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Verizon Policy Statement on Net Neutrality



>Can we stop the disingenuity? 
>
>Asymmetric service was introduced to discourage home users from deploying "commercial" services. As were bandwidth caps. 
>
>One can argue all sorts of other "benefits" of this but when this started that was the problem on the table: How do we forcibly distinguish commercial (i.e., more expensive) from non-commercial usage? 
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>Answer: Give them a lot less upload than download bandwidth. 

Not true.  Asymmetric service was a response to users wanting more downstream bandwidth and willing to give up bandwidth upstream.  It's simple math.  A copper media supports so much bandwidth period.  You can have that bandwidth in any direction you want and the users wanted it downstream.  In our case at InterAccess Chicago, we offered SDSL to both residential and business customers.  The distinction between business class and residential service was that business class came with public static addresses where that was an optional extra on residential service.  There was also a acceptable usage agreement on the residential side about hosting high bandwidth commercial servers (which was not enforced unless an aggregious case occurred.  It just turns out that most residential users found ADSL a better fit for what they did and I think in most cases that is still true.

>
>Originally these asymmetric, typically DSL, links were hundreds of kbits upstream, not a lot more than a dial-up line. 
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>That and NAT thereby making it difficult -- not impossible, the savvy were in the noise -- to map domain names to permanent IP addresses. 
>

Wrong again,  the DSL was much faster than a dial up from the beginning.  The original offering was SDSL with speeds ranging from about 128 kbit to 1.5 mbps which were much faster than any modem ever available.  The other compelling thing about DSL was that it was an "always on" service that did not require you to have a phone line or ISDN line from the phone company that you paid for in addition to your ISP services.  At the time, an ISDN circuit cost about $40 a month and there was about a 5 cent charge every time you dialed up a B channel.  In our area there was not a per minute charge so it was to your advantage to leave your B channels nailed up.  I remember customers running up thousands of dollars in calls when they misconfigured their equipment to dial on demand and racked up tons of calls.  We originally offered SDSL at $80 per month at whatever speed we could get that line to run at (typically between 512K and 1.5 mbps) which was quite a bargin compared to the ISDN is replaced.  Our focus was businesses but we offered residential service as well at $60 per month with private addresses.  If I remember right, public IP addresses were a $10 a month option so you would hit the business price if you had more than two of them.

As far as block services to residential users.  We did block some ports toward the user to protect them from themselves.  Especially port 25.  Open mail relay was a huge issue back then so we default blocked it for residential users, however if you called support and asked it to be unblocked, we would give you the open relay caution and open it for you.  If you spammed the world, you got dumped as a customer.  In those days reputation matters and we tried to be good Internet cops when it came to abuse.

When ADSL was originally offered we avoided it because most of our customers were businesses but we started losing business on the residential side because people would rather have the downstream bandwidth increase of the ADSL service.  That is when we started offering the ADSL service targeted at residential users.  We would have preferred doing all SDSL because then we would not have to dedicate card slots in the DSLAMs to two different services.  It would have been much more efficient to be able to utilize every port on every slot rather than tie a card up with just a couple users.  We did not really care which sold except that there is much less churn in business users so cost of provisioning is overall lower.  The DSLAM backhaul was shared ATM circuits so the traffic was not any different to us other than the residential users hitting a NAT.

If you wanted static addresses, they were always available.  Free with business class service and an additional cost per public IP on the residential side.  We had no problem with people having a web server at home on a residential service as long as it was not a huge commercial bandwidth hog.  We adjusted the pricing of speeds and public address space in a way that made it more cost effective to buy the right service based on how you used the service.  We really tried not to get into the business of policing the residential vs business class for three main reasons.  1. It was hard to do.  Very labor intensive to try to monitor traffic.  2.  The geeks beating up the residential service are also the early adopters and can be advocates for you if you don't pick on them.  3. Who cares?  The businesses kept us busy during the day and the residential kept us busy at night.  The backhaul from the CO is not the issue, it is the cost of the upstream services which we have to buy on a 24/7 basis.

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>That's all this was about. 
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>It's not about "that's all they need", "that's all they want", etc. 

