Dave Winer, and the other one's story is still being written and -- like Dave -- he was using his bandwidth in a completely non-nefarious way.
This is a discussion of straight quantity -- who cares what they're using the bandwidth for? It's not like the bits don't get counted on the wire if they're using their bandwidth to save kittens.

said by funchords:

No cap would be best, however.
Face it, the only way we're going back to no caps is if there is usage based billing, or we have speed downgrades. Every broadband ISP that advertises 'unlimited' service is lying. They don't have the bandwidth to deliver 100% use to every subscriber simultaneously, and if everybody started having usage patterns of the people you are describing they would go out of business because their infrastructure costs would be greater than their subscriber revenue.


espaeth
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reply to MrSpock29

said by MrSpock29:

Comcast gets the reaction they do because of their actions, it is not fair to blame that on everyone else. If they were so concerned about that, they should have thought of that before they handled things as poorly as they have. Lying about throttling when they had been caught is just one example.
I don't disagree that the marketing department (what I think of as the "front side of the house") has done a miserable job.

said by MrSpock29:

I don't consider it a handful of cases, it's been going on for years and has been a cumulative situation. 1+1 only equals 2, but do it long enough, and eventually the numbers get pretty big.
The claim is 14,000 people per month. Can you find just 100 posting on the Internet from unique users out of that group of users? You can go back over the last year on that search if you want. With the numbers people are throwing out, Comcast should have disconnected 168,000 subscribers in the last 12 months, so finding 0.05% of them shouldn't be all that difficult. (they are heavy Internet users, afterall)

fezz7834673
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reply to espaeth

I still fail to see the actual cost of sending bits over a copper wire (or any wire for that matter).

They bought the equipment. The lines are going to be "live" no matter what. No matter if you use it or not.

The only real cost comes in use of electricity, paying your employees to mismanage the traffic, pay their "rent" to their service providers (after all, their customer traffic will need to connect to the internet backbones, right? Who owns that?) and any state/federal taxes.

And for the argument of pay-per-use, I don't think they'll ever truly charge by how much you use. Rather, it'll start at a flat rate up to a certain amount of traffic, then anything over would be designated as pay-per-use. Like hell they'll have millions of subscribers have a $7.50 monthly bill.


MrSpock29

join:2008-02-09
Hammonton, NJ
reply to espaeth

said by espaeth:

said by MrSpock29:

Comcast gets the reaction they do because of their actions, it is not fair to blame that on everyone else. If they were so concerned about that, they should have thought of that before they handled things as poorly as they have. Lying about throttling when they had been caught is just one example.
I don't disagree that the marketing department (what I think of as the "front side of the house") has done a miserable job.

said by MrSpock29:

I don't consider it a handful of cases, it's been going on for years and has been a cumulative situation. 1+1 only equals 2, but do it long enough, and eventually the numbers get pretty big.
The claim is 14,000 people per month. Can you find just 100 posting on the Internet from unique users out of that group of users? You can go back over the last year on that search if you want. With the numbers people are throwing out, Comcast should have disconnected 168,000 subscribers in the last 12 months, so finding 0.05% of them shouldn't be all that difficult. (they are heavy Internet users, afterall)
I have never counted numbers, but have searched enough and have seen posts and blogs on this going back at least a few years. 100 would be quite easy I believe, but that doesn't really matter. I have a few bookmarked, I only did to the more interesting ones.


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1 edit

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reply to fezz7834673

said by fezz7834673:

I still fail to see the actual cost of sending bits over a copper wire (or any wire for that matter).

They bought the equipment. The lines are going to be "live" no matter what. No matter if you use it or not.
The cost isn't in moving bits. The network involves more than just routers, CMTS head-ends, and nodes; there's a ton of people that go into keeping things functional. Those people get a paycheck whether you use 0bytes or 250,000,000bytes.

The costs are largely based on the percentage of infrastructure you use. When you're on a shared 38mbps cable segment, when you are using your connection at 8mbps that capacity is not available to everyone else on the segment. As long as there is idle capacity there isn't a problem, but when enough people start to use the network heavily enough the impact is typically felt by all users on the node. (the new QoS implementation helps address some of that)

Everyone pays roughly the same amount for Internet access, but the usage is greatly varied. This leads to a Tragedy of the Commons situation.
The Tragedy of the Commons is the title of an influential article written by Garrett Hardin, first published in the journal Science in 1968.[1] The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone's long term interest for this to happen.

