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Net neutrality needed in UK?

Net neutrality needed in UK?

You're clogging the interwebs with your TV shows so we're gonna charge you more.

Many of us enjoy services such as YouTube, Joost, and BBC iPlayer. UK ISPs, however, don't. And in a recent statement, one of the biggest has offered a glimpse of what's ahead. It appears that net neutrality may not be a US-only problem, after all.

"Our position is that high bandwidth content services like iPlayer are being launched without proper attention to the cost of delivery," said internet service provider Tiscali. "As these services become more popular they will undoubtedly cause congestion. It is only broadband operators that can increase bandwidth and this comes at a cost."

Because of this future "congestion," ISPs are threatening to limit access to services or to just outright charge a company more for using more bandwidth. That, of course, would mean a higher price for you, the consumer.

Some internet users out there are already feeling the pains of being traffic limited as ISPs put traffic shaping procedures into place.

"Peer to Peer traffic is the first to be affected at peak times making downloading slower but not limiting it with any caps," Tiscali said. "iPlayer traffic would fall into this category, although at present would not be specifically targeted."

So what we have here is an ISP acknowledging that there could be congestion on the internet in the future. But instead of making sure that its equipment and hardware can handle the copious amounts of traffic with ease, it's putting the blame on companies who are actually listening to what their customers want. Go figure.

Where do you stand on the issue? Are you all for net neutrality or should people and companies who use more bandwidth be charged more? Let us know in the comments section below or over in the forums.

33 Comments

Discuss in the forums Reply
Ramble 14th August 2007, 16:44 Quote
Yes. it's a pain up the arse to find a particular service slowed down just so the ISPs can make more money. It's not a cost thing, it's a wanting to screw us our of our money thing.
naokaji 14th August 2007, 16:46 Quote
i pay for my broadband the full price they want...

so i demand that they let me make full use of it and dont go threaten me or companys that we shouldnt use so much bandwith.
firefly 14th August 2007, 16:57 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by naokaji
i pay for my broadband the full price they want...

so i demand that they let me make full use of it and dont go threaten me or companys that we shouldnt use so much bandwith.


QFT!!!!!!!
Delphium 14th August 2007, 17:01 Quote
Likewise I already pay over the odds for the service I recieve and not being a peer2peer, youtube, joost, or bbc iplayer user than ill be rather pissed if they start charging extra for it.

As naokaji quite rightly says, I/we pay in full for the service, I expect to use the service to its full!
skpstr 14th August 2007, 17:22 Quote
Unfortunately it seems that nobody really pays for a full service, you pay for a service that is provided under the control of some sort of "Fair Use Policy"

These seem to be very vague pieces of text which allow the ISP to do what the hell they like. :(
phat-ant 14th August 2007, 17:27 Quote
hehe true enough. I have been a business user for many years so I'm used to paying over the odds but I do hope that they don't actually get away with this charging the bigger sites. As a web developer I certainly wouldn't want to have to pay a ISP tax for offering my web services, especially as there are so many ISP's out there it would be chaos with every company trying to grab a piece of the pie.
Jamie 14th August 2007, 17:37 Quote
If Europeans can get 100mbit, for less than we can get 8mbit what is the point of being part of the EU?
naokaji 14th August 2007, 17:41 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
If Europeans can get 100mbit, for less than we can get 8mbit what is the point of being part of the EU?

switzerland is not in the eu and all private people can get is 15mb....
DougEdey 14th August 2007, 17:41 Quote
To answer the question, yes we need net neutrality.
Mother-Goose 14th August 2007, 17:43 Quote
it would be ******* tiscali as well!! *******
Jamie 14th August 2007, 17:47 Quote
Soon we'll be having to 'offset' our downloads because it's not green and produces too much carbon.
sgr55 14th August 2007, 17:52 Quote
Quote:
Yes. it's a pain up the arse to find a particular service slowed down just so the ISPs can make more money. It's not a cost thing, it's a wanting to screw us our of our money thing.

This isn't the whole truth.

ISP's using BT's network are paying £96,883 per 622mbit central per month.

Say a customer is paying £25 a month.

Port Cost per customer (BT Charge to the ISP): £8.40
Equipment / Building / Staff / Profit and Other costs: £5.00
£25 - £13.4 = £11.60 (which can go towards the central costs).
Now, a 622mbit central costs £96,883 per month to the ISP.
£96,883 / £11.60 = 8352 Customers needed just to pay for 1 central.
Divide 622 by 8352 Customers and you get 0.07Mbit capacity per customer.

0.0744 megabits = 76.1856 kilobits
76.18 / 8 = 9.5KB/s

Thats approx 23GB per month per customer thats been budgeted. (Alot less for a £14 per month package)
Hold on a minute... Doesnt the fair usage policy say 50GB or more?

In reality though, ISP's can/will have anywhere up to 32,000 customers per central. The economics have changed and they've been caught with their pants down.
a) they can't offer the products they currently sell without making a substantial loss per customer, assuming the customer uses the product as advertised.
b) they can't maintain their current profit levels even if they sell what is budgeted for.

