Caps (was Re: AT&T UVERSE Native IPv6, a HOWTO)

Mark Radabaugh mark at
Fri Dec 6 13:54:34 UTC 2013

On 12/5/13 7:35 PM, Phil Karn wrote:
> On 12/05/2013 02:00 PM, Owen DeLong wrote:
>> If AT&T has capped me, then, I haven’t managed to hit the cap as yet.
>> Admittedly, the connection isn’t always as reliable as $CABLECO, but
>> when it works, it tends to work at full speed and it does work the
>> vast majority of the time.
> AT&T threatened to cap U-verse at 250 GB/mo several years ago, but they
> never seem to have followed through. It's probably about the only way
> that their incompetence is actually in the public interest.
> Monthly caps -- and even peak speed limits -- are a very poor idea in
> general because they don't take system conditions into account. A
> torrent that runs at night penalizes you just as much as one run at
> prime time. Actually more, since you probably get greater throughput at
> off-peak times and therefore hit your cap faster.
> If one *must* charge for usage on a shared network, the right thing is
> to base the monthly fee on *guaranteed* bandwidth because that's what
> actually drives costs. If more is available because others aren't using
> their guarantees, fine, you can have it for free. But it's not
> guaranteed. And you don't get a refund for not using your guarantee
> because the equipment still had to be allocated for you.
> Of course the real solution to nearly every problem with local broadband
> access is the same: meaningful competition. About the only way this
> could happen is for the municipality to install, own and maintain the
> fiber plant and lease it to any and all commercial service providers on
> a non-discriminatory and non-exclusive basis.
> Naturally this will never happen in the United States because the
> incumbents will scream "socialism!" at the top of their lungs and race
> to the state houses to outlaw it. Never mind that this is exactly how
> we've handled roads for centuries.
> --Phil

Phil - we sort of do what you suggest, making the fee based on the 
sustained rate without a cap.   The problem becomes one of being and 
staying competitive in the market.  This method penalizes the light 
users in favor of the heavy ones.

Amplex is a WISP so we are somewhere between wired and mobile wireless, 
though closer to wireline in many ways.  Our limiting factors are sector 
capacity, spectrum availability, and physical tower space.

By staying with relatively low speed plans (1, 3.5, 5, and 9Mpbs) we can 
reasonably guarantee that a user running full rate 24x7 will not 
significantly affect the other users on the sector.   Keeping the speeds 
to low rates becomes a marketing/sales problem.   It also keeps us from 
offering higher speeds to light consumption users.

Currently, without a limit, there is nothing to convince a end user to 
make any attempt at conserving bandwidth and no revenue to cover the 
cost of additional equipment to serve high bandwidth customers.    By 
adding a cap or overage charge we can offer higher speed plans.

I realize most of the NANOG operators are not running end user networks 
anymore.   Real consumption data:

Monthly_GB    Count    Percent
<100GB         3658     90%
100-149         368     10%
150-199         173     4.7%
200-249          97     2.6%
250-299          50     1.4%
300-399          27     0.7%
400-499           9     0.25%
500-599           4     0.1%
600-699           4     0.1%
700-799           3     0.1%
 >800              1     0.03%

Overall average:  36GB/mo

The user at 836MB per month is on a 3.5Mbps plan paying $49.95/mo.   Do 
we do anything about it?  No - because our current AUP and policies say 
he can do that.

Mark Radabaugh

mark at  419.837.5015 x 1021

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