back to article EU telecoms to Apple, Google: 'Pay up!"

European telecoms want Apple, Google, and bandwidth-sucking service providers such as video streamers to help pay for improvements needed to support steadily increasing loads on their networks. Phone companies' infrastructures are straining under the demands of data, video, music, and other bandwidth munchers, and Bloomberg …


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  1. Carl 21
    Thumb Down

    What a joke...

    'Cesar Alierta, CEO of Spain's Telefónica, said earlier this year that Google, Yahoo!, and others "use Telefónica's networks for free, which is good news for them and a tragedy for us," adding "That can't continue."'

    Solution: Block Google, Yahoo!, and the others from your network if you think they're taking advantage of you. What's that? You need them? Stop complaining then.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      It's a business model, just not a very good one.

      Let's block all the most popular websites/services from our customers and see how fast we can go out of business.

    2. Mark 65

      Pipe providing fuckwits

      Do they not realise that they only have customers due to the content someone else is providing?

      1. John Lilburne

        Sure ...

        ... but it aint google, etc that are actually providing that content is it. Its others that provide the content that Google etc allow their users to store on their servers. In fact much of it is stolen, and Google etc simply scrape the ad revenue. In point of fact Google freetail both ways 1) in the content, and 2) in the delivery.

        1. Sam Liddicott

          be more precise

          be more precise, or it will be easy to make the sort of mistake you made.

          You used the word "provide" when you meant "originate" or "create".

          In an internet, each connected party pays for their own connection. Google pays for their connection, the broadband customer pays for theirs.

          Grasping ISP's have realised that most traffic comes from a few sources and think it worth whining and begging to get some free money.

          The fact that you think Google has too much for free doesn't mean that ISPs are the ones who should take the money.

          If the content creators and publishers agree with you they can robots.txt (even user-agent based robots.txt), but presumably they think they are getting good value for money.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          Without search engines the "stolen" content would never likely see the light of day. Folks like Google allow that "stolen" content to be found and viewed, which must surely have been the intent of the entity who placed the information on the Internet. Create as much content as you like, if nobody can find it then what is the point? Writing a book, printing a million copies and storing them in a shed somewhere does not a best-seller make, people need to first know about it, then find it and obtain a copy. Google et all provide a kind of free marketing, use it to full advantage.

    3. Graham Marsden

      So what would you prefer...?

      Bandwidth throttling? DPI and Net non-neutrality?

      If you built a motorway network and businesses started huge lorries along it, breaking up the surface and causing congestion for other users, would you consider it unreasonable to ask those businesses to contribute to the cost of upkeep or would you think it better that those businesses' traffic be diverted to slower roads?

      1. Marcus Aurelius

        Business Traffic

        All the users are effectively demanding their own personal lorry to their home, and so the ISPs should be charging the users an appropriate level to meet their demands. Unless the user makes a request to Google, Youtube et al, there would be no traffic on the road.

        Google and many other major providers already have their own network for their personal heavy lorries and they pay for it accordingly, so its not realistic to ask them to pay for providing what the user of that ISP has requested they deliver

      2. Seanie Ryan
        Black Helicopters


        not thought out properly.... would you expect to be able to charge Mercedes, Iveco, Scania, Volvo just because consumers bought those trucks and drove them on the road? no you couldnt.

        Its the businesses that use those trucks who get charged.

        and in this case, its the user of the phone who uses the bandwidth who should be charged, but because the mobile phone co's are all in a race to the bottom to appear to be the one who gives you everything for free, they actually forgot to be able to pay out to upgrade the network as they saturate it with users.

        So now they go whaaa whaaa all the way to the regulator and want free money. Muppets!

      3. Martijn Bakker

        @Graham Marsden: What would you prefer?

        That's just plain wrong

        The telco's are discovering that they may have offered those unlimited dataplans a little too cheaply back in the day when winning new customers was their primary concern. We, their customers, pay them for the use of their infrastructure according to contracts and a pricing model established by those same telcos.

        The comparison to a road is wrong. Because we the subscribers to their service use the bandwidth, we are your lorries. Not Apple, Google and whomever else may be providing the services.

        A closer analogy would be a supermarket selling cans of chicken soup at a discount and attempting to send an additional bill to the poultry farmer because his chickens are too tasty.

        1. RegisterThis

          @Martijn Bakker

          Its actually a little bit of both. Traditional business has a cost called 'delivery'. Typically when you order something, you pay the seller, and they pay for the delivery using a 'logistics company'. This has traditionally not happened for online electronically delivered (logistics=telco) content - the content sellers have had it really good delivering more and more with little increase in cost to themselves.

          It seems wholly reasonable that this model should come in line with traditional business models? I don't really understand the outrage at the operators here? The alternative is that you buy* from the content providers AND YOU pay the extra required now for delivery? Its a double sided business model and is actually nothing new ... just that this industry was not employing this and using an unsustainable business model until now?

          NB - by content and buy, I include click revenue etc that has been growing at cost to the 'logistics firms' and not the people who get revenue from them.

          1. Ru

            @RegisterThis Re@Martijn Bakker

            "Its actually a little bit of both. Traditional business has a cost called 'delivery'. Typically when you order something, you pay the seller, and they pay for the delivery using a 'logistics company'. This has traditionally not happened for online electronically delivered (logistics=telco) content - the content sellers have had it really good delivering more and more with little increase in cost to themselves."

            Google (and whoever else) *does not connect to the internet for free*. They pay for their bandwidth, and the ISPs they buy connectivity will in turn pay for their own connectivity from other companies, or have reciprocal peering agreements where they're effectively paying for someone else's bandwidth by providing their own in return. Mobile end users also pay for connectivity. Everyone already pays!

            The telcos want to keep all the customers they're apparently undercharging, and they want to keep making a profit by getting successful companies to make up the shortfall. Why on earth should anyone else have to prop up this sort of flawed business model? They've painted themselves into a corner, unwilling to raise prices before any of their competitors because they will lose customers in droves. They're all equally stupid and guilty, and a nice healthy kick in the share price will do them a world of good.

            1. RegisterThis


              1. I did not say free - I said: 'the content sellers have had it really good delivering more and more with _little increase in cost_ to themselves'. Very little of their cost is based on usage - it is typically leased line and is not where the capacity issue lies.

              2. "flawed business model" - you hit the nail on the head. The sellers in this equation delivering their services through the telcos need to pay more? You know very well that you can setup an online business (say selling eBooks) for a lot less cost than a traditional bricks and mortar comapny partly because of the low cost of 'rental' (your store front delivered via the telco) and 'delivery' (delivered via the telco). This business model IS changing and the Telcos are telling Google, Yahoo, Amazon etc. that they are gonna have to pay higher rent and delivery costs which is very fair? They are selling services ... they get to set the prices!

              3. Your last paragraph analysis is flawed. At current price levels, they get zero return on increasing network capacity. If they raise their prices and lose customers, they get even less return. Most operators networks would come to a grinding halt in the developed world if they had a surge from their competitor who had just raised prices. You are right they have painted themselves into a corner, but they are not the ones propping up a flawed business model ... they are the ones trying to change it. The world is just about to discover that the costs of doing online business is not quite so cheap anymore. The Googles and Apples of this world are the ones with soaring profits and share prices ... I think you will see most telcos SPs are depressed and are struggling to remain profitable. It is in Google and Apple's interests to play along as they DEPEND on the operators to deliver their services and SOMEBODY has to pay. I vote it is the corporates and not the consumer?

      4. nation of stupid

        @ Graham Marsden

        "If you built a motorway network and businesses started huge lorries along it, breaking up the surface and causing congestion for other users, would you consider it unreasonable to ask those businesses to contribute to the cost of upkeep or would you think it better that those businesses' traffic be diverted to slower roads?"

        Using your road analogy, we the customers are already paying the road owners for the building and upkeep of the small branch roads to enable delivery of the content we want to our doors. They aren't provided for free.

        Apple, Google et al are paying the super highway owners for the building and upkeep of them, to get the content delivered to the small road owners so it can then be delivered to us.

