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back to article Time Warner moots billing based on bandwidth usage

Time Warner Cable is experimenting with a high-speed internet service that would bill customers based on the amount of bandwidth they consume rather than by flat fee. The trial is somewhat modest, at least at first. It will begin later this year and is limited to subscribers in Beaumont, Texas, according to Reuters. It is part …

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Unhappy

Australian ISPs charge by the byte already!

Australian ISPs charge by the byte or megabyte already!

This is not a new experiment. Just come to the land of sucky internet down under.

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Unhappy

New Zealand ISPs do the same

Same here in New Zealand. Besides a fixed fee of some $49 per month, I also pay $1 per GB, and that is quite cheap actually. There are other plans that have some amount of free transfer volume for you, and for anything above that you pay between $5 to $20 per GB.

Besides paying for excess bandwidth, with many ISPs you may also opt for throttling when the limit is exceeded.

You can get away with a lot if your customers are used to it. Since in the US the customers are used to unrestricted bandwidth, ISPs may loose customers if they want to introduce it. In other parts of the world, however, this is all very normal already.

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Stop

Pretty damn low, El Reg!

I just sent ya'll the link 2 hours ago from Foxnews, who got it from the Associated Press.

Now it's "new" news from Reuters, who posted it yesterday?

Pretty damn sad if you ask me.... ya'll missed it - admit it!

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Thumb Up

Is PAYG new in the USA then?

Here in the UK, we've had PAYG broadband for quite a while. Grandaddy of the concept, way back in 2003 [1], was the dear departed Metronet, which at the time was a tiny ISP with a service quality second to none. Sadly, two takeovers later, it is now a sub-brand of BT, and its home-made *x based Redback+Juniper+Cisco-free (?) infrastructure based mostly on standard servers and GPL'd software put together in creative ways is probably (mostly) gone forever.

Encouraging a sensible mix of customers (some low usage, some not so low) by means of sensible PAYG tariffs meant Metronet didn't have to spend the same fortune on bandwith as the other "unlimited" ISPs of the time.

Combine that with a small staff, all of who seemed to actually have a clue, not the usual one clue shared between five hundred employees, it was a very nice experience for their 20 thousand or so customers.

PAYG doesn't guarantee that kind of service but maybe it helps; obscure caps and traffic management don't help anyone much, except maybe the RIAA/MPAA.

[1] http://www.thinkbroadband.com/news/i/1027.html

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Stop

Reverting to dial-up

It seems like they are reverting to the dial-up business model. I thinkit is all just a ploy to make mor e money. I can't imagine having to worry about how much money I am spending if I am having a video conference, downloading software, checking e-mail, whatever else. I think the $45 per month that RoadRunner costs now should be fine for Time Warner. Especially as the number of broadband subscribers continues to grow across the US.

I for one hope their experiment fails. Just think about the previous comment by David Austin.

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Thumb Down

Uh hang on ...

Isn't this going *backwards* in time ???

Didn't we just graduate from a per-usage model (modem over phone) to flat-fee, all-you-can-eat broadband for all ???

WTF ?

Essentially they're saying "here you have your high speed internet connection. Please don't use it to its promised, advertised and much-hyped capacity, since we haven't got the back end infrastructure nor are we willing to invest in it - so we'll just penalize you for doing things online."

Web 2.0, meet ISP 0.1 ....

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Black Helicopters

Paradox

Nuffin new over here in the Czech Republic either. FUP ("Fair User Policy"...my ass) caps are used for a long long time along with quite expensive flat-rates! In fact right now we have came to a point, when Cable ISPs are slowly disabling 'em again. Quite funny, eh?

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Stop

@ David Austin

as a former Aussie resident, I wish the providers over here were like I'd. At least there, they're honest about limits and caps... Over here in the uk they can say its unlimited, even if its limited at one byte... Fair use my backside.

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Water already chearged on a metered basis

The article says: "Bandwidth has come to be viewed with the same sense of entitlement as air and water".

... but water gets charged on a metered basis over here already.

Not that I'm looking forward to keeping score of bandwidth usage. But there are valid reasons for metering water at least such as reducing waste.

Luckily I don't use Time Warner :)

As for bandwidth metering, it may all depend if it's "only if you're in the top 5%", or "variable prices for everyone".

