back to article Why the US faces broadband price hikes

Peer-to-peer file sharing just got a lot more expensive in the US. The FCC has ordered Comcast to refrain from capping P2P traffic, endorsing a volume-based pricing scheme that would “charge the most aggressive users overage fees” instead. BitTorrent, Inc. reacted to the ruling by laying-off 15 per cent of its workforce, while …


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  1. narly


    lucky my next door neighbour has an unsecured wireless router - shame his bill will be massive.

    i don't like his dog anyway

  2. Steven Jones

    Opt in traffic shaping?

    Does this particular FCC ruling apply to a service where you could "opt in" to traffic shaping at peak periods? If customers were given the option of a full-blown volume-based charging system, or one that explicitly allowed for traffic shaping for a flat fee, then that would surely solve the problem. I suspect a lot of people would go for the latter option.

    The net neutrality mob need to look at "the tragedy of the commons" before they go to far down that line - if it's not possible to have traffic prioritisation for service-critical applications ile VOIP then they could be condemned to some very poor services.

    Of course the architects of TCP/IP didn't anticipate all this sort of stuff - TCP itself depends on good behavior by all connected systems to manage congestion fairly (and multi-streaming file sharing protocols are just one way of subverting this). Due to this assumption (it's surely no coincidence that it came from the hippy generation) it's necessary to poke around inside the IP layer to apply QoS controls.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    and even more of a shame when you get nicked for theft :-) Having an unsecured wireless router is not an invitation to others to use it just as leaving you front door unlocked isn't an invitation for someone to come and nick your TV. And if internet access is metered then its going to be much much more likely that the police will become interested in people stealing bandwidth.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Up

    But isnt this a good solution?

    I cant quite see why this is bad - Comcast seem to have given their users a quite reasonable download limit of 250Gb a month. Presumably if there is call they can offer higher than this at a cost.

    And at least this way you know what you are getting, rather than just have download-limiting by rubbish speeds and throttling, as seems to be hapenning in the UK

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Free riding

    If it costs money to provide network capacity, why not charge people for using it?

    Everyone with a broadband connection should pay a basic fee to cover the fixed costs, and extra fees for using a lot of bandwidth.

    There are legit reasons for using P2P software.

  6. chris

    are we really eating all the bandwidth?

    Does anybody know where the proof is? I read articles about how ISPs are getting bogged down because 1% of users are using massive quantities of bandwidth per month. But do they really need to charge more because people are actually using the network's potential? I mean seriously, If I had 10mb download bandwidth i wouldn't use it browsing the Reg. I would use it downloading my favorite porn.

    As companies grow they invest in bigger office space, company vehicles, and resources to support the business and prices may go up, but inflation usually is the biggest cause for price hikes. Why would a FCC ruling effect the prices? I would understand if they upped the price because they upgraded the network to more bandwidth.

  7. Colin Millar

    Net neutrality 2.0

    Taking relativism to its reductionist conclusion and disappearing up its own arse.

    'There are a whole host of other non-discriminatory options available to providers that are more effective at managing congestion'

    Er - managing congestion has to discriminate about something. The only non-discriminatory option is to do nothing.

    Can we have an ostrich icon for the neutratards.

  8. Anonymous Coward

    Come on sheeple.

    Geez. I can't believe the number of people on here calling for higher costs for folks using more bandwidth. This is crap. The ISP's (I used to work for one) have always screwed the customers by claiming "you get 40 gazillion bytes/sec" and then OVER SUBSCRIBING THEIR MAIN NETWORK LINES!!! At the little modem place I used to work at ages ago, we were over-subscribed 10 to 1.

    Comcast regularly gives out "8Mb" connections. If they say I get an 8Mb connection then I should be able to use all 8Mb all of the time. Period. If they haven't gotten the infrastructure to handle it, then they shouldn't advertise that they have. It's a dirty trick they've been using for YEARS and it's about time they got caught. Now they need to put up or STFU.

  9. Mike Hunt

    Scenario...(with apologies to any budding crime writers out there)

    Small police station in leafy backwater....

    Ring Ring....

    PC Plod: Hello, Townshire Police how can I help

    TaxPayer*: Yeah, well, its like this innit. Some teef is stealing me internet.

    PC Plod: I'm sorry, somebody is stealing your internet.

    Taxpayer: Yeah. I want the pleece here naw to do him.

    PC Plod: Exactly when was this internet stolen?

