RE: SlashDot: "Comcast Gunning for NAT Users"

I've seen a lot of good responses since this post but none that points out
the obvious, most broadband providers offer 'residential' and 'business'
products. The former at ~$50/month for a 'single connection,' the latter for
~$120/month including most of the services at issue in this thread. You get
what you pay for.

Some day case law will catch up to this new media enough that when a
'residential' service customer seeks remedy for $X,000 in 'lost business'
the defense will be that if they want a 'business' connection, then that is
what they should have signed up for/been paying for.

When 1% of your users are sucking down %50+ of your bandwidth you may need
to discuss AUPs with that 1%. Don't expect your shareholders to cut you any
slack on this issue.

-Al

Just my 2�, feel free to use your delete key.

I've seen a lot of good responses since this post but none that points out
the obvious, most broadband providers offer 'residential' and 'business'
products. The former at ~$50/month for a 'single connection,' the latter for
~$120/month including most of the services at issue in this thread. You get
what you pay for.

I would debate the 'most' part of this, especially on the cable broadband
side of things. I've worked for two cable providers now, and neither had
a real option for multiple computers. On top of that, I've had three other
cable accounts; one was strictly one-IP-only, the other two were two IPs.
Neither had any provision for more. The household I am in now has three
computers... What choice do I have other than NAT? I would gladly pay
another $5/mo for IPs. But that isn't an option. Get xDSL? Not an option
where I am.

In short, don't say 'most' as a rule when it is more likely 'Most in
my area', or even more likely, 'Some'.

Some day case law will catch up to this new media enough that when a
'residential' service customer seeks remedy for $X,000 in 'lost business'
the defense will be that if they want a 'business' connection, then that is
what they should have signed up for/been paying for.

IIRC, this has been and gone. i am pretty sure @Home had a lawsuit or
three based on just that, and replied with exactly that response. Conversely,
as more and more ISPs advertise 'Work from home' accounts, but only offer
one kind of broadband account, then they DO leave themselves open
to this.

When 1% of your users are sucking down %50+ of your bandwidth you may need
to discuss AUPs with that 1%. Don't expect your shareholders to cut you any
slack on this issue.

This is a definite fact, yes. What isn't clear is how people running NAT
either use significantly more bandwidth, let alone '50%+'. And frankly,
if I buy a connection, I use it. It is not MY job to make sure you have
enough bandwidth on your backbone. If I get a T1, and use a T1, there
is no accusation of abuse. If I get a 1.5Mb DSL or 512k cable connection
and use those speeds... How is that abuse? All the equipment currently
out here allows rate limiting. Use it.

Jamie

It doesn't make sense that an ISP should complain that customers use 100% of
what they pay for. So if 1% of your customers use %50+ of your bandwidth,
your 1% is getting their money's worth. If you don't want the customer to
use it, don't sell it to them.

I would suggest to Cable and DSL companies that charging an extra $70 a
month is going to do nothing except make them loose customers and gain a bad
reputation. Instead I would suggest to them to check the location of NAT
users: if the customer is in a residential building then they would likely
loose them by charging them $70 more a month, but if they are in a
commercial building they could probably make them pay up.

Greg

So you think that dialup users should be allowed to stay online 24/7 for
$20/month on an account advertised as unlimited?

perhaps the advertising language needs to be overhauled. Obviously, a dialup
user running services pulling max bandwidth 24/7 on an entry-level account is
a problem. However, to play devil's (customer's?) advocate, it _is_
advertised as 'umlimited access' ... It seems kind of, well, silly to
advertise a service in certain language, and then to complain when somebody
takes you literally.

Perhaps I'm just not seeing this from the business perspective. :slight_smile:

Well, if you offer "unlimited" access then, yes, they should be
allowed to stay on 24x7 if they want to. Look up "unlimited" in your
Funk & Wagnalls - my Websters says it means "infinite, boundless, without
restriction." That's why ShaysNet only offers "unmetered occasional"
access. I suppose it would be asking too much for the FTC to investigate
the possibility of consumer fraud in offerings of "unlimited" access.

          David Leonard
          ShaysNet

Absolutely. If one goes to an all-you-can-eat buffet and has 4 plates of
food, can the restaurant complain to them? Of course not, unless they have a
definition of unlimited I don't know of. If you advertise unlimited access
to a customer then they can use it as much as they want to, by definition.

Greg

If not, then the use of the word "unlimited" is more than a bit misleading, no? Be careful what you market, as people (and the FTC) will be happy to hold you to your word.

Thus spake "Steven J. Sobol" <sjsobol@JustThe.net>

> It doesn't make sense that an ISP should complain that customers use

100% of

> what they pay for.

So you think that dialup users should be allowed to stay online 24/7 for
$20/month on an account advertised as unlimited?

If the ISP sells "unlimited" access, then customers have every right to use
it without limit.

If the ISP places restrictions on what access is allowed and/or how long,
then it is no longer an unlimited service, and it would be fraud to market
it as such.

ISPs count on customers not using all of what is sold to them; if they turn
out to be wrong, that is a part of the risk they took.

S

Hmmm, smells like a little of vendor knows more than the customer again.
I love it when hardware vendors tell service providers how to make money/run the business.

/Dee

If it says "unlimited" absolutely. That's what unlimited means. The
ISPs I've worked for have never used the term, and enough providers have been
burnt by this that the majority seem to have stopped using the term
"unlimited." The others attempt to redefine the word in ther TOS, which is
B.S. but that's really between the consumer and their provider.

