I’d attribute the artist but I can’t find their name. Let me know and I will gladly add it.
I’ve been keeping an eye on the Net Neutrality debate for a couple of years now. Basically ISPs would like to be able to charge more from companies that use more bandwidth and in so doing create “fast lanes” for traffic initiated at these companies. Two of the prime examples are Netflix and YouTube which count for around 50% of internet traffic as of the writing of this post.
Here’s my problem with using Netflix or YouTube as examples of data hogs. They aren’t. Netflix and YouTube do not use the reported amount of bandwidth. I know, you’re thinking WTF, of course they do, numbers don’t lie and you’d be right. While numbers don’t lie people do and here’s how they are bamboozling you.
When we plop down in front of our wide screen T.Vs or snuggle up in bed with our laptops or tablets to watch a movie, “We” are the ones consuming the bandwidth not Netflix or YouTube. We have paid our ISP for the connection and we can go anywhere we want and download anything we desire (within current copyright constraints) .
We’ve already paid for it. We have a set speed. We have the bandwidth.
Here’s a rough analogy;
UPS=Your Internet Service Provider (ISP)
3 day delivery= My internet speed 25 Mbit
I order a DVD from BestBuy, I decide to use UPS as my default delivery. So, whenever I want something from BestBuy UPS will bring it. I pay for UPS 3 day shipping. My DVD arrives three days later. I watch my movie.
But here’s what the ISPs want. They see BestBuy as causing a lot of deliveries and tying up a lot of their trucks so in their world they should get to charge BestBuy for causing all the commotion. They want you and BestBuy to pay for delivery. In their thinking BestBuy is causing a lot of shipping and they should charge them more. But BestBuy isn’t causing the massive amount of traffic. I and a few million of my friends are.
How do you think Amazon would react to UPS and FedEx wanting to charge them more for delivering their products? It’s just the opposite. Shipping is low because of volume and remember “You” pay for shipping.
ISPs will tell you that Netflix has a connection just like you. And just like you they need to pay for it and I agree, but they shouldn’t pay more nor should they have any special routes through the network i.e. priority over fiber. It’s not Netflix’s problem or mine, it’s ISPs problem. Just like FedEx and UPS. That’s what we’re paying for. Delivery.
Here’s what they don’t tell you. ISPs oversell their bandwidth, just like a health club and/or gyms. Health clubs always oversell memberships because they know that a large percentage of the people paying rarely show up to use the facility. ISP use the same rational. In the past most people never came close to maxing out their connection. They’d check email, shop on-line, do a lot of simple low capacity things. The current shift in net traffic didn’t happen overnight.it’s been in making for 10 years.
ISPs have been dragging there collective feet on expanding infrastructure for two decades. Government grants have been handed out for fiber optics, spectrum has been opened up yet, still, we fall far behind many nations in terms of speed and cost. Because the ISPs like it when bandwidth is tight, it makes it more valuable.
Clearly it has to do with creating artificial capacity problems to justify maintaining current price levels and leveraging price increases as well as control over how data gets from point A to pony B. Bandwidth is limited by two things, broadcast spectrum (Wi-Fi and cellular date) and physical data transmission lines (fiber op, co-ax) One is a no brainer. Put in more network control centers and lay more cable. The second relies on focused use of spectrum for wireless. But the ISP’s say the don’t have the money to do that. B.S. If they aren’t up to the task maybe we should be looking into a different solution.
AT&T had a reported 5.5 billion dollar profit in 2013, Their earnings were reported as 126 billion in 2012 and they returned 23 billion to investors. I’m sure their “profit” was actually far higher but with current corporate “effective tax” shenanigans who knows. Comcast past the 100 billion mark a couple of years ago.
At this point in time ISPs are a utility, there is very little you can do without the internet these days. Banks have moved to limited staff, relying on ATM and online banking. Most communications happens almost entirely on-line. When was the last time to you did all of your communication through the U.S. postal service? If classified as utility, big telecoms stand to loose total control over how they manipulate charges. I, for one, think that’s a great idea.
Comacst has spent billions acquiring content providers like NBC because they can then say they are not a utility they are a content provider. They can also charge for NBC programming to be delivered. So they control content and delivery. They shows you watch and how you receive them. That’s a pretty good place to be in. They can then charge competitors (Netflix, Youtube) to use “their” delivery system. Hybridization for the purpose of noncompliance and skirting regulations has to stop. Every time mega-corps merge it’s a disaster for the consumer. Every Time.
Lets all remember Comcast, AT&T and a host of other ISPs did not invent the internet or the worldwide web. We, as a nation, did through Science Technology Engineering and Math. Keep in mind, we as a people, own all of the broadcast spectrum. These companies only lease it. We also own a vast majority of the physical land, in the form of municipalities, that they string their cabling or fiber-op, both of and below the ground. These companies have no more right to “Traffic Shape” then you do to walk in the street and say only delivery trucks can use the traffic lanes, the rest of you can use the dirt road on the right. We paid for it with our tax dollars and these guys want to control it.
I say no.