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Anonymous Coward

Fair Use Policy

I think this PAYG bandwidth thing is probably the most accurate definition of the phrase "Fair Use Policy", despite the feeling that I and many others would rather be forced to watch Uwe Boll movies than pay x per GB.

Ever since I got online I've been hopping from ISP to ISP as their 'unlimited' policy gets changed mid-way through contracts, adding in this "Fair Use Policy" bullshit. How can it be 'fair' when some don't even tell you how much you're allowed to download before they throw the T&C's at you?

Thankfully I'm now on an ISP that specifically says unlimited without any fair use bullshit, it's not cheap but I don't have to worry about crossing any invisible download barriers.

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Stop

Revoke their licenses

If they can't provide the bandwidth they advertise and sell, take away their license to sell such services.

Personally I feel the customers of Comcast in particular have a genuine case for a class action lawsuit.

Their actions are tantamount to fraud. It's not the fault of their customers that these cable providers haven't secured the bandwidth necessary to provide the services they're selling. If you've reached your capacity then you can no longer sell your product.

If I run out of hard disks, I can't sell 100,000 more and then tell 200,000 people they're going to have to share them.

Tell me, what would happen if you paid for a hard disk and then found it was less than half the size of the one you ordered? Now tell me what would happen if millions of customers found their hard disks half the size of the product they ordered.

At the very least every customer would be entitled to a full refund, more likely the company that sold the hard disks would be investigated and its owners would probably face criminal charges.

These cable companies have deliberately deceived their customers. If a 3, 6 or 12 mbit internet connection can not be delivered they have no right to sell it.

I don't get my phone company telling me I can no longer use my telephone during the time most people are awake and not working, or that I can only make 3 phone calls during that period.

My satellite provider doesn't cut my available channels by half during primetime, and my gas supplier doesn't cut off my heating when it gets below a certain temperature.

I don't get home and find half a hamburger missing because McDonalds has lots of customers and needed to give half of what I bought to someone else.

So if they can only provide 384 Kbits or less to each customer they told they would provide 3 Mbits to, then they have deliberately mislead the customer into paying for a service they knew they could not deliver. That's called fraud, and on the scale we're talking, the consequences in any other business would mean serious jail time.

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Silver badge

Aus users don't have it so bad

My own Australian ISP (Internode) has a sensible way of managing bandwidth usage. You choose a plan to suit your usage needs (caps at 10GB, 20GB, 40GB, 80GB per month etc), and pay a flat rate up to that cap. If in a given month you need more, you can buy "blocks" of 10GB at a fixed price, to be added to your next bill.

This is great for me as my usage varies greatly. Some months I'll go over 80GB as I rape the torrents catching up on TV shows etc, other times I'll barely crack 20GB because I'm on a programming/graphics/gaming kick. And Internode are happy to tell you that there's no such thing as "unlimited" internet access, and are completely up front about what limits they impose. From the description of the blatantly false advertising used by UK ISPs, it seems we actually have it pretty good down under. Yes, we pay more, but I'd rather pay more and know what I'm getting than have cheap rates and sneaky back-door restrictions such as seems to prevail in the UK.

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1 stept forward, 2 steps back....

Just like somebody mentioned earlier, it was not too long ago when metered connections where offered by most ISPs for dial-up accounts but where dropped due to the popularity of unlimited always on connections.

Back in the days when we had a true free market for ISPs in Canada, it was soo easy to switch to the provider who offered what you wanted at the price you wanted. Free market decided what model best served people's needs. Now that super huge coporations pretty much killed the ma and pa ISPs, we are in situations where these megacorps have monopolies and quasi-monopolies. If you don't like it, well there is not much choice.

I personally would not mind it soo much if they offered unlimited at the current price, and the metered connections at lower cost, but I somehow get the feeling this is not going to happen.

Ironically, there is a lot of people who blame these 5% of users for bandwidth issues rather than blaming their own ISPs. When you purchase unlimited, it means UNLIMITED, not unlimited but with a cap.....They are not doing anything wrong. Besides if 5% of people running at full speed 24/7 represents 50% of bandwidth, well doesent that mean that they oversold their badnwidth? Instead of having a 10=>1 ratio, why not try I dunno 8=>1 or 7=>1 instead? But no, heaven forbid those corporate profits come in first.

