North American Network Operators Group|
Date Prev | Date Next | Date Index | Thread Index | Author Index | Historical
Re: Why do some ISP's have bandwidth quotas?
> On 4-Oct-2007, at 1416, Joe Greco wrote: > > It'd be interesting to know what the average utilization of an > > unlimited > > US broadband customer was, compared to the average utilization of an > > unlimited AU broadband customer. It would be interesting, then, to > > look > > at where the quotas lie on the curve in both the US and AU. > > I think the implication here is that there's a smoothing effect that > comes with large customer bases. Probably not even "large" customer bases. > For example, I remember back to when DSL was first rolled out in New > Zealand. It was priced well beyond the means of any normal > residential user, and as a result DSL customers tended to be just the > people who would consume a lot of external bandwidth. > > At around the same time, my wife's mother in Ontario, Canada got > hooked up with a cablemodem on the grounds that unlimited cable > internet service cost less than a second phone line (she was fed up > with missing phone calls when she was checking her mail). > > She used/uses her computer mainly for e-mail, although she > occasionally uses a browser. (These days I'm sure legions of > miscreants are using her computer too, but back then we were pre- > botnet). > > If you have mainly customers like my mother-in-law, with just a few > heavy users, the cost per user is nice and predictable, and you don't > need to worry too much about usage caps. > > If you have mainly heavy users, the cost per user has the potential > to be enormous. > > It seems like the pertinent question here is: what is stopping DSL > (or cable) providers in Australia and New Zealand from selling N x > meg DSL service at low enough prices to avoid the need for a data > cap? Is it the cost of crossing an ocean which makes the risk of > unlimited service too great to implement, or something else? Quite frankly, this touches on one aspect, but I think it misses entirely others. Right now, we have a situation where some ISP's are essentially cherry picking desirable customers. This can be done by many methods, ranging from providing slow "basic DSL" services, or placing quotas on service, or TOS restrictions, all the way to terminating the service of high- volume customers. A customer who gives you $40/mo for a 5Mbps connection and uses a few gig a month is certainly desirable. By either telling the high volume customers that they're going to be capped, or actually terminating their services, you're discouraging those who are unprofitable. It makes sense, from the ISP's limited view. However, I then think about the big picture. Ten years ago, hard drives were maybe 10GB, CPU's were maybe 100MHz, a performance "workstation" PC had maybe 64MB RAM, and a Road Runner cable connection was, I believe, about 2 megabits. Today, hard drives are up to 1000GB (x100), CPU's are quadcore at 2.6GHz (approximately x120 performance), a generous PC will have 8GB RAM (x128), and ... that Road Runner, at least here in Milwaukee, is a blazing 5Mbps... or _2.5x_ what it was. Now, ISP economics pretty much require that some amount of overcommit will happen. However, if you have a 12GB quota, that works out to around 36 kilobits/sec average. Assuming the ISP is selling 10Mbps connections (and bearing in mind that ADSL2 can certainly go more than that), what that's saying is that the average user can use 1/278th of their connection. I would imagine that the overcommit rate is much higher than that. Note: I'm assuming the quota is monthly, as it seems to be for most AU ISP's I've looked at, for example: http://www.ozemail.com.au/products/broadband/plans.html Anyways, my concern is that while technology seems to have improved quite substantially in terms of what computers are capable of, our communications capacity is being stifled by ISP's that are stuck back in speeds (and policies) appropriate for the year 2000. Continued growth and evolution of cellular networks, for example, have taken cell phones from a premium niche service with large bag phones and extremely slow data services, up to new spiffy high technology where you can download YouTube on an iPhone and watch videos on a pocket-sized device. What are we missing out on because ISP's are more interested in keeping bandwidth use low? What fantastic new technologies haven't been developed because they were deemed impractical given the state of the Internet? Time to point out that, at least in the US, we allowed this to be done to ourselves... http://www.newnetworks.com/broadbandscandals.htm ... JG -- Joe Greco - sol.net Network Services - Milwaukee, WI - http://www.sol.net "We call it the 'one bite at the apple' rule. Give me one chance [and] then I won't contact you again." - Direct Marketing Ass'n position on e-mail spam(CNN) With 24 million small businesses in the US alone, that's way too many apples.