        Do you consider it reasonable for these small road owners to expect payment from customers at both ends of the roads?

      5. Stephen Bungay

        Lorries pay their fair share...

        Don't think for a minute that those trucking companies have a free ride on the motorways, there are plenty of taxes and usage fees being paid that the average motorist is oblivious to. The telecom company infrastructure is the business, without it there are no customers, to provide better service upgrades are required, plough some profit back into infrastructure upgrades (fibre is good) and you will have very happy customers happy to pay for the quality service. Start screwing around, artificially degrading performance, or operating the infrastructure like a slum-lord while whining about maintenance & upgrade costs and you'll just piss everyone off.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    First it was Tiscali vs BBC it's bigger, but the same old debate.

    If the telcos can't handle the traffic, they should stop promising unlimited traffic and multiplexing so much over the limited bandwidth - and upgrade it, whilst charging people for the usage they get.

    On a side note, it might encourage devs to be smarter about what they implement so they use less data per request. It might not, but it can't hurt to hope, right?

    1. Anton Ivanov
      Thumb Down

      That is the exact problem - dev are smarter

      Quote: "On a side note, it might encourage devs to be smarter..."

      That is the exact problem here. The monetisation and ROI models for modern (post-rel 5) 3G and LTE are based around them being _NOT_ smarter.

      They are expected to be terminally dumb and leave the smartness to the operator by asking "nicely" the 3GPP policy function via IMS for a reservation for the duration of the service. The provider after that bills customer, service provider, or both for the service provided based IMS information. If all this fails to materialise the operators will not have the 3G data and LTE investment pay back.

      Here comes the problem. The developers _ARE_ smarter in using resources. When there is more resource available they use it to the hilt and they throttle back when there is less. This breaks the ROI model for any mobile investment for the last 5+ years, any planned investment for the next 5+ years as well as some investment by fixed line operators.

      To put it bluntly, if the current status quo stays the same and the developers backed up by Google and Apple continue to be "smarter" instead of developing the required dumbness and outsourcing the "intelligence" to the operator, the Ka-Ching mobile operators at the end of the end of the HSDPA and LTE deployments starts looking more and more like the Knock-Knock of the bailifs on the door.

    2. Anonymous Coward


      If Telefonica cost vs revenue model does not fit the way the world turns they should either try to change their revenue model, their network/capacity model or both instead of try to spin the world the other way around or flatten it.

      On a grander scale this is the 3GPP chickins coming home to roost and having diarrhea.

      Both Internet Multimedia Subsystem from Rel5 onwards and LTE have their service model built around "giving" content providers service reservations and paying on a per service reservation basis.

      This passes "your village just called, they are missing you" test on more than one account:

      1. It makes all services which the provider considers as premium to look like circuit emulations. Anything that is not circuit oriented does not fit the bill so it has to be forcefully shoehorned into this shape. As a result you build a super duper next gen network which is pretty much geared towards voice alone and has no clue on how to work with next gen services which are all variable bandwidth coming from more than one source. This means that the entire billing model, economic model, etc do not fit what the user perceives as premium service. It is not the fact that Google and co are using the network which bothers Telefonica and co. It is the fact that they categorically refuse to shackle their services with IMS.

      2. The fixed reservation guaranteed service model which Telefonica and Co consider essential and keep voting for in 3GPP, ETSI and the like does not fit the realities of economics. It guarantees that a service fails to be adopted. Guaranteed service is for the masses and only once the legislator has made it into a universal service obligation. Early adopters could not care less about the "guaranteed" bit. They want the service to be "the best possible" so it is "shiny, shiny" and they can show off with the latest toy or gadget.

      A classic example here is 3G video calling vs Facetime. The telcos have been peddling 3G video calling as a killer feature for what? 10 years or so now? Has it been widely adopted. Hell no. Has it ever gotten raving reviews? Hell no. Did Facetime when released cause a w*nkfest on par with the iOS passing the Turing Test? Hell yes. There is a reason for that. 3G video calling fails the "early adopter" test because some idiot decided to make it a "guaranteed" service. As a result it is is guaranteed to be sufficiently _MEDIOCRE_ to never be looked upon by the early adopter.

      It is the same story with any other IMS or next gen telco service. Rinse, pepper with some IMS and policy vendor voodoo, FAIL, repeat. That repeated FAIL costs. A lot. A hell of a lot. And then more some, because everything in the network starting from topology and ending up with OSS has been specifically designed around the idea that all premium money will come from IMS.

      Apple and Google _REFUSE_ to implement it not just for any of their own services, but for any service running on their platform (IMS support in iOS anyone?). This means that the entire network economics for people like Telefonica go out of the window. I am not surprised they are throwing toys out of the pram.

      However, instead of blaming Google and Apple for what is their _OWN_ failing, Telefonica and Co should actually take the people they themselves employed to rig the 3GPP standards and reference designs into such an idiotic state and deal with them appropriately.

      1. RegisterThis

        Good points re IMS ... but ...

        The fundamental issue is that there is no such thing as a free lunch ... somebody has to pay for very expensive network/capacity upgrades. Whether 3GPP works or not, it was an attempt to address an unsustainable business model which does need to be addressed. If it was a crowded mall, who would pay for the renovations? The tenants or the customers coming? It seems here that we have been so Apple-washed and Google-smitten that we are suggesting we should pay and they should get richer?

        1. Anton Ivanov

          The Mall Renovations have already been paid on credit

          The credit however has been taken based on a the mall owner having the following revenue flows:

          1. A parking cost to enter the mall which is deliberately kept low not to scare people away.

          2. Cost of using each shop: Each shopper asks the mall owner for a permission to enter any of the shops, enters only after getting a permission from the _MALL_ owner, gets the entrance time registered with the _MALL_ owner, browses the shop for amount of time X possibly buying something, gets out, registers with the MALL that he is leaving the shop after which the Mall owner bills him _AND_ the shop for that time.

          Anyone who wants to run a mall with that model? AAAAAAAANYONE? Counting once, counting twice... No takers... Guessed so...

          Quite clearly the Mall renovations cannot be payed back using only the money from the parking fees. So the "Mall owner" now asks the shops to contribute. At which point he discovers that he has _NO_ contractual agreement with them and they tell him to go south.

          So who is at fault here? The customers. Do not think so The "shop owners"? Do not think so either. It is not the fault of either the "shop owner" or the customer that the MALL owner had an unrealistic business model. It is a model which _obviously_ does not work and in the real world out there nobody would have given you the credit to run a Mall with this model.

        2. Tom 35


          You have things mixed up. The Malls customers are the tenants. The "customers coming in" are customers of the tenants, not the Mall.

          To fix your idea...

          You and me are the customers coming in.

          The telecoms are the tenants.

          And the Mall is a backbone provider.

          Apple is a tenant in another Mall also connected to a backbone.

          Why would you expect Apple to pay you so you can fix up your store, it's not their problem if you want to sell at a loss.

          The telecoms are like UPS or the post office. They get paid for shipping packets.

          If I mail order something there are two choices.

          - I can pay shipping in advance and shop pays the shipper on my behalf and I pay nothing to the post office when it's delivered. Telecoms don't do this*, I pay for every packet.

          - I can have it sent with shipping COD. I pay the shipper when it arrives, but I pay by weight/size not the value of the contents, or how much profit the seller is making. A kg of gold costs the same as a kg of organic fertilizer.

          If I use 1 GB of data, I should pay for 1 GB of data. If I'm pulling data from my home computer, a work email server, or youtube there is no difference.

          * Other then a few walled garden services offered by the telecom where you pay a monthly fee for the service and data is included.

          1. RegisterThis


            Q: "Why would you expect Apple to pay you so you can fix up your store, it's not their problem if you want to sell at a loss."