Besides if anything like this gets implemented world wide (I know some places already do use this model) it would pretty much kill certain emerging products before they even had chance to start (such as renting videos/movies over the net) and not to mention the negeative effect it would have on gaming online, streaming shows etc etc etc......

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Unhappy

Re: NZ based Internet access

Not only as Foo Bar has outlined, but the real selection of available ISPs in NZ is rather anemic (Relatively speaking) since most ISPs are simply reselling DSL services from the primary national supplier, who up until recently has had an anti-competitive relationship with its own ISP service. So at the end of the day, you'll be hard pressed to find much to differentiate most NZ based ISPs. Cable is available through TelstraClear, but its data prices don't really get competitive unless you go for the triple-play option and put all your eggs in the TelstraClear basket.

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Re: NZ based Internet access

Oh, don't get me started on anti-competitive behavior from incumbent telcos.

Telstra complain in NZ about the prices, restrictions, etc in place preventing them from competing properly.... Yet in their home land, they do EXACTLY the same thing to other ISPs.

Pot - Kettle - Black.

TB - sitting on a 4.5mbps ADSL 1 link, with no other faster option for a good 400km around (excluding the government offices and 2 or 3 businesses with fibre links).

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Silver badge

The problem is technology

Internet over cable uses a shared medium. Unless you segment your cable regularly, you will quickly get to its limits.

The problem could be solved by investing more into the technology, adding routers at every street. Of course that costs money, but if they don't invest it, why should customers pay money at all?

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Joke

Variable Pricing

Hugh McIntyre said:

As for bandwidth metering, it may all depend if it's "only

if you're in the top 5%", or "variable prices for everyone".

No, it will be more like this:

1) You can get so many "free" megs with your subscription.

2) Subscriptions come in sizes of 5ooM, 1G, 2G and 3,245G

3) If you use over that amount, you are charged at 1.25x the cost of the next higher bracket...

4) ...unless you call ahead and request an extension, in which case, the cost is the same as the cost for two brackets higher.

5) You can, if you want, buy "over-run insurance", whereby you pay more per month for the same bracket, but if you use more, and you don't call ahead, you only pay 1.1x the next higher bracket.

6) International bandwidth and local bandwidth are charged seperately, except when they're not.

7) International/local bandwidth splits are another variable in your choice of package.

8) If you over-run, and you didn't call ahead, and you don't have insurance, then local bandwidth comes at 1.23x the cost of the next higher bracket, whereas international is at 1.26x. If you did call ahead, then it's at 1.1x and 1.2x, respectively. If you have insurance, it's at 1.15x and 1.25x.

9) BitTorrent use is charged at 2.5x HTTP use, unless you have the "BitTorrent" add-on package, when it's only charged at 1.9x.

10) Your total BitTorrent usage is capped at 25% of your total package. If you over-run on BT usage, you will be charged at 3x your package. If your BT usage over-runs your total bandwidth, you get charged at 3x the rate for the first half of the higher bracket, after which we will reset your connection,

11) P2P traffic is limited to 50% the normal maximum speed of your line, and is charged at 1,325x the normal cost-per-byte

12) ...and so on...

13) ...and so on...

14) ...and so on...

In other words, your ISP charging plan will look like your long-distance calling plan, only tice as opaque. In the end, you'll pay whatever they charge you, because you won't be able to calculate it for yourself, or dispute anything.

(Look up "Confusopoly" on Wikipedia.)

(I know, that was a lame attempt at parodying a complex pricing structure. My simple, straight-forward brain cannot begin to emulate the sick minds of the people that come up with real-world pricing structures.)

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Uh hang on ...

It is going further back in time.

The models were:

1. Usage based - up to circa 1998. Many providers also had tiered usage models with differentiated pricing for local POP, provider network and external traffic. This is model reflect actual costs and realistically, it is the only correct model.

From there on the charging model becomes distorted by economical madness and telcos not understanding the market.