Of course it is.  Anyone who was an ISP knows that their customers were all about download speeds and whomever could offer the fastest downloads for the lowest price wins the customer.  Since the dawn of the ISP, it has been about download speed as the user's number one priority.  Anyone remember the modem wars (the competing 56k standards)?  It was all about speed and still is.  In my opinion, there are only four factors that make an ISP successful at selling customers or not.  SPEED, COST, RELIABILITY, REACH.  In that order.  Speed they see every day, all day.  Cost they see once a month.  Reliability is something they don't think about until they have an outage. Reach allows you to service a customer or not, it also allows you to achieve an economy of scale where you can make money.

>
>Now that bandwidth is growing rapidly and asymmetric is often 10/50mbps or 20/100 it almost seems nonsensical in that regard, entire medium-sized ISPs ran on less than 10mbps symmetric not long ago. But it still imposes an upper >bound of sorts, along with addressing limitations and bandwidth caps. 

Of course there are upper bounds.  The point is that to make the upper bound as painless to the user as possible.  I happen to hate NAT but most users just don't care about it or even know what it is.  I have yet to see a service provider advertise that they offer the fastest UPSTREAM bandwidth of any other provider.  That tells me that the average user just does not care.  I don't believe for a minute that traffic is becoming more symmetric.  For every new social media site or backup service, there is a new streaming media provider in pro sports or a new video technology (like 4K or even 8K UHDTV) service that just crushes any upstream you can come up with.  Do you really believe that users creating content will EVER come close to the explosion that UHDTV with create in the opposite direction?

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>That's all this is about. 
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>The telcos for many decades distinguished "business" voice service from "residential" service, even for just one phone line, though they mostly just winged it and if they declared you were defrauding them by using a residential line >for a business they might shut you off and/or back bill you. Residential was quite a bit cheaper, most importantly local "unlimited" (unmetered) talk was only available on residential lines. Business lines were even coded 1MB (one m >b) service, one metered business (line). 

Are we talking about phones or Internet service here?  Business and residential phone service are different tariffs.  Residential tariffs and business tariffs are priced differently because the State utility boards try to keep residential service cheap as possible and use the business side service to subsidize the residential users.  Telcos were not early in offering Internet services.  Their early offerings were ISDN, Switched 56, and T-1 service.  All of those services did not offer "Internet" service.  They acted as a data pipe that you or your service provider leased to get your premise to your ISP.  The Telco could not have cared less what data you pushed over the line which was really a point-to-point pipe.  In fact, early ISPs gamed the Telcos a bit since we were using ISDN services and phone lines in ways that they were never intended to be used.  Keeping an ISDN circuit nailed up 24/7 for a usage charge of 10 cents per month (5 cents per B channel call) was not what was they expected and we know the phone network was not designed with people nailing up phone lines 24/7 with data calls.

Once the LECs started getting into the Internet business, they had to find a way to fit their services into the existing tariff structure.  Not because they wanted to but because the State commissions required them to do so.  If you think it took the LECs a long time to react to the Internet, it took the States even longer.  When we became a CLEC to offer DSL services, we had to publish a tariff which the State pretty much ignored completely. When Ameritech (begot SBC, begot AT&T again) publishes a tariff it is a huge political football that everyone wants to play with.  Here is a synopsis of ISP vs LEC history.  ADSL kind of forced the tariff issue since they were running data service over an existing phone line that was already tariffed meaning the service had to be tariffed as well.

1. First we hosed them by nailing their phone lines and ISDN circuits 24/7 and they LECs lost a ton on it.
2. They hosed us by making it almost impossible to access the copper infrastructure.
3. The telecom act allowed us to hose them back by giving us access to a large amount of the LEC infrastructure with little or no capital investment in their construction.  DSL exploded. So did the number of ISPs competing for the same customers.  Some owned their own equipment and backbone.  Lots of others bought access from wholesalers are were nothing more than marketing and sales engines.
4. The ISPs ate each other up in a race to the bottom trying to offer DSL service for $9.95 a month (remember Northpoint wholesaling DSL service to anyone wanting to call themselves an ISP).
5. The LEC finally got a clue and together with the cable providers killed off the traditional ISP by offering the same services over their existing infrastructure with less overhead.

Steven Naslund
Chicago IL