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Peer-to-Peer Networks Blocked in NZ 382

Posted by timothy
from the you-have-a-blockage dept.
mjl writes: "It seems that Time Warner is not the only ISP that limits bandwidth of residential customers. In New Zealand, Telecom is also blocking the use of well known P2P applications. What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come."
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Peer-to-Peer Networks Blocked in NZ

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  • Wrong (Score:5, Insightful)

    by DarkZero (516460) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:00AM (#3357098)
    What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come.

    The problem here is that Telecom HAS recognized that these people are pushing the envelope of what the internet can do and that it will drive the technology economy in years to come. They also realize that P2P is very expensive for ISPs because it actually makes the "unlimited use" part of their customers' contracts a true statement. Thus, they are trying their best to turn back the clock and bring back the days when they made more money per customer.

    They're not being ignorant. They're being smart. They're also being money grubbing assholes, but that's beside the point. ;)
    • Re:Wrong (Score:3, Insightful)

      by digitalsushi (137809)
      They're also being money grubbing assholes, but that's beside the point.


      *shrug* I'd rather have my ISP make the money they need and stay afloat rather than let them not be money grubbing and fail, and then leave me with one ISP that can charge whatever it wants (if I'm lucky enough to be left with one) Most ISPs arent exactly floating in cash. Maybe the big ones are, though. The middle sized and smaller ones definitely are not.


      ISPs make their money on a gamble. Most people will use about 1/8th of what they can, say. So an ISP will oversell by 8 times that to cover the cost of that one line and the overhead of getting it internetworked and maintained. Granted there needs to be a new model that covers people using 100% of their connection by default instead of 12%, but I haven't heard of too many options, other than paying 500 bucks a month for access (at which point you're a dedicated customer and your ISP already has a plan for you).

      • I'd rather have my ISP make the money they need and stay afloat rather than let them not be money grubbing and fail,

        Gah. The answer is not to limit functionality in order to become profitable, but to align prices with costs.
      • I saw this posted earlier, but can't find the original. Basically, an existing idea (the Cisco Token Bucket) was proposed as being a solution to the ISP's problems. Each Token in the bucket would represent a certain number of 'bytes' that you were allowed to download. This bucket starts full and is constantly being filled. The rate of fill is up to the ISP. This provides most users with a very fast internet connection. Those who tend to use a ton of bandwidth get throttled, as they're using more tokens than they are being furnished with (at first their connection seems fast, but after they've used all of their tokens, they see a drop in speed). There would be a bottom bandwidth level which your connection would never drop below (say 56k). I hope I've explained this adequately. The original poster had a much more succinct description, but brevity is not one of my virtues.
    • by ergo98 (9391)
      As many other people have stated, much more eloquently than I, it is absurd for them to limit usage based on what applications you're using (which is irrelevant to a bandwidth provider that simply shuttles IP packets around), rather than how much bandwidth you use (which IS relevant to someone who shuttles IP packets around).

      Let me put it another way: Let's consider ISPs analagous to electric companies -> The electric co doesn't care if I'm running 50 fans, or if I'm cooking hot grits for Natalie Portman, but rather all they care about is that the little meter's gauge spins when I do, and at the end of the month they send me a bill based on it. It would be unacceptable if they started stating that they had a "TV watchers" electric supply, or a "Heavy Computer Users" plan -> They sell electricity, nothing more. All ISPs need to understand that they are no different than an electric co, and all they need to do is shuttle those IP packets around without concern of what they are, or what they're doing, and any premium pricing plan should be based on nothing more than bandwidth : Don't tell me I can't run a port 80 server, or that I can't have GRE VPN packets, just count the packets and their size, and bill me accordingly. Before everyone fears that this would lead to absurdly high prices, realize that competition would take effect under such an honest scheme (versus the current "try to fool you into thinking it's unlimited when really we want you never to use it" plan). Note that this goes both ways : Grandma who uses her cable modem once a month to check her email should be paying basically just for the hookup fee, administration fees, and the cost for a few packets, but Jimmy the P2P warez-d00dz should pay like crazy if he's hogging the line 24/7 all week long.

      The only reason there hasn't been a "micropayment" system on connections has been technical, I would presume: Most ISPs just didn't have the infrastructure. However, the time has definitely come that it needs to be implemented.
      • Re:Wrong (Score:5, Interesting)

        by tomstdenis (446163) <tomstdenisNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @08:10AM (#3357765) Homepage
        The problem though is when you start abusing it.

        Like if you started 8 air conditioners [in one house] in USCA you wouldn't make alot of friends. I wouldn't doubt there are laws concerning power usage [there are when there are water shortages].

        The problem they are trying to fix is that bandwidth is not an unlimited thing they have to give out.

        Of course, I would have addressed the problem differently. Instead of banning ports I would do dynamic capping. e.g. you get 500MB a day at full bandwidth. after that you get 1/4 bandwidth [or something like that]. That way you get

        a) no loss of connection
        b) stops bandwidth hogs
        c) doesn't arbitrarily block random ports

        Personally if I were an ISP I would make it something like 250MB full speed [512k/256k] then the rest at a lower speed [128k/64k] [this is all per day]. 250MB is more than enough to browse through webpages and chat. Its not nearly enough to be a elite haxor or something [e.g. dork on Kazaa].

        But what do I know, I'm just a kid who failed business in college...

        Tom
        • Re:Wrong (Score:2, Insightful)

          by ergo98 (9391)

          Like if you started 8 air conditioners [in one house] in USCA you wouldn't make alot of friends. I wouldn't doubt there are laws concerning power usage [there are when there are water shortages].

