North American Network Operators Group

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Re: Why do some ISP's have bandwidth quotas?

  • From: Joe Greco
  • Date: Wed Oct 10 21:38:07 2007

> On Oct 10, 2007, at 5:18 PM, Mikael Abrahamsson wrote:
> > On Wed, 10 Oct 2007, Joe Greco wrote:
> >> One of the biggest challenges for the Internet has got to be the  
> >> steadily
> >> increasing storage market, combined with the continued development of
> >> small, portable processors for every application, meaning that  
> >> there's
> >> been an explosion of computing devices.
> >
> > The one thing that scares me the most is that I have discovered  
> > people around me that use their bittorrent clients with rss feeds  
> > from bittorrent sites to download "everything" (basically, or at  
> > least a category) and then just delete what they don't want.  
> > Because they're paying for flat rate there is little incentive in  
> > trying to save on bandwidth.
> >
> > If this spreads, be afraid, be very afraid. I can't think of  
> > anything more bandwidth intensive than video, no software updates  
> > downloads in the world can compete with people automatically  
> > downloading DVDRs or xvids of tv shows and movies, and then  
> > throwing it away because they were too lazy to set up proper  
> > filtering in the first place.
> Many people leave the TV on all the time, at least while they are home.
> On the Internet broadcasting side, we (AmericaFree.TV) have some  
> viewers that do the same - one has racked
> up a cumulative 109 _days_ of viewing so far this year. (109 days in  
> 280 days duration works out to 9.3 hours per day.) I am sure that  
> other video providers can provide similar reports. So, I don't think  
> that things are that different here in the new regime.

That's scary enough.  However, consider something like TiVo.  Our dual-
tuner DirecTiVo spends a fair amount of its time recording.

Now, first, some explanation.

We're not a huge TV household.  The DirecTiVo is a first generation, ~30
hour unit.  It's set up to record about 50 different things on season pass,
many of which are not currently available.  It's also got an extensive
number of thumbs rated (and therefore often automatically recorded as a
suggestion) items.  I'm guessing that a minimum of 90% of what is recorded
is either deleted or rolls off the end without being watched, yet there 
are various shows (possibly just one) on the unit from last year yet.

All things considered, this harms no one and nothing, since the TiVo is
not using any measurable resource to do the recordings that would not
otherwise have been used.

A DVR on a traditional cable network is non-problematic, as is a DVR on
any of the "next gen" broadcast/multicast style networks that could be
deployed as a drop-in replacement for legacy cable.

More interesting are some of the new cable "video on demand" services,
which could create a fair amount of challenge for cable service 
providers.  However, even there, the challenge is limited to the service
provider's network, and it is unlikely that the load created cannot be
addressed.  Multiple customer DVR's requesting content for speculative
download purposes (i.e. for TiVo-style "favorites" support) could be 
broadcast or multicast the material at a predetermined time, essentially
minimizing the load caused by speculative downloading.  True in-real-time
VOD would be limited to users actually in front of the glass.

All of this, however, represents content within the cable provider's
network.  From the "TiVo user" perspective above, even if a vast majority
of the content is being discarded, it shouldn't really be a major problem.

Now, for something (seemingly) completely different.

Thirty years ago, TV was dominated by the big broadcast networks.  Shows
were expensive to produce, equipment was expensive, and the networks tried
to aim at large interest groups.  Shows such as "Star Trek" had a lot of
difficulty succeeding, for many reasons, but thrived in syndication.

With the advent of cable networks, we saw the launch of channels such as
"SciFi", which was originally pegged as a place where "Star Treks" and
other sci-fi movies would find a second life.  However, if you look at
what has /actually/ happened, many networks have actually started
originating their own high-quality, much more narrowly targetted shows.
We've seen "Battlestar Galactica" and "Flash Gordon" appear on SciFi,
for example.  Part of this is that it is less difficult and complex to
produce shows, with the advances in technology that we've seen.  I
picked SciFi mainly because there's a lot of bleedover from legacy
broadcast TV to provide some compare/contrast - but more general 
examples, such as HBO produced shows, exist as well.

A big question, then, is will we continue to see this sort of effect?
Can we expect TV to continue to evolve towards more highly targetted
segments?  I believe that the answer is "yes," and along with that may
come a move towards a certain amount of more amateur content.  Something
more like "video podcasting" than short YouTube videos.  And it'll get
better (or worse, depending on POV) as time goes on.  Technology improves.
Today's cell phones, for example, can take short movies.

The sheer amount of video data that could/can be/is published out on the
Internet is staggering, but it's currently somewhat hard to find and to
get onto a TiVo automatically.  I guess I'm not betting on that situation
lasting forever.

At some point, this *is* going to be a problem for network operators.
It should be obvious that this could be network meltdown.

Solving these problems is an interesting problem.  Trying to get people
to "save on bandwidth" is going to be difficult in an environment where
equipment is just "doing its thing" and users don't really have that
much of a grasp on how much bandwidth they use anyways.

... JG
Joe Greco - Network Services - Milwaukee, WI -
"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.