Central to Hardin's article is a metaphor of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons) on which they are all entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin's view it is in each herder’s interest to put as many cows as possible onto the land even if the commons is damaged as a result. The herder receives all the benefits from the additional cows but the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational decision, however, the commons is destroyed and all herders suffer.
Source: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons Original credit pfsmith See Profile in post »Re: Just Like the Electric Company!

There are real limits on how much capacity the infrastructure can support today. It's been 2 years since the DOCSIS 3.0 standard was ratified, and we still only have a single CMTS vendor that is fully supported with both upstream and downstream channel bonding. In the meantime, upgrades are expensive, and there is no financial backing to implement them because under flat rate pricing they get the same income whether they invest $0 or invest millions in their backbone. (provided they can keep the performance high enough that most subscriber don't defect)

Broadband access is like public transportation. It's engineered for cost, and it's impossible for it to ever be everything to everyone. It is possible, however, for it to be good enough for the overwhelming majority.

fezz7834673
Premium
join:2008-08-31
Portland, OR

said by espaeth:

said by fezz7834673:

I still fail to see the actual cost of sending bits over a copper wire (or any wire for that matter).

They bought the equipment. The lines are going to be "live" no matter what. No matter if you use it or not.
The cost isn't in moving bits. The network involves more than just routers, CMTS head-ends, and nodes; there's a ton of people that go into keeping things functional. Those people get a paycheck whether you use 0bytes or 250,000,000bytes.

The costs are largely based on the percentage of infrastructure you use. When you're on a shared 38mbps cable segment, when you are using your connection at 8mbps that capacity is not available to everyone else on the segment. As long as there is idle capacity there isn't a problem, but when enough people start to use the network heavily enough the impact is typically felt by all users on the node. (the new QoS implementation helps address some of that)

Everyone pays roughly the same amount for Internet access, but the usage is greatly varied. This leads to a Tragedy of the Commons situation.
The Tragedy of the Commons is the title of an influential article written by Garrett Hardin, first published in the journal Science in 1968.[1] The article describes a dilemma in which multiple individuals acting independently in their own self-interest can ultimately destroy a shared resource even where it is clear that it is not in anyone's long term interest for this to happen.

Central to Hardin's article is a metaphor of herders sharing a common parcel of land (the commons) on which they are all entitled to let their cows graze. In Hardin's view it is in each herder’s interest to put as many cows as possible onto the land even if the commons is damaged as a result. The herder receives all the benefits from the additional cows but the damage to the commons is shared by the entire group. If all herders make this individually rational decision, however, the commons is destroyed and all herders suffer.
Source: »en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tragedy_of_the_commons Original credit pfsmith See Profile in post »Re: Just Like the Electric Company!

There are real limits on how much capacity the infrastructure can support today. It's been 2 years since the DOCSIS 3.0 standard was ratified, and we still only have a single CMTS vendor that is fully supported with both upstream and downstream channel bonding. In the meantime, upgrades are expensive, and there is no financial backing to implement them because under flat rate pricing they get the same income whether they invest $0 or invest millions in their backbone. (provided they can keep the performance high enough that most subscriber don't defect)

Broadband access is like public transportation. It's engineered for cost, and it's impossible for it to ever be everything to everyone. It is possible, however, for it to be good enough for the overwhelming majority.
With respect to that, then, why is it such a big deal for Comcast to tell a user that takes full advantage of that line when nobody else in their node cares to? If the impact isn't felt and no complaints are being made, does Comcast still have the arguing point? I don't think so. If they have to lie about it actually causing problems, I wouldn't be inclined to change my usage habit. But on the other hand if they were truthful and provided clear information that others are in fact being impacted because of my use, I would then be better inclined to care what was happening.


espaeth
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said by fezz7834673:

