back to article Run a server on your Gb/s Google Fiber? OK, fine, fine ... maybe a small one

In an apparent capitulation to net neutrality supporters, Google has quietly loosened the terms of service of its Google Fiber broadband network to allow customers to run personal servers in some cases. Google Fiber's new acceptable use policy (AUP) explicitly permits customers to host some types of servers on their …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Yet another ISP that is quite happy to take your money; but if you actually use what you paid for they start whining. Having been on the pointy end of more than one "heavy user" cull, this sort of thing really annoys me.

    If they can't deliver; then they shouldn't be selling it. Their customers are buying bandwidth...what they use it for should be none of Google's business.

  2. Steve Knox
    Thumb Up

    Smart Move by Google

    When you're building a new network, the last thing you want to do is accidentally overload it.

    Plus, it's been repeatedly shown that if you start strict and loosen policies up, customers are happier than if you start permissive and tighten the rules later, even if both courses of action result in the same final set of rules.

    Awaiting downvotes from those who believe this is an emotional issue.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Smart Move by Google

      It's nothing to do with it being an emotional issue, and of course you don't want to "accidentally overload" your network, but really, if they are so incompetent and so concerned that they are so wide of the mark in their capacity estimates that they needed to explicitly bar anything that acts as a server, then they aren't an ISP worth having.

      But of course, that's not what this was about. This was about Google being of the opinion that they should be the only server on the internet, and everyone else should simply be clients and consumers (and product). Their long term strategy being (evidenced by Chromebook) for all of us to effectively have dumb terminals to the Googleweb.

      Again, which I don't have any moral objections to them trying for (I think they'll fail) but wrapping it up in those kinds of excuses is disingenuous to say the least.

  3. Dale Loyd

    Or you can look at someone already doing it...

    in Chattanooga, Tennessee. $69.99/mo for gigabit fiber to your home, no throttling. Available for business too:

    1. phil dude

      Re: Or you can look at someone already doing it...

      i live 100 miles from there, I wish...

      Having said that the local lab and Uni both get 100Gb/s

      Its us proles who don't...


  4. 02X7Cm

    To be honest

    Plenty of people already run private servers and services on all those ISPs that bans everything anyway. As long as it's private use and are on non-standard ports the ISPs can never tell.

    So really, it makes no difference does it? I remember the days when I used to run servers from my University dorm using JANET's uber-fast connections.

    1. AVee

      Re: To be honest

      I once ran a mail server on a connection which explicitly prohibited this. I noticed in the log once that the ISP was actively doing relay checks, but never heard a word from them. So they knew I violated their TOS but didn't care because it wasn't causing any trouble.

      Still, it's annoying because a TOS like that can be used against you at any time. When running a business you really don't want that hanging in the air. In the case of google it cynical to find clauses like that in their TOS because they are always claiming ISPs should be net-neutral and not interfere with the content of the data. If they really believe in this they shouldn't care if the traffic on their network is bittorrent upload or files served from a webserver. But google only seems to believe in net-neutrality when it's in their favor...

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Read the small print!

    I'll bet there is something there that says 'Google will allow small servers to operate on their network as long as the robots.txt file does not block If it does we will ignore it anyway.' (or 1000+ words of legal verbage that means the same thing)

    I run a small server from home. 100 or so visitors a day. all search engines blocked. You can't find my site without using a link.

    no, it's not pron but steampunk boddice rippers. Wouldn't help if my kids found the site (they have flown the nest). Anon because I want to keep it that way.

    Yours, xxxxx MP for ......

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Shoe, Foot

    So, helping everyone to access other people's stuff for free is OK, but when it costs Google money...

  7. Gene Cash Silver badge

    How about Brighthouse, Time Warner & Comcast?

    They all have "no servers" in their AUP, so why doesn't the EFF bang on them too?

    Or is it only Google that's an acceptable target?

  8. Pez92

    To understand their decision, you must understand their business model. A good comparison would be to look at the average Gym, where <20% of the members actually show up in a given month. As an individual, there is nothing preventing you from going there every day for 10 hours, but the membership price is determined by the fact that most people will retain their membership simply because they are comforted by the idea that they have a gym membership, despite the fact that they rarely use it. Google is banking on the fact that ~80% of its users will be using their service for watching youtube videos, browsing the web, and checking emails, while <20% will actually be downloading enough to use more data than they would on a 50MBps plan. As a result, they have to roll out features in stages, to make sure they don't give out something they have to later take away, as taking away features and raising prices piss off the customer base much more than initially holding them off.

    For the average consumer, this will have no impact. For a business consumer, other options exist that are tailored to accommodate your needs. The reason the price is so low is because they are not actually selling you a gigabit connection so that you can crank out full bandwidth 24/7, rather a home internet service that has the potential to use up to a gigabit at any given time so that you can download, stream, and browse faster. You get the same service you'd get at that price from the cable company, but with access to 20x the bandwidth. There is a reason that gigabit connections for businesses cost so much more: the ISPs are trying to run a profitable business model.

    1. M Mouse

      Google vs cable....

      They could just offer a lower upload speed... Don't expect many households really need the ability to upload at more than 20 Mbps (even if they have several security cameras running simultaneously).

      US$ 70/ month (+taxes) for just internet and $120/ month for internet and TV may be comparable prices (not in USA, so don't know how well these compare with cable services) but seem costly to me. Given the choice of 100 Mbps (at say $35) and 1000 Mbps at $70, I would go for slower, mainly because of the price.

      Google 'Free' service offering 5 Mbps/ 1 Mbps (from $30 installation and $0/ month to nominally $0/ month for 7 years, with $300 installation spread over first 12 months) seems an even better choice, for those who could later want higher speed, as pricing might reduce over time, and they could get it installed but use it in parallel with an existing service, or push it (with things you want to use it for, and see if Google kicks you off for breaking their AUP).

      In the UK, if a service claims it's unlimited, a minority will test that. ISPs have sometimes done a U-turn on their "unlimited" service AUP when they consider the service is being pushed to overload, and have suffered the consequences. UK broadband comparison sites now include "truly unlimited" if that is the case, and try to determine any limits held in AUP details, such as some with a 100 GB/month limit which still claim to be "unlimited".

      If a service claims "unlimited" nowadays, they need to be honest to consumers, and not expect the "< 20% will be heavy users" "business model" you've put forward, because with the growth in streaming TV, film services, and so on, traffic is bound to increase and that model is likely to fail in the not-to-distant future.

  9. wayward4now

    The Internet is not a truck

    Nuff said!

  10. James 100

    Unlimited with lots of limitations

    I'm really growing to hate "unlimited" offerings for exactly this reason. Barring illegal use, what does it matter to my ISP whether that gigabyte of data I just sent was going to visitors to my home-hosted website or me uploading a batch of photos to Flickr? Why do they pretend "server" use somehow matters?

    Of course, it's all a dodge to try to clamp down on (some) heavy users. I'm very glad to be with an ISP now which does have traffic charges, but no arbitrary BS prohibitions: I have a static IP, no filtering. If I want to move my personal website onto my home connection, or be able to VPN to my home LAN, or do my own SMTP and DNS service, they're quite happy - I'll just have to pay a bit extra if it uses more bandwidth, because that's the bit that actually costs money.

    Even Google can't offer a truly unlimited-usage gigabit pipe to everyone: it just doesn't work. Instead of trying to pretend it matters which end sends the TCP SYN packet and which is replying with the SYN|ACK, why not accept this and charge, say, $1 per 10Gb? Heavy users cost more, and pay more accordingly - and priced at a level that actually reflects costs, it's fair and cheap enough not to deter anyone sane.

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