2. Time based - introduced with wholesale because telcos entered the market and their billing systems were geared towards minutes, they could not handle MBs of traffic ISPs used to bill till this point. In every case where a Telco has acquired an ISP one of the first things to go was the ISP usage billing system.

3. All you can eat - up to now. Introduced because telcos could not invent minutes to charge on DSL.

The fact is that the early model is the only correct one for the current heavily oversubscribed Internet. DSL is oversusbcribed at the POP up to 1:50 and to-the-Internet level up to 1:160 or more in some providers. As a result the provider either has to penalise heavy users or charge in a manner which is consistent with the network design. Frankly, I am not surprised that providers are starting to look at the original charging models. It is a matter of a simple reality check.

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Should offer both plans

How about telcos offer both plans. A per-byte plan that has a low next-to-nothing monthly charge and then a per byte charge. If 95% of their users only consume very little bandwidth, then they will naturally switch to the per-byte plan to save money. Then the other 5% can keep to their "unlimited" plan and then later on the telcos can adjust the price of that plan to match the cost of providing "unlimited" service.

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always been metered here in belgium, no problem.

Here in Belgium bandwith has always been capped for broad band, however the cap is usually high enough so that most people don't really notice. ISPs usually have 3 plans:

- a cheap one (around 20€/month) with 1-2 GBs per month for people who just want to email and surf a bit.

- a medium one (30€ to 40 €/month) with 20 to 30 GBs per month for "average" users, with the option of paying 25c to 1€ per GB for extra bandwith above that if needed.

- a big one (40€ to 60€/month) with 50 to 100 GBs per month for the power user. these sometime include the option of buying extra bandtwidth at cheap price.

I am on the medium one (30€ / 20 Gb per month) and it's enough for normal surfing, online gaming, and light joost and bittorent usage.

The BIG advantage of this system is that providers actually have the back-end to ensure the speed they advetise! I have a 6 mbits/second ADSL and from a good site I actually download at 600 KBytes/second, with is roughly 6 mbits/second once you factor in protocol overheads.

This actually force users to manage the bandwith a bit. For example at my ISP bandwith is only counted for half between 2 am and 8 am, so most users schedule big downloads to happen at that time, leaving most of the bandwith for gamer, surfers and joost users at other times. This result in excellent quality of service.

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Iplayer is PSP

So i would have no idea how much that episode of Trash my Kids download will cost me as i cant know how much it will upload as it down loads.

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as I have said before

I expect that ISP's will start selling flat Internet access with additional charges for VoIP or P2P much like BT now sells caller display as a monthly add-on e.g. £2.99 per month for the Video add on.

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Anonymous Coward

Realistic pricing

The problem with billing for broadband is that the ISPs have always had to pay by the Gb, but they never billed end-users accordingly.

ISPs actually make very little on each connection these days, at least the "bundle-it-all-together" operators - it's become a numbers game.

As long as they don't have too many bandwidth hogs, they manage to make enough to run back-office and what passes for tech support, and make some money. Since they don't make much, and still make a profit which they pocket, there's bugger all left for investment in staff and systems, hence crap offering.

On the other hand, there are other ISPs, such as Enta Net that clearly bill according to different bandwidth tiers, so you are paying for what you use. Their basic 8 meg package (Max Allowance) is in the same price region as what others are charging for their top line home service.

What I know from experience, is that whenever you call Enta Net tech support, there is a helpful English guy (in England, and who speaks English) who will help, whether escalating line issues straight to BT, or calling my customers back to talk them through fixing things like back up DUN connections.

Service and bandwidth cost money. The ISP market has been a race to the bottom since TalkTalk came on the scene. This is the start of the rebound.

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Anonymous Coward

You pay for what you get.

Unfortunately you pay for what you get. I pay sky £5.00 a month and have no expectation of having a "unlimited" account, or of getting a decent speed in the evening when everyone on my street is using broadband. If I wanted truely unlimited bandwidth I would expect to pay more.

End of the day the issue here is surely that the wording broadband companies use is purposefully missleading and surely UK Trading Standards needs to look into it. If I were a grocery shop selling "unlimited" bananas for a month for £5 and then said in small print; "limited to 2 bananas a day" Trading Standards would be all over my shop and would fine me and force me to honour the advert!

