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Daily CE Musings of Piob - Page 95

post #1411 of 5308
I'd be ok paying based on a different scheme, if their current pricing model doesn't work, they can stop using it. The bandwidth itself is not the issue here (especially since the limiting factor in most transmissions is last-mile bandwidth, not backbone).

The problem here is that a Netflix stream and a Hulu stream can both use the same bandwidth, as can somebody downloading a linux ISO, or transferring a 2GB dataset from home through their corporate VPN. We have seen ISPs decide they don't like Netflix and all of the sudden, that Netflix stream goes slower. The hulu stream is fine (some ISPs have a financial interest in Hulu), the other connections are still working fine. Everybody is on the same plan, so why do the nerd downloading linux and the guy working from home get faster speeds than the woman watching Netflix? Right now it is because those two don't compete with some alternate business-line that the ISP is involved in.

But what if they decide they want to launch their own VPN service? If you want to use your office's Cisco VPN endpoint, you are going to go slower than if your company uses ISP-Brand VPN. Why would they want to run their own VPN? Maybe to stop people from using secure VPNs to get around their traffic shaping--I used my VPN back when they were throttling netflix and despite all of my data having to travel across the country an extra time, I was able to get full speed Netflix (since they can't peek at what is going over an encrypted VPN).

Internet is a utility. Maybe it can't be metered like an existing utility and there needs to be a different framework for dealing with it, but it is every bit important to our economic development as our phone lines and electric grid. Admittedly the best examples of bad behavior are all entertainment related (because the biggest residential ISPs right now are in the entertainment business), but the internet is so much more than that.
post #1412 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencycle View Post

I think you're right in part, but I think it is regulation that is causing the underlying problem. At least here in Minneapolis, the city doesn't let others in or make it cost prohibitive to setup shop. That's why Google is only in a few markets (among other reasons).

I've only followed it loosely in Minneapolis, but isn't much of that due to lobbying that has blocked any efforts at bringing in alternatives? As always, these companies are only against regulations that hurt them--zero problem with regulations that keep their enemies out. Which is fine. Their job is to profit for their shareholders (not even to provide the best or fastest internet to their customers if that's not profitable)...but it is not supposed to be the city's job to make sure they are the *only* company that gets to generate shareholder value within its borders.
post #1413 of 5308
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

I'd be ok paying based on a different scheme, if their current pricing model doesn't work, they can stop using it. The bandwidth itself is not the issue here (especially since the limiting factor in most transmissions is last-mile bandwidth, not backbone).

The problem here is that a Netflix stream and a Hulu stream can both use the same bandwidth, as can somebody downloading a linux ISO, or transferring a 2GB dataset from home through their corporate VPN. We have seen ISPs decide they don't like Netflix and all of the sudden, that Netflix stream goes slower. The hulu stream is fine (some ISPs have a financial interest in Hulu), the other connections are still working fine. Everybody is on the same plan, so why do the nerd downloading linux and the guy working from home get faster speeds than the woman watching Netflix? Right now it is because those two don't compete with some alternate business-line that the ISP is involved in.

But what if they decide they want to launch their own VPN service? If you want to use your office's Cisco VPN endpoint, you are going to go slower than if your company uses ISP-Brand VPN. Why would they want to run their own VPN? Maybe to stop people from using secure VPNs to get around their traffic shaping--I used my VPN back when they were throttling netflix and despite all of my data having to travel across the country an extra time, I was able to get full speed Netflix (since they can't peek at what is going over an encrypted VPN).

Internet is a utility. Maybe it can't be metered like an existing utility and there needs to be a different framework for dealing with it, but it is every bit important to our economic development as our phone lines and electric grid. Admittedly the best examples of bad behavior are all entertainment related (because the biggest residential ISPs right now are in the entertainment business), but the internet is so much more than that.

Did you misuse that word? Internet =! bandwidth and I think that's the crux of the issue.
post #1414 of 5308
Well, I suppose I meant bandwidth in the same way I mean the active flow of electrons when I talk about electricity service. Access to the internet is the important factor.

