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Google Fiber Changes Server Ban Language in TOS
by Karl Bode 10:40AM Tuesday Oct 15 2013
You might recall that Google Fiber took a lot of criticism back in July for language in their terms of service that technically bans servers. The criticism originated with a user who filed a complaint with the FCC, claiming that Google's language aimed to prohibit Google Fiber users from doing commonplace things like running Minecraft servers or using Slingboxes.

As noted at the time, the hysteria was a little overblown in that nearly all ISPs contain this language to protect themselves from extremely heavy users trying to run a business on a residential line, and in many instances the language is never even enforced. Google primarily took heat because they professed to be offering a service that's different from the status quo, and the status quo is rights-eroding and ambiguous fine print.

Fast forward to last week, when Google Fiber appears to have quietly updated their terms of service and acceptable use policy with new language that clarifies that they're not interested in prohibiting most reasonable uses of the connection:
quote:
However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that complies with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.
As with most ISPs, you'll likely only gain the attention of Google Fiber's engineer team if you're pushing numerous terabytes monthly as you attempt to run a porn and poker empire out of your bedroom closet.

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topics flat nest 
axus

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

Hopefully other ISPs follow suit

It's always nice when a contract says what it means. It costs little for Google to spell out a policy they planned to follow anyways.

Next question, is traffic routed to our homes subject to administrative subpoena, or is a search warrant required to read that?

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

Re: Hopefully other ISPs follow suit

"Google complies with all legal requests for information."

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

It is sad they resisted this change

Off the record they basically said this was true, but it took threats by the FCC in order to get them to officially change the ToS.

I don't get why they were afraid to officially say non-commercial servers were OK.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

Because it opens the door for customers to actually utilize their connections. Not having it in the AUP gave Google grounds to terminate connections that used excessive amounts of data. Now it is going to be more difficult to get rid of problem customers.

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

That is the issue, bandwidth is dirt cheap. ISPs don't need to care if connections are used. The only reason caps were implemented by cable companies was because your local node can be a bottleneck and causes everyone using that node to be slow.

Cable companies are keeping those caps after upgrading purely to block online video services from competing against cable tv.
silbaco
Premium
join:2009-08-03
USA

2 recommendations

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

As cheap as bandwidth is, it's not as cheap as Google is selling it for. They are betting on the fact that people won't utilize even a fraction of it and it is a very safe bet, as long as they can keep people from hosting high traffic servers.

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

said by silbaco:

it's not as cheap as Google is selling it for.

The problem is that nothing is charged per gigabyte online. Google pays for a backbone and can max that out while paying a single fixed cost.

The cost is the price of google's backbone bandwidth divided by its total paying customers. Google is not charged more if customers max out the backbone. Google is only charged more if they get more backbone bandwidth to deal with total customer load. But it is a fixed cost increase.

If google oversells 10:1 and thus only has 100mbit of dedicated bandwidth per user that is guaranteed, then they are not going to have issues. They would just need to implement QoS that can cap max speeds to handle congestion. People being throttled down to something between 1 gigabit and 100 megabits probably aren't going to notice.

But we have no idea what ratio google will use when they oversell their backbone.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

said by insomniac84:

The problem is that nothing is charged per gigabyte online.

You've never heard of 95th percentile billing, have you?
sonicmerlin

join:2009-05-24
Cleveland, OH
kudos:1

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

That's 95th percentile in gbit/s, not gigabytes. You did nothing to refute his point.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus
When your own infrastructure, you don't get billed. The discussion was about Google's backbone, which they own themselves.

Their only costs are parts a labor and the labor is a fixed cost since most of their workers are salary. Unless they're trenching new fiber, their man hours are fixed in cost. They just need to purchase new ports.