          The short term lack-of-power in California was a artificial shortage, and it was quickly filled in by the private sector. Scarcity increases value, which increases investment, and California is actually a case study of how bandwidth pricing would work.

          The reality is that the bandwidth that exists is not some finite amount that cannot be increased, but directly correlates to the amount of money flowing in to finance it. If Jimmy did want to run a P2P server, and he's willing to accordingly support the infrastructure, then he'll be playing a part in lighting up some fiber. Instead we have this antiquated system where bandwidth is largely the same as it was several years ago, and many of the promised services (video teleconferencing) are only marginally possible? Why? These are great things, but the financial support has to be in place for it to work.

  • by LadyLucky (546115) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:01AM (#3357100) Homepage
    Here, all DSL modems must go through Telecom's networks, as they own the lines, the exchanges, everything. You always pay around NZ$30 (around US$13) per month for the privilege of a DSL enabled line. The remaining NZ$35 or so you pay to whomever your ISP is, which is for many people Xtra. This gives you a 128kb connection, (in theory) unlimited traffic.

    It seems Xtra has done this throttling, but that won't cause problems for those of us who dont you use Xtra (that's me!). It seems silly to say "people are using too much bandwidth, so rather than capping bandwidth (like most do), we'll try a round about way of doing that...". Strange. If the problem is too much traffic, well, then limit the traffic.

    • If the problem is too much traffic, well, then limit the traffic.
      If I were in charge of doing this, I would be inclined to implement some kind of adaptive throttling, so the more you downloaded over the last week, the slower your downloads run. So, if you are a low-volume user that needs to get a big file, it comes down quickly. If you run a Gnutella server, a Freenet server, and soak up the rest with a bit of spidering, then your connection slows down to a crawl. I would introduce a higher-usage rate that doesn't slow down as much. These slowdown rates would be adjustable on a quarterly basis with three months notice of the throttle change.
  • by GnomeKing (564248) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:02AM (#3357104)
    Why do ISPS always tell us what services we can and cant run on our computers?
    Its fair enough to limit our bandwidth - but why can they say "your not permitted to run a www server 'cause it requires too much bandwidth"
    there are MANY ways to use bandwidth and its just not possible to have an exhaustive list of things that use it "unfairly"...

    I wouldnt have anything to complain about if they provided us with a daily quota (or something) whereby if you exceeded it then it reduced your bandwidth to a modem (but the quota added up up to a limit if it wasnt all used during a particular day)
    But telling us we cant run specific programs?... that just isnt on imo
    we pay for the bandwidth, we should be able to use it how we like
    if these hogging programs are causing problems then the telco should look at methods other than blocking specific programs to fix the problem
    • It's the other way round, at least here in Austria:

      If you want a connection with all the bandwith and where you can run all services, yo pay the full price. Usually those accounts are named Business-something.

      For home users, who don't need certain features, they also offer accounts that are a lot cheaper. But to use them, you have to agree to some rules, like now servers, fair use, etc.

      So why's everybody whining, when a telco or ISP starts to enforce those limitations?

      There ain't no Such thing as a free lunch!

    • by Beliskner (566513) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:43AM (#3357394) Homepage
      Why do ISPS always tell us what services we can and cant run on our computers?
      Because the Internet is not yet fully mature. Many years ago when electricity was being rolled out to the nation, the extra demands placed on it by devices with a high power factor lead the electric companies to state, "We make electricity - it's ours. You may not use any equipment that has not been manufactured by us and connect it to *OUR* electric rails."

      The ISPs are claiming similar ownership over our use of IP packets over *THEIR* routers, same as electric companies claimed ownership of sine wave electricity over *THEIR* power lines.

      This was resolved when the market was saturated and power stations were idling in the name of load-spike absorbtion. The broadband market hasn't yet been saturated, the ISPs are giving away bandwidth for a flat fee, same as electricity companies used to give electricity. Upon market maturation, people demanded a drop in prices, and the freedom to connect whatever electric devices they want to the power lines. But what if one household or company used 10 times more electricity than their neighbour? It was obviously unfair to charge them the same amount. This gave rise to electric meters. The electric companies retorted,

      "But what if someone tampers with the box, what if someone steals electricity by tapping the wire before the meter and steals the electricity?"

      . The customers demanded it, so they took the chance and installed metering in every home, and charged for actual usage. The restriction that you may only connect electric company authorised devices with a good power factor and negligible line interference was dropped. Technology advanced and suppression capacitors smoothed out the consumption spikes. The mains line was no longer used as a clock, quartz oscillators took over. Any device that needed a smooth sine wave no longer used the mains, but instead used an AC-DC converter (transformer+bridge rectifier) and sine wave generator [web-ee.com] using transistors, or more recently switched-mode PSU. The electric company geeks were pissed because all this extra hardware was needed just to generate a smooth sine wave, instead of pulling it directly off the mains, but everybody got used to it. Now all that remains is a limit on consumption so that you don't burn out your wires and start a fire, together with regulations on interference (unsuppressed motors) being introduced on the power line.

      The Internet will follow the same trend, IP packets are turning from "Cool Internet stuff" into infrastructure, same as that beautful 50Hz. sine wave delivered to your home/business changed from a nice pattern on the oscilloscope used for old Sci-fi special effects into a critical infrastructure.