What strikes me as odd is that this problem basically doesn't exist at the business ISP level as far as I can tell. I'm not talking about comcast business or whatever you get for a 5 person office...I mean the guys who can support 200 person offices doing data intensive work. In the world of service-level agreements, expensive contracts, and a bit more competition, nobody is willing to accept degraded service . "I'm paying for a pipe and god damn it, I will put whatever I deem essential to my business down that pipe and it had better not be clogged".

These guys are mostly in favor of some sort of net neutrality. The water muddies a bit with firms that provide both types of service, but they certainly aren't doing the same kinds of traffic shaping and filtering on business contracts that they are doing on residential.
post #1415 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Well, I suppose I meant bandwidth in the same way I mean the active flow of electrons when I talk about electricity service. Access to the internet is the important factor.

What strikes me as odd is that this problem basically doesn't exist at the business ISP level as far as I can tell. I'm not talking about comcast business or whatever you get for a 5 person office...I mean the guys who can support 200 person offices doing data intensive work. In the world of service-level agreements, expensive contracts, and a bit more competition, nobody is willing to accept degraded service . "I'm paying for a pipe and god damn it, I will put whatever I deem essential to my business down that pipe and it had better not be clogged".

These guys are mostly in favor of some sort of net neutrality. The water muddies a bit with firms that provide both types of service, but they certainly aren't doing the same kinds of traffic shaping and filtering on business contracts that they are doing on residential.

Well, I work at a company with massive datacenters, and we essentially have giant pipes to the next tier skipping the typical bottleneck.
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

I've only followed it loosely in Minneapolis, but isn't much of that due to lobbying that has blocked any efforts at bringing in alternatives? As always, these companies are only against regulations that hurt them--zero problem with regulations that keep their enemies out. Which is fine. Their job is to profit for their shareholders (not even to provide the best or fastest internet to their customers if that's not profitable)...but it is not supposed to be the city's job to make sure they are the *only* company that gets to generate shareholder value within its borders.

I absolutely agree companies lobby for regulations to favor an incumbent. Google Fiber, as an example, picked places that gave them great deals - for the most part they got free right of way access and often times they agreed to lower the fees and taxes on ongoing operation. I actually posted about this in another thread a month or so ago. In fact, that is in part how Google can charge so little: they are paying less in taxes/regulatory hassle.

Here's a decent article on how local government can crush out competition from starting up: http://www.wired.com/2013/07/we-need-to-stop-focusing-on-just-cable-companies-and-blame-local-government-for-dismal-broadband-competition/

Here the DSL company, CenturyLink, is offering 1GB for $100/mo on its new fiber network, but Minnesota has kept out Verizon, AT&T, and others who wanted to put in fiber networks.
post #1416 of 5308
Yeah and their pricing is pretty good too if you are willing to accept a contract and bundle with TV, but that gigabit service from centurylink is incredibly limited in availability (and they seem like an awful company to allow to deal with your internet...have you tried to use their website?). It is a good thing for them to have, but the whole Prism thing seems like it isn't going super well. Hopefully they get their shit together (unlike AT&T who seems like they are now going to hold their "alleged" gigabit expansion hostage in protest of net neutrality).

I can't really go into details, but lets just say I have an incredibly good handle on residential internet availability and pricing in the US (at least as of a couple of months ago). A lot of the offerings out there are pretty sad. There are a few bright spots where a local provider managed to get access to already laid dark fiber or where there is sufficient competition (such as some areas around DC that have actual alternatives to a single cable company and a slow DSL provider)...these areas start to see decent speeds priced as a service for "normal" people rather than a premium service for specialized users.
Rural areas are of course lacking--except those where there wasn't any big-ISP presence to fight against rollout of some small ISP, like VTel in Springfield, Vermont which will sell you gigabit for less than $60 a month (unbundled, no contract).
post #1417 of 5308
Thread Starter 
Like I said, I'm not really in one camp or the other, it's just somehow residential bandwidth strikes me as being of a different character from other utilities. Folks may or may not feel the same way about this but I think we need to guard against heavy handed legislation as that always tends to work out so well.
post #1418 of 5308
It appears Harry Reid has given Chief Spreading Bull a leadership position. Because, you know, focusing on those hot-button "progressive" issues really served the party well in the midterms.
Quote:
The expected title will be strategic policy adviser to the Democratic Policy and Communications Committee, according to a source familiar with the talks.
In the new position, Warren is expected to serve as a go-between to liberal groups to ensure their voice is part of the leadership’s private deliberations, a source said. She would be part of the messaging and policy team.


Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2014/11/elizabeth-warren-harry-reid-senate-leadership-112847.html#ixzz3IyNPmKqn
post #1419 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

Yeah and their pricing is pretty good too if you are willing to accept a contract and bundle with TV, but that gigabit service from centurylink is incredibly limited in availability (and they seem like an awful company to allow to deal with your internet...have you tried to use their website?). It is a good thing for them to have, but the whole Prism thing seems like it isn't going super well. Hopefully they get their shit together (unlike AT&T who seems like they are now going to hold their "alleged" gigabit expansion hostage in protest of net neutrality).

I can't really go into details, but lets just say I have an incredibly good handle on residential internet availability and pricing in the US (at least as of a couple of months ago). A lot of the offerings out there are pretty sad. There are a few bright spots where a local provider managed to get access to already laid dark fiber or where there is sufficient competition (such as some areas around DC that have actual alternatives to a single cable company and a slow DSL provider)...these areas start to see decent speeds priced as a service for "normal" people rather than a premium service for specialized users.
Rural areas are of course lacking--except those where there wasn't any big-ISP presence to fight against rollout of some small ISP, like VTel in Springfield, Vermont which will sell you gigabit for less than $60 a month (unbundled, no contract).

I agree with you. I think it is a shame there is less competition in the industry - it should really be more similar to the cell phone market. I know that isn't super competitive, but there are 4 big players with places like Walmart also being in the low-end of the spectrum.

I'm just afraid net neutrality will have the opposite effect intended. If the providers can't charge more to certain content providers or prioritize certain traffic, I'm afraid they won't improve network speeds, increase prices, and there will be less competition like the days of Bell phone.
post #1420 of 5308
I just don't think the providers should be able to charge more to the content providers.

*I* am their customer. I am asking for a pipe to the internet, to connect to the content providers. Netflix is also a customer of an ISP (I think they mostly use L3). They pay them for a pipe to the internet.

Comcast and L3 (and all of the other ISPs and backbone providers) already have peering agreements where they deal with the expense of transmitting and sharing traffic. I think it is absolute bullshit for Comcast to then pick and choose and decide to slow down Netflix. Bytes are bytes--netflix's bytes are no different than google's bytes. If I were using a VPN, comcast wouldn't even know whose bytes they were.
Comcast and L3 already have it figured out how they are supposed to exchange bytes. It does not cost comcast any more or less to send me netflix than it costs for them to send me video from bob's midget porn shack*.

For Comcast to reach across to L3's customer and say "Hey, you should pay me money too because my customers like to use you"...that's insane. Their customers are paying them *BECAUSE* they can feed them netflix. If it weren't for high bandwidth streams like netflix, people wouldn't need Comcast. They would be happy with the 6 or 10 mbit DSL AT&T sells around here instead of the 25/50/75 mbit comcast delivers for a bit more money. They are double-dipping just because they know that their uneducated customers will say "Man, netflix is slow and sucky" rather than "Man, comcast is making my connection intentionally slow and sucky" and because they happen to run services that compete with netflix (through related companies)

I pay comcast to send and receive data. Netflix pays L3 to send and receive data. Those should be our only transactions. It is up to the ISPs to figure out the interchange of data between themselves.

*Note, there is a possible exception here that I believe netflix does engage in. Essentially, netflix can set up content servers within an ISP's network. They might pay for the privilege of doing this because it gets them an even faster pipe to the homes of users and it essentially means they are hiring them as an ISP and keeping a server in their datacenter. In this case, it actually costs the ISP less to distribute netflix content (since they don't have to worry about acquiring those bytes from peers) and generates an income since they are acting as an ISP on both sides.
post #1421 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

I just don't think the providers should be able to charge more to the content providers.

*I* am their customer. I am asking for a pipe to the internet, to connect to the content providers. Netflix is also a customer of an ISP (I think they mostly use L3). They pay them for a pipe to the internet.