    Taxpayer: Well I dont f*in know - they have been steelin down me wireless

    PC Plod: And exactly how much have they stolen?

    Taxpayer: I don't know - must be loads by now. I have got an f*in bill for 4 gazillion quid.

    PC Plod: Ok we will get somebody to look into it. Have you got data logs, details of the offender, oh and by the way, is your wireless secure

    Taxpayer: (Long Pause) Wot? I knew the pleece would do nowt about it. Sound of mobile phone disconnecting.....

    Small police station in leafy backwater....sound of piece of paper being screwed up and thrown in the bin....

  10. Solomon Grundy

    Theft of Nothing

    Of all the virtual crap that people have been selling nothing has less value than "bandwidth". The comms companies were pushing the infrastructure for years before broadband was a reality because it reduces their voice switching costs - by offering broadband nothing has fundamentally changed except a few pro formas (for the better).

    Of all the things that have hobbled a successful and truly useful Internet, it is companies thinking of "bandwidth" as a valuable commodity.

  11. Aitor

    250GB? nay

    Ok, if i want to watch Internet tv, or netflix?

    Let's say I watch 20 movies x3GB -> 60Gig. Well, ok, it's reasonable...

  12. Steven Jones

    Value of QoS in capacity planning

    There's a very good reason why having capacity limits is not an effective substitute for the lack of QoS/Traffic Shaping. As anybody involved in capacity planning can tell you, it's very useful to have prioritisation levels on shared resources. That's because it can even out the peaks - during the busy times the service of high-priority traffic can be maintained at the expense of the low priority work. The low priority stuff can catch up during off-peak periods.

    The problem with treating all workloads identically is that you have to have sufficient capacity to cope with the full demand at peak levels as, if you hit contention, then it will degrade both service-critical and non-priority workloads equally. This means that your VOIP traffic will suffer equally with the P2P stuff. In fact, given the unfriendly way in which multi-stream P2P works in conjunction with TCP's rather trusting behaviour, the P2P traffic is likely to suffer considerably less than the single connection VOIP traffic. This means that the network suppliers have to build out more network capacity to cope with these peaks or suffer the prospect of service-critical traffic suffering badly. Network capacity costs - it is not free.

  13. adnim

    Suggested solution

    Tiered pricing with topups.

    No throttling, preset monthly limits on how much the user can download for a set fee. With monthly top ups available if the user so wishes.

    My broadband connection is not cheap, but it isn't throttled either. I pay for up to 30Gb downloads per month, this can be extended in increments of 10Gb for a fee. With any unused top up carrying over into the next month.

    I could shop around and likely find a cheaper provider, but would I get the same level of service? I have been with the same one for over 8 years. Support calls which I never need are local rate, and I am happy with the always on service. I can count the number of times I have not had email or Internet access in those 8 years on my hands. I have a full 8Mb connectivity too, with regular download speeds of 750+ kbs

  14. This post has been deleted by its author

  15. Sooty

    how about - and i hope you're listening in the UK too

    Marketing your products truthfully!!

    Actually sell an unlimited product, ie one where, if you choose, you can download 10/20Mb per second every second for the rest of your life. Chances are this will cost more than the current unlimited packages.

    Then sell a package with a high cap for less, then lower the cap as the price lowers, but tell people what it is and give reasonable restrictions for someone exceeding the limit.

    Nobody has any issues with download caps*, especially if they are as reasonable as 250GB the only problem they have is that there's no way of distinguishing a service with a cap and one without as they are both sold as unlimited!!

    What most people don't really want to do, is have to change providers, most of your top 1% users would be happy to upgrade to a real unlimited package, if it were actually offered.

    Also a personal bugbear is that connections are sold on speed, because it sounds good in the advertising, but i don't actually want/need a faster connection, just an unlimited one. I don't need a 50Meg connection, use all the spare bandwidth to give me an unlimited 10Meg one.

    *I have no problem with my connection being throttled because i exceed a download limit, i do have a problem with being charged a fortune or cut off if i exceed it.

  16. Mark

    re: are we really eating all the bandwidth?

    Comcast Canada (IIRC) had to produce internal documents to show why they needed throttling.

    less than 5% of the time were comcast's networks loaded to capacity.

    I think that answers your question.

  17. Antony Riley

    Misrepresenting products.

    If I buy a sodding Internet connectivity @ 20Mbit, I should damn well get Internet Connectivity @ 20Mbit. Now I'll accept that cable, and DSL are both 20Mbit (shared with up to 50 other people) even if ISPs seem to like to hide it in the small print.