All that being said I resent paying more because a small number of users use huge ammounts of bandwidth. In my opinion proper charging models with clear limits are needed so if I use more I pay more, if I use less I pay less.

Broadband companies could even contact you every few days with a summary of bandwidth use so you know when you are close to exceeding your quota.

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Anonymous Coward

There could be a positive side to this

Just think. Joe Bloggs' shiny new Windows box gets infected with something that transforms it into a spam proxy, virus engine, spammer's nameserver and/or reverse proxy. His bandwidth usage is going to skyrocket and he is going to be hit in the wallet because of that. Surely this is a good thing in that it gives people a solid, financial incentive to keep their machines clean!

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Charging by the GB isNOT realistic pricing

There is a very good reason water is billed by the cubic meter.

It is that each meter has a cost to extract, purify and bring to destination.

So you pay a fee for having the right to access water, because it costs just to ensure you keep that right (repairs, maintenance and all) and then you pay an additional cost for each cubic meter.

For broadband, it's completely different. There is NO cost to bring a GB to your home. Theon ly cost is the cost of capacity and maintenance. But once you have a given capacity, whether it's used or not makes no noticeable difference.

Hence the fact that you get all you can eat: you pay for the maintenance cost, but forbidding you to use what is then costless makes no economic sense.

Of course, then there is the question fo what to do when there is not enough capacity for everyone. But the answer is not to charge by the bite all the time. The answer is to have users pay ONLY WHEN their usage is constraining the network. If there is not enough capacity for everyone between 8pm and 11pm, then put an additional cost at that time. It will deter downloaders from downloading at that moment, but they'll use the bandwidth during the night, or any time the network couldn't care less whether the network is used at 10% or 90% capacity.

And the money spent can go to upgrading the capacity (hmm, as if they would do that).

10% or 90% usage is the same cost to the ISP. 99% and 101% has a huge difference of cost. That's those last few percents that need to be addressed, but not at the cost of deterring people from using 90% of the network all the time. That would be a waste of free ressources.

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Stop

Bang goes innovation

Some of the recent and upcoming - and legal - innovations for use of our higher speed internet connections include commercial streaming TV - these uses are bandwidth intensive (especially when we want HD!)

Moving to a PAYG basis for broadband seems like a backward move for the entire industry, as these sort of applications become more expensive, less likely to be adopted, and thus do NOT become the "killer applications" users can use to justify their expenditure on the higher speed links.

Sounds lie shooting themselves in the foot to me.

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Silver badge

Phoning Home

What about all those apps that phone home and download stuff when they want? And adverts? All of a sudden a lot more people are going to want to block the apps and ads if it's costing them more money.

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Anonymous Coward

ISP reality

The reality - as opposed to some previous comments - is that ISPs buy fixed bandwidth 'pipes' from an upstream supplier. This is very similar to telephone links where telcos buy a fixed amount of call minutes from a communications provider such as an underseas cable operator.

ISPs then 'contend' their available bandwidth based on their best estimate of the demand and expectation of performance by their subscribers.

IPSs have to balance the cost of buying a fixed bandwidth against the demand patterns of subscribers - and all of that against the cost of the bought bandwidth compared to the revenue from subscribers.

High bandwidth users artificially inflate the demand for upstream bandwidth and so make the fixed costs for ISPs increase. It is clearly in the IPS's interest to average demand and keep overall upstream bandwidth at a minimum. This makes it fairest on all users and reduces overall costs - resulting lower fees for ordinary users.

Penalizing high bandwidth users is not only fair it is absolute good business sense for ISPs. By doing so they reduce fixed costs, reduce subscriber costs, and make the business more competitive.

I need at this stage to disclose that I am a consumer only, not an ISP. I am stating this point of view so that my generally modest bandwidth demands come at the lowest cost to me, and so that I don't subsidize some mega bandwidth sucking prat who thinks it is his god given right to suck until there is nothing left to suck and leave me with the bill.

Alpha Charlie

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Gold badge

Skype?

Anyone asked Skype for a comment?

Presumably any service which leeches bandwidth off its users by using its clients as routing exchanges could become extremely unpopular overnight if this sort of thing became common.

New Skype slogan: "Your calls are free, all you have to do is pay for everyone else's."

