Google Fiber took a lot of heat lately when it was found that their terms of service bans "servers" (more technically, running a business out of your home). As I noted at the time
the hysteria surrounding Google Fiber's TOS was rather overblown, given that few if any ISPs have actually enforced that language, and the language can be useful in nudging extremely heavy users on to business-grade tiers.
Still, critics are right in that Google did
profess that they were going to be different, and overly-broad terms of service are written to erode your legal rights at every possibly opportunity. The EFF has posted a little rant
against these TOS violations, claiming Google is "perpetuating a long-standing form of that discrimation with Google Fiber" by banning servers:
No ISP will come forward with a tighter definition of “server” because they want to give themselves leeway to ban users and technologies that they deem to be troublemakers. This strategy of making incredibly broad, vague, and one-sided contracts is deeply problematic and unfair towards users, and it's disheartening to see Google follow this well-trodden path.
Again though, even the EFF (whose work I greatly respect and admire) forgets to note that while the language exists, it is rarely enforced, and most people -- on most of these ISPs -- are happily running servers of all kinds as I write this. Again, the language primarily allows ISPs to boot extremely heavy customers trying to run porn and poker empires on $70 residential connections, on to business-class tiers with SLAs.
While that may be a silly distinction to some, the industry's alternative to this is metered billing on all connections in an uncompetitive market
, a reality that's going to cause significantly more discriminatory impact than the industry's unenforced anti-server TOS language ever has.