    I'll also accept that in order to stop abuse then traffic shaping should be used so that no one of those 50 people I share that connection with can make the internet unusable for the rest of the users in that pool (lets say that the traffic shaping guarantees every user 1/50th of 20Mbit).

    I will not accept that the ISP does not provide enough upstream bandwidth for all of it's customers such that it needs to further cap the bandwidth which users are able to use below 1/50th of the 20Mbit each user has.

    I will not accept that the ISP will firewall random ports and protocols, and restrict users from running servers and continue to sell the product as "Internet connectivity".

    I'm aware that in order to sell properly labelled products ISPs will need to change their pricing scheme, I think this is a good thing.

    (Note: I use 1/50th assuming a contention ratio of 1:50, this is usually documented somewhere by your ISP, if it is not then you should rightly assume you get the full 20Mbit to yourself)

  18. Paul M.

    Freetards strike again

    Because of the Freetards who leech off people like me (who pay for music) the price of music goes up for everybody.

    Because of the Freetards who hog bandwidth, the price of broadband goes up for everybody.

    Surprise, surprise - it's the same people.

    Thanks Colin Millar - I'll start using Neutratard. But what's the superspecies called?

  19. Eugene Goodrich

    Monopolies are a pain

    If there were more than two high-speed Internet provider options (and that's in the best locations) then we could just require the providers to be honest about what they're doing, and let them duke it out in a big ring with the customers choosing, switching, and so forth.

    Unfortunately the phone folks were paid by the people (by way of the government) to create a single set of infrastructure, and the cable folks more or less got the same deal to make a second. They're not going to share, they don't want to be told how to run their business, and they're not going to suffer municipal or private upstarts reducing the value of their networks.

    So, we shall have fun figuring this one out!

  20. Vendicar Decarian

    AmeriKKKa a third world nation

    AmeriKKKa is already way behind the times in terms of providing it's population with high speed network access.

    This ruling is going to do nothing more than keep AmeriKKKa operating at a third world level of network acccess.

    If anything, high speed access should be subsidized so that work at home business schemes can be more readily adopted, and the collossal waste of time that is commuting back and forth to work, reduced.

  21. The Voice of Reason

    www.theregister.COM ?

    UK IT news for a UK site, anyone?

    OK, some US news affects us, so is worth including. But I despair that one of the last UK strong-holds in a US-dominated internet may also be gradually losing its unique selling point.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    I don't get it.

    How is this an unreasonable solution? Use more, pay more; what's wrong with that? I admit it was kind of nice to know you got "unlimited" (even though it wasn't really) bandwidth for the same price but it was all mind games anyway. The fact is you weren't getting a good deal UNLESS you were one of those bandwidth hogging "freetards".

    Now the people who use more will have to actually pay their fair share. The obvious corollary is that people who use less should pay less, but I'm not holding my breath for that as long as broadband internet providers have a government sanctioned monopoly.

  23. J

    @AmeriKKKa a third world nation

    "keep AmeriKKKa operating at a third world level of network acccess"

    Hm... You clearly haven't used the "network access" in the "third world", chap...

  24. Anonymous Coward

    The problem is

    that for those of us who have "unlimited" internet access, we will be paying at least the same amount for throttled access. If tiered pricing goes into effect, we will most definitely NOT see a price drop. A price drop for the low-end consumers would mean layoffs, and we can't have that </sarcasm>.

    As for deep packet inspection, the ISPs can do that...but they are prohibited from telling anyone about it, if they want to keep me as a customer. That includes the government. Granted, I don't do illegal stuff, but I don't want someone data mining my account, either. Based on such data, people could make wrong assumptions about me that could affect me for the rest of my life, ruining my life in the process. Too much information leads to people feeling safe to make assumptions, and I don't want that. Ever.

    If my unlimited access gets throttled, tiered, or in any other way abrogated, I will sue my ISP for breach of contract. As part of the final judgement, I will demand that all web page components have mandatory tags on them, INCLUDING COMMERCIAL ADVERTISEMENTS. This includes mandating that all current and future web programming languages support this kind of tagging. If I have to have limited internet, then damn it, the first I'm getting rid of are these damn ads - ALL OF THEM. I never use them anyway, and the video ones suck up too much of my bandwidth. All companies will be forced to comply, otherwise it's a violation of my rights as an internet user to be able to look at only what I want to look at, since I'm paying by the byte. I was on the internet *before* the advertisers were, and the ad companies have made the internet a huge mess ever since. If you want to know where most of the bandwidth is going, look at advertisements, the biggest bandwidth hog there is. Of course, a lot of internet companies and websites will die because of this, but you brought it on yourselves by trying to force us to pay more money instead of tightening your own belts - the dot-com boom ended years ago, so start getting with the times.