      Consequently, when broadband saturates the demand, and enough people use it and demand unrestricted usage, the ISPs will have to respond and introduce metering, either at point-of-presence or at a black box in your home (apparantly MAC addresses can be spoofed, fraid is rife [slashdot.org] etc. but this MUST be resolved otherwise the Internet CANNOT mature). Discounts will be given to households that install these black box packet counters. If you come under DDoS attack, then you call the police and ISP, same as waking up one morning and finding a tap on your side of the electric meter leading to your neighbour's house.

      Once a month, some guy will come read your electric meter, your gas meter, and your IP packet meter, it's inevitable.

      End result: CDBPTAPPATBTA struck down, RIAA muzzled, MPAA castrated, Internet pay-per-packet.

      What the Internet actually costs for an ISP:
      Variable costs: Bandwidth to backbone (peak), internal bandwidth (peak)
      Fixed costs: electric and personnel cost to keep the routers + DHCP + blah humming (seasonal A/C) + advertising + security + blah

      Consumers can demand that ISPs match this model as closely as possible and be fair (metering), quite fair (bandwidth caps like now) or keep it simple (flat fee like now).

    • That isnt the problem.... the problem is that people, technically savvy people are "calling them on the carpet" on their marketing promises.

      when you saw the ad's for whatever service you use they scream "unlimited bandwidth"! super fast downloads 100 times faster than a 56K modem! ALWAYS ON INTERNET! and they knew when they made those advertisments that they were lying through their teeth.

      They are just trying to stop you from getting what you signed up for... Too bad people aren't suing for false advertising or better yet blatent fraud on these companies...

      ISP's are gambling that a huge majority of their users use almost no or very little bandwidth ... like from the late 90's most everyone that had dial up service used it maybe 1-2 times a week. not the every night for an hour or more it is today.... so they want to make you not want to use your internet connection you pay for.

      I was an ISP, I know the dirty underhanded tricks of the industry... I got out of it because I have scruples and a concience.. (and didnt like being regularly screwed by my Point of Presence)
    • Why do ISPS always tell us what services we can and cant run on our computers?


      While this isn't the reason, a reason is that if you are getting a dynamically shared public IP address, and you're running a web server on it, or better, an FTP server which is more likely to be advertised via IP address instead of by a host name, then people, maybe lots of people, are going to store that IP in their address books somewhere. And then three weeks later, you're on your 8th IP, and some cranky day trader with a personal firewall suite gets your old IP- he thinks he is being hacked. So he calls his ISP and crabs at them, and there's little recourse. So the ISP gets chewed out and they waste an hour calming the customer. They just spent whatever the (cost of their employee + overhead) * call duration is. If they decide to block the services like that, they avoid the cost of similar calls, and can reallocate that money into buying more bandwidth to satisfy all the P2P users that they haven't figured out how to deal with yet!

    • The reason they do this is simple: Marketing, marketing, marketing.

      Though you or I would love to simply pay for what we use, it would become a support nightmare for the company, and would be more confusing for their average customer (the only customer who matters). Customers would leave for other ISPs who offer them fixed rates, etc. After all, who wants to run a webserver?
  • by jcam2 (248062) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:03AM (#3357107) Homepage
    How is the traffic shaping (not blocking) of some
    high-bandwidth using services related to the
    rights on internet users? This is a commercial
    decision made to save money on high bandwidth
    costs, not some form of censorship.

    I have to agree that this method of controlling
    traffic is far from optimal though - instead,
    Telecom NZ should simply charge for bandwidth
    used and allow those who want to download
    gigabytes from Kazaa to pay the full price.
    • by Plug (14127)
      There has been a case in New Zealand where a user successfully took Telecom to court when he received a $7000 DSL bill on his Jetstream (pay-per-mb DSL) connection. His kids ran Morpheus, and of course it was sending files out left right and center. He didn't think he should have to pay for that, and neither did the judge it seems.

      A DDoS on a Jetstream customer has the potential to cost them many thousands of dollars.
    • pay the full price

      Except that 'full price' would be defined as some grossly inflated rate by these money grubbers. I wouldn't mind paying a fair price for bandwidth ($1.50/GB is fair for 'overages') on the condition that the ISP didn't charge for unutilized bandwidth during offpeak hours (since it's no skin off their back), and they also stopped deceptively advertising the service as unlimited 24/7/365.

      --

      • and they also stopped deceptively advertising the service as unlimited 24/7/365


        Let's throw another variable out there... if an ISP tells you that the connection is 'unlimited', does the average person take that to mean that they can be connected via their modem as much as they want, OR, that they can pass as much traffic over that modem as they want? The second being a magnitude beyond the first.


        A decent chunk of advertising is word of mouth. Seems a lot of people tell each other its unlimited when its really not.

  • by Foss (248146) <foss&eatfoss,com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:04AM (#3357111) Homepage Journal
    "What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come."

    How can you be sure of this? I expect the only thing that will drive technology is the need to make profit. If ISPs, hardware providers and comms companies didn't make profit, they'd have no real reason to carry on. Sure, there are a few nice companies out there that actually have good intentions and wish to see the Internet flourish, but they're not the people that control it.

    Telecom have control and therefore they'll do whatever they can to make more profit. By restricting the high-end users, they're keeping more bandwidth/server time for the less regular customers - the regular joe that pays whatever they tell him to pay because he doesn't know any better.

