Imagine paying for 50mb/s internet and only getting 23mb/s. So you upgrade to the 75mb/s plan and now your real speed is 46mb/s. Why couldn't you get that higher speed for the original plan? It seems bizarre that this setup would be legal anywhere in any country.
If you can simply provide "up to" on something, then I wanna sell you a box for ten bucks that contains up to a million dollars!
Edit: Obviously speed depends on a million factors, but I don't know if I've ever experienced even half the speed I was paying for, even when I control both end points.
In reality you'd probably still get 23 after upgrading. The state of New York is suing Spectrum over this issue; customers complained about slow speeds so Spectrum told them to upgrade to a faster plan but their speeds didn't improve at all because the congestion was still there.
I mean it makes perfect sense. And oh, what fire it would light under their asses.
However, the present system is so bad that it routinely fails at (eg) streaming Netflix even though this uses less than your advertised bandwidth (by a wide margin).
So at present, it would just be a matter of automatic documentation of failures -- and the situation would be much improved if we were up against the limit you propose.
I had Spectrum when I moved from NYC. I probably got 50/50 out of the 100/100 and during times of high traffic (dinner until 11) it was probably more like 20/20. I called, they said eh, you can pay 250 to get a better connection put in.
In my experience, the internet available in NYC is way better than most suburban or rural places in the US. 50/50 is actually pretty good, if that's what you were getting - that's like 5 high-definition video streams both up and down.
Few have 1gbps...
I just got my FTTB NBN last week and I’m getting 94/34. I am over the moon, which will doubtless make some here chuckle. That’s an epic connection for Australia.
(Theoretical max for FTTB VDSL is 100/40.)
I'd say inner suburbs like Fitzroy are probably batting above average. You've got much shorter distances to the DSLAMs there for ADSL2, and more businesses which means more infrastructure.
Obviously the average and median are going to go way up now that they're connecting FTTN and HFC everywhere. From the people I've talked to, the average seems to be around 20-30Mb/s. My parent's house is actually slower now that they've officially installed HFC there (they were getting 30Mb/s on cable, now 20) :/
Woeful is definitely a good word for it. Clusterfuck would be up there too.
Edit: I realize it isn't a good joke.
I probably use around 5TB of data per month as well.
In Poland I ave 300/30 Mbit (they connected fiber to my house recently) for 50 PLN (it is about 19 NZD, or 13 USD) per month. They offer 600/60 in some cities (where there is more competition), but I don't know the price, I think is is more in 80PLN range. And plan to start also 1 gbit plan (probably with 100 Mbit uplink).
I use the G Suite Google Drive and get nearly full gbit while up and downloading.
Nope, 100% unlimited. Metered connections were a thing here 5 years ago, nowdays you generally get 80GB or so to start with and can upgrade to unlimited for a little extra. I pay $129 NZD ($91 USD~) per month for my unlimited almost-gigabit connection which is the most expensive residential tier available, and I can pick from any number of ISPs (there's like 5 major ones and plenty of tiny players) as the infrastructure is shared, unlike what you see in the U.S. with the cable companies.
The move to fiber (it ends on my box) was awesome.
Measured at the demarc Ethernet segment, L2 throughput including framing overhead, with a single TCP stream to a server I control that is about 1000 miles away.
The effect is, for say 40MBps VDSL (the service most UK households with "broadband" use, almost always ultimately delivered through a copper telephone cable from BT's Openreach last mile subsidiary) all the ISPs will advertise that as "up to 38Mbps" because at least 10% of their customers can get 38Mbps out of that link. Nobody gets 50Mbps, the link layer is throttled because they're on a 40Mbps product, but plenty of people absolutely will get 40Mbps even though the advert said "up to 38Mbps".
That includes my very tech-savvy ISP which is obliged to say "up to 38Mbps" in big print everywhere even though it explains that you're buying the 40Mbps VDSL service and talks about deep network internals, and even though its customers usually know exactly what speed they'll get (I get 40Mbps) because they're technical people and know how to measure.