            A: I assume you mean the mall owner (telco)? It is Apple's (for example) problem if the malls are so overcrowded that nobody can buy from them? Furthermore, this highlights the problem between online and B&M world vendors. In the 'real world', the store owner pays his rental to the developer for the shop size, and even indirectly for the access to his shop through the rates etc. that the mall owner pays and are included in his rent. You the consumer pay the store owner and he pays a portion to the mall owner, govt etc. for the facilities. This is totally destroyed in the online world as the value for the ACCESS is decoupled from the value you get from receiving the goods. Instead you pay for the access direct to the mall owner, govt etc. and of course access by itself is of little value? (How much would you pay to just walk around a mall vs. how much would you pay if you were charged access to collect a DVD you had ordered ... clearly you would pay more for the priovilege of getting the DVD than browsing. The problem is that as long as Google etc. have the direct relationship with the customer, the mall owner slowly goes bancrupt. The business model has to change and Google et al of course don't want it to as it means the overall cost of their 'electronic products' become less attractive compared to bricks and mortar.

            "The telecoms are like UPS or the post office. They get paid for shipping packets."

            That was the shift in the perception of Telcos a few years ago following the dot com crash hat they are just 'utilities'. The current business model based on that clearly indicates they are not even though it tries to make them out to be that. UPS or Post Office is NOT a good analogy - you only use them when you have something you want ordered or shipped, and I bet downloading an album costs less than shipping a CD. This has to change, and as I pointed out, you don't want to pay for the low value consumption of browsing or 'trying', but the telco cannot distinguish this beahviour from the high value behaviour of dowbnloading an album. Rather the online vendor has to charge you and pass on the true delivery cost commensurate with the value you place on downloading that album (as in the decision you would make to pay for postage to have the CD delivered). This means their prices have to go up.

  3. thecakeis(not)alie

    For the love of...




    @#^(*@^(@*#&^@(*&#^*#&@^(3<no carrier>

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Dumb != Dumb


      We need intelligent networks, not dumb pipes. We want networks to compete on innovation, service quality and price.

      You're confusing the political and the technological. On a dumb pipe YouTube wouldn't work at all.

      1. thecakeis(not)alie


        I disagree.

        We need dumb networks. They need to implement the fastest technology available on regularly refreshing cycles. In many cases competition simply ISN'T FEASIBLE. (How many companies do you think have the money to plow the last mile?) We do not want the “pipes” intelligent at all. They should be provisioning network access and flinging bits. Nothing more.

        A certain (very large) % of their budget should be going to troubleshoot physical plant issues, build new physical plant and constantly increase the speed of existing physical plant. In other words, they should be UTILITIES. They can be privately or publically owned – as per your personal philosophy – but they should never in any way be offering “services” over these pipes.

        The provisioning of bits should be 100% separate from what those bits themselves provision. This shouldn’t be a question anymore. Bandwidth needs to increase at a continual rate, regardless of if your are a monopoly or competing in a healthy market. A monopoly company that plays by these rules is quite frankly perfectly acceptable to me.

        If the US of A is so terrified of “the evil socialists” that the concept of public ownership of utilities leaves millions of it’s citizens unable to sleep at night…bully for them. They can try to enforce a “competitive” market of multiple people providing physical plant to the same premises. Other countries don’t have that weird hang-up and might well prefer a state-owned “pipe owner” that provisions only one pipe into people’s homes…but makes sure it’s the best pipe reasonably possible.

        This really isn’t any different from many utility models. You pay a delivery charge (the cost of the infrastructure) regardless of who provides you your power/water/natural gas/sewage/bit pipe. Once the backbone (wired or wireless) is provisioned, you should be purchasing access to the internet itself from a completely separate company. It is here that you can choose how much of that pipe into your house that you choose to use.

        Maybe some backbone bit providers offer unlimited packages (within reason.) That’s no different than electricity providers who offer me a flat, guaranteed rate every month. Maybe choose to pay market rates per GB/month (allowing contention to have it’s way with my bitrate.) Maybe I stump up extra for a guaranteed bitrate.

        Once the provisioning of bits is decoupled from the actual network access competition CAN thrive. I wholeheartedly disagree however that competition is necessary for the proper provisioning of physical plant. What is necessary is quite simply that physical plant owners not be allowed to provide “services.” They provide a utility. They do not get to discriminate what goes over it.

        Maybe not the most popular view…but it’s my belief.

  4. Captain Save-a-ho

    Calling bullshit...

    Are these fucktard Telco going to force us to long for the days when the US Gov't ran the Internet? Ugh.

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Errr.... mant want to research how many US senates are getting their asses kissed by the Telcos over there before you spout out. The EU is copying the US on this.

  5. Jim Carter

    The telcos should get to fuck

    They need Google et al to even remotely function.

    1. RegisterThis


      If telcos cut Google off, Google goes out of business .... not the telcos? Since when does a roof survive after the walls have been removed? You HAVE been drinking too much Googleberry juice ...

      1. fishman

        Customers will go where the content is

        If my telco cut off Google and others, I'd switch telcos. Why use any telco that restricts any of the internet? So, lets say telco "X" bans Google. And telco "X"'s competitors would start advertising that they offer the full internet, unlike telco "X". Assuming all other things are equal, which telcos will get more customers?

  6. Dazed and Confused

    That is just daft

    It's like Ford trying to sue Tesco's because they can't make cars fast enough to cope with the demands of people who want to go shopping.

    If you can't make any money on the current deal, charge your customers a realistic price for the service you are selling them. If they don't like it they can try and find an alternative provider and see if someone else can cope.

    1. Tigra 07

      RE: Dazed and Confused

      "It's like Ford trying to sue Tesco's because they can't make cars fast enough to cope with the demands of people who want to go shopping."

      Can't we just buy a Peugeot and go to a nearer supermarket?

  7. P. Lee

    Nope, never, do not want

    Customers pull the content, customers should pay.

    This would be the end of the neutral net.

    ISPs should provide tiered bandwidth plans to customers and charge what it actually costs to provide a decent service.

    No backroom deals with major corps to decide who gets what bandwidth.

    1. CheesyTheClown

      Customers DO pay

      The past 5 years have been a painful time for telcos around the world. Almost over night, people began canceling their home telephones and using strictly mobile phones instead. Companies who run cables to people's houses are in a competition to deploy the highest speed topology possible without bankrupting their companies with the debt they incur doing so. It can take 5 years of payments before a new fiber is actually paid for by the consumer.

      Wireless Internet is becoming ever more available and people are making their "more expensive" phone calls more often when they have wifi access over VoiP services instead of normal phone services.

      Today, the telephone company has very little to do with telephones themselves but instead are nothing more than ISPs that also offer telephone services.

      Large telcos who for nearly a century had government sponsered monopolies can't compete in these markets. Many of these companies, when they were privatized made agreements with their governments that they would have to offer things like "coverage to 98% of the country" of any new service they deploy. That mean's to meet the agreements they signed, they have to put up 4G access in areas that are populated by people who move their farm products to the market using goat drawn carts.

      The cost of establishing high quality 4G access in a large city is INSANE. We pay things like $29 for a wireless access point in the grocery store. The telco pays closer to $15,000 for a single point of presence plus rent for where they placed it since the range is so bad that they can't just use the poles they own.

      There is no possible way the telco has recovered from the last upgrade to 3G networks (which basically were way over priced and sucked ass to install). The 4G upgrade is going to cost them a fortune. They will have to use cabling (copper, fiber, etc...) between antennae as wireless technologies aren't fast enough to keep up with the bandwidth load of 1000 users on a single POP using 4G at the same time. That means expensive fibers, expensive digging, etc... If they don't have the rights to dig, they'll have to purchase fiber from a competitor who does.

      So, right now, they're trying everything they can imagine to get every penny they can from every source that they can.... AND even if they don't have a case against Google or Apple, they can roll their networks out slower complaining that Apple and Google are holding it up... not them.

      1. RegisterThis
        Thumb Up


        Most balanced non Google-washed analysis so far. I cannot believe most consumers here want to pay for Google et al to make more money.

        1. Tom 35


          "I cannot believe most consumers here want to pay for Google et al to make more money."

          I can't believe people expect Google et al to pay for me to use their services.