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Coat

How about a compromise

You get a cap of 30GB or whatever a month for X amount, you use more you start paying Y amount per GB downloaded over that CAP. You pay a bigger flat fee the cap rises to a bigger amount. Sorry, I'll shut up now, I seem to be trying bring common sense and IT together, when we all know we're dealing with money grabbing, scumbag Telcos here.

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Anonymous Coward

About time

It's about time users paid for what they use. As a business that relies on net connectivity for our servers, we have to pay the going rate for transit - which is more than it costs for DSL services that's for sure. There's no such thing as a free lunch, and asking content providers to pay twice, just because they are a popular destination is plain wrong, making users pay for what they use is the right way.

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@Greg

"For broadband, it's completely different. There is NO cost to bring a GB to your home. Theon ly cost is the cost of capacity and maintenance. But once you have a given capacity, whether it's used or not makes no noticeable difference."

I suggest you actually go and lookup what you're talking about, there is a cost per GB, a very real one. BT Central/Other backhaul bandwidth is not free, neither are routers, which have a finite capacity of data they can process, so there is a very real cost per GB of data moved around. BT Central bandwidth is around £180/Mbit from memory, 1Mbit is roughly 310GB transferred at full tilt - therefore 1GB = £0.58p - that's without the cost of routers - We're not talking £40 from PC World here, we're talking £40k+ to terminate a DSL connection, handle the L2TP connections, handle the onwards Internet transit - Then we have the cost of that transit as well.

Fixed cost it is not, do your research.

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Eli

The Idea is to get rid of the 5%

There will be a free bandwidth limit that will reach the average top 5% user usage amout.

That way they can get rid of the 5% and free up the bandwidtdh for more senior citizens that use the internet for reading the news.

It clever and free's up there bandwidth.

but make no mistake they are not gonna drop the price for the other 95%.

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Coat

@Greg

"you pay an additional cost for each cubic meter."

Many properties in the UK pay fixed water rates for an unmetered supply which is effectively unlimited, until 3 days of dry weather cause panic amongst the water companies and we get prosecuted for using hosepipes! So the water tap analogy for downloading is a good one. I dread to think what corresponding analogy we should use for uploading...

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ISP reality - again

I am not sure, upon reading the "ISP Reality" if goes towards or against what I have posted above.

It goes towards it: the ISPs buy a fixed bandwidth from an upstream supplier, meaning it is a fixed cost whether that bandwidth is used or not (in particular at times of day when noone is using it).

At the same time, the conclusion is horribly wrong: no, that certainly doesn't mean people should be charged by their usage. On the opposite, it means people should get free access whenever the bandwidth is not constrained and that it should be restricted only during the peaks.

One way of restrincting during the peaks might be to charge by usage DURING PEAK TIMES.

That's all.

Oh, and apart from that, because there is a fixed cost per mbps of ISP capacity, the subscription could be based on a speed CAPACITY: you're not using bandwidth? then take the subscription that limits you to 50MB each given hour. But the guy who wants that 1GB an hour day and night doesn't have to pay more because he's using the bandwidth you don't care about during the night. Just to be billed enough at 8.30pm when you're checking your mails and not billing him would make him suck your bandwidth.

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Alert

"Back to the Wha?"

In the dear old days of the burgeoning Internet many now long gone ISPs tried to charge based on usage. Buffet style data plans soon put that to rest.

It is understood that a few heavy users can force an ISP to have to upgrade to continue to provide a high level of service to the rest of it's customers.

Throttling and bill by usage is a stupid idea and smacks of an ISP not wanting to pay for keeping up to date. If you are going to call it unrestricted/unlimited/etc. service then it should be that way. If you think you need caps to keep things in budget don't call it that and/or sell that kind for more money. Those who want it will then pay for it. If you price yourself out of the market maybe you ought not to be in the ISP biz.

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Stop

Re: ISP Reality

Sorry I well and truly call bullshit on that.

The fact is while it may be necessary to throttle bandwidth, it's not just bandwidth hogs that pay the price. And even if it were it would still be fraud.

They have deliberately mislead their customers. They have told them they would get a certain bandwidth, and then proceeded to impose conditions that most customers would find completely unacceptable. In times past this would be called a pig-in-a-poke con.