With respect to that, then, why is it such a big deal for Comcast to tell a user that takes full advantage of that line when nobody else in their node cares to? If the impact isn't felt and no complaints are being made, does Comcast still have the arguing point? I don't think so.
The caps are purely a financial stop-loss maneuver. They know what their monthly operating costs are per DOCSIS segment, they know what their target profit margin is (as does anyone who reads their financial statements, since they're a publicly traded company), and they've calculated out what percentage of the infrastructure each subscriber can use before they start losing losing money on that subscriber. I don't know Comcast's specific costs, but I think it's safe to say that their break-even point is somewhere under 100GB per subscriber.


funchords
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reply to espaeth

said by espaeth:

Face it, the only way we're going back to no caps is if there is usage based billing, or we have speed downgrades. Every broadband ISP that advertises 'unlimited' service is lying.
It has become a game of "chicken" to see how far they dare stretch the truth before it breaks -- and maybe this is it and some correction has to happen. That said, I'm not ready to say that the business of bandwidth aggregation has broken down. And any speed "downgrades" we might get will, in actuality, be speed we never had in the first place. This 250 GB cap may be a substitute (a speed tier is just a "per second" bandwidth cap).

We need not set the goal that they "deliver 100% use to every subscriber simultaneously." That's unreasonable. However, they must be reasonably able to deliver the service levels that they are selling based on usage patterns and network upgrades -- and that's the part of this issue that is falling down right now.

At the end of the day, this is what's happening: Even if they don't know it, people are buying into one share in two pools of bandwidth. Before they do, they ought to know how many subscribers are in the upload pool and what bandwidth is available in it, how many subscribers are in the download pool and and what bandwidth is available in it, what the community's usage patterns are.

Now -- one way to proceed for ANYISP is that it can sell shares of that, if it wants to. But it has to update the buyers as to what they're buying every month. If they've done that, then the deal is fair. The ISP can't really underperform when it does that. It just makes the connections and sits back. If my neighbor and I were sharing a T1, it's probably the arrangement we would make between us.

If ANYISP wants to relieve the buyer of the burden of understanding all of that, then they can sell a "tier" and package certain expectations together -- that's useful. However, it breaks down if the ISP acts unethically and sells tiers that it can't responsibly expect to deliver. If it underdelivers, then the ISP should incur a cost -- either in bearing the additional expense to deliver what it overpromised, or by rebating the difference back to the customers. Selling tiers is what the ISPs have been doing, and it works, and has worked, for many many years.

I maintain that people haven't changed all that much. There is nothing new here. We've always had extreme users of bandwidth and we've always had light users of bandwidth. And the trend is not increasing, it is slowing down. With those facts, I can't rationalize that the years of "unlimited" are over.
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stinger

join:2001-03-22
Florissant, MO
reply to FFH

Bandwidth limits are not just a "Step backward." They are the first of many soon to come responses to recent FCC rulings. By February 2009, the true impact of these changes will be painfully clear.

Many consumers use the internet for streaming media such as news, video, audio and voip. The ramifications of ISP's imposing usage caps on their subscribers for sites (JOOST, HULU, YOUTUBE etc.) that serve up streaming media could be disastrous. Can you say, "Nice idea while it lasted MagicJack, Skype and the rest of you broadband dependent pioneers?"

In order to build their infrastructures these ISP's drank greedily from the well of "public tax dollars" then used their muscle to drive the small local ISP's out of the market. Many of the same big ISP's still receive tax breaks today, even as more promises are broken and the public trust betrayed.

The people are always going to be fleeced by government and big business, just don't insult our intelligence by trying to convice us that it's in our best interest.

Truth is, by 2010 everyone in America could have 20-meg unlimited internet service at an affordable price. However, many areas lack access because the "big-boys" are too busy fighting over who will control the information superhighway.

I look forward to the day when forward-thinking developers include Wireless Cloud Networks their plans for those sprawling new subdivisions that are popping up all over America.



espaeth
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1 edit

said by stinger:

Bandwidth limits are not just a "Step backward." They are the first of many soon to come responses to recent FCC rulings. By February 2009, the true impact of these changes will be painfully clear.
Will it be like Y2k? Should we start buying bottled water and canned goods now?

