Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Bandwidth Hogs a Myth

Yesterday, I put a post up talking about Net Neutrality and how I understood the issues facing Internet Service Providers (ISPs).  In my post I stated,
I do also understand the issues facing ISPs (Internet Service Providers),  who have argued that they need to be able to do packet shaping (slow down various types of traffic) in order to insure that everyone can have Internet access.
Well it appears I was wrong.  According to an article over at Ars Technica,  analyst (Benoit Felten), who is upset at bandwidth caps, has stated that bandwidth hogs are a myth. Felten contests that supposed 'bandwidth hogs' actually don't cause any problems for other users on an ISPs network and are thus unfairly targeted by ISPs that are 'unconfortable' with allowing people unlimited usage of the Internet and use caps to simply extract more money from its users.

I find Felten's ideas interesting.  Currently we and our political leaders are being sold this idea that if there are no caps, somehow the Internet will collapse.  But what if it is not true.  I always wondered about this since in many of the Asian countries they currently experience higher speeds online without any caps.  Actually, I have a friend in Hong Kong that talks about the fact that everyone there is a heavy downloader of content, yet have no problems with their Internet access. 

I have to wonder if download caps are simply there to protect other business.  If people can download as much as they want, they may pirate more or go to the TV networks sites and watch there shows there.  By having caps it insures that the ISPs will be able to maintain their cable businesses.

I hope that for all our sakes Felten is right.  We can't afford to not have a free Internet.  Its just to important.


  1. Yes. It is all a crock.

    In Canada our bandwidth speed is bad not because of user hogs but because of carrier hogs (Bell/Rogers). Instead of reinvesting the obscene profits they have made they have done virtually no upgrading, in Bell's case for 15 years.

    If the internet was actually close to being "full" the absolute LAST thing they would do is the Sandvine deep packet inspection throttling because it ADDS to congestion. They want to throttle to control, they want to cap because they want to gouge.

    They really want Usage Based Billing because they can double their profits and kill off those pesky independent ISPs. They don't HAVE to give good service/bandwidth because they are a virtual monopoly.


  2. I agree with you Laurel. I'm using Bell and I hate the bandwidth caps. I can't see really why I pay for for 6M down and yet never can hit that speed. Instead, I watch as a download will start off kind of fast then drop down in speed to about 100k. Its unexceptable.