17 Sept 16 – Netflix asks FCC to declare data caps “unreasonable”
September 16, 2016 at 6:21 PM #4895
What would be a “reasonable” data cap?September 16, 2016 at 11:35 PM #4896
In other words, usage based billing models should be outlawed? Should this apply to communications services only or to other industries as well? How about grocery stores? Everyone could pay a flat fee to enter Wegmans but then you could take whatever you want. Say goodbye to those annoying checkout lines.September 17, 2016 at 1:06 AM #4897
If the charge per Gigabyte over your purchased allotment was reasonable, then I don’t see anything really wrong with that. If you remember back when Frontier first was telling customers that 5 Gb a month was all they could possibly need, they also came up with a proposed charge for overages that were completely out of line with their cost. IIRC, they were talking of charges of maybe $1 per Gb, and Stop the Cap was saying the cost was more like 5 cents. Somebody remember the exact figures?
There is a fantastic amount of trash coming down my internet feed that I am not asking for. How about if every time you went into Wegmans you were required to try every sample they had out, but had to pay for those samples, and the wages of the person making sure you took them?
How is this handled in other countries where I understand internet speeds are higher, and costs per month lower than here?September 17, 2016 at 6:33 AM #4898
The Wegmans analogy is flawed. If I don’t like Wegmans I can go to Tops. If I don’t like Tops I can go to PriceRite. Or I can go to Walmart, Aldi, Trader Joe’s, Market in the Square, Save-a-Lot, Target, and many other places. For Internet service, my choices are pretty much Verizon or Spectrum/Time Warner Cable. Cellular and satellite are options but not really comparable services. We can almost count on, if Verizon didn’t offer FiOS or DSL, S/TWC would impose usage caps and overage fees, just because they can, despite the fact that they are NOT charged by the byte for transit. Or we could almost equally count on, if S/TWC imposed caps, Verizon would shortly thereafter impose them to, because they know the public does not have anywhere else to turn. (Of course, substitute whatever cableco and telco are local to you; Verizon and S/TWC happen to be local to me.) THAT is why regulation is needed.
Believe you me, I’m as libertarian as the next guy, and I’d prefer as little regulation as possible. But because we generally agree that we don’t want to see a dozen or more cables strung on the utility poles, we have at best probably 3 choices: cableco, telco, amd MAYBE Google Fiber. And with so little competition, large companies WILL abuse their oligopolistic position. It’s been proven many times that the likelihood is great.September 17, 2016 at 9:41 AM #4899
The poll results so far this morning are clearly showing where we all are on this topic. When 90% of the people are in agreement, how can the govt ignore them and would they dare.
I admit I’m not up to speed (almost a pun) enough on this topic, so just a couple quick points:
Is it true that data really doesn’t, basically, cost anything, and that we’re just talking about sub-atomic particles flowing through wires?
What about the streams like Netflix slowing down in certain areas due to heavy usage…that must mean there is *some* kind of burden happening, correct?
As another said above, I’m downloading umpteen loads of crap in my surfing daily that I did not ask for and do NOT want. If I have to deal with a cap, why in heck do I have to pay for data I absolutely did not want and was forced upon me.
Agreed with the poster above regarding Libertarian ideals on topics like this. I too am anti-govt interference (unfortunately politics does have to come into play on a topic like this) and I’ve learned over the years that some govt interference is simply required when virtual monopolies and other forms of greed-corruption come into play…else everyone is simply extorted from with a smile.
One of those rare times govt has a duty to come in and crash the party.
So it’d be cool if the show today addressed the above, esp about the actual costs involved: ARE caps discussed because there is some kind of physical burden occurring, or not? I thought all this “data” amounted to something akin to electrons flowing through wires…or photons through optic fibers. (?)September 17, 2016 at 7:47 PM #4902
For a bit of perspective, I would suggest starting with researching The Kinsgbury Commitment, including the reasons for it. Briefly, the US government was about to drop the hammer on AT&T for SHerman (antitrust) Act violations until AT&T’s upper management bargained with the US. I think with this, the government was hornswoggled into propping up companies and forming a so-called “natural” monopoly. (I have read that some economists will claim ain’t no such thang.) Point is, the public utility-like comms companies have been in a government propped up oligopoly for quite a long time. The Bell System breakup of the 1980s helped a LITTLE, as did the Telecomm Act of 1996, but they weren’t enough to provide late 19th Century style competition.
As for how much it costs to transit IP traffic, you might try searching DSLReports.com.
The reasons Netflix has streaming problems are somewhat varied. Some of it is due to peers unwilling to add capacity at peering points. Some of them have vested interests in not improving peering because they’re protecting their video services revenues. Some of it is due to bufferbloat. Some of it may even be due to individuals’ LANs, such as relying on Wi-Fi for streaming (rarely a good idea).
Connectivity is somewhat cheaper in Europe and southeast Asia due to sheer population density. The US is comparatively vast and in many places really sparsely populated, making it LESS economical to lay cable (lots of land passed with no customers to service). In fact, in some places, their “brand” of broadband is for the state to own the infrastructure, who then leases it out to ISPs to provide all the address management, email, NNTP, billing, customer support, etc. services. Some of the posters to DSLReports who live there seem to think this is a great way to keep competition up and therefore service up and prices low in the face of the limited space for that last kilometer cabling.September 23, 2016 at 11:47 PM #4907
The link to the Kingsbury Agreement was interesting reading.
As far as the cost of delivering IP traffic, you can play all kinds of games with that. Just like the cost of the fire department responding on a call. You can take the yearly budget for the fire operation, divide it by the number of calls, and get one figure. On the other hand, you can look at the actual cost of operating a firetruck for the average time and mileage of a call, and get something completely different.
I had Frontier DSL from their early days of trying to make it work (anyone remember their “Dashboard”?) and gradually they were able to work download speeds up. I started with a 1 Mbps speed, and it eventually got up to over 6 Mbps. The modem had an upper limit of 8.3, and I was happy. With their billing, they were supposedly charging me for a speed of 10. Suddenly, I was seeing a constant speed of 3.0.
Complaints to the customer service people insisted I should be getting higher speeds, and finally referred me to the technical service people. Julie there explained to me she had everyone in the Rochester area provisioned for 3.6. No exceptions would be made. And this was to give everyone a “better experience”.
I think actually what their problem was, the pipeline coming in from upstream wasn’t big enough, and they were unwilling to spend the money to upgrade it. So, the more data people use, the better the backbone systems have to be. And, that does cost money.
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