The limits of the infrastructure that are the driver behind identifying the cap have always existed; the only difference is that now providers are deciding to stop pretending that they don't exist.

said by stinger:

Many consumers use the internet for streaming media such as news, video, audio and voip. The ramifications of ISP's imposing usage caps on their subscribers for sites (JOOST, HULU, YOUTUBE etc.) that serve up streaming media could be disastrous.
Disasterous?

Let's put some perspective on this. According to the New York Times there are about 237 million Internet users in North America.

In a report published by Comscore in July, the statistics show that in May 2008:

* 74 percent of the total U.S. Internet audience viewed online video.
* The average online video viewer watched 228 minutes of video.
* 82.2 million viewers watched 4.1 billion videos on YouTube.com (50.4 videos per viewer).
* 54.8 million viewers watched 703 million videos on MySpace.com (12.8 videos per viewer).
* 6.8 million viewers watched 88 million videos on Hulu.com (13.0 videos per viewer).
* The duration of the average online video was 2.7 minutes.
So yes, lots of people on the Internet are watching video. The vast majority of it is short MySpace or YouTube videos (as noted by the average duration of 2.7 minutes of each video).

The average viewer is watching just under 4 hours of online video per month, in contrast to 5 hours of traditional TV per viewer per day according to Nielson Media.

As for "many" viewers of services like Hulu. They've only had 6.8 million viewers, and there's about 237 North American Internet users. So even if you assume it was just North American viewers surfing Hulu, that's just under 3% of the US/Canada Internet community making it over there to watch videos. Considering Hulu is accessible to the world, the US/Can numbers are actually even lower.

I'm not saying this to minimize the importance of online video, but rather to put your assessment of the impact on society as a whole in perspective. If you stopped random people on the street, the overwhelming majority couldn't tell you what service Hulu offers.

said by stinger:

Can you say, "Nice idea while it lasted MagicJack, Skype and the rest of you broadband dependent pioneers?"
VoIP providers like MagicJack and Skype will do just fine. A G711 RTP stream with overhead is only 80kbps, so if you called someone stayed connected 24x7 for an entire 30 days you'd only have racked up just under 52GB of total transfer if you factor in upstream and downstream audio.

said by stinger:

In order to build their infrastructures these ISP's drank greedily from the well of "public tax dollars" then used their muscle to drive the small local ISP's out of the market.
What subsidies did the cable companies get to roll infrastructure to deliver cable TV? How about for the HFC plant? Sources?

said by stinger:

The people are always going to be fleeced by government and big business, just don't insult our intelligence by trying to convice us that it's in our best interest.
I don't think anyone is naive enough to suggest their isn't a non-trivial corruption component to any large business. That said, not every action taken by business is corrupt.

said by stinger:

Truth is, by 2010 everyone in America could have 20-meg unlimited internet service at an affordable price.
Using what access technology?


funchords
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said by espaeth:

said by stinger:

In order to build their infrastructures these ISP's drank greedily from the well of "public tax dollars" then used their muscle to drive the small local ISP's out of the market.
What subsidies did the cable companies get to roll infrastructure to deliver cable TV? How about for the HFC plant? Sources?
I'm not sure this qualifies, but in my hometown, they were given access to the utility easements and an exclusive franchise, but it wasn't a total handout as they also gave free cable to some public buildings and created some public access channels. They've now stopped giving free cable to public buildings and stopped their support for public access channels, but they're still in the easements and they're still the only game in town.

I'm not saying that it was a mistake, it did get the system in and we've had quite a few upgrades. But it does cross significant private and public property.
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NormanS
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reply to stinger

said by stinger:

In order to build their infrastructures these ISP's drank greedily from the well of "public tax dollars"...
I am not aware that any tax dollars were handed out to any companies.
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NormanS
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reply to funchords

WRT the easements, around here, they were already provided to electric and telephone. It isn't like Comcast is getting a free ride. PG&E owns the poles, and was given the primary easement access. I am reasonably certain that PG&E collects from AT&T (telephone) and Comcast for hanging their wires from the PG&E poles. The electric utility easement was there, anyway, and I still don't fully understand how access to that easement is a "subsidy".
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funchords
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Yeah, I'm not sure it is either.

