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View Full Version : Is Bandwidth-based Billing Fair?



CraigPaleo
April 3rd, 2009, 10:04 PM
Actually, I think it's more fair than what some ISP do and that is to slow down your bandwidth if you're using too much, without giving you a choice e.g. letting a file sharing program run all day and night at full blast. Also, if my neighbor has five computers using Hulu or Netflix instead of cable because it's cheaper and I only use my connection reasonably for such things, why should I subsidize their service or vice versa?

In my opinion, it should be like cell phone service, where you are alloted a certain amount of bandwidth per month and if you exceed that, you can opt for another plan or pay for the additional bandwidth. If you hardly use the Internet, a pay-as-you-go plan would be ideal. This way, no one could accuse their neighbors of ruining it for them and it would be fair. What do you think?

Pogeymanz
April 3rd, 2009, 10:11 PM
This is true for cable internet, but isn't dsl independent of your neighbors?

Overall, I still agree that it's fair, so long as the pricing isn't ridiculous.

Sunflower1970
April 3rd, 2009, 10:26 PM
We're being capped at 40GB/mo starting in September. TWC's doing this in Austin, Rochester, Greensboro & San Antonio. (It's already in Beaumont) 40GB is way too low.

I'd take throttling any day over this crap.

Can't believe I'm wishing that I could transfer over to Comcast where their limit is 250GB/mo. *sigh* I know I wouldn't go over that for quite a long time.

PurposeOfReason
April 3rd, 2009, 10:28 PM
I say ISPs should just be able to put out what they say (Comcast). If you say you can reach X, let me hit it and not be an ideal situation.

gn2
April 3rd, 2009, 10:37 PM
In answer to the question, yes, it's perfectly fair.

smartboyathome
April 3rd, 2009, 10:38 PM
Technically, everything is fair when there are no rules (such as in this situation). They can do what plans they want, since there aren't any laws saying they can't. Even monopolies are fair if they are playing by the rules established by their government.

SunnyRabbiera
April 3rd, 2009, 10:55 PM
I dont think its fair, its just another way for these big worthless companies can steal every last red cent from our wallets adding on to an already overpriced bill and crappy customer service.
The sooner these companies die the better, I swear.

jmszr
April 3rd, 2009, 11:00 PM
re: Is bandwidth-based billing fair?
I dont think its fair, its just another way for these big worthless companies can steal every last red cent from our wallets adding on to an already overpriced bill and crappy customer service.
The sooner these companies die the better, i swear.

++1

I-75
April 3rd, 2009, 11:04 PM
I'm paying $45 for cable internet broadband, if they put caps on it...then they better cut my bill in half or less. Otherwise I'd drop them like a hot potato.

Imposing bandwidth caps will cause customers to cancel, in this economy the LAST thing companies want to do is lose customers.

kidux
April 3rd, 2009, 11:06 PM
We're being capped at 40GB/mo starting in September. TWC's doing this in Austin, Rochester, Greensboro & San Antonio. (It's already in Beaumont) 40GB is way too low.

I'd take throttling any day over this crap.

Can't believe I'm wishing that I could transfer over to Comcast where their limit is 250GB/mo. *sigh* I know I wouldn't go over that for quite a long time.
I'd love to have 40Gb/mo. I'm sitting at 17Gb/mo max before they throttle me so slow that google won't load, and that's the super-dee-duper "elite" package. Satellite sucks, but what can you do in the boonies.

lisati
April 3rd, 2009, 11:06 PM
The plan I'm on gives me a 20Gb allowance each month (all going well it's more than enough) and then slows down my speed to what they call "dial-up" speeds, but usually a little bit faster than what I used to get on dial-up.

And if a neighbour's use seems to be affecting your bandwidth, it's probably time to review security on your home network and possibly which channel(s) your wireless setup uses!

SunnyRabbiera
April 3rd, 2009, 11:07 PM
The thing that kills it is that I paid for UNLIMITED service, putting caps and bandwidth restrictions on it is not what I call unlimited...

lisati
April 3rd, 2009, 11:10 PM
The thing that kills it is that I paid for UNLIMITED service, putting caps and bandwidth restrictions on it is not what I call unlimited...

True: sometimes ISPs need to be more careful in the hype they use to promote their products.

CraigPaleo
April 3rd, 2009, 11:20 PM
The thing that kills it is that I paid for UNLIMITED service, putting caps and bandwidth restrictions on it is not what I call unlimited...

That's the problem. Everyone signed up for unlimited but some started to take advantage of it leaving ISPs to figure out how to deal with the extra cost. They have to pay for the bandwidth somehow. If you're an ordinary Internet user, I wouldn't worry about it. If you are running a server out of your home, I might expect a larger bill.

dtoronto
April 3rd, 2009, 11:23 PM
I'm not a fan of throttling internet option, but I understand that in order to get your internet throttled by an ISP you need to be pretty abusive.

