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[ NNSquad ] Re: Canada goes crazy

I'd like to add to the reasons that billing for bits is NOT crazy.

Anyone who has had to manage a network recognizes the need to balance the nearly unlimited demands of users with the scarcity of network resources. While many of the academics and lawyer types on this list would like to imagine a perfect virtual network that has unlimited capacity, the truth of the matter is that there are limits to a network's capacity and the network resources degrade considerably when users are not limited in how much they can consume.

As the operator of a wireless broadband network, I get to deal with limited network capacity on a daily basis. After watching our per-user bandwidth consumption steadily increase, we have begun implementing bit-caps. A detailed description on what we did is available at www.wirelesscowboys.com.

Bits may not be "consumed", but network resources certainly can be. Pretending that network resources are NOT scarce is the the real bad idea.

Matt Larsen

  [ Wireless and wired technologies have fundamental differences that
    can indeed make differing billing and regulatory approaches
    reasonable.  What's really problematic is the way carriers have
    pushed flat-rate data plans in both spheres and now, after
    subscribers are "addicted," want to switch to measured models.
    One might almost suspect that this was the plan all along, hmm?

-- Lauren Weinstein
NNSquad Moderator ]

On 5/7/2010 8:12 AM, Bob Frankston wrote:
(Thanks to Aleks for this pointer)


The idea of charging people for bits consumed is a crazy idea since you
aren't consuming bits. We've been through this before - do I need to explain
once again how bad the idea is?

.         It creates scarcity. A copper wire (or fiber or radio) is just
sitting there idle. We limit how much can be used.

.         Even if there is a temporary constriction somewhere else it means
we can't use the capacity locally. To take it to an extreme imagine if there
is such a limit in your house - you can't copy too many files between your

.         FiOS VoD, for example, goes over IP through my router. I can't
watch much "TV" [sic] if the limit is applied to those bits. If the limit is
not applied we have a vertical playing field where the provider has all the

.         Any sane price doesn't allow making video affordable if we're
going to make the cost of other uses visible.

.         As with SMS any market that permits prices to be millions of time
cost (determined by competition with Moore's law) isn't really a market in a
useful sense. It's rent taking gone to hostage taking.

But basically it shows a deep inability to comprehend the very concept of
connectivity using best efforts. It's railroaders banning the use of roads
unless you buy a ticket for a ride every time you leave your driveway even
if it is just to reorder the cars in the driveway.

Others care to add to the reasons why this is crazy?


[ And coming soon to a U.S. ISP near you (and me) too, I'll wager. Since the FCC chairman has shown no interest in including any sort of pricing or realistically effective competition-enhancing elements in his proposed "third-way" regulatory plan, the dominant ISPs are ensured a captive audience of users who will "pay through their noses until their skulls are a vacuum" (as one high level ISP executive expressed it to me yesterday -- picturesque, this guy, and a master of invective as well ...)

          -- Lauren Weinstein
             NNSquad Moderator ]