Comcast and L3 (and all of the other ISPs and backbone providers) already have peering agreements where they deal with the expense of transmitting and sharing traffic. I think it is absolute bullshit for Comcast to then pick and choose and decide to slow down Netflix. Bytes are bytes--netflix's bytes are no different than google's bytes. If I were using a VPN, comcast wouldn't even know whose bytes they were.
Comcast and L3 already have it figured out how they are supposed to exchange bytes. It does not cost comcast any more or less to send me netflix than it costs for them to send me video from bob's midget porn shack*.

For Comcast to reach across to L3's customer and say "Hey, you should pay me money too because my customers like to use you"...that's insane. Their customers are paying them *BECAUSE* they can feed them netflix. If it weren't for high bandwidth streams like netflix, people wouldn't need Comcast. They would be happy with the 6 or 10 mbit DSL AT&T sells around here instead of the 25/50/75 mbit comcast delivers for a bit more money. They are double-dipping just because they know that their uneducated customers will say "Man, netflix is slow and sucky" rather than "Man, comcast is making my connection intentionally slow and sucky" and because they happen to run services that compete with netflix (through related companies)

I pay comcast to send and receive data. Netflix pays L3 to send and receive data. Those should be our only transactions. It is up to the ISPs to figure out the interchange of data between themselves.

*Note, there is a possible exception here that I believe netflix does engage in. Essentially, netflix can set up content servers within an ISP's network. They might pay for the privilege of doing this because it gets them an even faster pipe to the homes of users and it essentially means they are hiring them as an ISP and keeping a server in their datacenter. In this case, it actually costs the ISP less to distribute netflix content (since they don't have to worry about acquiring those bytes from peers) and generates an income since they are acting as an ISP on both sides.

The question though is, will net neutrality make things worse than no net neutrality, especially in the long-term. My fear is yes because state and local governments have stifled competition in some areas already. Obviously places like Kansas City are going the opposite direction.

If Comcast and other ISPs are already trying to charge content providers, what happens when net neutrality passes? They just slow all speeds down or put caps on people's usage. It will be overall worse for everyone. While at the tier 1 level, they don't pay each other for carrying traffic, many ISPs do have to pay based on how much data they transfer through the backbone, so if everyone is streaming Netflix or YouTube or whatever all the time, the ISPs' cost increases. Someone has obviously bear that cost, and it will ultimately be consumers with higher monthly bills or consumers when ISPs charge the content providers who in turn raise their rates.
post #1422 of 5308
I think we are not connecting somewhere. I already pay. I pay more for a higher tier of service so that I can do things like stream full HD video while downloading other things.

Why do they think customers are paying for more speed if it isn't to use that extra speed? Netflix is one of the most popular uses of that extra speed. My parents certainly would have cut Comcast for a slower, cheaper dsl line if not for Netflix on the roku.

They are essentially whining about having to provide the service their customers are paying for. It is like if the baker wanted kickbacks from the flour company because lots of their customers are inexplicably buying bread (and flour sacks are heavy).
I think the real issue here isn't truly about bandwidth. The bandwidth problem is a non issue (since it is what customers are actually buying). It is that Netflix is stealing from their cable/xfinity streaming/Hulu business interests so either they can get cash it if them, or they can slow down their traffic enough that customers give up.
post #1423 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

I think we are not connecting somewhere. I already pay. I pay more for a higher tier of service so that I can do things like stream full HD video while downloading other things.

Why do they think customers are paying for more speed if it isn't to use that extra speed? Netflix is one of the most popular uses of that extra speed. My parents certainly would have cut Comcast for a slower, cheaper dsl line if not for Netflix on the roku.

They are essentially whining about having to provide the service their customers are paying for. It is like if the baker wanted kickbacks from the flour company because lots of their customers are inexplicably buying bread (and flour sacks are heavy).
I think the real issue here isn't truly about bandwidth. The bandwidth problem is a non issue (since it is what customers are actually buying). It is that Netflix is stealing from their cable/xfinity streaming/Hulu business interests so either they can get cash it if them, or they can slow down their traffic enough that customers give up.

