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[ NNSquad ] Re: Do the Happy Dance people...

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At 08:11 PM 8/30/2008, Robb Topolski wrote:

>Comcast first started this across-the-board threatening and 
>disconnection of higher-bandwidth users 5 years ago, based on 
>their TOS provision against someone using the service in a way 
>that negatively impacted it. The trouble is, they were using the 
>bandwidth amount without ever showing a negative impact -- they 
>simply rationalized that someone who was using over (insert some 
>undisclosed number) that they simply must be causing an undue 
>impact.  That undisclosed number became known as the "invisible 
>cap" because it was a "defacto" cap and remained absolutely 
>undisclosed except through making the same hard-to-read inference 
>to that "impact" part of Comcast's TOS.
>Now, 5 years later, we have a number.  Good? No, that wasn't the 
>problem!  They just made their service worse.

Actually, it is the FCC's so-called "network neutrality" ruling 
(which actually mandates non-neutrality, because it forces Comcast 
to favor bandwidth hogging applications) that has made Comcast's 
service worse. Their engineers were doing their best to keep the 
quality up before the inside-the Beltway lobbyists stepped in to 
prohibit them from doing so.

>They're still not proving that the users that they are kicking off 
>the service have caused any negative impact. Instead, they've 
>disclosed a number used in executing this lazy method.  By doing 
>so, they have now limited a previously unlimited service.

This is a falsehood promulgated by the lobbyists. The service was 
never "unlimited" nor was it advertised as such.

--Brett Glass

      [ As far as I know, prior to the announcement of the 250 GB
	cap, the only obvious related limiting factor was the
	nebulous "interfering with other customers" type of
	boilerplate.  In the absence of a specified cap, it seems
	reasonable for consumers to assume that a service is
	"unlimited" in the "take all you want but eat all that you
	take" buffet sense.

        The Time Warner case may be particularly interesting when
	they ultimately announce a cap, given their continuing "No
	Limits" advertising campaign.  Of course, when push comes
        to shove they'll say that "no limits" doesn't really mean
        "no limits" and what the hell, those are only ads.

        There's a bit of "bait and switch" starting to creep into
	this situation.  Applications (including traffic intensive
	ones like video, backup services, cloud computing, etc.) are
	built based on the flat-rate unlimited data model, then when
	consumers really begin to embrace these services, we see
	ISPs clamping down with caps, overage fees, etc.

            -- Lauren Weinstein
               NNSquad Moderator ]