Now, suppose you're one of the people getting 30Mbps from the 40Mbps VDSL product. Should you upgrade? There's an "up to 76Mbps" product advertised by your supplier, surely that would be faster? No. All the "up to 76Mbps" product does is change the throttle to 80Mbps, and you aren't impacted by the throttle so the product will simply cost more and achieve nothing.
Now, in fact under those rules an ISP had an incentive NOT to sell you the expensive product, because if they give you the 80Mbps product then you hurt their "up to 76Mbps" averages and make it harder to sell the product.
The result of _that_ change to the market was ISPs would have a headline product advertised heavily e.g. "Guaranteed at least 60Mbps for £24.99 per month" and then if they couldn't meet the guarantee for a particular customer they wouldn't magically fix things to go faster, they would simply say "Ah, you don't qualify for that offer, you can have a refund and the service stops, or pay £9.99 per month for our other product "Guaranteed 10Mbps" which we're meeting.
The ideology behind all this stuff is that our old friend the "invisible hand" will fix it. But er, no. There is actually only one last mile technology involved (for people in most cities there is a competitor, Cable TV cables, but that's a whole separate ball of wax) and it's VDSL offered at speeds set by the wholesaler. It will perform exactly the same whether you buy your "service" from an ISP with a call centre staff in India that uses a purple logo and has a chimp mascot, or you buy "service" from two blokes named James who work out of a rented office in Liverpool, because the "ISP" part is trivial and largely irrelevant except for branding, and the last mile part is a natural monopoly provided always by the exact same engineers, same copper cables, same everything.
If you consume a lot of video online, the caps can be hit surprisingly quickly.
I don't need a guarantee. I want per-mbit prices. Like you pay what you get. Limit the rate by saying: I will pay up to 100mbit for example.
Then the can give you less for less money. But this would not be in their interest anymore.
This is not unique to ISPs. You can buy an over-subscribed VPS for a fraction of the cost of a dedicated server.
Unfortunately, what they are advertising is something quite different, and the claims made are often wildly inaccurate.
Over-subscription of shared resources for efficiency is one thing, but misleading advertising is something quite different. Frankly, if they get their maths wrong and consequently fail to provide the expected level of service, that's on them anyway.
For example, if an ISP is offering several levels of service with speeds up to X, Y and Z (in increasing order), it's clearly unexpected from a customer's point of view for an ISP to move them from X to Y or Y to Z if the customer is already getting below the upper bound speed on their current plan and has no prospect of getting a faster speed in return for the presumably higher charge for a "faster" plan.
Likewise, if there is no realistic prospect of a customer achieving anywhere near the X in "up to X", it's misleading for the ISP to offer them service on that basis.
I don't really know how you fix it though. Would selling priority be enough?
Priority 1: "For gaming and other high performance needs. Typical ping: Xms, Typical throughput: Y/Mbps"
Priority 2: "Perfect for causal streaming and general internet usage..."
Priority 3: "Affordable internet and good performance on off-peak hours..."
The electricity grid is oversold. Do you normally notice that? No!
The flight network is oversold. Do you normally notice that? Not really. And if you do, they have to pay you for failure to perform, cover your costs ...
So, they get to decide whatever bandwidth they want to advertise, possibly they could reserve the right to cancel the contract if the line turns out to be too bad after all (in which case you obviously don't have to pay anything), and then they have to make sure that you never notice that the network is actually oversold by monitoring load and adding capacity to their network as needed to avoid congestion. Up to three minutes of congestion per month is acceptable. Beyond that, they have to reimburse your payment for the month because of failure to perform.
Obviously, it is perfectly fine to advertise different speeds for different times of the day, as long as you don't advertise "1 Gb/s" and then a footnote saying "from 3 am to 4 am, otherwise 10 Mb/s". Or you could advertise burstable service ("100 Mb/s, 10 minutes burstable to 1 Gb/s").
I don't thing changing the marketing rules will suddenly bring about the sweeping infrastructure changes you imagine.
The point of actually transparent marketing is not to directly improve the connectivity you get, but to enable a market to actually work. If customers cannot know what service they will be getting for their money, then competition cannot possibly work. Imagine all packages in the grocery store were labeled with "up to 1 liter" or "up to 1 kg", and no way to weigh them yourself before you buy them ... how would that possibly allow the better product to win out? What if someone truthfully labeled their product "100 g" ... how could people figure out whether that's the better product than the "up to 1 kg" package right next to it?