      2. fajensen

        The knob of the problem:

        """competition to deploy the highest speed topology possible without bankrupting their companies with the debt they incur doing so."""

        In ye olde days of the heady credit derivatives markit the banks could repackage the debt and sell it off to suckers so if anyone defaults - it's somebody else's problem and even an investment opportunity by shorting the securities just sold. Therefore any shit would go over with the banks as a business model - they didn't need to care because they would not get stuck with the loss.

        Now the game is "Save The Banks for the sake of the Children" - The ECB e.t.c. is accepting as collateral any rubbish that the banks want to rid their balance sheet of in return for new loans, at Zero procent interest, that the banks then use to buy up government bonds, thereby financing the governments bailing the banks without calling it "Printing" but it really is.

        The banks are not interested in lending to telecoms (or others) - 'cause it might take a while to read all that paper and it might be difficult to understand - borrowing at 0% and lending at 3-5% is easier.

  8. Sean Baggaley 1

    Wait, what?

    They *are* being paid! I'm pretty bloody sure the BBC, Yahoo, Google and their ilk are paying through the nose for their bandwidth usage.

    Last time I looked, I couldn't ask BT or Telecom Italia (and I can talk about the latter from a position of personal experience as I'm currently living in Italy) for a fat fibre-optic connection to my home! I can barely get decent ADSL. As a business, getting full-fat bandwidth ain't cheap either: you pay quite a big chunk of money to lose the "A" from "ADSL" and get "DSL". If you want anything faster—as I'm sure Microsoft and Auntie Beeb do—you pay even more.

    And you don't pay the buggers just the once either. You pay 'em every damned month.

    So: Telecom Italia, BT, Telefónica, etc., are *already* being paid handsomely for their infrastructure. And their users are *also* paying money for *their* connections to said infrastructure. So these shysters are getting paid *twice*. And, of course, without those big companies offering bandwidth-gobbling services, none of these telcos would *have* any users. They'd be in the position of, say, a cable TV company with no television programmes.

    If these idiots still haven't worked out how to turn a decent profit, perhaps they should stop pissing so much cash up the wall on idiotic, bullshit adverts that redefine the word "unlimited" to mean the exact opposite of what it says right here in my Oxford Dictionary of English.

    Gah! Froth! Foam! ***EXPLODES***

    1. AdamWill

      not really

      "They *are* being paid! I'm pretty bloody sure the BBC, Yahoo, Google and their ilk are paying through the nose for their bandwidth usage."

      actually, they aren't. it's medium-level players who pay, directly, through the nose - your big-but-not-tech involved companies, your local governments, things like that. When you're a player as big as the Beeb, Yahoo, or Google things get very fuzzy. The hand-wavy phrase 'peering' is usually used to simplify it; all the really big players participate in various arrangements whereby they exchange access to their networks (I'll show you mine if you show me yours). From one point of view, this more or less *is* the Internet.

      Google doesn't just go and pay some huge-yet-secretive ISP-type organization squillions of dollars for seven thousand T3 lines, it's all a bit more complicated than that.

    2. Ivan Headache

      Wait, What? Ah, But..

      What you say is in essance very true but with a very big but....

      The BBC is paying its huge fee to a British (I hope) pipe supplier - not to the isp of the end consumer in Latvia or Cape Town.

      Similarly, Apple are paying their large sum to a pipe supplier in Texas or California or whichever carolina is getting the new data centre. Similarly Google - wherever its data centres are.

      Therefore (in simple terms - although I'd image it's a bit more complex in reality) all those big sums being paid by the 'content providers' (with he exception of Auntie) are being paid to American providers - not Telefónica, BT and the others.

      On the brighter side. a BT Fibre cabinet has just appeared at the end of my road.

  9. Stacy

    So the adverts are lying then?

    Vodafone has an advert in Holland at the moment showing all these sites on their phones with the tag line 'Vodafone - we're ready for it'

    T-Mobile had a similar one when the iPhone came out...

    Doesn't sound like it from this... I hate phone companies...

  10. Jean-Paul

    1st April?

    Is this for real? Is 1st April early?

    I've never heard such nonsense before. I guess the liked it better when we paid for the connection but didn't have proper devices to consume it.

    1. CD001



      I've never heard such nonsense before.


      Yes you have, the ISPs have been crying the same story for months if not years :)

  11. JaitcH

    Another clash of culture?

    In North America, where the telephone was invented on picturesque Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia, Canada, the early telephone 'companies' were formed by farmers getting together and erecting telephone lines that terminated on a manual switchboard somewhere in the centre, geographically.

    The operator, often a housewife, would connect the calls on her cord board. The whole system was financed by occasional payments whilst the individual calls were 'free'.

    Later lines were installed that interconnected individual farmers groups systems together, the use of which was subject to charge.

    Elsewhere in the world per call charges were used.

    Rarely have 'consumption' charges been used in North America since the InterNet became more ubiquitous. Generous limits were imposed but few hit this jackpot, at first.

    Now Europe wants to reintroduce it's metering schema.

    Several things aren't too obvious to the casual user. The BBC, for instance, maintains servers in White Plains, New York State to service North America.

    Google also owns InterNet pipelines around the world that terminate in many countries for which they pay the freight. Other heavy consumers, such as Facebook, do not, relying on regular carriers.

    So before people go bad mouthing the usual suspects, just investigate who the real free-loaders are.

    1. Tempest

      Thailand and VietNam have Google pipes: Cambodia doesn't - what a difference!

      Unfortunately my country pf residence doesn't have a Google feeder -going to Thailand makes anything Google much faster.

  12. The Fuzzy Wotnot

    Cry Me a River!

    Tough! You were happy raking in the cash for over-priced services when all we wanted was some email, the news and a weather update, but now we actually want to use the services for what we were promised way back in the 70's and 80's, the digital TV and movies on demand, well boo-hoo!

    Tough luck! You bought into the market thinking it was going to be an easy ride, setup some cable a few modems, easy money! Well I suggest you simply ask the media providers to cut back their offerings! You mean you can't? You screwed us for the huge profits you made, how about you plough some of those profits back into the network now? What, you don't have them? You mean you gave all the profits to pay for flipping stupid corp rebranding projects and sucking up to the shareholders? F**king tough!

    Someone knows there is 'gold in them hills' so the first ISP to drop prices, raise service standards and quality will trounce the others and I'll be first in line to drop the rest in favour of the best!

    1. CD001



      Someone knows there is 'gold in them hills' so the first ISP to drop prices, raise service standards and quality will trounce the others and I'll be first in line to drop the rest in favour of the best!


      For 6 months or so until they go bust - unless they actually manage to get enough punters to be one of the largest T2s going then they MIGHT have enough clout to get decent peering agreements with everyone else... but of course, getting that many customers also increases your bandwidth requirements.

  13. Neal 5


    meant gbps for some of those figures, not mbps.

  14. heyrick Silver badge

    And the real reason is...?

    I find it ironic that Orange (France Telecom) are complaining about YouTube et al, given that they offer a carousel of 40 channels. Lowish bandwidth, but it works from 1megabit up.

    Oh look. BBC World is one of them.

    Maybe they need some of the bandwidth for their own services now?

    I liked what the DailyMotion guy said.

  15. Robert E A Harvey


    'you break, you pay'? sounds reasonable at first.

    How about 'You promise, you deliver.'?

    All these telcos & isps sold us a service where we could stream video, download isos, share pictures, really quickly. If they can;t provide that for the quoted price that is their fault, surely?

    All together now. 'You promise, you deliver.'

  16. kain preacher


    Well who needs mindless polticians to censoring the net. Looks like the telecoms are doing that them selfs. First they put quotas and caps on the end users , now looks like they want to do it to the conten providers. If I was Google I would create a special landing page for these ISPs customers . When ever one of their customers goes to Google they would get this message. Sorry this web site is considered premium content by your ISP. and you need to pay extra to view it. Please choose a form of payment to continue . The following ISP do not charge for this content . Then have Apple do the same.

  17. Neal 5

    tuppence worth.