The only way to fix the problem is to offer what is budgeted for. The only way this can happen is if all ISP's are forced to do this at the same time. Alot of custom would be lost if one ISP held off doing this for a few months to gain a few extra customers.

To sum up, Prices need to go up ( or come down at a wholesale level) AND ISP's need their asses kicked collectively. The latter I don't see happening anytime soon.
I've lost count on how many small / medium sized ISP's to be bought over or gone bust in the last 12 months. The figure is in the dozens.

Going to take a few years for the market to settle down and catch up with it's customer base.
Bungle 14th August 2007, 18:14 Quote
Hardly suprising TBH, the hardware costs for installing new fibre optic networks is a costly business How much!. Companies such as BT are going to be naturally cautious unless they can be convinced that the demand is there and people are willing to front the money to pay for these improved services. After what happened in the dot com boom and bust, I'm not surprised companies are slow on the uptake. We'll get there eventually but companies are gonna take small steps before trying to leap forward.
C-Sniper 14th August 2007, 18:48 Quote
we have this problem at our school. Our school doesn't want to invest in a bigger pipe and now we cant use the internet if we are in a certain class. But thankfully our IT guy at the school doesn't really care and we can do pretty much whatever we want when we want (minus things like porn,warez,etc)
specofdust 14th August 2007, 19:03 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jamie
If Europeans can get 100mbit, for less than we can get 8mbit what is the point of being part of the EU?

Umm, what the hell? You think it's an EU responsibility to make sure you get leet broadband for cheap?

Jeez...if it's not one person complaining that brussels is being "handed" our sovereignty it's another expecting them to work miracles in areas that clearly have nothing to do with what a supra-national government does.
xion 14th August 2007, 19:06 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mother-Gooser
it would be ******* tiscali as well!! *******

QFT

Really tiscali are poo... run away, hide, move house! I'm stuck with them for now, the account is in the name of my ex-flatmate who moved out 6 months ago... yet they cant change the billing details, i cant pay over the phone because my name's not on the account, yet they still send demands... I've been running in circles with their so called customer service. [/rant]

Anyhoo, services need to move with demand, if there was a package available at the right price point with low contention, truely unlimited, non-throttled, open connection i'd gladly take it, and pay more, i'm sure plenty of others are just sick of all the fine print "get out of jail" cards these isp's seem the cling to. (Yeah i know i happen to work for a very large 4play provider...:'()
yodasarmpit 14th August 2007, 19:19 Quote
Tiscali have a vested interest in slowing services such as iPlayer, seeing as they have signed a deal with Sky to offer on demand TV of their own.


Also as sqr55 stated, ISP's using the BT network have to pay per MB and if we use more it costs them more.
DXR_13KE 14th August 2007, 19:20 Quote
i really hate the small print.... or the no print for that matter.... or even that "we have the right to change all of the above when we want without having to tell you"
esdubu 14th August 2007, 19:24 Quote
So let me get this straight, they want a publicly funded body to subsidise internet usage due to the broadband boom these companies encouraged? If they didn't have the ability to provide the services they were advertising they should not have provided them in the first place!
proxess 14th August 2007, 19:28 Quote
We need world wide net neutrality! All ISPs are doing something similar.
David_Fitzy 14th August 2007, 20:33 Quote
We don't need net neutrality we need data centric networking It's a long video but extremely interesting (once you get past the awfully long introduction to the speaker). If Van manages to make this revolution happen it'd be beneficial for ISPs to give you big fat interweb pipes.

Basically data is encrypted & signed and can be accessed from anywhere it's been downloaded to. So an ISP can reduce it's backbone bandwidth usage by increasing users bandwidth. A lot of data requested will come from other users of that ISP kinda like an intelligent universal bittorrent. It also would implicitly create net neutrality because as Van puts it if you move bits you are part of a network. ISPs wouldn't be able to hold connectivity or speed to ransom because there will be another way to communicate in the video he gives the example of uploading data to an aeroplane then downloading it once it's reached it's destination.

Watch the video it'll do a much better job explaining this than I can.
Tokukachi 14th August 2007, 21:04 Quote
Much like sgr55 said, we pay arrond £25k a month for a 155 central (we have 3 at the moment but are moving provider). If you want 8 mbit a day, all day, we can fit 18 people on it.

Thats £1400 each, and we have not yet paid BT for the tails, or included the bandwith charges from our peering partners.