Nothing guarantees that better products would actually happen, but at least, if they do get offered, customers would have some chance to actually know, and thus for the better product to gain customers.
It's not totally meaningless, and people would understand what it actually means https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Best-effort_delivery.
> There is no fundamental reason why an ISP could not provide you full 100 Gb/s duplex 24/7 at any point whatsoever on this planet
Well yeah... with enough money. I guarantee that you wouldn't like looking your internet bill when you have those kinds of guarantees.
> What if someone truthfully labeled their product "100 g"
The internet version of this would be 100Mb guaranteed with an SLA. Or 'business class internet' which few consumers buy because it's expensive. It's not like it isn't available -- it's popular among streamers.
Please don't quote out of context.
Also, as you claim that it is not totally meaningless in this context: Assume an offer of "best effort internet, capped at 100 Mb/s". Please tell me what actual bandwidth I can expect to achieve 90% of the time, and how you derived that value from that offer.
> Well yeah... with enough money. I guarantee that you wouldn't like looking your internet bill when you have those kinds of guarantees.
You are simply missing the point.
> The internet version of this would be 100Mb guaranteed with an SLA. Or 'business class internet' which few consumers buy because it's expensive. It's not like it isn't available -- it's popular among streamers.
No, it's not. There are other possibilities besides "you have a 100% guarantee that 100 Mb/s is available every second of every day" and "if you are lucky, some of your packets may get delivered".
Also, how exactly would a product become more expensive merely because the ISP told you what the product actually is? If an ISP connects up to 10 1 Gb/s links to one 1 Gb/s uplink, say, how exactly does the price of that product become higher if the ISP told you that informartion (or equivalently, that you have a minimum bandwidth of 100 Mb/s available at all times)?!
Under your rule there would really be no way to sell 'best effort, capped at X' internet packages.
If you want to sell 'best effort, no promises' then don't make promises. Or promise something low, like "2mbps" or "2-20mbps".
The real disappointment comes when you can't reach the advertised speed for multiple hours every day. There is much less disappointment in the end if the advertised speed matches a state of moderate, everyday congestion.
1. Consumer/Residential: speed is "up to", throughput is highly asymmetrical, QoS is best effort, reliability is "mostly works", if you are lucky you will get a human if you call for support. If you complain about service typically the response is a shrug. Generally the service is whatever the provider defines it to be and you either buy it or you don't. Often static IP is not available. Cost: $20-100/mo.
2. Business: Sold by the same providers as #1. Much the same service, except (this varies) : dedicated channels on HFC, different traffic shaping, static IP allowed, perhaps even subnets, if you are really lucky reverse DNS is supported. Generally you get a human when you call support. If you complain about service they might do some basic investigation. In the case of our cableco they have different humans knocking on your door for install and trouble shooting (perhaps the more knowledgeable and more senior folks?). Cost: $50-200/mo
ISP upstream/Dedicated/Real Connectivity: The name varies but this what one of the parent posts calls "Business". The service an ISP would get, or a big tech company, etc. You typically get an SLA with specified maximum packet loss rates and latency profile. Throughput is symmetric. Local loop is typically fiber. You can run your own BGP, HSPR etc is supported. IPv6 is always available. You can call the provider's NOC directly and have a conversation about why they're dropping packets in one direction to some obscure peer somewhere in the world. They'll investigate and resolve the problem asap. If you accidentally power off your edge router one of their NOC staff will call your call phone within minutes asking why there's no traffic on your link. Cost: $1000/mo+
Source: I ran an ISP for 10 years.
You can't expect $50/month services advertised as offering "up to" a certain amount of bandwidth to give the same level of consistency.
So if an ISP has, say, a 25mbps, 50mbps, and 75mbps plan, the 50mbps plan has to provide 25 or more, and the 75mbps plan has to provide 50mbps or more.
