Where Does the Commercial Intention Lie?
Have to admit that I'm learning a fair bit from what has been posted here; the idea of contention is new to me. However, to that I would have to throw in the notion of 'intention' - 'commercial intention'.
It seems to me that an ISP must have some fair idea of the kind of bandwidth it can reliably provide to a pool of users. From there surely the maths and statistics would lead them to a figure that says, "We could with some certainty provide x number of users with this total bandwidth and more or less guarantee that could be sustained even if the pool of users were running their connections at full-tilt 24/7." I'm sure that mathematicians/statisticians of even average ability could work something like that out. In that way a company like Virgin Media could surely say that they could afford to have x number of users and guarantee their connection rates.
So, why aren't they doing something like this? Answer: because they don't want to limit their business growth over a tawdry little issue like giving customers what they said they would get in their advertisments; the commercial intention, straight from base zero, is to cap and that will happen because Virgin will actively encourage over-subscription because they won't want to limit their business growth and will be happy to do that at the cost of providing what they said they would give.
I would also want to say that it seems to me on the legal/illegal issue of what users are doing with connections is really becoming, will in the fairly close future become, a pretty well dud issue (if all they are doing is downloading movies, audio etc.). Don't people get it? Users are fast coming to see fast internet connections as a form of utility - like electricity and gas. That view is somewhat justified. For example, the Revenue and Customs in the UK regularly do recruitment via *online application only*. Think about it. Let's push that forward ten years - where are we going to be? There is no way that any company, like for example Virgin, is going to stop people downloading movies, audio and so forth - people are going to be so wired (and all that goes with it) that they are going to put tremendous pressure on politicians to get commercial control of internet connections right outside of companies that provide access. This *is* the future. Read the articles here in The Register. It's obvious the way the Average Joe sees a connection to the internet - and Average Joe is right, because in social terms that is what the internet is.
So what should be done? Obvious, companies that deal with internet connections should for now be operating on a 'can guarantee' model of limited growth for their businesses - it's the only way they can reliably guarantee users rate x 24/7 - 24/7 full-rate is the only way that companies should be allowed to calculate this kind of thing. And if people want an improvement to that, what then?
Well, here come the politicians. When will they assent to people doing illegal things that suck up bandwidth like (shock horror) downloading free movies , software and all the other things that computer savvy folks have come to love and expect? (Remember, computers in *every* school and, hey kids you had best learn. You bet they'll learn and a damned sight more than the teacher 'ill tell 'em.) The politicians will, of course, assent when their jobs are on the line over the issue. It's that or start dragging *millions* into court on behalf of the media industry (protected species in current form) - that's a hoot that one. And when they assent (they will) the pressure for improvement in infra-structure will be part of the package of popular demand.
The world is changing and I can't see Virgin taking the attitude it is taking when connection is realised for what it is because there will be so much pressure to have one - utility, like water, gas and electricity. Virgin, you dummies, you got it all wrong - when do think you would get people to accept that they have 70 per cent of their water needs met because you have the commercial intention to over-subscribe?