Network Neutrality

Corey Edwards tensai at
Sat Dec 6 00:43:01 MST 2008

full disclosure: I work for an ISP

On Fri, 2008-12-05 at 13:23 -0700, Lonnie Olson wrote:
> ISPs have always over subscribed their links.

And be grateful they do! Try to price out a line with dedicated
bandwidth and you'll see it's significantly more expensive. I can't give
you any exact numbers because A) I don't know the exact numbers and B) I
may not be at liberty to divulge them. But I'll tell you that the
average residential user doesn't typically even use 10% of their
available bandwidth. Therein lies the cost savings for the ISP (which I
guarantee is passed on to the user).

My apologies if you've heard me beat this drum before, but it seems that
a lot of people have a misconception that ISPs are trying to screw their
users with over subscription, but it truly is with the opposite intent.

> Their are two real solutions:
> 1. All/Most ISPs redefine their services to include real limits, or
> charge more for truly unlimited, and educate their customers so they
> get the proper perception.  Xmission has been one example of a company
> trying to accomplish this.
> 2. Users get over their differing perceptions and stop hogging the
> bandwidth that is not really theirs.

I agree that the perception of "unlimited" is not in line between ISPs
and customers. For most people it's a moot point because they just plain
don't use the Internet that much. For those others, a little more truth
in advertising would go a long way. Most terms of service include
statements regarding impacts or disruptions to the network, but some
more simple language would probably go a long way.

More so than heavy handed government regulation, I believe good old
fashioned competition would take care of many of these issues. Those who
have the most stringent restrictions would of course lose market share
(all other things being equal), so the incentive would be to be as open
as possible, while still making a buck of course. If any legislation is
needed, I suggest it would be best used in encouraging ISPs to
forthrightly explain their traffic shaping rules and limitations.


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