SunnyRabbiera
April 3rd, 2009, 11:26 PM
That's the problem. Everyone signed up for unlimited but some started to take advantage of it leaving ISPs to figure out how to deal with the extra cost. They have to pay for the bandwidth somehow. If you're an ordinary Internet user, I wouldn't worry about it. If you are running a server out of your home, I might expect a larger bill.

Thats why you see that "small business" crap from ISP's, but sadly for some of them one person running a home server does not qualify for such a plan.

wmcbrine
April 3rd, 2009, 11:40 PM
Usage-based billing isn't necessarily unfair (though it is undesirable), but the specific limits and charges being imposed now are completely absurd. They are not about cost recovery, and they bear no relation to the reality of upstream bandwidth costs, which are hundreds of times lower.

There are two things driving this:

1. The cable companies want to crush nascent competition for their television services from Internet-based video.

2. The cable companies have shoddy, oversold networks, with too little bandwidth shared among too many users. High-usage users don't really cost the company more, but they do slow down that oversold last mile. The design of the network depends on most users being idle most of the time, or the illusion of speed crumbles.

Actually, make that three things...

3. They think they can get away with it. They have the monopoly mentality -- if customers don't like it, where are they going to go?

I-75
April 3rd, 2009, 11:49 PM
Usage-based billing isn't necessarily unfair (though it is undesirable), but the specific limits and charges being imposed now are completely absurd. They are not about cost recovery, and they bear no relation to the reality of upstream bandwidth costs, which are hundreds of times lower.

There are two things driving this:

1. The cable companies want to crush nascent competition for their television services from Internet-based video.

2. The cable companies have shoddy, oversold networks, with too little bandwidth shared among too many users. High-usage users don't really cost the company more, but they do slow down that oversold last mile.

Actually, make that three things...

3. They think they can get away with it. They have the monopoly mentality -- if customers don't like it, where are they going to go?


Great point, now we get into possible allegations of the ISP having a monopoly. Why, for that "competition" factor. If online content such as Netflix is competing with Cable and other pay for services, "bandwidth caps" could help "stifle the competition". My opinion is maybe the Justice Dept should look into bandwidth caps...just my opinion.....

swoll1980
April 3rd, 2009, 11:54 PM
Is 40 GiB/month enough for xbox live, and World of Warcraft? If it is then I don't care.

Sunflower1970
April 3rd, 2009, 11:57 PM
Usage-based billing isn't necessarily unfair (though it is undesirable), but the specific limits and charges being imposed now are completely absurd. They are not about cost recovery, and they bear no relation to the reality of upstream bandwidth costs, which are hundreds of times lower.

There are two things driving this:

1. The cable companies want to crush nascent competition for their television services from Internet-based video.

2. The cable companies have shoddy, oversold networks, with too little bandwidth shared among too many users. High-usage users don't really cost the company more, but they do slow down that oversold last mile. The design of the network depends on most users being idle most of the time, or the illusion of speed crumbles.

Actually, make that three things...

3. They think they can get away with it. They have the monopoly mentality -- if customers don't like it, where are they going to go?

Exactly. With Time Warner Cable, there are 4 test cities (including Beaumont, TX which did this last year) Austin, TX, Rochester, NY, Greensboro, NC & San Antonio, TX. They chose these cities based on almost no competition. Rochester, I believe, only has two choices. TWC and a DSL company that caps at 5GB/mo. Austin sort of has a choice with Grande cable/fiber optic (I believe) uncapped, AT&T DSL which is uncapped now, but will be soon (after TWC went to Beaumont and the test was 'successful' AT&T started capping there.)Austin will be next, I'm sure. Also, these services are not available in all areas Grande is in certain sections of the city, as as AT&T, but I can't get them in my area. Oh, I forgot about Earthlink. It piggybacks the same cable lines as TWC, and they're uncapped, now, but since they're leasing the lines, once their contract is up, who knows what they'll do. Either be dropped or have to cap their service too. Austin has a grassroots movement going to try and stop this. Even some of our Mayorial candidates are speaking up. There's an open forum at one of the city's meetings next week on Wednesday, and the COA's Office of Telecommunications & Regulatory Affairs has been in meetings all day today about this and will issue a press release on Monday about the situation. Rochester is also fighting. There are some websites that were put up by some people in Rochester. I don't know if San Antonio or Greensboro is fighting this, though. I hope so.

MikeTheC
April 3rd, 2009, 11:59 PM
To be honest, I think my biggest concern with this is that it's a sort of "first step" into mainstreaming the concept of killing net neutrality.