    I'm at the far end of a cable-modem trunk, and during the afternoon, I can't get anything done on the net save what I'm doing now on the Register - it takes too long to load anything else because businesses, schools, etc. are sucking up all the bandwidth. I have to wait until 10 pm local time before I can get anything done (such as watching YouTube video clips, etc), because the cable-modem is set up such that the more people are online, the slower everyone on my trunk goes. It's bad enough already, and it's throttling in its own right. And now you want me to pay more for less internet that the paltry access I already have? GO TO HELL. And take your throttling and capping ideas with you. If you can't score a loan to upgrade your ISP capacity, then you shouldn't be in the business in the first place. Start acting like adults, take some responsibility, get a few loans, upgrade your rig, and keep your hands off our fucking wallets. The time of making a profit while rapidly expanding your setup is officially over.

    You screwed the internet up badly decades ago when you let everyone on with AOL. Now you want me to go along with this? Mess with my access, and my wallet, at your peril. You will lose.

  25. John Savard

    The Real Problem

    I can see that the FCC would be very concerned about ISPs discriminating against VoIP if they also happen to sell telephone services. If they could figure out a way to make that totally illegal, while allowing discrimination against P2P, I suspect they would do that in a minute, and make the RIAA happy while they were at it. So I think this ruling is a stopgap measure, and the part affecting P2P will be reversed in the near future.

  26. Anonymous Coward

    Bandwidth is free, right?

    And the earth is flat too, and the moon is made of cheese?

    No, actually, bandwidth costs money, and lots of bandwidth costs lots of money.

    Affordable mass market broadband is affordable because (as has been mentioned) ISPs oversell it (the industry calls it "contention"). If ISPs didn't oversell it, mass market broadband wouldn't be mass market.

    Uncontended DSL is available (in the UK and elsewhere) through specialist smaller ISPs but there aren't many people interested in the price.

    But the "always on" in "always on broadband" does not mean "always maxed out", or anything like it. Once the mickeytakers move in (P2P or otherwise) and start treating mass market DSL as something like uncontended, the ISPs eventually have to do something about it, either by changing prices upwards to reflect increased overall network usage, or by imposing stepped tariffs to motivate lower usage, or applying usage-dependent speeds, or (the most creative one I've seen so far) congestion-dependent speeds (when there's no congestion, everyone goes at top speed, when the pipes are near full, everyone's speeds are reduced "fairly" [1] to preserve QoS by ensuring there's no significant packet loss).

    All of that is independent of what kind of traffic we're talking about. If we accept the fact that some folk may wish some kinds of traffic to be higher priority than others, then there is another option - manage traffic such that time critical stuff takes priority over bulk traffic. Some folks are (confusingly, imo [2]) calling this traffic classification "deep packet inspection".

    What the ISPs can't do, for long, is "business as usual" after the mickeytakers move in. That is a recipe for a failed business.

    The UK learnt this several years ago (or at least anyone who was watching should have learnt it, including those watching from abroad) when BTwholesale changed their pricing model such that the BTw price per megabit/second between ISP and end user suddenly exceeded (by an order of magnitude) any other price between end customer and Internet.

    Currently the UK LLU ISPs (whose networks bypass BTwholesale's ridiculous prices) are in "land grab" mode with bandwidth to spare. Although these folks don't have to pay BTwholesale's ridiculous prices (because the LLU ISPs cherry-pick their coverage areas where it suits their own existing networks, or where they can easily/profitably get to, rather than paying BTw network prices), the LLU ISPs still have to pay more money for more bandwidth sooner or later. One day even these ISPs pipes will get saturated, and at that point, money will need to be spent or usage per customer will need to be reduced.

    Most of this stuff is independent of what kind of traffic we're looking at, and doesn't need any of this "deep packet inspection" which is understandably giving folks nightmares when used by Phorm and Nebuadd. But as well as the usage patterns of many P2P users, there are some technical things about typical P2P protocols that make them particularly unfriendly (and "unfair") in an IP network architecture historically oriented to carrying a handful of streams per user rather than the dozens or hundreds of streams per P2P user often seen in popular P2P setups.