I can't remember who my cable provider was in SoCal, but when the Orange County Tax authority started charging them property tax for the public land that they crossed, they just turned around and added it to our bills as a line item. And while they were trying to embarass the county Assessor, they reminded me that they are essentially getting a free ride across significant property for their "private" company.

But that's how we do things -- we like these public-private partnerships. But when we do them, it creates mutual interests, making the results neither completely public nor completely private.
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NormanS
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Aerial utilities in this neighborhood mostly cross private property. A lot of neighborhoods built between 1955 and 1975, or so, have all overhead utilities mostly crossing private property. I believe this was a government requirement to reduce the "ugly" in utility poles alongside of streets.

Subsequent to 1975, or so, the governments required buried utilities, which puts them back in the public rights of way (under the streets). But buried utilities are costlier to install, and taxing the utilities on top of forcing them to use a more expensive installation method...I suspect that the utilities get a quid-pro-quo from the government agencies: "We'll bury the lines, if you don't tax us".
--
Norman
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sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

3 edits
reply to NormanS

said by NormanS:

WRT the easements, around here, they were already provided to electric and telephone. It isn't like Comcast is getting a free ride. PG&E owns the poles, and was given the primary easement access. I am reasonably certain that PG&E collects from AT&T (telephone) and Comcast for hanging their wires from the PG&E poles. The electric utility easement was there, anyway, and I still don't fully understand how access to that easement is a "subsidy".
None of the utilities behave the way Comcast does, in my opinion. For the utilities, you have a meter where you could see your usage and as long as you are paying your bill, the utility will not if you "use too much" start delivering 90V instead of 110V or 40 Hz instead of 60 Hz power. Neither will your natural gas contain 30% nitrogen or air or the water suddenly 50% air bubbles while you are charged the same fee.

The utilities behave reasonably because they must answer to the PUC and the government. They do get advantages and they behave reasonably toward their customers, including those that like to have 1000 lights and water their lawn 5 times a day when it rains.

I have never heard of a utility calling good paying customers and threatening them with disconnection, either. Nor would the city take a friendly look at any utility that would disconnect paying customers for a year because they "were using too much" of the utility's services.

Yes, I've been told that I have been "stretching" my comparisons by those that are quick to compare CC to an utility when it comes to the advantages but does not get any of the obligations that come with those advantages, in my opinion.
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joetaxpayer
I'M Here Till Thursday

join:2001-09-07
Sudbury, MA

said by sturmvogel:

None of the utilities behave the way Comcast does, in my opinion.
Well, my local water company has tiered rates that start at $3/1000 gallons, but as you go over 60,000 gallons in a six months period, the cost rises to $16/1000 gallons.

And when it's hottest out, and grass needs watering the most, they have a water ban.

OTOH, you would think that 99% of users would be happy to see that the 1% who use more than the bottom 80% are getting slowed down. If your neighbor opened the main to refill his pool every morning just as you tried to shower......


sturmvogel
Obama '08

join:2008-02-07
Houston, TX

1 edit

1 recommendation

said by joetaxpayer:

said by sturmvogel:

None of the utilities behave the way Comcast does, in my opinion.
Well, my local water company has tiered rates that start at $3/1000 gallons, but as you go over 60,000 gallons in a six months period, the cost rises to $16/1000 gallons.

And when it's hottest out, and grass needs watering the most, they have a water ban.

OTOH, you would think that 99% of users would be happy to see that the 1% who use more than the bottom 80% are getting slowed down. If your neighbor opened the main to refill his pool every morning just as you tried to shower......
And still they do not cut off people without telling them how much they could use, they do offer higher usage people a plan to pay for their consumption and the watering ban is usually justified by hot conditions outside that are OBSERVABLE by others, they do not just say "take our word for it, there is a water shortage". Neither are you expected to have weekly neighborhood meetings to discuss who could take how many showers at what time nor if Bill the neighbor is a bad person because he fills his pool twice a week. If he can afford it, it is his service.

Do you have a meter that you could read ? Of course.

While there are constraints,in my opinion none are in such a one sided manner as I have observed with the provider in question.
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