    British Telecom have done something very similar here. Users on the BT Anytime fixed-rate plan that use the Internet for over x hours a week have been given a seperate number to dial for their net access. This number connects them to a limited bandwidth "punishment pool". It's just business, and if they can make a profit out of it, they'll keep doing it.
    • British Telecom have done something very similar here. Users on the BT Anytime fixed-rate plan that use the Internet for over x hours a week have been given a seperate number to dial for their net access. This number connects them to a limited bandwidth "punishment pool". It's just business, and if they can make a profit out of it, they'll keep doing it.

      Could you provide more details of this? I use BT's ISP, and am becoming ever less impressed with their service, including the constant dropping of the line or refusal to reconnect, particularly when I'm trying to download a large patch for a game or some such. Then, from next month, the rates are going up as well (just after Freeserve doubled its network's bandwidth, BTW, and they're still offering it for what will be £2 per month less). Any chance you could give us the phone numbers for "normal" and "penalised" customers and the threshold that defines which you are? Thanks.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:08AM (#3357121) Journal
    Of course they are. The amount of piracy throught these networks is incredible. In fact, the non-pirate data is almost non-existent.

    By allowing their users to use these to pirate music, videos and software could result in the BSA, the RANZ and the NZMPA suing the ISP's for lost income. The court may even agree to partial damages. Even if the court only sides 10% with the IP industry, the cost to the ISP's could be unfeasably large.
    • IANAL (and don't know NZ law either...) but if they do it to prevent illegal copying it might backfire on them...
      It is very simple the moment they go in and block people they stop being a simple carrier, they assume responsibility for the transfered data.

      They probably do it just to cap bandwidth...
      The problem is that these days an 'internet' connection really means 'http' connection.
      A true INTERNET provider wouldn't care what you send over the wire as long as its in IP packets.

      Jeroen
      • by mgv (198488)
        A true INTERNET provider wouldn't care what you send over the wire as long as its in IP packets.

        Ok, you got me there.

        What other sort of packets were you thinking of that upsets INTERNET providers? I was considering sending a few of them to irritate my own provider ;)

        Maybe VoIP? (Voltage over ISP's Phoneline)

        Michael
      • Telecom ("Xtra" really) can do it because they are essentially the AOL and MSN (and largest ISP) of New Zealand rolled into one. No one who uses their connection for more than email and occasional web-serving should have an account with xtra, and definitely not if you're going to get DSL.
  • Go TelstraSaturn (Score:3, Interesting)

    by freitasm (444970) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:08AM (#3357122) Homepage
    What happened some time ago was a father complaining about the 10GB download in a month - his son was using AudioGalaxy... Then Telecom decided to block ports because of this - and bandwidth.

    I use TelstraClear cable-modem service. There's no port blocks and their Terms and Conditions tell me I can run any server I want - including pop3, smtp or http.

    Also, one can get a fixed IP instead of dynamic. Very handy...

    Just ditch Telecom NZ!
    • I'm with Saturn cable in Christchurch. Their service is great (occasionally lose a connection but not usually for long), but their account structure sucks if you ask me.

      I actually have to have two accounts, two cable modems, two connections, two bills, two modem rental charges, just so that I can get 256k connection with a 10 gig cap before the horrendous per meg charges (up to 20c NZ per meg (YES MEG !) !). All this, just because they won't increase a single accounts bandwidth cap to 10gig for any price - if you want to use 10gig on a single 256k connection you have to pay 20c/meg for the extra 5 gig (that's a lot of moula).

      A couple of months ago I forgot to swap the modem over - the resulting $900 bill REALLY hurt my wallet - and they wouldn't just "shift half the traffic" from the used account to the unused account either.

      If they would just offer a higher cap account, or even, dare I say it, a flat rate account, I would be over the moon !

      Stuck between a rock and a hard place really, I'd like a better account, but I can't get better service than saturn. Not to mention I get two static IP's (it's cool to be your own secondary DNS :-)).

  • The author of that article says that Telecom blocks P2P applications. The article also states that these "vampires" are the ones using 40GB per month in P2P. That logic does not add up at all, and I suspect Chris Barton is trolling.

    Having said that, it is good that Telecom are blocking the use of P2P applications. The police are not in a position to prevent this illegal activity, and Telecom is both right and just in preventing the use of P2P.

    These "vampires" use excessive amounts of bandwidth to conduct illegal activities, and I do not want to subsidise them on their flat-rate plans.

    • Re:Telecom Blocks (Score:2, Insightful)

      by pe1rxq (141710)
      Having said that, it is good that Telecom are blocking the use of P2P applications. The police are not in a position to prevent this illegal activity, and Telecom is both right and just in preventing the use of P2P.

      No they are not... they are NOT the police, they are NOT judges and they are NOT executioners. But they act like all of them...

      They simply shouldn't sell 'unlimited' connections unless they plan to actually offer 'unlimited' data transfers.

      Jeroen

    • Re:Telecom Blocks (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Plug (14127)
      Sure, there's a fair chance that someone who downloads 40GB in a month is engaging in 'illegal activity', but Mr Luckie's conjecture that everyone single 'vampire' is doing this, is blatantly false. Take every Slashdot user's favourite example - downloading Linux ISOs. Even if you limit to P2P, there is a lot of legal music and multimedia to download. (Yes, I'm aware the numbers are against me.)

      Here in NZ we have an all you can eat pizza restaurant called Pizza Hut. Sometimes I will eat more-pizza-per-dollar than buying just a single pizza from them, sometimes I will eat less. However, even if I ate ten pizzas, I'm sure I wouldn't be eating more than 'my moneys worth'.
      I've heard stories that 128kbps of bandwidth costs $800. If Telecom have positioned their DSL service at $60/month, then they will be losing money on each person who uses the connection 24/7. That simply doesn't happen - name a company with sense that would sell a service at 1/13th of cost!