    So, what's to be done? In the UK, folks in most areas can choose from more than one (DSL) ISP, usually with more than one tariff strategy. Whether this will last once BTwholesale's much-overhyped 21CN is fully rolled out (which imposes regional price differentials on BT-based ISPs) remains to be seen, but we're not there yet, and people still just about have a bit of a choice between volume ISPs (flat tariffs, poor service) and boutique ISPs (more expensive, sometimes stepped tariffs, often better QoS).

    If folks are in an area where a single ISP has a monopoly, and that ISP does not offer a sensible choice of tariffs vs QoS, that's a shame. But the earth is still not flat, and truly "unlimited" bandwidth usage still costs an ISP more than "average" usage costs.

    In summary, as someone else already said: "The fact is you weren't getting a good deal UNLESS you were one of those bandwidth hogging "freetards"."

    [1] "Fair" means different things to different people, which means that "fair" allocation of bandwidth when pipes are full, or "fair" allocation of bandwidth across multiple IP streams on the same link, turns into an interesting exercise.

    [2] There seem to be at least two definitions of "deep packet inspection": one version of DPI which an ISP might use in order to identify classes of traffic (eg P2P vs web browsing vs VoIP), and one version of DPI which Phorm/Nebuad etc might use, for much more dubious purposes, where the the *content* of network traffic is analysed, rather than just categorising it as P2P, VoIP, etc.

    That went on a bit didn't it?

  27. Mike Hocker

    Satellite already throttles

    Satellite links already throttle after a certain number of MB/unit time of use (i.e., try downloading a Linux distro on satellite and be prepared to wait all night, but UBoob works fine if the link isn't throttled yet).

    Of course, the geosync latency kills any hope of using VOIP.

    Throttling is better than a cap-- any punter using Tor will quickly quash the bugger app themselves, once they discover the 30Kb/s rate they gradually throttle down to, and the 30-600 minute "recovery time" to full speed (clearly spelled out in the contract of course). This method avoids any unseemly wallet raids by the ISP if the somewhat arbitrary cap is exceeded (900GB in Japan? Must be nice to be in a 1st world country...).

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Gates Halo

    Throttling, Freetards, & @#$^^& Libertarians

    Throttling is stupid. ISPs are in the business to make money. Prices should be either be set in tiers with price/kb for overruns or a strict price/kb (the latter isn't likely because ISPs want guaranteed revenue streams) - oh and price/kb varies based on time of day to encourage network useage leveling. If you have a few users filling up the pipe then charge them an arm & a leg and then expand the pipe (pipe expansion should be regulated - if you are charging an arm & a leg, you have to use the proceeds to expand the pipe).

    Freetards are stupid. Why should you pay the same price I pay if you are using 10 times my bandwidth? Consumption of resources should cost something. Don't talk to me about stifling innovation, we'd all still be in agrarian societies if the concept of paying for consumption hadn't evolved.

    Libertarians are stupid. We all live in a society and benefit from the society so we should all help pay for society. In my experience a lot of freetards call themselves libertarians too because they are lazy and just want a free ride (hmmm, I suppose Freetard Libertarian means twice stupid right?).

    Please note that throttleing is not inherrently evil. Feel free to throttle every freetard libertarian you meet (throttle with extreme prejudice).

    Bill because M$ is the only true god (and because M$ really pisses off freetard libertarians). One last question - Why do freetards love Apple so much? (Maybe because freetard libertarians aren't just stupid, they are suckers too?).

    Flame on (you freetards).

  29. Dave

    The real issue?

    Surely the real gripe is the manner in which Comcast chose to control the P2P traffic? Actively sending RST packets interferes with any connection in a fairly severe way, applying traffic shaping merely allows it to happen at a slightly slower rate. Had they done that, I suspect we wouldn't be quite as big a mess.

    As for caps, I much prefer the model of X GB/month at full speed (subject to contention ratio, etc) then you're throttled down at peak times if you reach the cap before month end. Far better than "We'll bill you $$$/GB over your cap" and give you a nasty financial shock at the end of the month. A few UK ISPs manage this model, not sure if any US ones do.

  30. Andrew Norton

    Something Mr Bennet omits

    I didn't see any mention that Mr Bennet was actually a member of the first FCC hearing. You know, the one that comcast stuffed. Or his opening statement of “if we can’t control network management, we’ll have to shut down the internet” at that hearing.