    How about these Telco's together with the ISP's and the major "streamers" put in place a new infrastructure to handle the increased bandwitdh, say 1000+mbps fibre optic running of the backbone 10000+mbps, dropping down to say 25mbps and up, to residential and business. Share the costs equally between themselves and charge by usuage. So, if for example I require 4 streamed movies each month, it works out at the same price or as near as, going to the cinema to watch the same movies. Of course that would mean I might have to move my arse and do something, but then so would the Telco's,Isp's and data providers. Exercise for all, there's a novel thought.

    Else, I could use my bandwidth for email, browsing and piracy, and just go to the cinema when I felt the urge to see a film instead of watching one because it's there and saves me the effort of actually finding something more interactive to do.

    Can we also make 24hour drinking laws compulsory, I see far to many sober people in the UK, it's not good for the image of a decadent western lifestyle oriented police state, Afterall even bent coppers,corrupt politicians and greedy businessmen/women need to make a living. Won't someone think of someone else's children for once.

  18. Anonymous Coward

    Oh for goodness sake..

    Sheisters the lot of em.

  19. John Sanders

    You guys do not get it

    The Telcos want their control back.

    The control from the days of WAP, those days when that internet icon (strategically placed where you press it by accident every time you call your missus)

    Back on those days each time you connected to the internet by accident you paid between £0.50-1 for the pleasure of making a mistake connection.

    They want you to pay the monthly fee, plus a fee each minute you invest using their precious outdated networks that can not sustain the products they eagerly want to sell you each week via stupid marketing calls (Telefonica).

    I said it a few times when the Ol'Reg talks about Telco Lock-in on the phones.


  20. windywoo
    Jobs Horns

    BBC license going towards broadband in UK

    About £300m of a total £850m I believe promised for a plan to widen the reach of Britain's broadband.

    1. Mike Hanna

      Not exactly...

      I think that's the money left over from the Digital SwitchOver works, and I wouldn't have through that too much came from the BBC / License Fee as the technology put in place was to the benefit of ITV, C4 and Five as well as any local stations.

      I think that £300m is pretty much direct from the Governement through the efficiencies of other non-Gov companies doing things under budget.

  21. John Savard

    Net Neutrality

    Google and YouTube don't use bandwidth. The customers of ISPs use bandwidth to access these popular sites.

    I suppose that some ISPs might like to sell an Internet service to customers that provides access only to a search engine and a video hosting service that is either owned by the ISP in question, or which has paid them for preferred access. While I am all for free competition and innovation, I also think it would be regrettable if that sort of imitation internet access were to become the only choice available to consumers.

    Also, one might recall that in the past, CompuServe disappeared in its original form, and America On-Line changed to become a conventional Internet provider - instead of being online network services which also offered some limited Internet connectivity as a feature.

    Non-net-neutral ISPs, therefore, do not seem like something that can survive in a competitive marketplace; instead, it is ISPs that have the advantage of being in a monopoly or near-monopoly position (due to the cable/telephone duopoly of the infrastructure for high-speed Internet) that would like to benefit from the extra control offered by becoming providers of access to their own networks with limited Internet access. I think regulators ought to tell them no.

    However, if regulators can find a way to allow peer-to-peer filesharing to be throttled without also interfering with, say, Skype, I think this can be distinguished from the harmful wholesale abandonment of net neutrality. Perhaps legitimate P2P services, used for distributing Linux or for academic purposes, could get on some sort of whitelist. A willingness to make reasonable compromises wouldn't hurt the cause of net neutrality - it would show that net neutrality isn't about piracy.

  22. Anonymous Coward

    Boo hoo

    Oh whats that telcos? You've been spening money on wanky advertising and bonuses and don't have any left for infrastructure investments?

    Well boo hoo, next they'll be wanting to charge my mom and dad (and the milkman) for having 6 kids because we talk too much!


  23. Paul


    I pay my ADSL provider to carry my internet traffic. I pay my 3G provider for data services. Both use that money to pay for backhaul to their core, and thence to peering points and pay for membership of internet exchanges.

    Google pay for their network to deliver traffic to peering points. They pay for membership of the same internet exchanges.

    Noone seems to be providing a free service, none of these parties is a charity.

    Or, could it be that competition has forced the internet providers and cellular operators to cut margins to the bone so that their execs can't afford more white power to snort???

  24. Tom 35

    I see your problem

    "is set to compromise the economic sustainability of the current business model for telecom companies,"

    If YOUR business model is broken don't expect someone else to prop it up for you. Fix your business model.

  25. vazadouro
    Thumb Down


    .. I use the net for many wonders, including BBC podcasts, news, El Reg, etc., but the only company I pay for all this IS my telecomms company. Everyone else does the hard work, they get my 25 euros a month.

  26. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    title clamps

    The telco's are making it sound as if the content producers are setting up shop and broadcasting out the data all over the place instead of the reality - it's a pull service!

    Users costing you too much? Increase the price to the *user* because it's they who are your customer.

    This is just making me wonder if it's time for a bunch us to gather together and slowly fund the production of our own ISP's with it's own infrastructure and try to sidestep all of these useless, consolidated and greedy ISP's. Remember in the 90's when we had craploads of ISP's falling over themselves to provide good quality networks? The reduction of the market to a few large players really has lowered the bar.

  27. Laurent_Z

    They just have to argument the other way around ...

    Hey Telefonica, are those MY BITS travelling on your network ? you do of course have a licence to distribute OUR BITS, of course ? And it would look SO BAD if you were the only ISP not the provide access to Google/Apple/Facebook/ (remove accordingly to boss/wife/etc presence).

    Here, sign there, and don't forget our monthly payment plan option....

    (aka "Supermarket without Coca Cola syndrome". Which created some interesting lawsuits later on...)

  28. Youngdog


    "compromise the economic sustainability of the current business model for telecom companies"

    Which, in the UK, seems to consist of screwing the customers royally for a really sh**ty service. Now when faced with the awesome task of providing their customers with a decent service they are pointing fingers at the very sites responsible for the massive uptake of broadband services instead of admitting all the money customers gave them went to shareholders and senior management to fill their baths up with.

    What happened to the Capitalist notion that competition prevents this from happening? Oh now I remember - that went out the window when someone realised that the customer is the least desirable part of the owner/management/customer relationship to be allowed to dictate things

    Money grabbing cheats the lot of them

  29. tangerine Sedge

    Freetards have come out of their holes

    Do any of you freetards know how much it costs to run a mobile telephone network in the UK? Do you have any idea how much it costs to build just a single new basestation? The mobile operators in the UK are investing Billions of pounds every year just to maintain their networks, never mind building more capacity.

    In the meantime, we have businesses throwing out ever more resource hungry applications (spotify on mobile!) which contribute zero towards this infrastructure, but take their profits all the same. We have users that seem to think that streaming a radio station across a 3G connection is a sensible thing to do (hey it doesn't cost me anything - so I don't care!). A recent stat I heard, was that 1% of customers uses ~95% of bandwidth... there are plenty of users who P2P using a 3G dongle...

    Sure, the Mobile operators are to blame - pushing unlimited plans was a marketing lead strategy which technical teams said would lead to chaos (but the marketing dept with their made-up profit projections always trumps the cautious techie guys). The freetard users are also to blame, demanding full access to unlimited content! The freetard corporations are the real greedy bastards though - using the internet as massive free shop window (hey why invest in bricks and mortar, when we can piggy back on somebody elses infrastructure). Why should a TV company invest in transmitters or content or licenses, when it can use the internet and get people to provide free content (copyrighted or not) - see youtube for more details.

    The whole point is, that the current model is broken. The customer pays peanuts (relative to the cost of building the infrastructure) to access the services, the content providers pay peanuts to get a global shop window, and the poor old networks are left trying to keep up with exponential demand. So what options are available?

    (i) continue as we are - mobile operators will continue to merge, until there is a virtual monopoly. The user will continue to be pissed off by the network. Innovation will be stifled by bandwidth restrictions. Google and Apple will rule the world.

