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LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay

Light Reading
News Analysis
Light Reading
1/30/2006

Many telecom industry watchers believe broadband operators should get a little something in return for their carriage of high-bandwidth IP services like voice, gaming, and video, according to the results from the latest Light Reading poll.

A growing number of companies are profiting from the delivery of increasingly bandwidth-intensive services over the public Internet, and some telco, cable, and satellite broadband providers feel that they are footing the bill. Some even refer to providers of bring-your-own-access services like Vonage Holdings Corp. (NYSE: VG) and MovieLink as "squatters."

Most Light Readers feel that the market, not the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) , should determine the carriage responsibilities of broadband operators when delivering various types of IP services. (See Net Neutrality Goes to Washington.)

Our poll on the subject just closed at 3:00 p.m. EST today, and nearly 400 readers weighed in on the issue. (See Net Neutrality.)

To begin with, 62 percent of our readers think that broadband network operators have every right to ask for a "QOS fee" from content providers wanting to ensure smooth delivery of their IP services. The question of QOS fees has been top of mind in Washington lately, as lawmakers and lobbyists discuss whether or not rules around the practice should be included in new telecom legislation. (See Survey Sparks QOS Fee Debate.)

Most readers -- 66 percent -- believe broadband providers will take some action to degrade the quality of competing voice services running over their networks. The VOIP community often points out that IP phone calls use a small amount of bandwidth compared to video and gaming applications. The network owners counter that some Skype Ltd. users use a VOIP connection to monitor their children at home, leaving call sessions open for hours or days on end. (See QOS Fees Could Change Everything .)

The RBOCs have lined up behind BellSouth Corp. (NYSE: BLS), which said publicly it endorses the idea of charging content providers the QOS fee. BellSouth says it is exploring the idea of selling certain video and gaming content providers a higher tier of broadband service to ensure QOS for the customer.

Google (Nasdaq: GOOG), for one, has said it will not consent to such arrangements with broadband operators. (See Google Says No to QOS Fees.) The company, among many others, is pushing lawmakers to codify net neutrality principles into law and give the FCC enforcement authority. (See Google Goes to Wonkytown.)

Only 30 percent of our readers said the commission should block broadband providers from charging Internet companies for higher levels of QOS. Most observers believe the commission itself isn’t eager to get involved unless the telcos and Internet players can’t come to an agreement on QOS fees among themselves.

FCC chairman Kevin Martin recently said publicly that, while the commission would never allow a network operator to block a given Internet service, “limiting” or reducing the speed of the service was a quite another thing.

— Mark Sullivan, Reporter, Light Reading

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paulej
paulej
12/5/2012 | 4:07:49 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
I pay for my broadband service and what I do with what I pay for should be of no concern to my broadband provider. As I mentioned in a separate posting, VoIP service providers are not using my broadband access providerGÇÖs network: I am!

I'm constantly amazed at how many people declare that "voice" is a high bandwidth service. Broadband access providers should be more realistic than that. VoIP used but a mere 80Kbps or so in each direction for G.711 (toll quality). My broadband access provider gives me 5000Kbps down. That is just a very tiny fraction of what I pay for each month. Moreover, I am not using the phone all the time.

The broadband access providers should stop worrying about the fact that subscribers are using services offered by other companies on the Internet and should start focusing more on how they can provide comparable or better services.

I pay for my broadband and the services that I use should be regarded as entirely separate.
Honestly
Honestly
12/5/2012 | 4:07:49 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
ATT DSL could not keep my service working with any consistantly, so I was FORCED to install a T1. Like the oil campanies (see todays Wall St reports)these guys make a ton from our voice business and If they can figure how to run a data net will make a ton from our services. So when is enough, enough?.

I should be able to buy what I want over my PIPE and the content owner will be paying for bandwidth. Having someone pay the BIG greed monsters anything more for QOS is like you supporting oil campany price gauging. HOW many LR voters then voted for the asshole in the Whitehouse.?
mr zippy
mr zippy
12/5/2012 | 4:07:49 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
62% of Lightreading readers are bell-heads.

stephencooke
stephencooke
12/5/2012 | 4:07:48 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
paulej,

"The broadband access providers should stop worrying about the fact that subscribers are using services offered by other companies on the Internet and should start focusing more on how they can provide comparable or better services.

I pay for my broadband and the services that I use should be regarded as entirely separate."

