I just saw on the local news that Verizon is "continuing to evaluate" caps for both FiOS and DSL users.
Seriously, my son just got one year subscription to XBOX. I was just about to get NETFLIX (and cancel all of my verizon TV services, (They are raising the rates again, including rental boxes). My daughter has an iTune card full of points still.My wife uses Hulu and online shopping. My porn stash is not complete yet (haha just kidding). Whar will we do?
I think I heard they will charge as much as $10.00 for each 50 GB above the cap. **bleep**, I can rack that up pretty quick with all of the existing services that we already use. This is a greedy scam by Verizon.
If a cap is in place, I will completely cancel ALL of my verizon services. Go satellite for TV and keep my Cricket phone as my primary phone. The hell with internet I gew up without it and a much better person becuse of that.
Verizon isn't the only ISP "evaluating" this option. The crappy economy hurts businesses too, so many companies are investgating all money-making options. However, they have to weigh any potential profit gain against the inevitable customer loss. (Trust me, you're not the only one who would cancel.) Until it looks like enough customers will stay and/or their major competition implements a data cap as well, I don't think they'll risk the loss.
Right there with you on cancelling if they do, though. Gaming (both PC and XBOX), Netflix, Hulu, Pandora... not to mention all of the normal browsing activity. We're a very data-intensive household. 😉
07-05-2011 01:54 PM - edited 07-05-2011 02:05 PM
I read about this as well. Once an official mention of caps comes out you can probably place bets on where I'll be off to. Here at my home, despite us being heavy Internet users, we're physically "capped" by the speed of our line. A 1Mbps/384kbps connection limits us to roughly 302GB of downloaded data a month, and 103GB of uploaded data a month. Obviously we don't run our connection full bore and use that much, but we're running it long enough to have no issue consuming close to 50% of what we could use in a month assuming it's a 30 day month. So yeah, we're physically capped by speed being on DSL, and once "Artificial" data caps come out, it'll be a not so nice thing to be paying for.
A good example of how bad caps are would be while I was on vacation last week. Even on vacation I use the Internet for entertainment and work. I don't watch what's on TV so I use the Internet for such content, and while I'm away I have to keep an eye on servers, take care of the typical PC maintenance, upload and download data frequently, you name it. I was at a resort that had two different Internet connections, with the Hotel being fed out of a 3Mbps/768kbps Verizon DSL connection, and the rest of the building (more broken part of the network) running off of a 10Mbps/2Mbps HFC Armstrong connection. The Verizon connection kept dropping out at random intervals due to the bad condition of the line, ranging anywhere from a few minutes of uptime to a few hours of uptime. Each time the line dropped, I'd lose SSH connectivity, transfers would completely die, you name it. When it came back online, everything would require a restart simply due to the IP address changing and connections timing out. SSH would require a re-connect, FTP transfers would require a delete and start-over, and downloads would have to start over from the beginng. I eventually got annoyed by that, and when I could, I found a spot that had working Wi-Fi or Ethernet and used their Cable connection to get work done. I had no issue transferring what I could while my battery lasted on the laptop.
Now, where do data caps fall into this story you might ask though? Well, consider the fact that before I left on vacation in case I ever needed it, I was lended a Verizon 3G MiFi device with a 3GB data limit on it, and $10 per Gigabyte overage. I was given this just in case the resort decided to go back to their old way of charging $20 for a day of Internet use back when they had two broken T1 lines that were always loaded down beyond belief. Well, even though the Internet usage was free at the resort and I couldn't complain about the connectivity not being perfect, I had to fall back to the 3G device simply due to how often the DSL in the Hotel kept disconnecting. Getting 3Mbps download and upload on the MiFi was nice to see, but of course, if it weren't for me monitoring the usage via the MiFi's built-in web server, I would have blown right through the data cap in no time. Within an hour 45% of the data cap was gone, and that was from no more than some simple YouTubing (I watch YouTube in HD; this is not 2003 anymore!), some e-mailing, and some server work and management. Trust me, it wasn't a nice feeling sitting there watching the cap being eaten away by something simple.
