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[ NNSquad ] re Who Confirms The Accuracy (or is it precision) Of ISP Usage [sic] Meters?

----- Forwarded message from David Farber <dave@farber.net> -----

Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 16:58:13 -0500
From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>
Subject: [IP] re Who Confirms The Accuracy (or is it precision) Of ISP  Usage
	[sic] Meters?
Reply-To: dave@farber.net
To: ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>

Begin forwarded message:

From: Stan Hanks <stan@colventures.com>
Date: January 13, 2010 4:47:48 PM EST
To: dave@farber.net
Subject: RE: [IP] re Who Confirms The Accuracy (or is it precision) Of ISP Usage [sic] Meters?

Bob Frankston says:
> The deeper issue is our willingness to accept the bad metaphor that leads us to think we are using up the "Internet" as if we were consuming electricity.
Bob’s wrong – if you’re using bandwidth on a path, I can’t use it on the same path. While we’re not talking about a finite natural resource, like oil, or similar, we’re talking about what I’ll characterize as financially limited finite resource: bandwidth.
Let me be clear: statistical multiplexing, packet switching and queuing mean that if I attempt to push bits down a path, sooner or later, they’ll get there. The reality is that queues are memory intensive (expensive) and that routers are space and power intensive and don’t scale well (really expensive) and that users measure “bandwidth” not in absolute terms, but in terms of how it feels – it’s either fast (high bit rate, low latency) or slow (lower effective bit rate, high latency) or unusable (really low bit rate or really high latency or both). Hell, I once sent IP packets over pulses in drilling mud at 3bps (yes, THREE bits per second) so you CAN move data at really low speeds – but for most applications, being seen as “useful” takes a lot more bandwidth.
Sure, you can make more, but that takes MONEY. Ummm. Got any laying around? I sure don’t, at least in the quantities it takes to build national scale bandwidth…. Oh, I can probably raise some, but only if I can prove that there’s a reasonable return on doing so – which requires that I somehow or another get more money from the users that I already have, or find users that I don’t have. If I just give the “new” bandwidth to the old customers at the old price, or WORSE at a lower price, then sooner or later, I’m going to have investor issues…
We CAN NOT get around this core issue. As much as we’d like it to go away, you only get X amount bandwidth for Y amount of spend. Sure, X goes up if you delay how long you wait to spend Y, but at the end of the day, no one has ever sold, and is unlikely to ever sell, gear that I buy today that will let me scale up my bandwidth perpetually with no addition expense other than “routine maintenance”.
So, to me, the dialog is this: how much degraded performance are consumers willing to tolerate before they’re willing to spend more money, and what can be done to move both that tolerance level and the amount of money they’re willing to spend to a point where you get equilibrium?
The counterpoint: over-the-air broadcast TV. It runs on the basis of advertising. Google is similar as are others. If users aren’t willing to pay for what needs to be paid for, are they at least willing to accept the necessity of that sort of model??
Either way, someone has to pay, or you just flat run out of usable bandwidth sooner or later.

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----- End forwarded message -----