You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that because people who stream Netflix consume far more bandwidth than those that don't. Even among people with a comparable tier of service. As an example, I don't have Netflix, but I pay for 50MB/s internet. I'm going to guess that I consume far less bandwidth than someone else with 50MB/s internet and streamed Netflix. If I understand the way the system works is that Comcast has to pay someone like CenturyLink or another backbone provider for that bandwidth if it goes through their system because Comcast isn't a Tier 3 provider.
post #1424 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by brokencycle View Post

You don't think it has anything to do with the fact that because people who stream Netflix consume far more bandwidth than those that don't. Even among people with a comparable tier of service. As an example, I don't have Netflix, but I pay for 50MB/s internet. I'm going to guess that I consume far less bandwidth than someone else with 50MB/s internet and streamed Netflix. If I understand the way the system works is that Comcast has to pay someone like CenturyLink or another backbone provider for that bandwidth if it goes through their system because Comcast isn't a Tier 3 provider.

At the end of the day, the customers are paying for bandwidth. If comcast can't make it work, then they have a problem with their pricing scheme (or they have a problem with false advertising since they aren't capable of delivering what they claim). But if they go after netflix specifically and let amazon prime (and bob's midget porn vault) users have a free ride, there is something wrong. Slowing down one streaming service but not another screws with the internet. Does the new startup company get to cruise at full speed because comcast hasn't bothered to throttle them yet while netflix gets screwed? Or does netflix decide they can afford to pay extortion money to every ISP (because once you start paying a few, the rest will come knocking) and the new startup can't afford to pay up to *every* ISP before they even start generating revenue.

Comcast isn't supposed to be the one picking the winners and losers for their customers (and hint: they are going to pick their own service). They are supposed to sell their customers a pipe to the internet and let them decide what service is better.

Maybe they do need to change their pricing. They already have experimented with 250gb "soft caps" in some places. I am not sure I buy that they are really that bandwidth constrained on the back end, but it wouldn't be necessarily a terrible thing to move to a non-unlimited model like the phone providers do (and many foreign ISPs do). If it is anything like mobile, the majority of customers will find that they actually save money on a capped plan, and the high users don't spend all that much more.
The problem with those solutions is always that bandwidth at 2AM is not worth as much as bandwidth at 7PM, but figuring out how to charge their customers adequately for their consumption is a much better solution than randomly slowing down specific sites without notifying their customers (which is exactly what would have happened if L3 and Netflix hadn't publicized the problem, and Netflix eventually capitulated).
post #1425 of 5308
Quote:
Originally Posted by otc View Post

At the end of the day, the customers are paying for bandwidth. If comcast can't make it work, then they have a problem with their pricing scheme (or they have a problem with false advertising since they aren't capable of delivering what they claim). But if they go after netflix specifically and let amazon prime (and bob's midget porn vault) users have a free ride, there is something wrong. Slowing down one streaming service but not another screws with the internet. Does the new startup company get to cruise at full speed because comcast hasn't bothered to throttle them yet while netflix gets screwed? Or does netflix decide they can afford to pay extortion money to every ISP (because once you start paying a few, the rest will come knocking) and the new startup can't afford to pay up to *every* ISP before they even start generating revenue.

Comcast isn't supposed to be the one picking the winners and losers for their customers (and hint: they are going to pick their own service). They are supposed to sell their customers a pipe to the internet and let them decide what service is better.

Maybe they do need to change their pricing. They already have experimented with 250gb "soft caps" in some places. I am not sure I buy that they are really that bandwidth constrained on the back end, but it wouldn't be necessarily a terrible thing to move to a non-unlimited model like the phone providers do (and many foreign ISPs do). If it is anything like mobile, the majority of customers will find that they actually save money on a capped plan, and the high users don't spend all that much more.
The problem with those solutions is always that bandwidth at 2AM is not worth as much as bandwidth at 7PM, but figuring out how to charge their customers adequately for their consumption is a much better solution than randomly slowing down specific sites without notifying their customers (which is exactly what would have happened if L3 and Netflix hadn't publicized the problem, and Netflix eventually capitulated).

I absolutely agree with all of this actually. I am just more afraid that net neutrality regulations will cause more problems than Comcast picking winners and losers on its own network.
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