ITALIAN926

join:2003-08-16
kudos:2
Reviews:
·Verizon FiOS

1 edit
This isnt Google just selling Data, it takes them a very long time to recoup their investment of labor hours, advertisements, material, and and all kinds of overhead. "free service" for 7 years for a $300 construction fee? = Money loser. ( i forgot the exact details, no interest in looking it up)
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

The truck roll and equipment probably costs more than $300, then you need to include maintenance and customer care.

I think the idea was to offer "free" because of their deal with the city, but they needed a bit of a hurdle to not get trolled.

I don't have Google fiber, but I do have fiber and it involved a 3 person team to come out and trench the fiber from the curb to my house which was about 30 minutes, then another person to connect the fiber from the curb to the newly laid fiber to my house, which was another 20 minutes, then a 2 man team to get the fiber into my house and hook things up.

That's about 4 man hours of work just to Internet into the basement. Assume $15/hour, and that's $60, then add in equipment costs, rental fees, and fuel, probably another $100-$200, then the modem+UPS, another $150-$250.

Ballparking here, but my guess is $400.

I'm not even including other things like port usage back at the ISP or electrical costs or any other random thing.

$300 is very much likely to be a loss just for day one, yet alone the next 7 years.
BlueC

join:2009-11-26
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:1
Except they aren't solely relying on their backbone to feed the infrastructure.

They're clearly paying other carriers for transit:

»bgp.he.net/AS16591
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

I see advertisements to peers, but how does one infer payment from that? - actual question, not sarcastic

mackey
Premium
join:2007-08-20
kudos:8
said by silbaco:

As cheap as bandwidth is, it's not as cheap as Google is selling it for.

Actually, in this case it's probably FREE for Google. Think about it: what direction is all the traffic from Youtube, ad serving, etc going? Answer: upload / outgoing. However, most carrier grade connections are symmetric and thus they are sitting on TONS of unused incoming bandwidth. And what direction does most residential traffic such as web surfing and movie streaming go? If they can keep people from uploading stuff then the bandwidth isn't going to cost them a dime.

/M
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

1 edit

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

The cheapest bandwidth can cost is the cost of the ports. The real question is how much do the ports cost and how many ports does Google need.

Local bandwidth is easy. 1gb fiber tech is cheap when talking about 40km-80km ranges, but at some point you need to aggregate all of these customers and push them over your trunk.

The trunk is where things get expensive. Tech to transport 100gb/s over potentially thousands of kilometers is not cheap. What Google is banking on is that even though they're offering 1gb speed, very few people will make use of it.

As expensive as trunk bandwidth and transit is, the majority of the cost for most ISPs is not the trunk, but the last mile. Actual trunk demand is relatively low because most customers don't use their connections that often. Even a few high bandwidth users won't make much of a difference.

While a few heavy users make up the bulk of the total data moved, they make up a very small piece of peak bandwidth used. Since congestion and costs are entirely based on peak usage, heavy users really don't make a difference.

Well, they did back before YouTube and Netflix. P2P was so much more bandwidth than web browsing, but P2P is smaller than media streaming.

Case studies actually agree with this. On average, going from 10mb/s to 1gb/s only increases trunk load by about 30%. As long as this remains true, Google can naturally upgrade their trunk as long-haul tech gets cheaper, while not having to touch their last-mile infrastructure for a long time.

Now if a new wonderful high bandwidth and high demand service popped up over-night, Google would be screwed. But based on lots of research of how services and demand develop, this risk is phenomenally small.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON
said by silbaco:

As cheap as bandwidth is, it's not as cheap as Google is selling it for. They are betting on the fact that people won't utilize even a fraction of it and it is a very safe bet, as long as they can keep people from hosting high traffic servers.

It is when you're Google and have your own backbone using their own fiber, tons of peering which provides for very very inexpensive bandwidth and even purchasing transit becomes very inexpensive when you're purchasing many terabits of capacity.

DataRiker
Premium
join:2002-05-19
00000

1 recommendation

said by silbaco:

As cheap as bandwidth is, it's not as cheap as Google is selling it for. They are betting on the fact that people won't utilize even a fraction of it and it is a very safe bet, as long as they can keep people from hosting high traffic servers.