I realize a Wireless service is going to get congested as well, along with Wireline services if there's a sudden spike in demand but data caps on wireline services have never been justified by any company as being needed. If you read into the Press Reports and statements like I do, there's always a money trail somewhere along the line. Just look at what Bell Canada got bashed for a few years ago if you want to see what I mean. Their exchanges had very low utilization throughout the year, and yet they continued to say it was to avoid congestion. Now their UBB plan they're getting put into hot water for was meant to further cap a non-congested, smoothly running network. Forward up to recently, you see a large provider, AT&T adding in data usage caps to simply protect their TV business (which is a slowly dying business; no one wishes to admit it at the corporate level!) with no sign of constant congestion on their core network as well. I've always known AT&T to screw around with Quality of Service with their peering providers, giving AT&T customers priority to the network leaving everyone else in the dust (see World of Warcraft forums, as an example), but like I said, no issue what so ever with their network. They chose to use IPTV systems via VDSL/VDSL2 setups called U-Verse, and yeah while the picture quality looks like something that would come out of YouTube back in 2007 since U-Verse was mainly built around severely distance limited VDSL, they haven't complained about congestion on the V-RADs, congestion inside of their Internal network or their transit network.
I can go on all day with the subject, but the way I see it, it's publicly traded businesses running like a business a shareholder would want to see. Nothing wrong with that :). There is a fine line between making profits to please shareholders and simply pleasing the general public to please Shareholders. When Verizon introduced FiOS, it obviously left Shareholders in a not so certain position due to the proposed cost of the project, but it really set a future for the company; offering a high-end residential network unmatched by copper services provided it's maintained, and also gave Verizon additional avenues to generate money. Data caps were never considered in any network design (which is why we don't see uncapped FiOS connections with data limits like Cell Phone service), but instead physical data limits via provisioning were considered as a part of the design. FiOS is a money maker for as long as Verizon wishes to make it, but the data limits will harm the appeal of the product, and over time will not please shareholders. Just think of it this way; I run a computer helpdesk on my free time when I'm not dealing with my daytime job. What do you think would happen if I decided to put a cap on the amount of time people could talk to me on the phone, or the amount of times they could ask for help? Yeah, they might be fine with it at first but once they get caught in a situation where they absolutely need me and I turn them down for exceeding an artificial limit, they go to someone else who will. I obviously have a physical capacity as to how much work I can do in a set amount of time, and if I wished to increase capacity I open up alternate means of contacting me or get another person involved to handle the load, but there isn't a reason as to why I should simply say "Sorry Sir/Mam, you've exceeded your help time! Please pay me $50 for additional time."
Hope I've made myself clear. Caps are nothing in any balance sheet or network engineering plan unless they are backed up, in raw form, by non-redacted, unedited, truthful data that is placed in the public domain (yes, including those precious trade secrets that no one spits out). If Verizon or another company cannot afford for data services to trump existing products, they shouldn't have entered the business anyways (I am well aware of the thing called Risk in business, though!). There will be a time where a company doing things just because they can will get a fire lit under them and be asked to spit up information. Like mentioned above, but this time with the local cable company, when Time Warner tried to cap their service, they got a fire lit under them, people fought against them, and news outlets began to tell the deal to the masses. They had to back down because they couldn't prove that caps were needed (besides hiding behind a legal wall of text), and the geeks clearly pointed out everywhere that they were skimping on upgrades to their network, something Time Warner made clear to everyone in press releases.
I think the issue of caps may well come down to how it's implemented. If they go the route where such caps are targeted such that only the top 1% or 5% of users actually hit the cap, then this might not be so bad. The reality is that those top 1% of users probably consume more than 50% of the overall bandwidth -- they are, in not so gentle terms, bandwidth hogs who are unduly impacting the operation of the service for everyone else.
Now, I use a lot of data per month. I watch a few movies, I stream radio, play games, etc. just like many other customers. But I also work a third of the day -- during which time my usage is substantially lower since I'm not home and I sleep about a third of the day during which time my usage is pretty much non-existent (although I can't say if I've been sleep-surfing anytime recently). I'd say with that pretty typical profile, I'm probably like many many other customers and squarely somewhere in the middle of the pack. Nowhere near the top -- and thus likely never to see a "cap" if it's implemented in the manner above.
This is, of course, a slippery slope since the top 1% will be encouraged to drop their usage or leave -- and if they do, then there will be a new top 1% with "lower" usage which will now be subject to that cap. Obviously, this has to be accounted for in any kind of cap strategy such that growing capacity and demands don't ultimately end up making everyone a "top consumer" or so artificially constrain utilization that no one can realistic use the service. To be effective, the cap needs to align itself with some form of typical "national average" that is not ISP specific -- but reflects the typical utilization of a home consumer who participates in a variety of data intensive activities throughout the day but aren't being atypical in their consumption -- and thus typical users should never see a "cap" kind of scenario.