The hours during which bandwidth is throttled are the hours 99% of customers are awake, not working and want to use their internet service.

It's not the customer's fault that the ISP doesn't have the necessary infrastructure investment to deliver all the services they have sold. And quite frankly ISPs are the last people that should be surprised at the requirements of modern day internet usage.

They are selling their services using the very examples they claim are abusive. They sell using commercials showing streaming TV, online gaming, fast downloads - and then throttle customers that try to use those services.

So like I said, I call bullshit - because these companies are lying about what they can provide to their customers, and they do so because they know their customers would go elsewhere if they told the truth.

This is as fraudulent as using eBay to sell items you have no intention of delivering, or any other con that normally results in criminal investigation.

We're not even talking about something as small as false advertising. They are actually taking money from people without any intention of delivering what they know those people are expecting. They make no attempt to properly inform their customers until their customers have discovered the fraud for themselves.

Then they actually have the gall to say it's the customer's fault for expecting to receive the product they paid for.

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Ed

I have Time Warner for Internet service

No way I'm paying metered rates. They can go screw. I'll switch to DSL if they try to pull this nonsense in my neck of the woods.

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Happy

Realistic pricing?

Personally, I would welcome this if the pricing was right. Most of the time I'm a lightish net user at home - a few hundred meg a month, rising to a couple of Gb when I'm in the midst of a software upgrade. Why should I subsidise those who regularly download several hundred Gb a month? Why should they slow down _my_ net connection?

In addition, I'd like to see some quality of service variables thrown in. I'd _like_ to be able to pay extra to have my web and other real time traffic prioritised provided I really did see a real world improvement in performance. It makes no sense for bulk uses (FTP, P2P etc) to be operating at the same priority as real time or interactive traffic. An intelligently designed charging model would discourage what appears to be the current prevailing attitude - "my traffic is all important and to hell with everyone else".

Like it or lump it, net capacity is a shared resource and will always have finite capacity. If it only fair that those who use more pay more, and time-critical uses are prioritised over bulk transfers.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Phoning Home

Hi Dave,

There's this new-fangled device which has only been around for 20+ years called a firewall. It's job is to control traffic going to and from your computer.

As for adds, here we employ a couple of more recent toys. Try putting 'noscript' and 'addblock' on firefox and while your at it disable java and most/all javascript. While these wont stop you from seeing adds the first time you visit a site, it's rather satisfying knowing that you will not be bothered by them on subsequent visits.

happy hunting.

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This is quite hilarious

Down here in South Africa, one pays approx R500 (approx 71$) for 3GB and then about R99 (approx 14$) per gig extra. Oh, the 70$ is for 384kbps. The absolute fastest is 4mbps. That's 140$.

So, you guys have it very good.

Either way, I am in favour of a tiered system. If all of the users have similar bandwidth requirements, then it is feasible to charge a flat rate amongst your customers. If your customers have a great range of requirements, with the majority using smaller amounts of data, then a tiered PAYG system should be better for the customers and the carrier overall.

Oh well, I am contempt with the 384kbps, its the fact that 3Gb really doesn't go very far that bugs me. Perhaps oneday, we might see the guided light...

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Stop

Quite right

As Philip said, you guys have it easy,,, here our DSL prices are insane and of cause the service has its moments when its slower than dial up. To make it even worse, there are many areas where we can not even get DSL

@ Philip where in SA are you? Me in Western Cape

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TW could do well.

Way I see it.

1) TW impose download limitation, and, in a fanciful world, also reduce the cost.

2) TW piss off the 5% of heavy users that are causing them problems. 95% of non-heavy user who stick around are happier (internet speedier now!)

heavy users move to a competitor, so now said competitor has to deal with the extra infrastructure costs.

3) Light users on competitors networks loose bandwidth to heavy users, and hear how much faster/fairer (If you like) things are at TW...

PS. I'm in Oz and really have no problem with metered downloads (but then, I'm not a particularly heavy net user - which means I'm happy to not be propping up the needs of the few).

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pay as you go is here

http://www.keconnect.co.uk/products/residential/broadband/

but at least you know when you purches it how much you are paying and it is all up forunt there unlimited packegats are unlinited

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