    Perhaps one reason Mr Lessig uses comcast still (although i don't know if he does or not, but I do know that Bram Cohen does) is that he's tied into a contract, or maybe it could have something to do with the whole 'monopoly' aspect of cable companies. It's not like he can swap Comcast service for Time-Warner, Charter, or any other cableco. Maybe Mr Lessig is in a building with a network connection as part of the facilities, provided by Comcast (it's not THAT uncommon).

    Still, there's no excuse for Mr Bennett, in the 'about' section, failing to disclose his own involvement in the FCC-Comcast case. In the same way, I'll disclose right now, that I'm a long time friend of one of the writers at TorrentFreak, the site that first wrote about this whole issue (we were at school, 6th form, and Uni together, before I moved to the US).

    Andrew Norton


    Pirate Party of the US

  31. James Butler


    @Vendicar Decarian

    Not much of an historian, are you? Are you remotely aware of what the KKK is, or what it does? Not if you are using it in this instance, but I'll bet you use it in a lot of inappropriate instances, because you can't think of anything else, can you?

    I agree with those who say, "use more = pay more". Also agreeing with Paul M. re: freetards spoiling it for the rest of us. As I've said before, BitTorrent sucks.

    As an aside, I've never seen fine print in an ISP contract that actually says that you are subscribing to a 24/7/full-bore connection. Only those that say you have potential availability up to a certain transmission speed. Even our business T3 has only got a Service Level Agreement, whereby the ISP promises various remedies in case the connection goes down, but nothing in them regarding how many bits or bytes we may transfer.

  32. Richard Bennett

    @Andrew Norton

    I was an invited witness at the first FCC hearing on broadband management, and went there on my own dime. I wrote about it for El Reg so it's hardly a secret. Does the fact that the FCC asked for my opinion disqualify me from holding opinions?

    I actually work for a company that supplies home routers to Comcast's competitors, but I'd be happy to take Comcast's money if it were on offer. Or AT&T's, or BitTorrent's, or anyone else's. As Jess Unruh said of lobbyists and elected officials, "if you can't take their money, drink their whiskey, screw their women and still vote against them, you're in the wrong business."

  33. Solomon Grundy

    @The Voice of Reason

    Hahahaha. El Reg a UK strong hold, hahahaha. What do you think El Reg covers? Non-fluoridated water? No, they cover the tech sector, which if you haven't noticed is a U.S. based thingy. Sure, there are small instances of tech in other countries but the U.S. is currently the world leader. It's sort of required that they run lots of U.S. stories.

  34. Richard Bennett
    Thumb Up

    Robb Topolski's correction

    Robb wants me to mention that he's stopped using Comcast for his High-Speed Internet accessing needs. He was happy with the service, but he didn't like this comment in one of their FCC filings:

    "The vast majority of the assertions Free Press makes are based entirely on the unsupported allegations of a single person: their consultant, Robert Topolski. Mr. Topolski, to whom Free Press refers as an “expert,” is not an engineer, has no apparent experience in designing or managing a network (his reported certifications and experience are in quality assurance and software testing), and has no first-hand knowledge of Comcast’s network. See Robert Topolski, HIRE ME! (My Resume), at (last visited July 21, 2008)."

    I can't say that Comcast's characterization is wrong, but it hurt Robb's feelings.

    Meanwhile, Uber-Neut Susan Crawford declares that she too is a Comcast customer:

  35. kain preacher

    @Solomon Grundy/The Voice of Reason

    Just install a filter on his computer the blocks any thing related to the US. Start with his CPU.

  36. Mark

    "ISPs are in the business to make money."

    And this money is OUR money.

    If they want it, they'd better do what we want with it.

  37. Mark

    @Richard Bennett

    But you're drinking their whiskey and screwing US!

  38. Mark

    Re: Bandwidth is free, right?

    It doesn't cost $40 per Mbit/s though.

    At a contention of 5:1 you can still make a profit out of an OC48 at wholesale rates. They are using contention ratios of 50:1.

    And it IS free because the pipe is paid for whether it is full or not, so the first bit is EXPENSIVE but after that one, free.

    In the end, if we can't USE broadband for "movies, music, and fast internet" then what the fuck do we need it for? If we're going to be capped at a rate that is less than dial-up, we will get dial-up. And then all this "content" possibility that DROVE the dot-com boom (build fast lines and get it to the customers and you'll rake in SHITLOADS of cash) will be worthless. All those websites that use flash will be abandoned.