I suspect a lot of BB speed complaints are down to poor wifi installations and local congestion in the wifi bands
I have a 500/500 line, and get guaranteed that it wont fall 10% below that. Most of the time I am really close to it or even above it. Right now I am seeing an anomaly 420/220. Not going to complain though, I only have this line because the other option was 20/2 for 80% of the price im paying now. Does help when getting or sending big files over for projects.
edit: speedtest was giving me a slow server, better results now http://www.speedtest.net/my-result/6690112916
The curves used to calculate speed over distance make bulk assumptions.
So, scratchcards then?
I was struggling to sync my emails, never mind watch Netflix.
I get 38% average packet loss over long time windows, and see 2500ms+ roundtrips to the next hop. If this area was served by Hyperoptic, I would have changed more than two years ago.
But if you want a fast, stable Internet connection, move out into a small country town with a 4G tower (doesn’t need to be NBN). There’s much less congestion. Look around for plans, as most are expensive; I use amaysim’s 50GB/$65/28 days which is about what ADSL2+ would be in the country. Living in Stawell (a few thousand people) I get 20–25/12Mbps with greater reliability than I ever got on ADSL2+. I shall be moving to Navarre soon (~100 people) and get 45/15Mbps there.
Another issue in small towns is that the moment a new tower needs to go up, there may be a low of community pushback (radiation! kids!). It's much better if the current one gets an upgrade.
Then there are cases like this: https://wangarattachronicle.com.au/2017/08/30/solar-flare-up...
I always imagine it like this:
Them: "This plan gives you up to 23mb/s."
Me: "So you're saying you guarantee I will not get more than 23mb/s?"
Me: "OK. I'll pay you up to $40 a month for that."
Having their cake and eating it too!
In reality of course they still sell the same sort of cheap stuff but it's funny how the name has gone from a shop that guarantees cheap prices, to one that guarantees not to be really cheap, since any price is now valid except ones below $2.
One of the biggest problems in marketing that our team has come across, particularly in consumer broadband, is that as a company attempting to be open and honest about speeds and pricing, it can be hard to compete with the older players using bamboozling pricing and inflated speed claims to trick consumers thinking that they are giving a better deal.
These restrictions will level the playing field in the right direction for a more informed and better served consumer.
At a time of some very bad calls around internet legislation in the UK, this is finally a decision I think we can all applaud.
Despite their flaws, one thing I love about my ISP is that they openly publish the utilization MRTG graphs for their local fiber connection nodes.
So you can see where I live, they're starting to get close to saturation http://qos.plala.or.jp/traffic/flets/kagoshima.html but in other parts of the country they've already started to peak out http://qos.plala.or.jp/traffic/flets/chiba.html
Fractional reserve banking is actually in society's best interests: it's fine if the bank takes $100 in deposits, then loans out $80 or $90, rather than just having the money sitting in a vault doing nothing.
In the same way, it's probably better for the overall efficiency of communications for ISPs to oversell capacity and then allow bursting on top, rather than not overselling and wasting bandwidth when there's no congestion.
They face the same problem though: banks have an incentive to lower reserves until the smallest shock will bankrupt them, and ISPs make more money by overselling past what is wise or reasonable.
Same solution: for banks we regulate margin requirements, and for ISPs we should regulate how much they can oversell.
That's why people talk about banks being too big too fail now. If one bank fails, where do the loans go? No-one can pay off the loans immediately as they all only have 10% of the assets. So we can't call in all the loans. But another bank can't afford to buy the failed banks assets as they would have to up their reserve, but that money doesn't exist any more as the original bank is bust.
One large bank failing would mean a huge chunk of theoretical money would just, poof, disappear.
That's why some people say it's fraud, etc. Not that I'm agreeing one way or another, but $100 of deposits is worth much more than $90 in the system.
Here's a table showing the total money that could theoretically enter the system for each fractional reserve percentage:
I think it's much simpler in the case of ISPs, because there is no risk involved for the customer: You don't need to regulate how much they can oversell, but rather simply that the customer must not ever notice that the network is oversold.
First of all, only paying out part of the balance at once is very different from paying out part of the balance instead of the full balance. A bank can not unilaterally declare that their 100 dollar debt to you is paid by giving you 50 dollars. If they pay out 50 dollars, they still owe you 50 dollars.