I don't think anyone is denying that voice is an interesting application that happens to be able to be used via the Internet. I also doubt that bandwidth has much to do with the fact that broadband access providers want a piece of the Internet voice pie. The largest PSTN providers are also generally the biggest DSL providers and their biggest competition, this is business not technical in nature, is from cable providers. Both cable and DSL providers offer Internet access. However, as people decide not to buy PSTN access from their DSL provider, that provider's revenue stream is cut by at least a factor of 2/customer who switches.

Please understand that what I am talking about has nothing to do with technology or "free" Internet ideology or IP vs. PSTN. This is business, period. Do RBOCs and PTTs have the 'right' to restrict access to their access networks from competitive voice providers (remember a fad a few years ago called CLECs...? This is quite similar, yet potentially far worse for carriers)? I don't think that has anything to do with it. When you have a market segment filled with multi-national, multi-billion dollar companies and you tell them that their cash cow product is being given away for free and that they just have to live with it...good luck with that. Companies didn't get to >$Billion without knowing how to deal with competitive threats. Their arsenal goes far beyond technology (eg: QoS). Will things change? Without a doubt. Will it be a smooth transition? Not a chance. Will it be a bloody fight? Guaranteed.

Its nice to talk about how things might come to pass but reality has a way of kicking you in the head. Let me put it another way:

Consumers using generic services over the Internet, that have nothing to do with access providers, is a non-issue. Carriers aren't arguing about that.

Consumers using directly competing voice providers that takes significant revenue out of the provider's pockets is the only issue, at present. I am sure there will be lots of others later on.

Steve.
paolo.franzoi
paolo.franzoi
12/5/2012 | 4:07:48 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay

paulej,

The number you get (and we were debating this in another thread) is the clock rate at the CPE of your broadband line. By the time your data reaches the Internet, you are allocated a LOT less than 5Mb/s. Try something on the order of 20Kb/s. Even voice bottlenecks if that segment is busy.

seven

optiplayer
optiplayer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:48 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
"Like the oil campanies (see todays Wall St reports)these guys make a ton from our voice business and If they can figure how to run a data net will make a ton from our services."

No wonder the RBOCs are struggling... they have to share the profits from their telephony business with the oil companies. Who knew?
unlimited
unlimited
12/5/2012 | 4:07:47 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
In arguments for incremental BB Internet access charging there always seems to be a presumed right for the telcos to make up for revenue lost in recent years. This is a terrible justification for pricing. There are of course consequences for everyone involved in the telco eco system which will skew reader views.

However, the way forward is to focus on what general consumers want. Not that they entirely know what they do want. But most have a good idea what they don't want which starts with higher prices. It's obvious consumers don't want VoIP but they do want lower price telephony. They don't want QoS and premium prices, but they do want web pages to load instantly and file transfers to complete in seconds. They do want protection for their personal data and for their computers. And much more. The problem is that access providers only say, for this premium price we can do x, y, z which trust us will be great for you. This is not a focus on user value. Actually, technological complexity is a real problem for consumers and not much is being done to ease the situation. Even audio systems have become incredibly complex in recent years. I have seen many incorrectly configured digital surround sound systems in people's homes. What chance do consumers have to put in a home network and hook it up securely to a broadband service?

If the priorities are reversed to helping users first and finding new revenue second then success might follow.
dad1944
dad1944
12/5/2012 | 4:07:46 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
If 66% did not see a problem in charging more then I'll wager that 60% of those work for "Mother"! It's a sad state of affairs when we let the PHONE COMPANY (Mother) destroy the CLEC industry then get the Congress to re-write the Telecom Act in their favor! Now, they want to stifle competition again!! Remember when AT&T divested all of those "costly phone companies". Now we are down to just a few competitors (AT&T is owned by Southwestern Bell) and these few "RBOC's" are controlling the industry again. Now, along comes VOIP and they will lose both money and market share so they want to charge more?? Does anyone out there see where this is going?
dad1944
dad1944
12/5/2012 | 4:07:46 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
If 66% did not see a problem in charging more then I'll wager that 60% of those work for "Mother"! It's a sad state of affairs when we let the PHONE COMPANY (Mother) destroy the CLEC industry then get the Congress to re-write the Telecom Act in their favor! Now, they want to stifle competition again!! Remember when AT&T divested all of those "costly phone companies". Now we are down to just a few competitors (AT&T is owned by Southwestern Bell) and these few "RBOC's" are controlling the industry again. Now, along comes VOIP and they will lose both money and market share so they want to charge more?? Does anyone out there see where this is going.
desiEngineer
desiEngineer
12/5/2012 | 4:07:45 AM
re: LR Poll: Net 'Squatters' Should Pay
What's with people posting the same thing twice?

-desi





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