    (ii) Networks charge the content providers for access to their networks. Providers don't play ball, and just stop working with the mobile operators. Those that continue to provide access will steal customers but face massive network issues. Massive industry destabilisation - who will win the Mexican standoff? The networks with fast access and no content, or the poor network with youtube et al?

    (iii) Networks remove all the unlimited tariffs and start charging customers for the bandwidth they consume. The first provider to do this will lose customers, so it has to be done across the whole industry. I'm not sure that this would be legal....

    So, in the short term enjoy this golden age of free access to everything. The times, they are a changin'!

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Quick questions

      1) Why are the mobile operators not charging the customers enough to cover the cost of operating their businesses?

      2) If the marketing departments are to blame as you say, is the answer really then charge *non-customers* to subsidize their bad business decisions?

      To me this is all symptomatic of the old government monopoly frame of mind. In a capitalist world there has to be a risk of failure. If these businesses are following an unsustainable business model either they need to change or they have to go bankrupt. Simples.

      1. tangerine Sedge

        @quick questions

        1) Why are the mobile operators not charging the customers enough to cover the cost of operating their businesses?

        They were, right up until the iphone came along and made all those web sites available to the man in the street. Youtube/google/iplayer/spotify/facebook etc right there on your handset whenever you needed it. Unfortunately the networks eager to drive up data usage, launched unlimited plans and got caught out by the massive explosion in data hungry services when the iphone lanuched. It's hard to believe now, but 5 years ago (pre iphone), mobile networks were desperate for customers to use their data networks.

        Now they are in the position whereby they need to start charging customers for what was once free. This is going to hurt the first network to do this, so it's a brave decision for the networks to take.

        2) If the marketing departments are to blame as you say, is the answer really then charge *non-customers* to subsidize their bad business decisions?

        If the networks don't charge somebody, then they will go out of business.

        If they charge the customer for bandwidth, then the internet businesses will cry that their innovation is being stifled and the customers will revert to basic mobile internet usage (no youtube down the pub).

        If the mobile operators charge the internet companies, then this will force them to either create more efficient internet applications OR start charging subscription costs themselves OR accept throttling by the mobile provider.

        Unfortunately, customers have never had it so good, but that is going to have to change.

        We havn't even started talking about how a single iphone application could through poor resource reservation cause a massive bottleneck on a mobile operators network....

        1. kyndair

          boo hoo

          1) So they made another bad business decision, that's up to them. If they couldn'y figure out that a device that needed to be permanatley attched to the internet to function would cause bandwith issues then they deserve to go out of business, let someone else buy the remains and try to work it out. A bail out is not the answer.

          2) see above

        2. Anonymous Coward

          Re: @quick questions

          "They were, right up until the iphone came along and made all those web sites available to the man in the street."

          And who made the iPhone available, primarily, to actual punters? Oh right: the networks.

          "Youtube/google/iplayer/spotify/facebook etc right there on your handset whenever you needed it. Unfortunately the networks eager to drive up data usage, launched unlimited plans and got caught out by the massive explosion in data hungry services when the iphone lanuched."

          And who decided to launch "unlimited" plans? That's right: the networks.

          "If the networks don't charge somebody, then they will go out of business."

          That's right. Does someone have to go and show them how to run their own businesses because you've just provided two examples of areas where they don't seem to know what they're doing.

          "We havn't even started talking about how a single iphone application could through poor resource reservation cause a massive bottleneck on a mobile operators network...."

          And? Didn't the networks realise that once people weren't forced to buy the networks' own gear, but could actually buy third-party products, and especially once they started to roll out this new-fangled Internet thing, that they might have to put some effort into managing Internet-style traffic? In fact, the equipment manufacturers and networks introduced Internet-based infrastructure years ago, so the technologists must certainly have considered at least some of the issues.

          But oh no, it's easier to whine and demand that, "My business must make a profit. Make it so, legislators and regulators!" If you can't see that businesses have to manage their revenues and expenses in a non-discriminatory fashion (that is, not pissing arbitrarily chosen people off) and that it is not merely a matter of "freetards", then it is you who is the "corporatard" who thinks that businesses should get a rosette and a large prize just for showing up.

    2. Mike Hanna


      I don't know if your whole post is a joke, but seeing as you haven't used a joke logo I'll take it at face value.

      tangerine sedge said: "The freetard users are also to blame, demanding full access to unlimited content!"

      That's the (not actually) unlimited content that these supposed freetards actually pay for the benefit of using in monthly fees. If I pay for it I am not a freetard, and if I'm limited to how much I can download it's not unlimited. I pay a subscription that was advertised as unlimited and now it's my fault that I use as much as I want? You, sir, are a tit. If I buy a tin of baked beans from Tesco, and actually only half of the beans are in the tin when I open it, should I be grateful that Tesco have shafted me?

      tangerine also said: "The freetard corporations are the real greedy bastards though - using the internet as massive free shop window (hey why invest in bricks and mortar, when we can piggy back on somebody elses infrastructure). Why should a TV company invest in transmitters or content or licenses, when it can use the internet and get people to provide free content (copyrighted or not) - see youtube for more details."

      O2, Voda, T-Mobile et al advertise their products as opening us up to the internet, having constant communication at our finger tips. That content is a tool that they use to show how good their services are, so they cannot complain when we actually use it. Using the analogy above it's like Tesco complaining that I actually ate the half-tin of bins that they gave me, after I had paid for a full tin.

      A TV production company may not pay for the transmitters or broadcast time over them, etc, however TV-transmitting companies need decent content or people will not watch them - though that does not explain the existence of Easterneders, Corrie, Emmerdale FARM etc) - and thus they will not earn advertising revenue. As good as the YouTube infrastructure may be, I think you overestimate its' value where a TV company (other than a start-up who ultimately wants to get on TV or into films) would put their top-grade programmes on YouTube on their first airing. For now, I can't imagine Band of Brothers, 24 or something of that stature appearing on first on YouTube.

    3. fajensen

      Tis bisness stuff is really, like, hard .. .

      I dont care how much it costs to run mobile network in the UK!

      If retarded management and useless salespeople sell the services at a loss, then they could fix the problem at the source by sacking the bastards, raise prices to cover the expenses, or simply go bust.

      Bust is not such a bad thing:

      Once the Tards & the Lard in the organisation are all out in the street and the debt defaulted on, I bet someone with more business-sense will buy the network at the bancruptcy proceedings at a price consistent with the earnings.

    4. RegisterThis

      Sorry you were voted down for telling the truth ...

      Seems like this article invoked some kind of Daily Mail Rage against the network operators where all sense stopped and nobody is even interested that most networks are about to break?

      Even down to the one response to you about us being the customers and not Google et al. Laughable! Must be some Google or Apple evangelist writing that! And the result is that we have everybody queuing volunteering for us to pay more instead of the content providers at the end of the value chain? Has nobody worked out that we are the onyl ones NOT making money out of this? Let the content providers pay their shop rentals and delivery costs they have avoided for so many years!

  30. Drefsab


    I pay my telco for my access and bandwidth and I damned well expect my monthly fee's to cover the cost of what I use, im the one that goes and watchs a youtube video, or uses google etc. These content providers are not forcing me to go use their stuff I choose to, they are paying for their bandwidth to server anyone that request's data from there servers, they should not be extorted by companies trying to make them pay twice to carry data their customers have paid them to carry.

    If they are charging to little to keep up with customer demand then that's their sodding problem, charge more. If my mobile provider turned around and said look we are sorry it costs x £ per GB so we are setting a price of x for this set amount of bandwidth and x per additional gig id pay for it. Don't sell me unlimited or set high AUP's and expect them to be hardly used people will use what they pay for. Sell it responsibly with clear pricing and stop trying to extort money from those that don't owe you a penny.

    I'd happy cancel my mobile contract with any company that tries to extract payment from content providers and switch to one that charges more but doesn't try this rubbish.