But more importantly: No, they can not even unilaterally delay the payout. If you have demand deposits of a million bucks with a bank, that means that you can at any point demand they pay out a million bucks, and when you demand that, they are legally required to do so, and if they can't fulfill a legal obligation to pay, that is exactly the definition of bankruptcy. If they fail to immediately declare bankcruptcy, the management is on the hook for any losses due to that failure of theirs.
Banks might limit what their ATMs pay out per person per day or something, say, but that does not change anything about their obligation to fulfill any requests to pay out your balance immediately. Just because the ATM doesn't allow you to demand a payout of a million dollars, doesn't mean they have any legal option to refuse if you go to the cashier and express your demand that they pay out a million dollars right now. At best they might not have a million dollars on site, in which case they possibly might be allowed to have you wait for however long it takes to move the cash from the central bank to the branch that you are at, but that is certainly not more than a day.
Practically speaking though, what usually happens during a potential bank run is that governments declare a bank holiday, preventing customers from withdrawing funds.
That buys the government (and the bank) time to get their ducks in a row, line up bailouts, etc.
Things get a LOT worse if the bank is actually allowed to go under. Letting Bear Stearns and Lehman collapse was, in retrospect, probably a mistake that made the eventual bailout need to be larger.
But also, bankruptcy does not necessarily imply that the bank collapses: One way to resolve a bankruptcy is to obtain funds, possibly in the form of a bailout, that allow any demands to be fulfilled. Rather, bankruptcy is exactly the thing that allows the bank to refuse payouts even when it's not a bank holiday. The point is that once a bank has declared bankruptcy, it is not allowed to pay out to anyone anymore without oversight, because the bankruptcy proceedings are supposed to make sure that everyone that the bank is indebted to gets a fair share of the remaining assets--or possibly to find a solution that allows the bank to resume operations by accepting a later payout for some of its debts. The important point in all of this is that in any case, none of this can be used directly to increase the equity of the existing owners. If the bank has to obtain loans in order to fulfill its obligations, the interest on that is paid from equity. If there is no equity, the bank changes ownership (like, if the state bails out the bank, the state gets to own the bank). So, even if the bank might refuse to pay out under certain circumstances, the processes that get triggered by that have as their primary goal to make those payouts happen as soon as possible, not to allow the bank's owners to keep anything.
...and not one mention of the server at the other end. Whenever discussion of Internet connection speeds comes up, I always ask myself, "speed between what?" Even if you have a 1Gbps connection to your ISP, you're not going to get anywhere near that if the other end is on a different continent, a small site behind the Great Firewall of China, or a heavily overloaded server.
Thus, in some sense, ISPs have always been advertising maximum speeds, and even those expensive services with SLAs etc. very carefully define to what part of the connection such guarantees apply.
When car companies advertise the fuel efficiency of their cars those are realistic numbers for regular driving because there is a standardized testing protocol. You can trust the number because it is regulated, so why can't we hold ISPs to the same standard?
That I agree with --- the connection from your house to your ISP should always be at advertised speed, but beyond that it's basically impossible to guarantee anything.
Them selling you a fast speed is worthless if their peering points are saturated beyond any sane value.
Maybe not at every point in time (if you accept some overbooking), but that doesn't mean that you can't at least guarantee bandwidth for > 99% of the time.
The ISP's advertised bandwidth should be available essentially always, with rare exceptions for unusually high levels of traffic, between your connection point and some exchange location where other ISPs can interconnect with your ISP without paying your ISP any money. The ISP doesn't have to guarantee that every server is reachable at advertised speeds, but they should guarantee that if ever anyone wants to send packets in your direction at the speed of your link, they should be able to either bury their own lines or buy transit from a market of transit providers to deliver the packets to some point in their network, and that those will be delivered without major packet loss at full rate.
You can buy service like this, and you pay for it. At work, we have a 100 mbps line from Cogent, with dedicated bandwidth to their backbone. It's something like $500-700/month. At home, I've got an "up to 940 mbps" line from Verizon, that's usually about 900 mbps but sometimes can fall down to 500 or so. (It's 16 users sharing a GPON node so only 75 mbps per user if everyone is downloading at the same time). But it's only $90/month...
