This is a situation where additional regulation will only help those
adept at manipulating the regulators. (Additional comments inline)
On 11/1/2005 10:10 PM, Tom DeReggi created:
The truth is services like VOIP and IPTV are going to challenge end
user's connections, and they are going to learn what over subscription.
And end users are going to kick and scream about how their service
provider is ripping them off, and service is poor because the video is
choppy, while they are using their 3 mbps link that they are paying $30
a month to.
In most cases their service provider lured them in with the hype of
an Unlimited use 3Mbps connection and then told them that they can't
use all of it. Where else in life are we handed something and then
told that we can't use it? If we could prevent the providers from
misleading their potential customers this problem would fade away.
All of my access plans are charged for usage in some way. Most are
based on monthly Gigabits allowed to pass through my network. It's
easy to understand and so far I've never had a client surpass the
bandwidth included in the plan. If they get close I let them know and
provide them with a way to gage their usage more accurately. If usage
patterns change substantially, then I lower the maximums or change the
plans. If a contract is in place, nothing changes for the length of
The bottom line is no Internet provider on the planet is selling speed
pre-allocated for sustained throughput of speed sold.
Over-subscription is based on a business model where your customers
typically consume 1% of what you are selling them. That doesn't
change the fact that you sold them 99% more than a typical customer
uses. If usage patterns change, then contracts need to be updated and
marketing needs to change their tune. There is no basis in law
(IATNAL) for retroactively changing a contract because one side
realizes that their business model was based on flawed assumptions.
Providers will definitely have to rethink how their products are
marketed and sold. Legislating usage restrictions independent of
marketing's messages to consumers is a foolish way to correct an
oversight because it makes it nearly impossible for consumers to
determine what exactly they are purchasing.
If we turn it around, VOIP companies like Vonage are no different. One
time I setup a Fax server on a pool of 4 or 5 of their VOIP lines.
This is yet another example why it should be illegal to advertise
'unlimited' when that is clearly not the case. Unlimited has a very
specific meaning in the English language and it doesn't include the
possibility for restrictions. While the fine print of your contract
probably told you that it wasn't acceptable to actually use what you
were sold, the marketing messages certainly didn't.
This is a time bomb waiting to happen. Worst of all it sets the stage
for market pressures to force ISPs to sell under cost, because marketing
has to over state the capabilities of the network.
Marketing has absolutely no reason to overstate anything if we have
a competent oversight mechanism in place to prevent companies from
misleading consumers about the products that they are selling. I
think that a much better solution to this problem would be to force
all companies to be completely transparent about their services and
provide consumers with a simple way to accurately compare similar
items. For example, if I were selling 3Mb/384kb DSL I would have to
state that the average available bandwidth for my customers last month
was 1.2Mb/150kb, average packet loss was 5%, latency was an average of
100ms across the network and you are limited to continuous bandwidth
of 512kb/30kb and daily restrictions of 300MBytes of traffic. This
type of information would allow consumers to make an informed choice
instead of blindly choosing the $14.95 (plus $40 for the phone line
that they don't tell you about) 3Mb DSL that can barely move 256kb/s
of information in either direction.
Yes, I know that this is difficult to implement and to enforce, but
we would be much better off if we put our government's resources into
this instead of having them pretend to protect consumers by compelling
megacompanies to wait three years before they begin to pillage the
Laws will have to be put in place to compensate those that incur the
costs, or the quality goes to crap. I'd hate it if broadband stuped to
the low level of PC hardware and electronics. I remember I used to be
able to buy an original IBM PC, and that bad boy would last 10 years
without a hickup. Now I'm lucky to have PC hardware outlast the first
year. Consumer electronics typically come with only 90 day warrantees,
its rare that they last over the first year either. BUtits a commodity
market, forcing lowest price and features, with reliabilty nd durability
forced right out of the equation.
I completely disagree. Laws