      Xtra (Telecom's ISP are) have incorrectly provisioned bandwidth on their network and they are looking for a scapegoat - they've picked Kazaa. Most Xtra 128k DSL customers are locked to sub-modem speeds at the moment - change to another ISP and all of a sudden it's back to 16KB/s.
      Flat rate is aimed at the heavy eaters. If you're only going to eat a couple of slices, you should buy a small pizza.
      • I said: "The author of that article says that Telecom blocks P2P applications. The article also states that these "vampires" are the ones using 40GB per month in P2P. That logic does not add up at all, and I suspect Chris Barton is trolling."

        You said: "Sure, there's a fair chance that someone who downloads 40GB in a month is engaging in 'illegal activity', but Mr Luckie's conjecture that everyone single 'vampire' is doing this, is blatantly false"

        Thats exactly what I said. Move along, nothing to see here.

  • Vampires (Score:5, Funny)

    by Alsee (515537) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:09AM (#3357127) Homepage
    There are vampires in broadband land...
    I'm talking about downloading on the internet - specifically music and videos via file-sharing networks such as KaZaA and Grokster.


    Ahh! That finally explains why so many nodes seem to drop off the network around sunrise.

    -
  • by rbeattie (43187) <russ@russellbeattie.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:11AM (#3357132) Homepage
    No biggie... it just means that p2p clients will have to add in ports to their other forms of locating peers. For example, right now Gnutella queries well-known UltraPeers to prime the p2p pump and helps you locate peers around you (instead of spamming your network with random ping packages).

    Well, obviously this "priming" will have to switch to use port 80 if others are blocked, then the response servers can give your client information about the "port of the day".

    Personally, I think the P2P clients should use different ports for different uses. (And it's already enabled to change the port and client name in each Gnutella client). Music could have one port, eBooks on another, video another, and pr0n on another. This would be great so my quieries for "Bare Naked Ladies" brings up music instead of jpgs...

    -Russ

  • by Richard_at_work (517087) <.moc.liamg. .ta. .ecirpdrahcir.> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:16AM (#3357140)
    What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come.

    Sooo, when did p2p apps take over that torch from porn? :)
  • They say they're "managing" the use of P2P apps, and that's all they say. Nothing about blocking. And you may still use these file sharing services, only you are subject to a restricted download. What did the writer say, sub-kb speeds? That's about what I get from most users on Kazaa.

    On a lucky streak, I can get several kb. A little more now that my winbox is masqed behind my linux box (and I'm not subject to windows crappy IP stack as the bottleneck). Xtra must really be doing some heavy filtering on their server side to discriminate against P2P apps, if that is the case. Consequently, my connection is DSL, I'm in Canada, and I usually get around 150kb on a good day.

    The reference to vampires and blood-sucking indivuduals gets tiresome. Talk about editorializing.
  • by fruey (563914) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:19AM (#3357147) Homepage Journal
    I work at an ISP in Morocco. We don't limit anything but then we don't provide high speed access at low cost. We don't do home DSL because the market isn't ready, and the first uptake will always be high-bandwidth users which will kill us if we did try to launch such a service as the first provider to do so.

    For those of you more fortunate than I, that already live in an xDSL enabled area, I would like to draw an analogy.

    You go to a restaurant with 10 friends, and you all agree to split the bill 10 ways, and pay 1/10 of the bill each.

    Would you now say it was fair to order twice as much as everyone else, and a bottle of champagne for yourself?

    That's the bandwidth issue. ISPs pool 2mbps or so for a circuit of n DSL subscribers. Those with the highest appetite still only pay 1/n of the bill.

    Blame their business model if you like, but it's the market that is crying out for flat-rate high speed access. Flat-rate means, IMHO, making certain sacrifices. If you want hardcore fast, then pay the real price for the dedicated circuit. ISPs do not promise you a dedicated circuit for your low monthly fee. And ISPs pay full price for their dedicated circuits.

    • by Brento (26177) <brento@bre[ ]zar.com ['nto' in gap]> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:49AM (#3357240) Homepage
      You go to a restaurant with 10 friends, and you all agree to split the bill 10 ways, and pay 1/10 of the bill each. Would you now say it was fair to order twice as much as everyone else, and a bottle of champagne for yourself?

      Another example: if you buy a commercial plane ticket for $100, do you expect to be able to pull the back door open and parachute jump out of it? No. There's no big conspiracy to halt your freedom, you just have to do it in the right plane: go hire a plane that is dedicated to doing that sort of thing.

      If you want to run P2P apps from home, you need to understand that you can't jump out of every airplane, and you can't stick your friends with the champagne bill. Go get an ISP that allows for that kind of thing, and yes, it will cost you more. There's a time and a place for everything, and if you want to transmit huge files, it's going to cost you more.

      What's that you say? You don't have the money? Well, just like everything else in the world, you gotta pay to play. Just because you can't get a free billboard in Times Square that says "I Love Morpheus" doesn't mean anybody's restricting your freedom of speech.
    • Ok, if nobody else eats all the food they bought, then is it ok if I eat it? That seems reasonable. But obviously if everyone rushes for the food when it gets laid out, the restaurant may not be able to physically lay the food out fast enough- so they have 'fight over the food' clauses.

      So it's not 'all I can eat' exactly, there's a maximum I can eat because of the size of the plates they give you.

