Observations of an Internet Middleman (Level3)

Laszlo Hanyecz laszlo at heliacal.net
Fri May 16 18:38:39 UTC 2014

I'd just like to point out that a lot of people are in fact using their upstream capability, and the operators always throw a fit and try to cut off specific applications to force it back into the idle state.  For example P2P things like torrents and most recently the open NTP and DNS servers.  How about SMTP?  Not sure about you guys but my local broadband ISP has cut me off and told me that my 'unlimited internet' is in fact limited.  The reality is that those people who are not using it (99.8%?) are just being ripped off - paying for something they were told they need, thinking that it's there when they want it, then getting cut off when they actually try to use it.

It's not like whining about it here will change anything, but the prices are severely distorted.  Triple play packages are designed to force people to pay for stuff they don't need or want - distorting the price of a service hoping to recover it elsewhere, then if the gamble doesn't pan out, the customer loses again.  The whole model is based on people buying stuff that they won't actually come to collect, so then you can sell it an infinite number of times.  The people who do try to collect what was sold to them literally end up getting called names and cut off - terms like "excessive bandwidth user" and "network abuser" are used to describe paying customers.  With regard to the peering disputes, it's hardly surprising that their business partners are treated with the same attitude as their customers.  Besides, if you cut off the customers and peers who are causing that saturation, then the existing peering links can support an infinite number of idle subscribers.  The next phase is usage-based-billing which is kind of like having to pay a fine for using it, so they can artificially push the price point lower and hopefully get some more idle customers.  That will help get the demand down and keep the infrastructure nice and idle.  When you're paying for every cat video maybe you realize you can live without it instead.

Everyone has been trained so well, they don't even flinch anymore when they hear about "over subscription", and they apologize for the people who are doing it to them.  The restaurant analogy is incorrect - you can go to the restaurant next door if a place is busy, thus they have pressure to increase their capacity if they want to sell more meals.  With broadband you can't go anywhere else, (for most people) there's only one restaurant, and there's a week long waiting list.  If you don't like it, you're probably an abuser or excessive eater anyway.


On May 16, 2014, at 5:34 PM, Scott Helms <khelms at zcorum.com> wrote:

> Michael,
> No, its not too much to ask and any end user who has that kind of
> requirement can order a business service to get symmetrical service but the
> reality is that symmetrical service costs more and the vast majority of
> customers don't use the upstream capacity they have today.  I have personal
> insight into about half a million devices and the percentage of people who
> bump up against their upstream rate is less than 0.2%.  I have the ability
> to get data on another 10 million and the last time I checked their rates
> were similar.
> This kind of question has been asked of operators since long before cable
> companies could offer internet service.  What happens if everyone in an
> area use their telephone (cellular or land line) at the same time?  A fast
> busy or recorded "All circuits are busy message."  Over subscription is a
> fact of economics in virtually everything we do.  By this logic restaurants
> should be massively over built so that there is never a waiting line,
> highways should always be a speed limit ride, and all of these things would
> cost much more money than they do today.
> Scott Helms
> Vice President of Technology
> ZCorum
> (678) 507-5000
> --------------------------------
> http://twitter.com/kscotthelms
> --------------------------------
> On Sun, Apr 27, 2014 at 8:21 PM, Michael Thomas <mike at mtcc.com> wrote:
>> Scott Helms wrote:
>>> Mark,
>>> Bandwidth use trends are actually increasingly asymmetical because of the
>>> popularity of OTT video.
>> Until my other half decides to upload a video.
>> Is it too much to ask for a bucket of bits that I can use in whichever
>> direction happens
>> to be needed at the moment?
>> Mike

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