  31. Bluenose

    Just proves capitalism doesn't work

    Seems to me that the telcos and the content providers are totally dependent on each other since they each need the other to pull in the punters. The problem of course is that under the current capitlist model this doesn't work since their mutual objective is to provide the minimum service at the maximum profit to deliver massive wealth to the few (the board of directors since individual shareholders receive very little). Now the telecos find themselves in a position whereby doing the minimum is no longer feasibe and they have to cut the amount of wealth distribution and that means someone else is to blame not their risky strategies (banking has already been here).

    It seems to me that the only way to get an infrastructure that can actually meet the requirements of all the parties is for central govts to cough up the cash (and guess what the UK govt has just done although that is only for the tail, the backbone of course will not be enhanced).

    If the telecos think they have a problem now, wait until we have 20-100mbps to the home, the whole internet will come tumbling down because the core backbones will not be able to support the traffic volumes and when the problems on my mobile extend to my home pc I am going to be so p*****d off I am going to go back to using my phone for calls and the bank to make payments.

    1. foo_bar_baz

      This proves capitalism works

      First, this is about "mobile broadband" not fixed.

      Secondly, this is capitalism in action in the best way possible. Sometimes companies overreach in their competition and there are inevitable casualties. The market readjusts - either the prices come up to cover costs or a new competitor or technology picks up the slack.

      The old monopolies just haven't got used to how it works. Before they got subsidies from the government, now they can't so here they are turning to the next possible place to get those unearned pennies. How about they try to charge the customer instead of relying on charity?

      Don't worry, you'll get your broadband and it will keep getting faster and cheaper on the long term.

  32. Anonymous Coward

    Microsoft, Ubuntu, etc. pay too? (OS large security updates)

    As to the notion of "bandwidth-sucking service providers", it wouldn't be much of a stretch to also include the makers of operating systems that have security updates of ever-increasing size and frequency.

    I've noticed that both Windows *and* Ubuntu (I use both) frequently have large-sized updates for seemingly trivial things. (I don't know if Apple does - I don't use OSX.) I have broadband now so it doesn't take FOREVER to download these goddamned things (like it used to when I was on dial-up), but the point is that they still gobble up bandwidth.

    So where are these greedy money-grubbing lying ISPs going to draw the line? Are they going to start charging Microsoft and Ubuntu etc for using up bandwidth via normal OS updates?

    I agree with everyone else here who's said that the lying greedy ISPs need to deliver the service they've promised or else STFU. Of course the ISPs will get their pound of flesh anyway, one way or another, by increasing prices to the customers, many of whom never asked for (and never use) bandwidth-hogging stuff like movies etc.

    Actually I would still be on dial-up if it wasn't for gigantic OS security-updates, now that I think about it... I sure as hell don't need broadband for email or reading the Reg. :)

    1. CD001


      Try owning a PS3 - Install GT5 and within 2 days there have been about 240megs of updates... not an enormous amount these days but I remember having to pull down a 14meg Netscape install and it taking 45 minutes or so on dial-up...

      In the last 10 years or so I'd say data usage (for those of us using the web regularly 10 years ago) has probably increased by at least twenty-fold... and there are far more regular web/Internet users now.

      Online gaming is now the province of the console crowd almost as much as the PC gamers - and whilst the games themselves are relatively low bandwidth it's a constant trickle of that low bandwidth across many more machines - not to mention the software patches.

      Still - if everyone went back to dial-up it's put and end to DDoS attacks ... I dread to think how many machines on 56k it would take to packet flood a server of the web.

  33. RegisterThis

    Maybe El Reg Needs to do a Proper Piece on This?

    Most of the rage against operators is totally unfounded here (misrepresentation and greed charges aside!). This is a serious issue for operators and one which threatens all the OTT (Over the top) services you 'need'.

    Here are a bit of history and a few facts:

    - Traditional revenue from operators comes from voice. This has been commoditised, but STILL represents the majority of their revenue

    - When operators initially got screwed by governments around the world with the 3G auctions, the only way they could encourage service uptake, was through flat rate plans

    - What eventually drove service uptake was actually the iPhone and other smartphones i.e. usable screen size adn apps

    - Operators now face a situation where data traffic represents the majority of their traffic and is growing) - but the revenue is not!

    - It costs operators (with many open questions - so no real solution yet) to implement pay-as-you-use tariffs for consumers

    - Currently, most of the operqtors are making a loss on the data: Usage is growing faster than revenue and the costs of additional capacity exceeds the additional revenue they receive from upgrading this!

    - The technology available to the operators to upgrade the technology is also far from set in stone in terms of standards or even provenness i.e. very risky currently to invest in.

    For all those 'outraged' at operators making this suggestion, there is fundamentally NO ROI from operators to solve this problem themselves i.e. they will go out of business. May I suggest that from a consumer perspective, this is the best solution: the alternatives are operators going out of business (less competition, higher prices), consolidation (less competition, higher prices) ... or being bought and controlled by the content providers (less choice, competition and higher prices).

    Either the free-loader content providers pay (not totally free-loader, but increasingly getting more revenue for themselves without their input costs increasing) ... or YOU do! Personally considering I only pay for internet usage and they earn revenue from it, they should pay more and not me ... its the cost of them doing business with me ... think of it as the cost of distribution going up ... at worst that should be shared best for me the consumer, born by the provider.

    1. Peter Kay

      Lets try the car analogy..

      There's a nice shiny shop with a huge carpark and multiple well tarmaced slip roads from the main trunk roads and also a number of private roads created by the shop to help people transport from long distances.

      Then, there are quite a number of customers who want to get from the lovingly surfaced lanes via badly pitted private routes with restricted space. The maintainer of these private roads whines that they didn't expect people to actually /use the road/.

      Sounds ridiculous when you change the viewpoint, doesn't it?

      Did the network providers pay the content providers when mobile Internet was in its infancy and no-one wanted to use it? No? Then why do they feel they can ask for money from the content providers now, other than because they are poor at business?

      Also note that costing operators to implement pay-as-you-use is no different from any other company, and if I remember correctly, telecomms operators have charged customers for what they use since the inception of the services.. Again, business failure.

    2. Sam Liddicott

      blah blah

      You comment sums up as: but it's really hard doing business

      It's nothing more than a cunningly crafted begging letter to get paid for what they've already being paid for, and loads of reasons why that should be ok.

    3. fishman

      Cable TV

      In the US, the cable TV companies pay TV channels to be allowed to carry them on their cable network. The cable TV companies know that if they don't carry certain channels their customers will go elsewhere. You call the content providers freeloaders, but the whole reason for using the internet is content. One could call the telco providers freeloaders because they are not paying the content providers anything.

      Don't be surprised if in the future the telcos start paying the content providers.

      1. foo_bar_baz

        Excellent point

        How about Google, Yahoo et al solve the ISPs' problems by simply blocking them? See how long the customers stay with the operator.

      2. RegisterThis


        Your cable illustration is a perfect example of what should be happning, but isn't! The problem is that it should be a value chain just as in any other business (Your buy from Supermarket, who pays the wholesaler, who pays the farmer etc.) and the end price to you reflects ALL the input costs. That happens with Cable as you point out - you do not pay the TV Channels individually directly! To continue your analogy here, you should be paying Vodafone for the App you download from the Apple App store and, as you correctly point out, Vodafone should be paying Apple its share. But that does not happen and you pay Apple directly. The unfortunate result is that this distorts the value chain: (1) because you pay the operator for MB usage which is pretty commoditised and in and of itself no measures of the value of what you may or may not be getting, the operators are stuck in terms of putting up prices, and (2) Apple et al can sell at a vastly reduced price because they don't bare the delivery cost. The net effect is that the total of what you pay Apple+the operator is lower than the actual costs to deliver it. Operators would jump at a NORMAL value chain model (Like the Cable example), but Apple and Google are wanting to keep that direct relationship with the customer, meaning the operators are left selling commoditised and low value MB (at best if based on usage) and unable to make a profit.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Maybe El Reg Needs to do a Proper Piece on This?

      "- Operators now face a situation where data traffic represents the majority of their traffic and is growing) - but the revenue is not!"