No they are not. Every single sub gets a dedicated single mode fiber. The bottle neck is literally the backbone.
BlueC

join:2009-11-26
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:1

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

said by DataRiker:

No they are not. Every single sub gets a dedicated single mode fiber. The bottle neck is literally the backbone.

I wouldn't assume that necessarily. I haven't seen any concrete specifics as far as how they deploy their service, other than the fact that they're operating some sort of WDM-PON & Active Ethernet hybrid setup, essentially dedicated virtual fiber strands in the form of wavelengths over shared fiber, all coming back to ordinary Ethernet switches (configured with all SFP ports with SFP+ uplinks).

I don't see Google deploying a completely non-blocking infrastructure for a residential service. If they are, I doubt they're making much money. More than likely they're running everything off of 1gbps ports with 10gbps uplinks, meaning either 24 or 48 homes are sharing a single 10gbps uplink.

There are stackable (allowing for non-blocking) Active Ethernet solutions out there. Unfortunately they're quite expensive, as usually you are forced to buy environmentally-hardened equipment. It's my understanding that everything is homerun back to a fiber hut, which is more than likely environmentally controlled, not requiring more expensive gear.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

1 edit

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

At one point they described their setup as a single chassis able to handle up-to 500 customers with up-to 400gb-500gb of uplink.

Other commercial avaliable and popular GPON linecards have 8 GPON ports, which are 2.5gb/s per port down and 1.25gb/s up, and each line card has 2 10gb ports, which perfectly matches the peak bandwidth in any one direction.

Near-non-blocking setups, are what's encouraged. There is nothing stopping someone from not using those 10gb ports, but they've already paid for them.

The other cool thing is they can be used for redundancy. So say you can have 20 line cards in a chassis, each with 20gb of uplink. If any one uplink fails for a given linecard, it can fail-over to sharing another linecard's uplink.

This does have to be setup, but it can be done and is the recommend setup based on documentation. Typically they have linecard pairs, so in normal mode, you have 1:1 for the uplink, but if a linecard's uplinks both fail, then the paired linecard for failover, now has to share, with a 2:1.

You can also get linecards without uplinks then get dedicated linecards for just uplinks. So say 18 linecards with 8 GPON ports each, and 2 linecards, both with 2x100gb ports, giving 400gb/s to be shared with 144 GPON ports, which gives an under-subscribed ratio of 0.9:1

Now I get a bit fanciful, as I don't know how much these core routers actually cost.

Take your chassis with 400 customers, each with 1gb over WDM-GPON, give it 400gb/s of uplink via 4x100gb ports, then plug that into one of those core routers with 30tb/s of non-blocking routing via 150x100gb ports.

To keep things symmetrical, every one port plugging into a chassis, needs another plugging into the trunk. So only 75 ports can be used as uplinks for the chassis. That means 75,000 customers can have 1gb of non-blocking local routing.

But wait, their's more!

Newest commercial available tech can multiplex 80x100gb links over a single pair of fiber. Since you're only using 75 ports, you can support all 75,000 1gb customers with not only non-blocking access to the trunk, but non-blocking access ON the trunk.

If you think that's crazy, you should see the 1pb/s routers that can support 500 1tb/s ports(when they come out, right now only 400gb/s ports) and a 144 strand fiber cable that will allow 576tb/s of peak data transfer using the above multi-plexing of 100gb ports.

So two fiber cables, both the thickness of a pencil, can support about 500,000 customers with full non-blocking trunk access.

I'm sure the cost of this setup would be insanely high, but it can be done.

Statistics shows that we don't need non-blocking speeds up-stream. It is a statistical near-impossibility for everyone of a large group to use all of their bandwidth at the same time.

