Why don't ISPs peer with everyone?

William Herrin bill at herrin.us
Wed Jun 8 02:11:27 UTC 2011

On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 8:41 PM, Jimmy Hess <mysidia at gmail.com> wrote:
> On Tue, Jun 7, 2011 at 7:10 PM, William Herrin <bill at herrin.us> wrote:
> [snip]
>> gets a 200 amp electrical service. The problem with that notion is
>> that A) consumers are hooked on "unlimited," and B) your toaster
> Consumers aren't getting "unlimited right now".
> They're getting (unknown number of databytes)/month, before the ISP
> speed caps, throttles, rate limits them or turns them off for "excessive usage".

They're being told they're getting unlimited and for 99% of them it's
true in the sense that their usage does not induce their ISP to impose
its cap. Point is: they expect unlimited and a service which doesn't
claim to be unlimited is, therefore, a non-starter.

Back in the day I faced this problem at my dialup ISP. We had a 240
hour per month cap on dialup usage so that the 24/7 users would buy a
24/7 account or go elsewhere. We started losing business from folks
using 30 and 40 hours a month because the other guy was "unlimited."
So we did some fancy wordsmithing and came up with "unlimited
_attended_ hours" meaning you had to be in front of your computer. How
did we know? Because you sleep too so if you're online for 23+ hours
per day every day, your usage isn't "attended."

Our salesfolk tested the waters, but we couldn't sell a $5/month plus
$0.10/hour product even though that would have resulted in most
customers paying less.

When I say consumers are hooked on unlimited, that's what I'm talking about.

> Your toaster is plugged into  an outlet that probably has a 20 amp
> circuit breaker on it.
> If someone hacks it without your knowledge to eat 200 amps, it will
> get turned off.
> A similar mechanism could be built into network CPEs.

A similar mechanism is built in to network CPEs. It's called the port
speed and the choices are 10, 100 and 1000.

The electrical company metaphor breaks down here. Wiring an appliance
so it can consume your entire electrical service has no desirable
traits. Wiring your computing equipment so they can communicate at
higher speeds within the building than leaving the building is the

Bill Herrin

William D. Herrin ................ herrin at dirtside.com  bill at herrin.us
3005 Crane Dr. ...................... Web: <http://bill.herrin.us/>
Falls Church, VA 22042-3004

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