      As others have concisely put it, "Boo hoo!" The mobile operators have shifted to "all you can (reasonably) eat" plans because the punters can't resist a "good deal". Thus, it's a large sum every month for hundreds of minutes and texts you couldn't possibly use, and the operators make a ton of money selling people stuff they don't want or need ("But it's so cheap!"), often at the going rates for those things ("Those are big numbers - how could I figure that out?!").

      With data, however, the boot is on the other foot, and yet the marketing department still think it's business as usual. So now, the legal department decides to gut the "all you can eat" aspect with dubious "acceptable usage" policies.

      Instead of advocating a tax on everyone else so that their shareholders get their dividends, these companies should actually support transparent pricing, so that they can charge their customers reasonable amounts and not be undercut by others promising free and unlimited everything, but I suppose that their little finance industry-inspired schemes and arbitrary disconnection games would have to stop, and they couldn't have that.

  34. This post has been deleted by its author

  35. Lottie


    I have a plan: I'm going to open a mail company the delivers parcels and charge a crazy low amount to get the business.

    When I find that I can't actually afford to deliver everything and still make a nice big profit, I'll demand that the manufacturers of toys pay me for having to deliver their must have xmas items.

  36. Gavin Park Weir


    OK so I work for a global telco and part of our business is providing large organisations (Google etc) and ISPs (Tiscali or Vodafone etc) with large chunks of bandwidth. We operate in a competitive market and sell GB of bandwidth and try to make margin.

    We need to keep upgrading our fibre backbone around the world to keep up with capacity that our customers increasingly demand. However the cost to upgrade the backbone keeps falling per mb.

    As we operate in a competitive environment this means that as the Googles and ISPs of the world order more bandwidth they buy it cheaper per mb.

    The challenge for ISPs is to estimate if the future cost of BW is going to to drop faster than user demand rises. If does then they make margin, if not they lose money.

  37. Giles Jones Gold badge

    Operators give us what we want

    We want decent bandwidth and good coverage for the huge amount money we pay you. We don't care who you are, we aren't loyal to your brand. You're just a service provider, you're not Apple or Microsoft, you don't create things.

    So operators, if you have to cut back on lousy services nobody wants (eg. Vodaphone 360) and cut back on the perks a bit then so be it.

    It's a competitive market and mobile data services are no longer a luxury, so you'll have to get with it and be more creative with your business ideas instead of looking for a big pot of cash somewhere.

  38. Fred Flintstone Gold badge

    Smokescreen for the biggest continuing scam of all..

    That's a lot of BS to make it appear they make a loss of data connectivity. The story behind the smoke is that they are now ripping off the traveling public through especially the mobile data charges. Try and find a sensible data tariff if you travel a lot. If you have not taken the precaution to use an unlocked phone you're stitched up with ridiculous tariffs the moment you cross a border.

    If you were wondering why the operators were not yelping that loudly when the EU capped international call charges, now you know why - they still rob you blind with data link changes.

  39. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Go east

    If it's so expensive to cope with heavy data users over mobile internet then how is it that Japan and South Korea's telcos cope so well? Where did their investment come from??

  40. Anonymous Coward

    I don't understand...

    Over here, you pay for your data subscription. Depending on the type, you pays yer mooney, for which you get a set data volume. With my provider, for example, 10 Euro's a month gets you 500 MB worth of datashuffling. If I 'overspend', I'm charged extra.

    So what are ale these phone company types on about ?

    1. foo_bar_baz

      Over here

      I pay a fixed monthly fee for an unlimited 3G plan, just like I do for *DSL. (Don't be jealous, it's pretty flaky). The operators keep raising the advertised speeds and slashing the prices. 3G data only plans are essentially marketed as competition to fixed line broadband. And people use them as such. Obviously one user with bittorrent is going to make life a misery for both the telco and all other customers.

      Now the telcos are crying for handouts because *gasp* people use the mobile network for Internet access - which *double gasp* includes other protocols and content than plain text over HTTP/POP3/IMAP. How could they ever have seen that coming?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Same here.

        I originally had ATT wireless internet with no caps. Three years later, ATT changed their contract to 20 ( i think) GB/month and when I passed 20GB, they shut me off. When that happened I called to find out why, when they told me their contact had changed and now had a bandwidth cap, I got them to turn it back on ( i dont remember having to pay more, but i dont remember not paying more), and before the end of the month, i got DSL (for 1/3 of the cost) and called them up and cancelled my wireless internet service.

        The end result is that I pay 1/3 of what I used to for internet access, but I lost the ability to tell my clients "Hang on while I pull into a a parking lot so I can log on and fix your problem".

  41. John Sanders

    Cesar Alierta at its best

    Here, I made the effort of adding subtitles to the video:

    This is a press conference he did last February on some Spanish local TV channel.

    He talks about how bad is for everyone (telcos) to be able to make apps, how the search engines should be paying for the privilege of users being able to access their websites, and much much more.

    Bear in mind the man can not articulate comprehensible language, do not get surprised if the subtitles seem to use odd language.

  42. Bob 18

    Transparent Pricing

    Twisting the arms of content providers or handset makers is anti-competitive and is bad for users in the long run.

    I believe that if network bandwidth is a scarce commodity, then users should pay for it, not content providers. A fair and reasonable system for users, coupled with good tools to manage bandwidth consumption, would work.

    What would be a "fair and reasonable" system? Try:

    1. Set daily/weekly/monthly per-user quotas.

    2. Provide an informative but unobtrusive bandwidth consumption meter on the screen that ticks in realtime. By watching it, users will learn what takes a lot of bandwidth and what does not.

    2. Warn users when they get near that quota

    3. When users reach the quota, throttle them back to 128kbps until the end of the day/week/month. Do not charge any overage fees; just throttle back the user. At such slow speeds, basic services like email will still work, but video, web browsing, etc. will (essentially) not work. That user will no longer be a drain on the network.

    4. If users wish to exceed their quota at full speeds, they can have the option of buying additional bandwidth on the spot.

  43. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down


    My co workers and I cannot stop laughing!

    We thought the USA had problems, but trying to make service providers pay for bandwith?


    I can hear it now "Hmmm, Our citizens like your services, so you must pay for them to use your service"

    LOL! LOL!

  44. Anonymous Coward


    Why oh why does this keep coming up? I'm either missing something blindingly obvious or telcos are a whining pack of -- oh wait...

    Simple solution where no telco whining is required:

    Charge users for what they want to use.

    I pay ~£60/month just for my internet connection - but I'm willing to do that to ensure I get high speeds, low contention, very generous DL restrictions, etc...

    Google and other content "providers" Already pay their own networking fees to have the bandwidth to upload the data to "the net". The customer on the other end should have to pay to download it to their PC - Nice and symmetrical.

    The only reason the Telcos are complaining now is that they've been mis-selling for years (unlimited, speeds _up to_ x, etc...) and now they're in a position where their false advertising has caught up with them - people are expecting the "unlimited" connection they've paid for. Whether or not the telco intended or expected them to use it is irrelevant - they SOLD it so as far as I'm concerned, they should be obliged to provide it.

    1. Carl 21

      RE: Fail

      Now that's not very socialist of you...

      The government is supposed to hand out money to those who aren't honest, don't prepare, and don't think. Why be responsible when the government can just bail you out?

  45. Miek

    Virgin Now Throttle ...

    I spoke to a Customer Services Automaton the other day and I was informed that not only do Virgin throttle customers entire connections if they reach or exceed a fair-use-limit; they also throttle access to popular services IF they are experiencing high load from their customers to these services.

    Essentially we are offered this service and when we actually try to use it; it turns out that the provider has not got sufficient resources to handle the speeds and service they are selling.

  46. Keith Williams
    Big Brother

    Peering agreements

    Don't European networks have peering agreements? If the networks are receiving a substantially higher level of traffic than they are sending, then surely it is not unreasonable for them to bill the transmitting networks for that overage without regard to the source of that overage?

    Big Bro 'cause he's watching what we watch.

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