Rant: Why ISPs shouldn't also provide TV service


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If you live in Canada and are a Roger's Internet customer (for you Americans, think Canadian version of Comcast), then it's very likely that you recently received a letter in the mail announcing Roger's new "improvements" to your Internet service. Roger's will now be capping and billing you for download overages. They've got a strange definition of improvement. Depending on your level of service, your monthly allowed usage is between 60 - 95 GB before incurring overrages of $2 / GB.

In their mailing they referred to how many thousand songs you can download, or how many millions of photos, and so on. What they fail to mention, is how much (or how little) IPTV you can watch using services like Vudu and Apple TV. I've taken the liberty of doing the math assuming a 95 GB limit (I've added Cable HD and Blu-ray for reference purposes):

Video Bandwidth (Mbps) Daily Viewing Limit Monthly Viewing Limit
Vudu/Apple SD 2 3 h 36 m 108 h
Vudu/Apple HD 4 1 h 48 m 54 h
Cable HD 19 24 m 11 h 24 m
Blu-Ray 40 12 m 5 h 24 m

Is 1 hr 48 min. enough daily HD viewing enough for you? Likely not. Especially not when you consider that this does not include your actual Internet use (you know, that thing your computer is connected to). What this implies to me is that Roger's is less concerned about your quality of service, but more about making sure they secure the future of their digital cable TV service.

For you Americans, if you think that this isn't relevant to you, think again. Time Warner has been exploring similar billing schemes south of the border. You should already be familiar with Comcast's imposed caps.

This post was edited by Erik on 4/09/2008 9:26 PM
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I totally agree with your assessment, Erik. I think it's ridiculous that Rogers is able to do this, not to mention the fact that they're labeling it as an "improvement". But I don't think it's all about the digital cable security, I definitely think that's part of it, but I also think it's so that they don't have to upgrade their hardware.

A lot of people have been noticing that they're not getting what they pay for in terms of data speeds from Rogers. Rogers can now mitigate this problem by limiting individual's bandwidth, rather than improving their infrastructure (at least for a time). THIS is my biggest issue with Rogers: their willingness to sacrifice customer experience so that they don't have to spend money on improvements as the internet grows. Add to that, they're taking advantage of people's lack of knowledge when it comes to the internet and calling it an IMPROVEMENT.

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And in case you needed more proof that Rogers works against its customers: ISP modifies Google home page

This post was edited by Amanie on 4/09/2008 6:44 PM
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I have to say, coming from someone who lives in the U.S., that Comcast is almost the exact same. They cap bitTorrent, Limewire, and the like, don't give you the speed you pay for, charge you out the butt, and don't provide the Internet to people outside of towns and subdivisions. I won't be surprised when they follow Roger's lead and do the same thing. I hope that Xohm (4G mobile broadband) turns out to be fast, and have lower prices. I'm afraid that it could turn into another Comcast. But at least you get it everywhere.

It also pisses me off Roger's is calling this an improvement and modifying Google's page. Isn't that illegal?

Looks like we'll be relying on some hopefully tough lobbying from Google to prevent this. I heard they were against it in the past. Cause if it happens, I might as well have dial-up again.

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I'm excited by the possibility of fiber-to-the-home technologies (see Verizon FiOS), except at the same time I'm worried they will also be susceptible to the same shenanigans. ATTN Google: become an ISP and provide fast, net-neutral access to the Internet. While GOOG is a corporation, I think their intentions are more aligned to the average Internet user.

@dialup: I used to think that Comcast throttled torrent traffic for one of two reasons: 1) prevent illegal file downloading, or 2) reduce the bandwidth used by their customers (like what Amanie was talking about). I've thrown out the first motivation, but started thinking about the conflict of interest. If you're downloading Flight of the Conchords from YouTorrent using your Comcast broadband account, then you are much less likely to subscribe to HBO with your Comcast digital TV account.

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Yeah, I dropped Rogers as soon as they capped BT down to a pitiful 20k/sec and NO upload speed... Bell hasn't been as bad - they seem to only cap during peak hours in my area - which is something I can't really complain about.  The cap is also not as bad, get rather better speeds.

Whats more screwed up about all this "traffic shaping" and non-neutral networks is that its purely a last mile phenomenon - as well as being linked to excessive profitability and alterior motives (like above, with being a TV provider as well). 

Globally the fiber that has been laid is at a bit more then 2% of capacity - 2%!!!! If last mile providers put anywhere NEAR the investment into infrastructure their big brothers did this wouldn't be an issue in any way, shape, or form.  You should be able to have full 10gb connection for everyone in major cities easily. Hell, rogers saw a 44% increase in quarterly earnings last quarter! ( http://www.cbc.ca/money/story/2008/02/22/rogers-4q.html )

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Free market competition works.

But that's when there's an actual market where customers can pick and choose. When you're dealing with a defacto monopoly the free market dictates will profit as much as possible. It's just what they do. I do think that telecommunications infrastructure should either be a public entity like roads, or at least regulated to have a modicum of reason to their rates. I understand the pitfalls of government regulation, but you know what, the telcos have screwed themselves and us over so anything is better at this point.

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Heh Erik said shenanigans. Reminds me of supertroopers.

  • Cop: But our shenanigans are good shenanigans. And they're shenanigans are bad shenanigans which means they're shenanigans aren't really shenanigans at all.
  • Other Cop: Evil shenanigans!
  • Head Cop: I'm gonna pistol whip the next guy that says shenanigans!
  • Cop (yelling to Favre (another cop) in the other room): Hey Farvre, what's that one restaurant you like with all the goofy shit on the wall?
  • Farvre: Oh you mean shenanigans?
This post was edited by dialupinternetuser on 4/15/2008 6:03 PM
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I think GigaOm is spying on us. Oregon is next..

http://gigaom.com/2008/04/10/the-end-of-cheap-broadband/

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Looks like a ton of people are jumping on the bandwagon.

http://tech.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=08/04/13/1913241&tid=95

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