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Thread: limiting Internet time

  1. #1
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    limiting Internet time

    Today's newspaper contained a story about major Internet providers considering limiting time spent by subscribers. They may start charging according to use, much like the old dial-up days. Some of the potential charges are substantial. This would seriously affect those who download music, movies, books and technical data. Gamers would be shut out or face the prospect of very-very high monthly bills. Phone services like Skype and Vonage would, essentially, be shut out of the market. Not good. I'm sure we will see more on this. My guess is the final result will be a continuation of full-time service but substantially higher 'net bills for all of us.

  2. #2
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    That's the old story again. First they create the need, then they lure you until you bite the bait and once you're hooked they squeeze you as much as they can.
    Best regards,
    Toni

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  3. #3
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    The super-users and the gamers are in real trouble... as are parents of teenagers.

    Pool halls are getting like that here. It used to be you paid per game. Now in the newer pool halls, you're charged by the hour-- for how long you play-- and of course costs more, concidentally.

    --MJ
    "We didn't lose the game; we just ran out of time."--Vince Lombardi

  4. #4
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    Well, it *is* an issue, but I'm not sure I'd worry too much about it... the tide has clearly turned. This one's bound up in the whole "net neutrality" debate. Two years ago, the president of one of the telcos felt strong enough to mouth off, and soon after supportive legislation appeared. It was barely stopped back then, helped by some accidental foolishness from some guy in Alaska, who will soon depart the scene. The new legislation is completely on the other side of the issue, and instead of playing offense, the telcos and others are playing defense. A few months ago comcast admitted it was rate-limiting some users, and there was a firestorm of protest. Now there's a whole group of people having fun 'outing' the bad acting telcos, catching them when they try to throttle bandwidth.

    I'm pretty hopeful we'll never go back to the days of AOL style metering... but then, I've been wrong before...

    Thanks,

    Bill

  5. #5
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    Having been in the biz since before there was a World Wide Web I have an opinion. In 1969, when UCLA and Stanford linked up over ARPAnet there was no thought of selling shoes, tools and cars over the network. With the dot.com explosion, men with "vision" saw the almighty dollar ready for the taking at the speed of light. Some got rich, many went broke.

    It was always a bit of a tap dance with the telcos through the 90's. They see the money too and say "who are these upstarts to run a network without us anyway"? "We should control (and profit from) anything that crosses any network". Their intensive lobbying and coordinated assault on the governing bodies are bringing them closer and closer to being able to control what we think of as "the internet". We should all do anything we can to keep "the internet" from becoming a "regulated" utility like gas, electricity and (dare I say it) OIL.

    I'm jumping off the soapbox! Catch me!

    P.s. I think it was Larry Roberts (who designed the first four node ARPAnet network) who later said "The only thing we did wrong with this network was to make it too good. Now everyone expects it to be perfect".
    Last edited by glenn bradley; 06-15-2008 at 03:46 PM.
    Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.
    - Arthur C. Clarke

  6. #6
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    "We should all do anything we can to keep "the internet" from becoming a "regulated" utility like gas, electricity and (dare I say it) OIL."

    Glenn,

    I'm not going to tread on the CofC by commenting on this one, but as someone who grew up in california, whose father worked for SDG&E for decades, I watched the whole CA deregulation/enron/blackout thing with interest, I'm very much surprised by this statement. Given the history we're both familiar with, I think we actually need regulation to keep the telcos in check. Otherwise, their greed will lead to a new kind of digital divide!




    "P.s. I think it was Larry Roberts (who designed the first four node ARPAnet network) who later said "The only thing we did wrong with this network was to make it too good. Now everyone expects it to be perfect".


    Sometimes I wonder about some of these guys. Yes, they built an entirely new world, but sometimes their memories differ... I heard Vint Cerf say 'if we thought TCP/IP would be around so long, we would have put a little more work into it...' I always use that line when my guys are just slapping something together to get it out the door today. Would one more day of quality assurance lead to the collapse of western civilisation?