Also, how is "but we couldn't deliver that product at that price" in any way a justification for then simply delivering a different product under the same advertisement? If you cannot actually provide 940 Mb/s for 90 $/month, that's fine ... but then don't advertise it as such.
There is nothing wrong with overselling--but it should be the responsibility of the ISP to hide it. From what you write, it seems like what they are actually selling you would fairly be advertised as a 500 Mb/s link. There is no need to actually have reserved bandwidth for each customer, but the moment the ISP saturates a link for more than a few minutes per month, it should be their responsibility to add capacity, or to reduce advertised bandwidths. I as a customer cannot just go "paying the full price this month is too expensive, I'll only pay half", so why should it be an excuse for the ISP to say "building infrastructure to provide advertised services is too expensive, we'll only deliver half"!?
It's a different product delivered under a different advertisement. Business lines are advertised as "dedicated" X mbps. Consumer lines are advertised as "up to" X mbps. "Up to" does not mean "essentially always." If I see the Microsoft Store is having a sale of "up to $400 off on Surface Pros," I don't expect a $400 discount on "essentially all" the models--I know it's the high water mark.
Compare to how other over-subscribed systems are advertised. To pick a random example: https://www.serverhub.com/vps/ssd-cached. VPS servers are typically advertised as "4 cores." Are VPS providers ripping people off because you can't expect a $20/month VPS to get you 4 cores of throughput "essentially always?"
If it doesn't mean "essentially always", what does it possibly mean then? Sure, the literal reading suggests that anything that doesn't exceed X Mb/s is acceptable ... so not connecting the link at all is acceptable then, I suppose? If not, why not?
> If I see the Microsoft Store is having a sale of "up to $400 off on Surface Pros," I don't expect a $400 discount on "essentially all" the models--I know it's the high water mark.
Which is a nonsensical analogy, as one of these is about getting your attention (in order to then tell you the actual specific price of an actual specific product that you could buy if you wanted) while the other is about getting you to make a contract only to then have the other side decide what they actually want to deliver in exchange for your payments.
> Are VPS providers ripping people off because you can't expect a $20/month VPS to get you 4 cores of throughput "essentially always?"
How the fuck is it my problem that they advertise something that they cannot deliver?
If a provider cannot provide 4 cores, then they cannot advertise 4 cores, how could that possibly not be obvious? If you promise something, it is obviously no excuse to then claim "but you should have known that that was unrealistic!" It's your fucking responsibility if you make a promise to make sure you can fulfill it, and if you can't, to not make a promise.
How is a market supposed to work where advertisements are just non-binding suggestions? How the fuck am I supposed to select a provider for a given use/load if every provider can just excuse themselves from providing the advertised service by claiming that I should have known better than to believe their advertising? How should I even possibly know what prices are unrealistic if all prices are made-up bullshit?
Also, why is that only an option for the provider? Can I also just pay half because it should have been obvious that I don't really want to pay that much?
If you're paying 500-700$/month for a 100mbps line, then something seems very wrong.
Also, the price for these lines generally doesn't scale linearly: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1xF2Yo-3J2EUjLlsXFYE4... (a quote some random person posted).
Most people’s usage is bursty, so the present oversold state is probably the least bad option compared to having a fixed <1Mbps line speed or paying thousands per month for a truly dedicated 50-100Mbps.
That's why the natural monopoly of the last mile should be owned by the municipality (the people in the area) and competition should begin at designated peering points where backbone access can be brokered in an actually competitive way.
Moreover, there is actually quite a bit of competition in the dedicated bandwidth business line space. We were recently shopping around our contract at work and had at least 3-4 options IIRC.
Having the municipality own the infrastructure out to the peering point is a terrible idea. There's a lot of very expensive hardware between the fiber strand going to the customer site and the peering point.
I mean, yes, it's obvious that overselling is in the interest of customers, and as such customers should accept that under more or less exceptional circumstances the service does not reach the advertised performance, so you maybe shouldn't use it for stuff that reacts catastrophically when bandwidth requirements aren't being met, fine. But how is it anything but deception to advertise bandwidth that the user can as a matter of fact not expect to be available under normal circumstances?
