[kwlug-disc] UBB CRTC decision to be reviewed ...

Chris Frey cdfrey at foursquare.net
Tue Feb 1 22:11:08 EST 2011

On Tue, Feb 01, 2011 at 08:18:52PM -0500, unsolicited at swiz.ca wrote:
> On Tue, 1 Feb 2011 19:36:26 -0500, Chris Frey <cdfrey at foursquare.net>
> wrote:
> > ... Bandwidth is not some
> > scarce resource
> But bandwidth is a scarce commodity, that is the root of all of this.

It's a finite resource, but it sure isn't scarce.  ISPs would like us
to think it is scarce, but it's not.  And $16 billion worth of new
infrastructure would go a long way.

I see reports of 15Mbps connections that routinely use 200gigs or more
traffic a month in the US, and apparently that was 4 years ago.

Assuming 3.42 gigs for 1 HD movie on Netflix, you'd have to watch
4 hours of movies every night in order to reach 200gig downloaded in the
month.  Not every household is capable of such butt-numbing feats. :-)

I'm sure existing networks, even in Canada, are already capable of this,
with the copper already in the ground.  This doesn't seem to be a "last
mile" problem.  I don't hear many people complaining of sluggish internet
anymore, and Netflix and friends are on the rise.

> Since that's not going to happen, more and more bandwidth is going to be
> consumed, by current customers, leaving them unhappy eventually, they have
> to increase capacity. Now the particular bottleneck may no longer be at the
> back / fibre end, it's likely at the CO, or DSLAM, or further towards the
> house. And as you go further out, it becomes more and more expensive, for
> fewer and fewer revenue dollars, to retrofit. (I now wonder is part of the
> issue is an artificial attempt by Bell to keep consumer consumption within
> the capacity of copper, so they don't look to competitors for all of their
> services - since Bell isn't likely to be redoing the last mile any time
> soon, I assume.)
> The aggregation points are going to need to be retrofitted. Eventually.
> Presumably even the back ends (in some long time). We haven't even touched
> on redundancy, power consumption, technological distance limitations (need
> more COs?).

This is all the more reason for Bell to get busy with their $16 billion,
not raise prices to penalize usage.  Again, I'm sure there are plenty
of companies that would be happy to take Bell's place, but the laws
don't allow it.

> - As has been pointed out, the government handed Bell a monopoly long ago,
> and they're running with it. And there is no political will to take on the
> mammoth conceptual hurdle of how things ought to be. Ranting that the tiger
> has stripes is just ...
> Complain to Bell, vote with your feet, and get yourself elected into
> positions of sufficient authority and change things to how they ought to
> be.

I quite understand the mindset of "this is how it is, no need to get upset
over it."  It may not be obvious, but that is my mindset to a large
degree.  If I go without the bandwidth that I used to have, it's not
something to bust a gasket over.

But I see people on this very list, including you, almost defending
Bell, and making excuses for them and their behaviour, and putting up
long lists of reasons why new ideas won't work, and insinuating that maybe
we should just use less bandwidth and not put so much pressure on the
ISP that makes $16 billion a year.

This is what I get worked up about, because this is the attitude that
those in power will want to encourage.  You mentioned it yourself.
Pundits will imply these things.  They will point at the huge usage of
Netflix, and conveniently forget that _petabytes_ of bittorrent traffic
have already been flowing over our networks for years without a problem.
(Doing the math on just one 350MB TV show on bittorrent results in
staggering numbers... just one popular show can reach multi-gigabyte and
even petabyte transfers... and there are hundreds of them.  And remember
that bittorrent is both download and upload.)  And the average Joe who
doesn't know a gigabyte from a gigawatt will suddenly think, "Oh, wow,
I had no idea I was costing Bell so much money."  And Bell wins again,
and pockets their $16 billion without a peep from the people.

If _we_ don't have our story straight, the average Joe has no hope.
Thankfully, the average Joe has a pretty good gut instinct, and the
form letters and calls are already starting to rain on the MPs.
At least that's what the lady said when I called earlier today.

I know it will cost money to upgrade infrastructure.  But I'm not willing
to watch Bell and the CRTC set the rules that enshrine $16 billion profits
without at least saying that the emperor has no clothes.

- Chris

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