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ISPs want to charge a premium to have your site load faster

 1:21 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

This one concerned me a little bit:-

William L. Smith, chief technology officer for Atlanta-based BellSouth Corp., told reporters and analysts that an Internet service provider such as his firm should be able, for example, to charge Yahoo Inc. for the opportunity to have its search site load faster than that of Google Inc.




 1:53 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's a very interesting read, great find. A question though, would that not affect the hosting companies more than webmasters? Obviously the extra cost will be passed down the line to us, but in terms of impeding smaller players, could they not go with a larger web host that would be able to pay for these premiums?

Obviously this would cause an extra barrier for anyone getting into the hosting game, but will it really affect most webmasters aside from increasing our monthly package costs slightly? Not trying to defend the proposal or anything, just asking honest questions.


 2:05 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I'd guess that if such a thing came to pass, smaller site owners would have to arrange "premium" services by signing up for the right hosting plan. Big site owners could sign up directly with the ISPs. It sounds like a complete nightmare. I have a hard time believing this scheme will fly, but if it did, I'd see the need for aggregation on both sides - i.e., sign up with a consortium of ISPs for premium service, or sign up for premium hosting. The thought of a million one-to-one deals between individual ISPs and sites is hard to imagine.

I'm sure what BellSouth is anticipating is their ability to deliver vast bandwidth once "fiber to the home" becomes prevalent. No doubt they want to find ways to turn that extra bandwidth into money. (Simply providing better service to their customers apparently isn't enough of a reward.)


 2:24 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

It's going to be very interesting to see how this pans out over the next few years. The IP technology being delivered by the domestic telcos is potentially going to make their core services redundant - the ones they actually make what little money they do make on. It's starting to happen already with very close to carrier quality VoIP and thousands of Internet TV channels available.

The problem that William is battling with is that his company (ditto NTL, BT etc.) are going to be providing an absolutely essential link in the chain between web service providers and their consumers; yet once their core services of voice and TV are superseded by pure software overlays ontop of TCP/IP they will have no revenue stream that can even come close to covering their costs. They hardly make any money as it is as there's only so much you or I are prepared to pay per month.

Therefore; something is going to have to be worked out that enables "last mile" providers to somehow charge for access to the consumer - simple as that. I'm just looking forward to the day that I can go signup at www.discovery.com and watch their programmes on demand, online. That same day I cancel my cable TV service. It's not far off.... :)


 2:31 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Bellsouth was one of the worst ISPs that I've ever used. They deliberately gave customers poor service by slowing things down. Downloading a file with them was very slow because bytes would flow for about 20 seconds then stopped for 20 seconds, and resumed for 20 seconds, and on and on. The download time effectively doubled and it was clearly just a scheme to cut costs by giving poor service.

I'm not surprised that they would come up with a scheme to manipulate their service to their own advantage at the expense of their customers' surfing experience.


 2:38 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

If you don't give us money, your website will be slower than those of your competitors

If this goes ahead I will be the first to ban all visitors from those ISPs to all my websites, and show them a notice explaining exactly why, with a list of suggested ISPs (and affiliate links) which don't slow. I don't take blackmail from anyone, and that is what this is.

If an ISP thinks it would hurt me to have a slowed website, that's probably true. But I believe that if their customers instead of seeing slowed websites see no website at all, it will hurt the ISP more in the long term.

Incidentally, who is going to pay the extra fees for wikipedia, and for the millions of blogs and interesting non-profit websites?


 2:44 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

This would encourage smaller websites. All you have to do is get rid of all the extra junk on your site and make it fast loading. They can't slow down your site if your pages are only 25k.


 2:55 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>They can't slow down your site if your pages are only 25k.

True... but I think these guys are looking a few years out, when people may expect fast-loading rich media on every page, and static HTML may seem oh-so-quaint. Then again, books haven't gone away yet. :)


 2:57 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

They can't slow down your site if your pages are only 25k.

They can just wait a few seconds before sending it... it's not just bandwidth, but response time, which contributes to a fast site.

Brett had some really good comments about this wrt webmasterworld and designs, but I can't find them now.


 3:10 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

They can just wait a few seconds before sending it

That's how I read it too. It's about "load speed" and not bandwidth. Having said that, I can see a similar viewpoint being taken by ISP's in relation to VoIP - "use our voice services and it'll work fine, use theirs and you might notice delays and echos".