For comparison, take electricity: My connection to the grid might be built to be able to supply 40 kW, say. Now, if everyone were to actually pull 40 kW from their connection at the same time, that absolutely would not work--but that does not mean that electricity supply is regularly insufficient for my needs. Except for very rare exceptions, everyone can always pull as much power as they currently need. There is no brownout when everyone is cooking in the evening (or whatever). The capacity of the network and generators is also oversold, but utilities still take care to ensure statistically that situations where the actual instantaneous demand is not being met are few and far between. I don't see how the same could not be done with IP connectivity--and how advertising anything for which this cannot be expected to work out is anything but simple deception. If you cannot supply 1 MW of electricity at some point in your network ... how does that legitimize advertising 1 MW connections and then simply lowering the voltage when the customer tries to actually use it?
In short: Overselling is fine, as long as your customer doesn't notice, except very rarely under exceptional circumstances. If some product doesn't work under those circumstances, you'll have to raise the price or lower the advertised bandwidth.
How else am I, as a customer, supposed to distinguish an offer that effectively is going to deliver only 50 Mb/s from one that actually does 100 Mb/s during peak times, if both are allowed to advertise as "up to 200 Mb/s"? Where is the incentive for ISPs going to come from when there is no limit on how much they can oversubscribe?
But it is exactly how it's done. The only ISPs that neglect even that are large evil monopolies, but since they are monopolies they can get away with a lot of things and ask 20x the price.
The other thing people don't seem to understand, is that guaranteed bandwidth is not about speed.
It isn't impossible, just too costly to the typical residential customer who expects to pay <<$100/mo.
We're going to have to act if we want to live in a different world.
That can be done with consumer broadband as well. The problem with current marketing practices (at least in this neck of the woods) is that you can have a defective line on the ISP's side of demarkation box or be renting defective equipment from them, and they will still try to deny responsibility. Then you have things like congestion. It may be mostly outside of the control of the ISP, yet it can still be estimated in order to ensure that marketing claims are in line with what is being provided.
The list of reasons provided by the article just reeks of blaming the consumer. Sure, the ISP should not be responsible for the consumer's poorly configured networks or computers. On the other hand, they should be accountable for problems on their end or misrepresentation of service levels.
I run some traffic heavy servers and even while my servers can be perfectly capable of pushing more, one of the links between me and you is congested so we're both getting shafted. Cogent is especially guilty of this.
Basically the entire Internet is a mess, last mile is a problem, but so is all the major interchange points between carriers.
This article is about the UK, where most people with broadband Internet get it via their telephone line, ie VDSL, and so aren't subject to congestion in the last mile.
In most cases this means their "speed" is a property of the VDSL standard, the length and quality of copper cable in the ground between them and the VDSL node (a relatively new bigger green street cabinet for most of them, vaguely near their older smaller "BT" cabinet).
VDSL works basically the same way as your ancient "analogue" telephone modem, except with way, way higher frequencies and more sophisticated encoding because it wasn't designed to cost $10 and work over actual telephone calls, just make it for about a mile down a copper cable to a $$$$ specialist box.
Short, high quality telephone cables can easily support the same sort of bandwidth you regularly see from say, 100baseT, ie 100Mbps. But very long, poor quality ones will do much worse, VDSL needs to tweak things to give those poor souls some sort of service, while also delivering a really good service to people who are closer, as automatically as possible. Higher frequencies get smushed worse over distance, so the closer people get a wider _band_ of frequencies, more literal _bandwidth_. The consumer equipment and the big green box in the street negotiate how best to get a signal between them, then if necessary the big green box throttles this down to an agreed speed, the actual "maximum" which may be higher than the advertised "Up to..." speed in countries where a regulator demanded such a pointless change to advertising.
The end result is usually if you live 100 metres from the cabinet, you get nice fast broadband and it doesn't matter which ISP you pick. And if you live two miles from the cabinet you get shitty ADSL at 1Mbps and can't watch Netflix and again, it still doesn't matter which ISP you pick.