      And further the restaurant doesn't in fact guarantee all you can eat in the first place; they only guarantee all I can eat upto a low limit 1/50 of the plate size; generally they'll try to fill my plate, particularly if no one else is eating, but they only guarantee 1/50 of the plate.

      This being the case, I fail to see why the restaurant should impose restrictions on the food I eat; any food you want provided it isn't green! Why? "Cause I don't like it when you eat green food cos you eat more green food normally." Huh? If I'm consistently eating more than 1/50 of my plate, they're quite at liberty to limit me; within reason. However, if theres no rush on, then what do they care? The restaurant has already bought in the food from their supplier when I entered the restaurant... and for most normal people that's plenty of food. But if they decide to charge me extra 'because you're being too greedy'; tell me again who's being greedy? Why didn't you invoke my 1/50 limit then?

  • not a right (Score:2, Insightful)

    by tomstdenis (446163)
    since when is using a P2P system [or any other] over a PRIVATE network a "right"?

    I agree that the ports and services should be fully open [they shouldn't only keep tabs on who uses what bandwidth] but its not upto me, or you for that matter.

    If I own a network and I rent out a connection, you do not have any rights as far as what you can do with are concerned that are not listed in the TOS.

    Its just like renting an apartment. you're not allowed in most cases to tear down walls and piss off the balcony. Its not that your "rights" are being infringed its that its PRIVATE property.

    Tom
    • Who cares about a *private* network? Are these ISPs not *I*SPs??

      Show us the T&Cs as well; I'll bet they don't say anything about p2p usage.
  • Er, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by IamTheRealMike (537420) <mike@plan99.net> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:28AM (#3357178) Homepage
    What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come.

    No! The people who invented P2P apps maybe are pushing the envelope of what the net can do - but 95% of the people on the biggest P2P networks are just downloading free music. They're not pushing anything other than their luck, because they're basically massively abusing the system.

    I'd love to be in NZ right now! Now all the kiddies that think downloading music and burning it to CDs for their friends constitutes a "business" - like some people I know - have had their access blocked, it means better connections for everyone else who does in fact respect the law. I think this should happen more.

  • Come on now!! we all know its not "vampires" clogging new zealands net pipes!

    Everyone knows the sheep are clogging priceline.com to find the a cheap ticket out of there! they're sick of being sheared! theres only 40 milliion of them to the 3.5 million Kiwi's there(new zealanders).

  • p2p (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    Yeah I guess the rampant music/software/movie piracy on P2P networks is going to be what is driving the new economy in years to come.

    Sure it's a generalisation, but I defy you to say that 95% of it isn't illegal use at this point in time.
  • by ukryule (186826) <slashdot@y u l e.org> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:51AM (#3357250) Homepage
    OK. If the problem is that some users are hogging all the bandwidth, what about this for a solution:

    You monitor the total bandwidth usage over the month for each user. Then you adapt the priority of each connection dependent on the usage:
    User A has only used 2MB bandwidth this month, so you give their requests priority over User B who has already downloaded 200MBs.

    In prinicipal, this is easy and seems a fair solution - the more data you download the slower your connection becomes. I'm sure this has been thought of/implemented already - so why aren't ISPs using something like this?

    • the more data you download the slower your connection becomes. I'm sure this has been thought of/implemented already - so why aren't ISPs using something like this?

      Because usage isn't always usage. What if User B has already downloaded 200MB, but it's actually the first day of the month? Let's also say that user pulled down MP3s, some pr0n, a copy of Adobe Photoshop from Kazaa, and some e-mail. Should that user be throttled? Some say yes...

      Now, what if User B has already downloaded 200MB and it's the 20th of the month? She's exceeded 200MB because she keeps e-mailing large documents to her colleagues working on cancer research. She's also connected to her e-mail server all day long, so those small packets for checking add up over time. Should this user be throttled? One could make a case that her usage is more "legitimate" than the usage of the "pirate".

      The problem is this : determining "legitimate" use versus "less proper" use is so vague. Blanket limits on bandwidth could hurt people that use large amounts of bandwidth over time, just in smaller chucks on a continuing basis. For ISPs to determine who's using what bandwidth when and how could present an administration nightmare. Blocking P2P applications which tend to suck bandwidth for (arguably) less "appropriate" applications is just plain easier (evidently).

      Add in that P2P content is presenting legal issues around the globe (or is it only here in the US?), this NZ company may be blocking use to cover its own ass.
      • Because usage isn't always usage.

        No, actually usage IS usage. It *is* all just bits. Thinking of bits as bits leads to a robust solution.

        What if User B has already downloaded 200MB, but it's actually the first day of the month?...etc

        vs. Now, what if User B has already downloaded 200MB and it's the 20th of the month?

        Luckily, this problem has already been solved for you.

        What's expensive is not total amount of bandwidth, it's bandwidth over time. Bandwidth is not a bucket of bolts, it's a road. A road is not defined as congested when 2000 cars have passed over it in a month- however it is, if those 2000 cars tried to pass at the same time.

        Use a "burst" system. Essentially, limiting of any sort does not kick in until you've used your full capacity for an extended period of time. This would make the structurally sound distinction- excess vs. utility- without placing discriminatory regulations on users' ports or application types. This system also requires no oversight once created- you don't have to stay on top of whatever file sharing flavor of the month does to hamper it, you just manage capacity. This is also far more in line with a "common carrier" concept than any sort of filtering or blanket limiting model.