/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\
                               Patrick Greenwell
                     Stealthgeeks,LLC. Operations Consulting
                          http://www.stealthgeeks.net
\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/\/

In the immortal words of Steven J. Sobol (sjsobol@JustThe.net):

So you think that dialup users should be allowed to stay online 24/7 for
$20/month on an account advertised as unlimited?

The Federal Trade Commission (and possibly your local district
attorney) will certainly think so, unless your service contracts
contain a novel redefinition of the word "unlimited."

(This is, I suspect, why most of them do just that.)

-n

------------------------------------------------------------<memory@blank.org>
               When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.
<http://blank.org/memory/&gt;\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-\-

We have the same problem out here in Australia with ISPs selling
"unlimited" accounts, but they really aren't unlimited in the
truest sense of the word.

The cutest idea I ever saw (and I'm not sure how well this'd
scale on a cable network, but ..) was adaptive bandwidth
limiting. One ISP tried bandwidth limiting each dialup customer
based on how much bandwidth they had used over a calendar month.
If you fell inside that top 1% which used 50% of the network
resources, you soon ended up getting a trickle of traffic.
Local traffic (for example, gaming, or local IX traffic)
wasn't affected by this pipe.

Personally, I think that would be wonderful for Residential
Cable/DSL services - there's only going to be a (relatively)
small number of your userbase that will ever be affected by
the bandwidth limiting, and you're still providing "unlimited"
connectivity to whatever you deem as "local" ..

Adrian

Date: Fri, 1 Feb 2002 09:18:31 +0800
From: Adrian Chadd <adrian@creative.net.au>

Personally, I think that would be wonderful for Residential
Cable/DSL services - there's only going to be a (relatively)
small number of your userbase that will ever be affected by
the bandwidth limiting, and you're still providing "unlimited"
connectivity to whatever you deem as "local" ..

That's something I'd also thought of. Ratelimiting with
logarithmic aging and a long half-life... it would be more gentle
than a cap that kicks in after, say, 30 seconds.

Eddy

Brotsman & Dreger, Inc. - EverQuick Internet Division
Phone: +1 (316) 794-8922 Wichita/(Inter)national
Phone: +1 (785) 865-5885 Lawrence

[snip]

If the ISP sells "unlimited" access, then customers have every
right to use
it without limit.

If the ISP places restrictions on what access is allowed and/or how long,
then it is no longer an unlimited service, and it would be fraud to market
it as such.

ISPs count on customers not using all of what is sold to them; if
they turn
out to be wrong, that is a part of the risk they took.

I remember back in college when I was the customer of an upstart ISP I
received a nasty-gram that explained to me the difference between the term
"unlimited" and "dedicated" (which stills sounds like marketing spin). This
was back in the day when racks of USR couriers were the norm. Their
argument was they didn't want someone tying up a modem and a line 24/7.
They wanted me to upgrade my $36.95/mo "unlimited" account to a ~$300/mo
account plus pay a one-time setup fee that was exactly the street price of a
USR courier.

Bottom line = "read the fine print". Oftentimes, it's not what makes sense
to normal humans, just lawyers. ;->

-T.

Just out of curiosity, was this an ISP in Ithaca, NY or nearby? (The
description seems to match someone we've done business with there)

Vivien

Just out of curiosity, was this an ISP in Ithaca, NY or nearby? (The
description seems to match someone we've done business with there)

Vivien

Oh, it's not limited to a single ISP. It never was. I fail to see why
people are arguing about "unlimited" as a marketing term. The fact is
that all providers will use vague language to attract customers and then
redefine those terms in their TOS and contracts. It's the nature of
business. What needs to be addressed is the product itself.

In this case, the cable internet service is what Comcast or any other
cable provider defines it to be. If they wish to limit their product to
exclude NAT/firewalls/multiple computers/etc, that's their decision.
They need to, however, make that policy known. I wholeheartedly disagree
with the practice of some ISPs (including cable companies) to target
"power-users" who don't fit the traditional, undisclosed mold and drop
them. The ISP business is about figuring out what your average customer
will use, budgeting a little extra, and hoping they don't use more. If
they do, you MUST increase capacity to support them. If this means taking
on additional costs and passing these costs off to customer, so be it.

Unfortunately, without competition in the cable market, unfair business
practices will continue. And without other high-speed options open to
many, they will have no choice but to buy cable internet access and
conform to the rules, both written and unwritten.

-Mike

/-----------------------+-----------------------\

Mike Joseph | Netaxs, Inc. |
Network Engineering | ~~~~~~~~~~~~ |
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ | (610)825-9800 |
mjoseph@netaxs.com | www.netaxs.com |

\-----------------------+-----------------------/

I know; my apologies to the list. I was trying to send the reply privately
(the logic that Tim was quoting just happened to sound much like the
emails the ISP I have in mind sends to its customers, which are very
informative and everything, but also very blunt and honest...), but
unfortunately due to either Teleglobe or Exodus screwing up something, I
couldn't talk to our servers directly, so I was using a different mail
client to send that email, and I obviously wasn't familiar with how that
client handles reply vs reply all. (Why did I let myself get assimilated
to MS software! Now I can't seem to use anything else properly...)

Once again, sorry about that... (and now Teleglobe or Exodus fixed the
problem, so I can go back to my regularly-buggy MS mail client)

Vivien