    Thanks,

    Bill

  7. #7
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    communication / tech scam

    This thread really fires me up. It's not as if we haven't been getting squeezed already and for years now. Just seems a charge for something that can be supplied by too many different sources for too cheap. What physical thing is it that a co. such as Comcast is providing me with that can't be provided by my existing At&T landline telephone service or my cell phone service provider. There is a rural electric company now providing internet service via existing power lines. Moreover, I currently write a check each and every month to Bell South telephone, AT&T long distance service, Comcast Cable for internet and cable TV, Cellular South for cell phone use, Ms power for electrical service and even Yahoo in order to be able to call friends in the mid east on their cell phones even though I can call their computers for free. Isn't this ridiculous! Plus, soon there will be no analog network TV and do I understand that this now available airwave space could end up being purcahsed by Google......Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaat! Come on! What are we being charged for? Realizing I have not made a concise point, I hope it helps one to at least understand what I'm confused, confounded and disgusted about. For example, if I pickup my landline telephone call a town 40 miles away, talk 10 minutes, the fee would most likely be at lest > than $1.50 but I can get on the internet call my friends computer in the Persain Gulf and talk as long as we like + use webcam for George Jetson type calls without additional fees. What a disparity. Seems we've been getting had a long time....this is no new news!

  8. #8
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    Up until a few months ago, my 'high speed' internet was a 2 way satellite system. It 'worked', but the physics involved of shooting a signal to 22k miles to outer space and back leads to some really high latency and long ping times. Once a download started, it was tolerably fast enough, way better than dial up.

    But, as far as I know, all satellite services have a 'FAP' (Fair Access Policy) that puts restrictions on how much bandwith you can use. Basically, if you just surfed and didn't watch movies or download large files, you were ok. But if you used the YouTubes and such, you would quickly run through your bandwith allotment and then would be punished by having your access speed drastically reduced. Depending on the service provider, this could be a few hours, a day, or a few days.

    They do this to make sure that the few heavy users of the system don't hog all the bandwidth for everyone. I understand the reason for it, but really didn't like it.

    Recently, I found that I was able to get terrestrial wireless in my little valley from a local entrepenuer. He has a series of stations setup that allow him to daisy chain broadband access and cover wide areas. All it takes is a little pizza pan antenna on top of my roof. I get my signal from a neighbor up on a ridge about 8 miles away from me. The speeds are faster than my old DSL, and there are no bandwidth restrictions.

    I have heard that some of the new cell phone based high speed wireless services will be imposing "FAP" type of bandwidth restrictions, so it pays to look at your options when choosing a provider...
    Programmer - An organism that turns coffee into software.
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  9. #9
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    My take on the situation is that before long there will be only a few, very large, communications companies in the country. And, when that happens, our monthly bills will become huge. Alltel cell phone company (the one I use) was just purchased by Verison. Combining the two coverage areas will result in about 95% of the U.S. being served by one company. Skype and Vonage are threatening land line telephone companies. Buying, or merging with, cable and ISPs could kill that threat. Look at the upside folks. Pretty soon, instead of writing six utility bill checks a month, you will only have to write one or two. But, they will total bigger than the old six.
    An aside: Alltel sold only about three months ago to two investment companies. The CEO was given a $140 million bonus for that little deal. This in addition to his nearly $15 million annual salary. Now, less than three months later, the investors resold Alltel for a $2 1/2 BILLION profit. In the deal, 3,000 employees in Little Rock, Arkansas will lose their jobs. Brother CEOs new bonus hasn't been announced yet.
    Kenneth, are you still fired up? :soapbox:

  10. #10
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    From what I read, in most systems (like a cable Internet system), 5% of the customers account for 80% of the bandwidth usage. What the providers want to do is charge those heavy users extra, or limit their usage. Most users, including people who do voice over IP telephony, will never be affected - the bandwidth limits are set VERY high.

    I really don't think this is unreasonable. There's a term in economics -"the Tragedy of the Commons". It comes from England where certain land was designated as common land and all the villagers could graze their animals on that land. The problem was that everyone had the incentive to take as much as possible from the common land and give back as little as possible (such as providing fertilizer - since they only got a percentage back). So gradually the common land lost the ability to support any grazing.

    Internet usage is the same. We've set it up to encourage everyone to take as much as possible, no matter how it affects other users of the system. The policies of the service providers are just putting some economics back into the system. Heavy users *should* pay more. Otherwise, we are all subsidizing those users - paying more than we should for the service we use.

    Mike

    [Net neutrality does not mean "all you can eat". What it means is that all traffic is handled equally. For example, suppose you get your Internet service through Verizon DSL. Verizon might like to delay or limit any VOIP traffic to/from your house so that they can sell you voice service. "Net Neutrality" means they can't do that - they have to take all traffic and process it to the best of their ability, and equally compared to all other traffic.]
    Last edited by Mike Henderson; 06-15-2008 at 11:57 PM.
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