        Should this user be throttled? One could make a case that her usage is more "legitimate" than the usage of the "pirate".

        Be careful, to solve this problem, one must realize that the purpose of the transfer is utterly irrelevant to the solution, and in fact adds unnecessary complication. In short, relying on such inapplicable concepts obscures the issue (resource management) and makes the issue into a series of judgments, most of which will be discriminatory and ineffective.

  • P2P good for ISP (Score:2, Insightful)

    by elgaard (81259)
    IT seems to me that P2P could be a big advantage
    for ISP's. Most P2P protocols support caching.
    That could make most of the traffic internal to an ISP.

    A bit like ISP proxy servers were supposed to do,
    before everthing became dynamic.

    Maybe ISP's should set up huge gnutella servers.
    If all users could get the most popular files
    at full speed from
    a gnutella server at their ISP they would not
    generate much less international traffic.

    Maybe ISP's should not count intra-ISP traffic in
    a monthly cap or reserve extra bandhwidth for
    intra-ISP traffic. We would soon see P2P protocols
    taking advantage of this, thus minimizing external
    traffic for the ISP's.

    Then again, maybe this is already happening.
    Maybe P2P clients tend to get files from hosts
    in the same ISP or at least country because interantional
    traffic is a bottleneck.
    I wonder how much P2P traffic is international
    compared to eg. HTTP.

    • This is really technically the right way to attack the problem. But it creates legal problems due to the bizarre laws that invented the crimes of "vicarious" and "contributory" copyright infringement.

      It reminds me of the situation with governments that give clean needles to heroin users. You can pretend that your people don't use heroin, and then let 'em get AIDS and hepititus from each other. Or you can help your people and seriously address a real problem (disease/bandwidth waste), but in doing so, you assume the appearance of "legitimizing", advocating, and aiding another problem (drug use/piracy). You're damned if you do, and damned if you don't.

    • I've been advocating this for some time.

      Basically what ISPs could do is offer a high bandwidth cap for traffic within their own network and enfore a far lower cap at boundary router level.

      The ISP doesn't have to run a gnutella server, their users will set up a protected network with it's own connect strings and all will be good.

      I'd sign up for an ISP that provided that service in a heartbeat, just because it would be fantastic for so many things:

      - file sharing
      - vpn's with my friends

      - gaming with my friends
      to name a few...

      I guess we'd almost move back to a more bbs style environment where most of the content is local but some of it comes off the net.

      I think it's the principal of locailty at play. My UK isp must have thousands of broadband subscribers and it's likely that 95% of the mp3's i'd ever want already exist on their network - but their poor upstream caps force me to retrieve that content from US college hosts and the like.
  • not that it matters (Score:3, Interesting)

    by nzhavok (254960) on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @05:54AM (#3357259) Homepage
    not that it matters too much at the moment as telecoms most popular "high-speed" package is 128kb ADSL connection (about $30 US BTW), oh and apparently 128kb is too much for any single connection so they limit you on each particular file you download to about 56kb!!

    I used to have a high speed satellite connection through IHUG which would peek at about 2500kbps but then they did the stupidist thing they could do and capped it at 512MB per month! Thats write the high-speed, high bandwidth connection was capped at 512MB, which meant you could use your month quota in under 30 minutes, and still not get a single ISO.

    We are getting some faster connections through cable company saturn, they offer you higher speed connections such as 256kb or 512kb, however even though these cost more, the monthly data cap is a lot less. IIRC 128 was capped at 10GB and then the 256 (which costs more) was capped at 5GB. Saturn mainly targets businesses. Again that's not such a problem since only a small proportion of people are connected by this anyway. So in short, sure it's a hassle but the bandwidth here is so limited that it's no big deal anyway.
  • This article... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Bnonn (553709) <bnonny@gmail.com> on Wednesday April 17, 2002 @06:04AM (#3357289) Homepage Journal
    ...is garbage. I'm a bit disappointed in the standard of writing for the Herald, considering it's the largest newspaper in this country. Not only does the article not examine many sides of the issue, such as how many people are using Kazaa enough to be considered "vampires" (please, what a ridiculous term; this isn't even an editorial, it's a personal rant--stop throwing your toys out the cot Burton) and what Telecom's profit margins are on the service, but it blatantly omits several key points that turn the article into little more than fud.

    For example, Burton says in the article that he sometimes gets as little as 0.02 kiBps on Kazaa, and an average of less than 1 kiBps. Erm, entry for Duh Magazine, anyone? I mean, I'm only on dialup so I can't speak for 128k Jetstart, but I regularly get less than 1 kiBps even when my connection is completely idle. It's a huge p2p network; it's invariably pretty slow. Sure, the average he states does seem a bit low, and perhaps Telecom is throttling bandwidth a bit, but the range of download speeds he states (if we are to take his word; I see no actual figures) seem to indicate that there's something more at work that simply that. Assuming that sometimes bandwidth is throttled more and less, it's still disingenuous to suggest that the only cause for such slow downloads is due to Telecom.

    I also find it ridiculous that he suggests, "to be consistent Xtra [Telecom's ISP branch] should be limiting bandwidth used by Microsoft Update and Messenger software which act as servers too." Microsoft update is a necessary feature for many people, and neither it nor MSM, ICQ or IRC is going to be sucking anywhere near the bandwidth that filesharing apps do. This is either just a completely skewed viewpoint, or plain ignorance. In my view it's the latter, since Burton (the Herald IT editor) doesn't seem to even know enough to differentiate between GB (gigabytes) and Gb (gigabits).