Sunflower1970
April 4th, 2009, 12:03 AM
Is 40 GiB/month enough for xbox live, and World of Warcraft? If it is then I don't care.

I don't know how much a game takes up. But if you're also streaming video (esp HD video) and surfing and downloading any itunes/amazon vid or music, or using Skype and don't forget that cable is always on, so there's always some sort of activity going on, even if very low, that can add up quite quickly.

Someone wrote this over at this link: http://www.statesman.com/business/content/business/stories/other/04/02/0402timewarner.html


I called Netflix. They say average movie downloads are 1gb per hour. If you use this for a basic calculation, you're over Time Warners limit after 40hrs viewing, which is about 5 movies a week. I watch nearly that now, plus video telephony, plus regular news feeds, some podcasts, plus gobs of huge photo file transfers for my business. I don't consider myself a poweruser or high bandwidth. I think Time Warner is being unrealistic on the high end of their cap, and $1 per gb is outrageous. My bill will likely be well over $120 per month. Further , I suspect they will set up a scheme like this: http://www.iinet.net.au/broadband/plans.html It's an Australian broadband provider that has tiered pricing and something called "freezone" where they offer quota-free downloads from "selected" providers, which includes itunes. So, if Time Warner claims it's being helpful by charging higher bandwidth users, ask them if they plan to implement a freezone type policy. If the answer is ambiguous, it's yes. To me, that's hypocritical extortion. What they really want is a cut of your home entertainment, each time you make a choice, wherever it comes from.

billgoldberg
April 4th, 2009, 12:05 AM
85 euro (115 usd) a month, 80gb cap, 12mbps.

You blow the cap? Dial up speed, unless you fork over 1 euro for each gb.

To make things worse, some new players have entered the market now offering 20mbps for 35 euro without caps.

I'm stuck with my ****** contract for another 6 months.

Nice he?

--

I must note that those new players on the market here use the same network as my isp (who owns the network).

So those new small ISPs are paying more for traffic than it costs the owner (my isp) and yet they are much cheaper that the owner.

gnomeuser
April 4th, 2009, 12:10 AM
I would say no. They deliver a pipe to the internet, if they feel they are not getting the money it is worth then they can raise their prices. They should charge what it is worth to have a pipe of a given speed available rather than oversell their capacity then blame users when they actually start using the full extend of what they paid for.

One reason this is a bad idea is that it quells a whole realm of new business applications and fair use cases. Take something like BBC' iPlayer, it is a hugely successful way of accessing the content BBC subscribers already pay to have produced and aired, but in an on-demand fashion. By enstating these kinds of rules they are also hurting all manners of new business models, anything based on p2p file storage such as Wau.la would get run into the ground. It hampers technology rollouts and inventiveness, does anyone think that something like the iPhone and other smartphones would be nearly as popular if their subscriptions weren't encompassing unlimited data transfer. All these new MID devices would also be crippled if data was suddenly to be a roadblock. Whole new markets killed overnight, all due to the fact that ISPs have been overselling their capacity for years and are now unable to actually deliver the product they promised when people start using it.

The IT society here in Denmark didn't really take off before limitless connections were available, I suspect that is the case for most places. We now have a more transparent society and it is better living for it. Before these connections people were more careful what they used the Internet for, when it was turned on out of the fear of a huge bill sneaking up on you. Aside that if they were to charge me based on my usage, surely I should be given a choice of what I want to waste my bandwidth, clearly it is not fair that the thousands of daily spam mails which while getting filtered to not annoy me do suck up bandwidth. The ads for pills and breast creams, big fat flash buggers - not paying for those to be delivered either, I can put a no ads sign on my postbox and it will be respected why not online? If they want to play that game we can, I only want to pay for transfers I actually ask for. I am pretty sure implementing that kind of system be less cost effective than digging down more fiber.

It is harmful to society and clearly a gap measure to cover their own failure rather than an attempt to fairly charge me for my usage. As such they should be ashamed to propose it like it's our fault they don't really have the product they sold us in the first place.

"Sexy red sports car only 9.999,95$ [1]"

[1] transport capability up to red sexy sports car, averages as red tricycle

uc50_ic4more
April 4th, 2009, 12:35 AM
As much as I hate being limited in my bandwidth - Cogeco here in southern Ontario, Canada caps us at 60GB/ month - I can understand the desire for a company, who charges a flat fee for a dynamic service with finite hardware reources, to mitigate the possibility of people somehow abusing the service as Homer Simpson might make short work of an "All U Can Eat" buffet.

Having said that, I'd pay a higher flat rate for unlimited bandwidth, and I'd also think it reasonable to pay per unit of bandwidth, as most long distance telephone service works.