Then we need to add the cost of running and maitaining it, the support staff etc. Oh and lets not forget recouping the £50k it cost to have the central put in..

if you want to pay £2000 a month for your net access then go ahead...
Kipman725 14th August 2007, 23:47 Quote
I am with tisacli although not willingly (my parents are too lazy to change ISP). The speeds used to be awful and ping bad after the first month (I think they gave you higher priority while you could still cancel as it suddenly got slower). Later on the speeds improved but Bit torrent stopped working properly (very very annoying as I like to try out lots of operating systems and I feel bad running up peoples hosting bill) but packet loss and ping have improved a lot. Frequently we used to get emails telling us that we used too much bandwidth and then for a month or so internet access would be super slow and DNS sometimes unreachable as we had been put in some remedial group of "heavy users". The way round this was to switch to there bissinous package which has no fair usage policy and was cheaper, but the bit torrent problem is still there. They sold us unlimited internet originally, I think restricting bit torrent is not unlimited.

Tiscalis filtering is also annoying as encrypted bit torrent doesn't help as it looks at the patten of packets and not the header. Bit torrent isn't even very good for illegal files as its very easy to see what everyone's downloading so I don't understand why it's blocked.
completemadness 15th August 2007, 00:55 Quote
this is f****** ridiculous

I pay for 2mb Internet (well up to 8mb but i know its only 2mb)
Why cant i utilise all 2mb all day every day, i pay for it, i should get what i want

And even if the "fair use" crap says i have a bandwidth of 20gb, why does any of it have to be throttled, I'm paying for 2mb, not 2mb when no-one else wants to use the Internet

This is only a problem because ISP's in the UK are too f****** cheap to actually put in a network that supports enough speed so there isn't huge congestion's
samkiller42 15th August 2007, 02:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Article
"Our position is that high bandwidth content services like iPlayer are being launched without proper attention to the cost of delivery," said internet service provider Tiscali.
Does this surpirse me? NO, not in the slightest. In some respects, there are two many ISP's operating in the UK, and not many offer what people want.

Sam
Cobalt 15th August 2007, 02:50 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by completemadness
This is only a problem because ISP's in the UK are too f****** cheap to actually put in a network that supports enough speed so there isn't huge congestion's

Seeing as there is really only one network for most ISPs its actually just BT being lazy.

I'm with Virgin Media and I get close to 4Mb during the day and half that at night (why they do this is beyond me but it isn't much of a problem). I am a very heavy internet user and apart from sending me letters offering their business package they haven't made any fuss.
Sonny 15th August 2007, 05:19 Quote
"So what we have here is an ISP acknowledging that there could be congestion on the internet in the future. But instead of making sure that its equipment and hardware can handle the copious amounts of traffic with ease, it's putting the blame on companies who are actually listening to what their customers want. Go figure."

This is really starting to surface as a possible long term problem, even beyond net neutrality. The internet is being used more and more to exclusively host communications and media content, and as our hard drives get bigger and increase in number around the world, will the tubes simply not keep up? Are telecommunications companies being hindered as a subsidized commodity to the point that a free market would fail? That being, they charge customers whatever in order to develop and upgrade tube technology, but competition keeps prices healthy for said customer.

Sorry if I screwed up the way one should quote from the article, noob here.
sinizterguy 15th August 2007, 13:29 Quote
If I pay for 8mb I want 8mb. It can have the advertised contention ratio of 50:1, but I dont want them throttling, prioritising, filtering, monitoring or messing with my traffic. Sure I might not get the advertised speeds during peak time. But they advertise a 50:1 contention ratio and they should be forced to keep it. Not load 32k customers or whatever onto one central pipe. I dont mind paying more the £14.99 or whatever it is that seems to be average now.

As it stands I pay £24 for Be internet - completely unlimited.
Hack'n'Slash 15th August 2007, 16:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bungle
Hardly suprising TBH, the hardware costs for installing new fibre optic networks is a costly business How much!. Companies such as BT are going to be naturally cautious unless they can be convinced that the demand is there and people are willing to front the money to pay for these improved services. After what happened in the dot com boom and bust, I'm not surprised companies are slow on the uptake. We'll get there eventually but companies are gonna take small steps before trying to leap forward.


Didn't BT want to do this a couple of decades ago and Maggie told them to sod off?
yodasarmpit 15th August 2007, 16:40 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hack'n'Slash
Didn't BT want to do this a couple of decades ago and Maggie told them to sod off?

From the link in your quote
Quote:
Sir Christopher questioned whether “most consumers” would need broadband speeds of more than 16 or 24 mbps, but accepted some businesses might do.
haha, famous last words.
specofdust 15th August 2007, 16:54 Quote
IT's not even the speeds consumers need. It's just the reliable bandwidth. We need the network to be able to provide everyone with say, 10mbit/s, whenever they choose to use it. Who cares how fast the tap flows if it's only turned on half the day?
completemadness 15th August 2007, 20:31 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by sinizterguy
As it stands I pay £24 for Be internet - completely unlimited.
might want to go check your contract

its not unlimited, they have a "fair use" so they will cut you off if you use more then an undisclosed bandwidth a month
I think unofficially its rumoured to be like 60gb a month ?
LeMaltor 16th August 2007, 13:02 Quote
I went to the supermarket and was told I could have a trolly but they only had 7 items or less tills :(
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