    I'm no fan of Telecom. I hate them; they're manopolistic and have extremely poor service. But this isn't a valid reason to attack them. They state in the users' contract that running servers (incidentally, I question that webservers running on their service would account for even one hundredth of the bandwidth that p2p does, although Burton seems to imply otherwise) of any kind is unacceptable. Personally, while I think it would be courteous for Telecom to inform their customers that they will actively throttle p2p and server applications (and no, I don't think messenger programs can be classified as "servers" Mr Burton), I don't see how it's a requirement on their part, or a breach of contract as Burton suggests. If you're doing something with their service that you've agreed not to, I can't see how you can complain if they quietly ensure you can no longer do that thing.

    IANALawyer, so I can't speak for the legality of my opinion, but I'd be interested to hear from anyone with a more solid understanding of the technicalities.

    • doesn't seem to even know enough to differentiate between GB (gigabytes) and Gb (gigabits)

      I live in the UK, and I have seen plenty of adverts for PCs, from brand name manufacturers (Time, Dell, etc) that purpotedly come with 40Gb hard drives, and 128Mb RAM...

      Personally, I blame a combination of not-too-clueful PR/marketing people, and Word auto "correcting" the double capitals.

      Cheers,

      Tim
  • What's about gnutella? Can anyone block it? What means "block known p2p systems" ? Just filter known ports?
  • Seriously, I don't see why people, who can afford it, don't go get business class or telecom grade lines? I would have sdsl if I could get it in my area, and I have a small stack of quotes for T1 lines. Right now, I'm on a cable isp that dosen't care about servers, so I'm happy, but I would perfer a sdsl or hdsl/t1 line, just so I get my ip allocation, and can do 'bout whatever I want.

    I know people in the computer industry make enough to pay for half a t1 with ease... so why not get the half a t1, and be happy. Seriously, you think that you would have more bandwidth with cable broadband, or cheapy adsl service? Its allways capped.
  • What Telecom fails to recognise is that these people are pushing the envelope of what the Internet can do, and will drive the technology economy in years to come.


    Sure. Whatever. But RIGHT NOW these "radicals" have saturated not one but three DS3 at my University, including the Internet 2 link. That's 20000USD a month per. By limiting Kazaa and other Fastrack based P2P's we cut the bandwidth in half. But the ants simply adapt and move to Gnutella. How long did that take? About a week. The only solution RIGHT NOW? Buying an OC12 and the baddest Juniper router out there. Yikes.

  • I'm using Road Runner and I certainly am not being charged extra. I download plenty of 'unstable' iso's for friends. I'm not charging anyone, it's free (as in everyway) and usually the images are a few hops away [Universites all around America ;-].

    I'm sure that article is linked to because it's the latest, but almost every highspeed internet now a days has a tier plan or a cap.

    The story was originally based on a rumor - right now they plan to do any such thing.
  • Just run a SOCKS or HTTP proxy to get around them :D
  • There are vampires in broadband land

    To begin with, people who downloaded music from the internet were equated with people who robbed and looted ships at sea. Now I see they are being compared to the blood-drinking undead.
  • Just build a tunneled VPN on top of them. Once you have your own network set up, ports and routing are no longer an issue. Hell, some (most?) of the nodes on your network don't even need to be directly connected to the Internet. All they need is a connection to someone on your network willing to provide a connection.

    Of course, the whole thing would probably evolve into a microcosm of the Internet, complete with nodes cutting off or throttling the bandwidth hogs so that they can get reasonable download times.

    It'd be interesting to come up with a peer to peer system to let anyone find and establish connections to your cloud without having to establish a relationship with a peer first. I think the Cult of the Dead Cow has something similar though I can't recall the name of the software (Haven't had my coffee yet this morning.)

  • Interesting snippet (Score:2, Interesting)

    by BenBenBen (249969)

    There was an interview with the legal representation for the IFPI [ifpi.org] on the BBC yesterday that I was listening to out the corner of my ear, discussing the "fall" in industry profits. The phrase that caught my attention was "we are going after the people that run these [P2P] networks, and the ISPs that allow access to them".

    This sounds a hell of a lot like we can expect to see, and be subjected to, things like this [theregister.co.uk] from our ISPs. Not a happy thought.

  • by jaylen (59655)
    You go to a restaurant with 10 friends, and you all agree to split the bill 10 ways, and pay 1/10 of the bill each. Would you now say it was fair to order twice as much as everyone else, and a bottle of champagne for yourself?/i? Now look at it another way- You and your 10 friends go to the restaurant, except this restaurant is 'all you can eat for a fixed fee' (read unlimited usage, just like an ISP claims) Seven of your friends eat a normal meal, and have a good time doing so - but the other three are real fans of good food, so eat a whole load. What happens then is the chef and owners of the restaurant decide that those three friends are eating too much, so they change the menu as you all sit at the table, saying 'you can still eat all you like! But, btw, we are no longer serving X,Y,Z. Please pay your bill at the door'
    • Food is not data, restaurants are not ISPs. When I download a file, there is no chef at the data center cooking it up for me from ingredients in his pantry.
  • Cancel your current internet service and get a DSL line from DirectTV [directtvdsl.com]. They give you a static IP for the same price as everyone else's dynamic service. They explicitly allow you to run whatever the hell you want to run on your line.

    VOTE WITH YOUR CHECKBOOKS PEOPLE

I have never seen anything fill up a vacuum so fast and still suck. -- Rob Pike, on X.

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