BuffaloX
April 4th, 2009, 01:41 AM
No throttle no cap thank you very much.
This would be a huge step backwards, and is completely unnecessary.

I would rather have half the speed at flat rate, than some stupid cap or throttle.

Flat rate means freedom, maybe my neighbor use it more than I do, good for him.

Why pay for 10 times the number of customer complaints, the inevitable law suits, and a more expensive billing/monitoring system?
Plus we would need to closely monitor our own traffic, just to make sure we get what we pay for, and that we have a GB left when Jaunty comes out.
It's only agony, and prices won't drop, because it ads a layer of obscurity to the prices of competing ISPs.

toejamfootball
April 4th, 2009, 01:42 AM
I'd love to have 40Gb/mo. I'm sitting at 17Gb/mo max before they throttle me so slow that google won't load, and that's the super-dee-duper "elite" package. Satellite sucks, but what can you do in the boonies.
Bandwidth is capped here in Australia no matter who you are with. The majority of plans Throttle the speed of your service if you exceed your limit.

I pay AUD$60 a month and get 50GB of downloads then it is slowed to 64Kb if I go over (1500Kbps normally).

I would love to have free internet like the UK.

gn2
April 4th, 2009, 10:14 AM
I would love to have free internet like the UK.

Don't know where you get that idea from, there's no free internet in the UK.

t0p
April 4th, 2009, 12:04 PM
ISPs are snakes. Nasty, smelly snakes. I use a cellphone to connect my computers to the internet. This cellphone runs on the Tmobile (UK) network. I'm on their pay-as-you-go tariff. I can buy "boosters" that give me "unlimited" internet access for a set sum and set amount of time. ie I can get a day's "unlimited" access for 1, a week's for 2.50. But if you delve into the terms & conditions, you'll find that the "unlimited" access is in fact not unlimited at all - there is a "fair usage" cap. And this cap is not set to a certain amount. It means that if Tmobile want to get rid of me, they can just choose to decide that my internet usage is too much, then they can cut me off.

ISPs are snakes.

ssam
April 4th, 2009, 01:42 PM
some ISPs are more honest about bandwidth than others. the ones that say unlimited are usually lying. I use UKFSN who have a nice range of tariffs with caps for peak time. they also dont lock you into a 12month contract.

kyroha
April 4th, 2009, 01:53 PM
Usage-based billing isn't necessarily unfair (though it is undesirable), but the specific limits and charges being imposed now are completely absurd. They are not about cost recovery, and they bear no relation to the reality of upstream bandwidth costs, which are hundreds of times lower.

There are two things driving this:

1. The cable companies want to crush nascent competition for their television services from Internet-based video.

2. The cable companies have shoddy, oversold networks, with too little bandwidth shared among too many users. High-usage users don't really cost the company more, but they do slow down that oversold last mile. The design of the network depends on most users being idle most of the time, or the illusion of speed crumbles.

Actually, make that three things...

3. They think they can get away with it. They have the monopoly mentality -- if customers don't like it, where are they going to go?

I think you hit the nail on the head with #1, I really think that is the main issue. Everything else is just excuses. The bottom line is the ISP's see people using the internet for watching TV, movies, making phone calls, etc, all of these things which the ISP's want you to buy services from them for. They are scared and are doing the same thing a lot of companies do when technology changes the industry, instead of adapting to the new technology and finding a way to make money with it, they are panicking and making stupid business decisions (see RIAA for another great example of this)

#3 is also a good point, in a lot of smaller areas customers don't have a real choice when it comes to broadband internet.

Armor Nick
April 4th, 2009, 01:59 PM
We're being capped at 40GB/mo starting in September. TWC's doing this in Austin, Rochester, Greensboro & San Antonio. (It's already in Beaumont) 40GB is way too low.

I'd take throttling any day over this crap.

Can't believe I'm wishing that I could transfer over to Comcast where their limit is 250GB/mo. *sigh* I know I wouldn't go over that for quite a long time.
Here in Belgium, we get 25GB/mo. You're complaining about luxury. I think it's fine the way it is. If I had to pay for the amount I downloaded, I would already be in debt.

CrazyArcher
April 4th, 2009, 03:19 PM
Over here the traffic isn't limited for now, but the ISPs talk about plans to impose restrictions on those 2/7 P2P runners.

Is traffic-based billing fair? Well, you don't have to sign for a service you don't like, and it also depends on the prices.

markp1989
April 4th, 2009, 04:00 PM
my internet gets throttled, http doesnt get affected, but torrents and other p2p services will not run at a decent speed till night.

it really winds me up, considering it was unlimited downloads when i brought it , you would thing that the protocol type souldnt matter.