As long as you can keep the "nodes" from congestion, then you're good to go. You only need non-blocking speeds at the smaller levels of aggregation, like the ports, or maybe the uplinks of a chassis.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON
said by insomniac84:

That is the issue, bandwidth is dirt cheap. ISPs don't need to care if connections are used. The only reason caps were implemented by cable companies was because your local node can be a bottleneck and causes everyone using that node to be slow.

Caps do not do anything to help with congestion issues at the cable node and that's why even with them in place congestion still happens.

insomniac84

join:2002-01-03
Schererville, IN

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

said by 34764170:

Caps do not do anything to help with congestion issues at the cable node and that's why even with them in place congestion still happens.

I never said it makes sense. Caps are the worst way to prevent peak congestion. But that is what cable companies implemented. They probably didn't have any QoS capability at the time.

Since then they just use speedboost, giving you extra bandwidth for webs surfing and short downloads if the node is not congested, instead of giving you a general bandwidth increase.

Now the caps are left in place purely to limit video competition against cable tv.
MURICA

join:2013-01-03

1 recommendation

Why is Google rolling out 1 Gbps connections if they don't want people using them?
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

1 edit

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

Why are ISPs rolling out broadband if they don't want people using it? at least Google has clarified the TOS to make it more friendly for everyday consumer use. Most other ISPs have not and will not do so.
davidhoffman
Premium
join:2009-11-19
Warner Robins, GA
kudos:2
They do not want people creating a commercial for profit ISP using the Google Fiber network. They are the ISP. I think they tolerate the "start up" houses that use a residential connection as long as there is no separate billing for Google Fiber for the start up people who stay a short time. From what I have read, those who are purely average residential users, are using the connection as much as they want with no problems. There seems to always be that 0.01% of subscribers who want to run a for profit ISP or other server intensive for profit business on a residential internet connection. The answer from the ISP they are getting service from has always been no, as far as I know.
34764170

join:2007-09-06
Etobicoke, ON

1 recommendation

Re: It is sad they resisted this change

This has nothing to do with a commercial for profit ISP using Google Fiber.
LTE4LIFE

join:2013-02-28

Residential vs. Commercial?!?

when you're running fiber to the premises, what's the effin difference between residential and commercial? I don't know too many commercial businesses that have Gb connections to the internet. Most if they are lucky get about 50Mbps Sync.

do commercial fiber connects have more stands of fiber than residential??

the only thing I can see that might be different is the node feeding a residential area with fiber is using 10Gb switches, where a commercial node is using multiple stacks of 10Gb switches or 100Gb switches like the Cisco Nexus series of switches.

Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

Differences between residential and commercial service, off the top of my head:

1) Faster response times to trouble reports.

2) Ability to get an SLA.

3) Higher packet queuing priority at congested links.

4) Ability to get a static IP or even the assignment of an entire subnet.

5) No blocked ports.

6) Lower over-subscription ratio.
jjeffeory

join:2002-12-04
USA

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

Those are all artificial differences. Also, residential people can get static IPs sometimes.
Crookshanks

join:2008-02-04
Binghamton, NY

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

"Artificial" difference?

You _pay_ for those differences. You think an ISP is going to give you an SLA and four hour promised dispatch for $60/mo? Good luck with that....

FLATLINE

join:2007-02-27
Buffalo, NY

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

Yep its all about the support given.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus
"3) Higher packet queuing priority at congested links.
4) Ability to get a static IP or even the assignment of an entire subnet.
5) No blocked ports.
6) Lower over-subscription ratio."

Even these don't affect pricing that much. I get all of this on my residential line and I pay little more than I did for cable.

Well, #3 is moot. Your ISP can't QoS outside of their network and if the ISP doesn't have congested links, then QoS doesn't do anything.

80/20 rule is that QoS is more expensive than bandwidth for high speed links.
BlueC

join:2009-11-26
Minneapolis, MN
kudos:1

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

said by Bengie25:

"3) Higher packet queuing priority at congested links.
4) Ability to get a static IP or even the assignment of an entire subnet.
5) No blocked ports.
6) Lower over-subscription ratio."