So in a way the irony is that ISPs advertise speed at all. Speed has almost nothing to do with your ISP if you're using VDSL, which most UK households are. Imagine if car manufacturers started advertising the quality of roads you can drive on. It's the same roads for all manufacturers - who cares?
It's been a while since I was in the UK internet industry but I think most of them are using ADSL with VDSL generally only used for fibre or "business class" connections.
> a little over half of the country still subscribe to the much slower and less reliable ADSL (up to 8-20Mbps) based pure copper line services.
Still true that the problem often is more the peering than internal infrastructure, yeah.
I typically receive the correct up/down ratio, though intermittent issues may lower it for a day or less. Though various ISPs over the years. It would be nice to have a consistent as-advertised speed though if you happen to live in an area where that isn't happening.
I am getting 40/30 here in London whereas speedtest.net gives me 900/900.
That is a massive difference.
Looking at their servers... okay not so many.
But shouldnt the speeds be more correct, and only the ping higher for further away places?
But the wifi hotspot they provide is only capable of a small fraction of that (theoretically 130mbit, practically 70mbit), but you can get the full gigabit if you use ethernet. This discrepancy isn't mentioned at any point until you start digging around in the FAQs or in some forums around the internet:
But I plugged in a proper wifi hotspot (one capable of at least gigabit) and I got the full advertised speed.
I believe this is an intentional trick to avoid saturation of their network.
I went with a smaller ISP (Fast.co.uk - those guys are brilliant!) and immediately started getting around 6 MB. Same computer, same router and same lines as before.
It boggled my mind that a big ISP could get away with this borderline fraudulent behaviour.
I tell them that all of my devices are newer and therefore do not have ethernet. And I point out that all of the service techs they send out do not have ethernet-equipped devices either.
This generally does not convince them. Sometimes they are convinced if I can do a transfer over my network (Time Machine backups, etc.) to show that the wifi is blazing fast, and that the bottleneck is their connection.
These people on the phone can only work off their check lists, once they hear something that gives them an easy out they will start blaming you.
Just like how I'm right now using a spinning HDD over public internet via networked storage, and the bottleneck is... the storage driver peaking all CPUs at max. (spoiler: it's portworx). And obviously I am complaining, too.
Yes, Wi-Fi can have pretty decent bandwidth in the optimal case, but there are far too many uncontrollable variables for it to be possible to guarantee anything with it. It also makes perfect sense to want to exclude it as a variable before making a more thorough investigation.
If you bought a computer without Ethernet then that's on you, not your ISP. Fashion is not an excuse.
Does it make sense to "exclude it as a variable before making a more thorough investigation"? Yes. But if Comcast sends out techs who do not have ethernet-equipped hardware (as I pointed out in my original post), then it's silly of them to expect customers to all have ethernet-equipped hardware.
> Fashion is not an excuse
Oversimplification is not an excuse either.
Unless of course you are a wireless CCNA and have set up your wifi using professional standard gear.
If I buy a 50 Mbps plan, and I get 50 Mbps 60% of the time and between 20-30 Mbps 40% of the time, I could live with that.
My problem is that has never been my experience with major cable providers.
I pay for a 50 Mbps plan and get 20-30 Mbps 50% of the time and 10-20 Mbps 50% of the time. That's not simply a lack of a guarantee. That's a complete failure to provide the service that was advertised.
When I ran an ISP it was common for customers to run a speed test, see a speed less than they had paid for, and immediately call us. Often the reason was their router or their WiFi, or some flakyness in the speed test site, but sometimes it was our network. We always investigated and resolved the problem to restore their expected speed.
This being the case, I find it quite hard to believe that there are ISPs who as a matter of course just don't ever deliver the advertised speed. They would be receiving constant calls from disgruntled customers, which surely would cost them more to answer than it would cost to fix the network??
Normal day to day sites, no real difference. Loading up a steam game or the like, huuuuuge improvement. Also no talk about upload speeds which are an even bigger part of making the web faster.
going from 20 > 500 (and 2>500 up)
The upload makes it really nice, with all the cloud storage its really easy to back up a device in the cloud when I am wiping it. Faster than usb transfer.