    Then when this is done, all the ISP's have is a bunch of expensive glass threads.

  39. Johnny Boy

    Wrong: Envelopped versus payload

    Using DPI equipment doesn't just look at the enveloppes. It looks at the payload and decides to deliver or no baset on the content of the enveloppe.

    May I refer you to a document prepared by a fellow Canadian on the subject:

  40. Anonymous Coward

    "the pipe is paid for whether it's full or not"

    When the Internet pipe is full (say 90%+ utilised), the Internet service quality goes through the floor (packet loss causing visible bad things) and customers get unhappy. That is the nature of IP-based networking, but that's what's being offered.

    So at the point the pipes are nearly full, carriers and ISPs either have to stop the pipe being full, or YOU THE CUSTOMER have to pay for more/bigger pipes (thus stopping them being full). To stop the pipe being full without YOU THE CUSTOMER PAYING MORE for more pipes, ISPs might do "traffic management" of some kind and drop "lower priority" traffic, there might be other options too, but using a 50:1 or even 5:1 DSL line for maxed out "movies and music and IPtv" makes no sense at all. Take your pick; choose an ISP with a management policy that matches your preference. That's already been said in this discussion, maybe it'll sink in this time?

    Back in the days of ATM, before IP became the backbone network of choice, network users *could* use as much bandwidth as they thought they'd paid for, and it would work reliably until something actually broke. But it was *expensive* bandwidth, and unappealing to almost everyone except the corporates. Now, the carriers and ISPs have greatly oversold their allegedly cheap-because-IP available bandwidth without setting realistic mass market expectations of what they can actually deliver in volume, and when a tiny minority of freeloaders try to use what they think they've paid for, the wheels fall off.

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @250Gb per month

    Please can someone explain to me how on God's Green Earth a home user can legitimately download more than 250Gb per month?

  42. This post has been deleted by its author

  43. Peyton

    satellite links

    At least here in the States, while satellite internet like WildBlue does throttle - your cap doesn't kick in till you get over 7.5GB downstream (with their cheapest tier - they have other options). Once you break that, you get throttled until your quota has a chance to recover... The nice thing with this is: a)it's all very clearly spelled out on their web site - no smoke and mirrors b)if you go over by accident, you can still surf - you're not cut off cold turkey for some period of time...

  44. Tom

    Pricing is the only reasonable solution

    QoS options that properly prioritize based on high-priority traffic sounds perfectly reasonable, until you start trying to define what constitutes the universal high-priority traffic. P2Pers probably have a slightly different take on that than VoIPers. Pricing is the least tyrannical method we have developed for dealing with that issue. It may be true that the FCC is being heavy handed, but Comcast brought this on themselves by denying what they were doing, and doing something that was in violation of their implied service guarantees. If Comcast had openly and clearly stated their management techniques in their contracts, the issue would never have arisen. The FCC will necessarily be involved for precisely the reason that cable and phone continue to be government created monopolies in the US. How does this affect the Brits and why should they care? I'm not sure on that count. But I suspect that when it comes to the Internet, what starts over here will eventually land over there as well.

  45. Anonymous Coward

    @ www.theregister.COM ?

    @By The Voice of Reason

    Have you tried going to ?

    It forwards to the site ! so I think you can't just expect UK discussions.


  46. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @ Opt in traffic shaping?

    "if it's not possible to have traffic prioritisation for service-critical applications ile VOIP"

    Why should VOIP be anymore service critical that any other application/protocol that I may want to use ?


  47. Andy Worth

    250GB and more.....

    Somebody further up said:

    "Because of the Freetards who leech off people like me (who pay for music)"

    Sorry, but if you don't want them to leech off you, stop sharing your music collection online. Of course, if you are actually referring to the financial cost, (illegal) music downloaders actually were the reason that paid online downloads were made available. These subsequently have made it cheaper to buy your favourite songs as you can now download them instead of forking out for a CD. So in essence, they've actually saved you money.

    I don't download anything these days, with the exception of PS3 demos and games from the Playstation Store. Even that though can swallow 10-20GB of bandwidth in a good month.

    250GB seems like a very nice cap though. A normal user, watching internet TV and films, browsing, downloading LEGAL demos and software would be quite hard pushed to hit that limit, certainly on a regular basis.