Even these don't affect pricing that much. I get all of this on my residential line and I pay little more than I did for cable.

Well, #3 is moot. Your ISP can't QoS outside of their network and if the ISP doesn't have congested links, then QoS doesn't do anything.

80/20 rule is that QoS is more expensive than bandwidth for high speed links.

However, an ISP can surely isolate residential service to a prefix that is not announced to certain BGP peers. Meaning they can provide higher quality routing to their business customers and leave the cheap (often congested) peers to the residential subs.

Not all ISPs do this, but I'd imagine it's quite common with the large companies.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus

2 edits

Re: Residential vs. Commercial?!?

I fully agree, but giving my anecdotal situation, not to mention my ISP is quite small compared to incumbents.

I'm in a small city quite far from any metro area. The nearest exchange is Chicago, a state away. My ISP doesn't really do any peering, except with another smaller ISP, but I'm not sure the business relation.

Nearly every route is over the same route, strait to Level 3 in Chicago. I have yet to experience any congestion ever, except in a situation or two that seemed like a peering link failed(massive packet-loss) far-far upstream with L3, but was transient and was fixed in less than 1 hour all of those few times.

My ISP actually advertises "dedicated bandwidth" for all of their line services. So regardless of different routes, they indirectly advertise congestion free Internet access, within their network and to their peers.

My Internet connection is more expensive, but not by much. Local cable advertises $30, with certain restrictions like bundling etc, but just comparing directly, cable is about $30-$60 for 30mb/4mb and my current ISP is $70 for 30mb/30mb.

They actually don't differentiate between business and residential. We all use the same connection and have the same features. All symmetrical dedicated bandwidth with access to static IP addresses /29 for $10/m.

According to my 24/7 ping, I am getting 0.08% packet-loss to Chicago, and less than 0.1ms jitter, 24/7. I have to say it's dedicated. This is including running BitTorrent upwards of 40mb/s on my 50mb connection. Much more than 40mb, and I start to see ping spikes up to 18ms. The 0 downtime over the past 6 months is quite nice to.

I'm not sure that 0.08% packet-loss properly reflects my connection. I did a 24/7 ping for 5 days from my work to my home, I got 0.1% packet-loss. Once I add in that my work uses Charter, and the route is over 2,000 miles long because Charter's peer was routing through Dallas Texas, with the 4x the distance and hops, 0.1% seem not bad at all.

Even then, I typically go days without any packet-loss from the ping, and it's not packet-loss as in loss per n packets, because I can transfer 45mb/s for hours with 0 packets dropped. I'm not really sure where the loss occurs either. As far as I know, I have absolutely no loss caused by my ISP.

My latest test showed me getting about 0.25ms of jitter to LA at 7pm on a 5,000 mile round-trip. I'm not sure how much better one can get.

If it's a question between paying $60/m and $70/m for the difference between congested shared bandwidth and non-congested dedicated bandwidth, I'll gladly pay the premium.
Bengie25

join:2010-04-22
Wisconsin Rapids, WI
Reviews:
·Solarus
The line itself is not different, but the head units are typically a bit different, smaller, and more expensive per port, but support more enterprise features.

Business also get a different class of support. Kind of like comparing coach to first class. They both get a plane ride, but one is more cushy.

Mr Anon

@k12.il.us

That's all I could ask for.

That is super actually and all I want. To the original person's complaint I'd find his "use" to be excessive. This lets people use that large pipe but warns them not to make a business out of it. If one goes to a friends house and they want to discuss yesterday's lecture but left the HD video at home they can VPN and grab it at a 1gbs and not worry that it violates the TOS

rchandra
Stargate Universe fan
Premium
join:2000-11-09
14225-2105

run a porn and poker empire? :-)

"run a porn and poker empire"...kind of reminds me of Futurama's Bender in "The Series Has Landed"....except that was blackjack and hookers.