Analyst challenges ISPs to prove ‘bandwidth hogs’ exist

For the longest time broadband providers claimed that there was a pending doomsday of Internet congestion where the Internet would breakdown because of all the traffic. Unfortunately for these broadband providers that claim has been dis-proven six ways of Sunday which has sent them scurrying for some other fear inducing term that would let them justify increasing prices and the introduction of caps – yet another way to provide less service for more money.

With the rise of streaming and downloading of video – which everyone says is the biggest growth area for the Internet – these providers found their new term. Bandwidth Hogs. Yes, all those people who are doing exactly what is expect of them by the media industry are now the scourge of the Internet. It is their fault that the Internet slows down and providers have to increase their prices.

Not everyone is falling for this new argument. One such person is Benoit Felton a Yankee Group analyst who covers the whole fiber to home segment of the industry, and he says that the Bandwidth Hog argument is nothing short of a myth.

Not satisfied with just making the statement Felton is calling out the broadband providers to prove their case by providing data that can be analysed.

ISPs “claim that bandwidth hogs steal all the bandwidth and cause network congestion, and therefore their behavior harms all the other regular and peaceful law-abiding users,” he writes. “And to add insult to injury, they pay the same price as the others! No, policing and rationing must be applied by the benevolent telco to protect the innocent. Unfortunately, to the best of our knowledge, the way that telcos identify the Bandwidth Hogs is not by monitoring if they cause unfair traffic congestion for other users. No, they just measure the total data downloaded per user, list the top 5 percent and call them hogs.”That is, ISPs are going after “heavy users” simply for being “heavy users,” not necessarily because their usage causes problems for anyone. Imagine that some of these crazed downloaders are BitTorrent fiends (not a real brain-stretcher, that idea) and that they have their client set to do most of its downloading in the wee hours. At the end of the month, they may end up in the top tier of ISP subscribers even without causing problems for anyone. So why cap based on total monthly data transfer, rather than capping or throttling based on actual congestion problems?

Source: Ars Technica

Every argument that the broadband providers have used to squeeze money out of the consumer and/or the government has been proven to be either outrageous exaggerations based on questionable data or just downright lies. It’s good to hear that someone knowledgeable about the business is trying to get some real transparency when it comes to how these companies are doing business.