    Another poster asked why they should have to pay the same as somebody else who uses 10x the bandwidth that they do. The answer to that is simple...ISP's have long and often advertised "unlimited" internet. If you choose NOT to take advantage of this "unlimited" connection then whose fault is that? The fact that the ISP's can't actually support what they have advertised is not the fault of your heavy-downloading neighbour.

    I'm all for appropriate caps or metering, as long as the numbers are fair and it does not breach the conditions of any current contracts.

  48. mike kiely

    Define the service first

    Good article, there is a real danger in defining fair but bad non-discrimatory network management practices. We do not need the equivalent of PSTN call blocking. Tell me what I am paying for? what resources have been built to support the service I pay for!

    I think the FCC should focus on apply existing trade description legislation so there is more service transparency. I have had a go at a label here.

    Once there is more transparency of service parameters, consensus on best congestion management practices could then be progressed.

  49. Anonymous Coward

    Oh Canada (hello Johnny Boy and Mr Mezei)

    Actually JohnnyBoy, I read Mr Mezei's submission some while ago :)

    Unfortunately he and I have different definitions of "deep packet inspection", and afaict there is no industry-agreed definition (probably deliberately), so please let me explain my position.

    If my ISP wants to know whether my packets are http from the BBC or iPlayer from the BBC or ftp from Novell Inc or streaming from Youtube or wherever, I have no problem with that. Maybe JF does, that is his privilege, and it's fine by me.

    My ISP uses their knowledge of their customers' traffic types and sources/destinations (NOT PACKET CONTENT) to keep customer costs down whilst providing affordable service acceptable to many. An ISP without "traffic management" would probably charge me at least 50% more per month, in order to maintain adequate (unmanaged) free headroom on their network to cope when peaks in demand occur.

    Some folk may consider that extra 50% a worthwhile spend, in order to avoid "traffic management". But that extra 50% won't get them "unlimited" use, just a network where traffic must be managed manually (and whose users must be managed manually) to avoid the network getting congested as demand increases. If that's their choice, it's fine by me.

    However, if my ISP wants to know the content of the web pages I have been reading, that requires analysis of packet *content* as well as IP addresses and protocol types and such. No sensible Internet user likes that kind of "deep packet inspection", although equally no sensible Internet user should assume they have any guarantee of privacy on the Internet.

    In the UK, most people have a choice of retail ISPs (even though BT, the former monopoly telco, is dominant, and their wholesale arm, BTw, is the only wholesaler offering national coverage, and is thus the only option available to many smaller quality and service focused ISPs from AAISP to Zen). Some retail ISPs offer a quality (but expensive) service without "traffic management". Some big-name cowboys have traffic management (and at least one has had Phorm too). Choice is good (Phorm isn't).

    I do as little business with BT as I can, even before Phorm. I use an ISP whose use of "traffic management" aligns nicely with my needs and whose tariff structure nicely matches my needs and budget. Those who want an ISP with no "traffic management" either have to pay more (maybe a lot more than I'm willing to pay) or be lucky enough to be in the half of the UK where there are alternatives to BTwholesale's ridiculously-overpriced services.

    On a related note, JF's submission refers to what happened when the dial-up ISPs ran out of capacity - in those days, the limiting factor was not bandwidth, but the number of dial-in ports available. In Canada, he says they installed more capacity ie more ports. I have no idea whether it's true, but I know that here in the UK, the port capacity "problem" wasn't solved by adding more capacity (which would have cost money), it was mostly "solved" by limiting dialup sessions to a maximum of two hours (or something like that). In other words, the ISPs didn't install more capacity, instead they took measures to manage demand. It wasn't the end of the world, even though the flat-earthers at the Campaign for Unmetered Telecom had said it would be. And metered broadband, and traffic management, won't be the end of the world either. Wide deployment of Phorm-type technologies will be, and on that hopefully we can agree.

  50. Paul M.

    @ Andy Worth

    "RE: Because of the Freetards who leech off people like me (who pay for music)" -Sorry, but if you don't want them to leech off you, stop sharing your music collection online. "

    Sorry you don't get it. If ten units of a product are manufactured, and nine are not paid for, then the person who buys the tenth is subsidizing the other nine. If you run a shop, and half the stock walks out of the door without being paid for, the shopkeeper must charge the honest, paying customers more than they would otherwise pay.

    So when freetards leech, the cost of music goes up for everyone.

    I'm sure you're a good lad who never downloads anything illegal, but your economics isn't so hot.

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