It's a potentially massive revenue generator of course, although I can see some legislative hurdles to overcome (anti-trust etc) as well as consumers voting with their feet and moving to the new market "we won't throttle your access to any site" ISP's.

It's a dangerous game, that's for sure. This is Bell South though remember.



 3:25 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Good #*$!in luck with that. Delibrately impeding traffic unless you pay their set price? Wow, how is that not casebook blackmail?


 3:58 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

It is not blackmail. Bandwidth costs money. They have a choice charge users are sites. Sites have money users don't. They need to provide high speed internet to everybody at low prices they got to get money from somewhere. It would work if they had a min that you get for free but if you start to use a lot of bandwidth they charge you. They have enough users that some sites will pay.


 4:03 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

>>Delibrately impeding traffic

ISP Salesperson: "Why Mr. Web Site Owner, our company would never impede anyone's traffic... that would be contrary to the high ethical priciples established by our founders.

Furthermore, we have great news for you. Due to our heavy investment in technology and infrastructure, we ARE able to offer important and useful sites like yours our new PageLoadEnhancer service, which will make your site faster than your less-worthy competitors. When you see how little it costs, you won't be able to refuse."

Salesperson continues in a lower tone, "You know, with a great site like yours, you really don't want to risk high latency, images that take forever to appear, garbled audio, jerky video, or the occasional 'page not found' error, do you? Sign right here and we'll make sure you don't have those kinds of problems."

I'm kidding (mostly) about the second part, but the first part would be a likely sales approach if this idea ever gets that far. It would be presented as an enhancement service.


 4:28 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I really think that what BellSouth really wants to do is to impede our cheap IP telephone service. Introduce a little jitter into the IP telephone connections and all of the sudden you are returning to Bell South.

They must be betting that their competitors - the cable companies - will follow their lead and charge extra for a jitter-less connection, too.


 4:30 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Whether this will be outright blackmail or not will depend upon how the technology is implemented.

If the ISP is supplying local caching to enhance page load time, then that is nothing more than outsourced geographic load balancing, already common practice for many websites and rich media suppliers in particular.

If the ISP is actually meddling with the bandwidth provided between the user and the webserver based upon payments made, then what they are operating is blackmail pure and simple.

If your bank told you that instead of doing what they should and answering the phone quickly, they want you to start paying extra for the privilage and sitting there on hold if you don't agree to the payments, would you see it as blackmail?

If your water company suddenly wanted payments to give you a reasonable water pressure during peak demand hours?

Regarding the VOIP issue... I can see problems with the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 1966 International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and/or the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. All of these include or refer to the right to transmit information across frontiers without impediment - so if you are going to impede my VoIP call to Germany then you'd best get familiar with my lawyer.

And yes, you certainly are impeding my transmission of information - it's clearly not a technical limitation - since calls through 'paid up' VoIP services work...


 5:24 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

This one has me a bit confused, anyone care to explain this (Story) in basic English for the non VOIP shutter speed of bandwith types.



 5:44 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

In the UK I would expect this to be declared illegal. OFTEL is probably the most incompetent regulator the world has ever seen but I cannot imagine for a moment that this would be permitted.

If I sign up for 1Meg broadband I expect 1Meg broadband for all sites not 1Meg for some and 512K for others, etc.



 7:12 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

if you're a subscriber to high speed, you're getting screwed by BellSouth for sites that don't want to participate in the blackmail operation.

if you're a website owner, you're going to lose customers if your site loads slower then your competitors who went along with the blackmail.

ogletree, "Buy our service or your site is going to load slower", how can you not call that blackmail? Extortion?


 7:22 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

seems like dirty tricks to me, I hope this just fades away!


 8:38 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Makes me wonder if google wasn't looking to these situations when they started buying dark fiber.
Rumors of free wireless abound. Eventually Bellsouth and others may not have any say in anything.


 9:49 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Exactly texasville.... Just my thinking too...but you beat me to it!


 9:57 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Ahh antitrust laws ... looks like we are back to AT&T with a controlled monopoly.


 10:32 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

So it's Bell South and the cable operators who do the last mile there? Even if the telcos and cable cos collude on this when Wimax comes this idea will be toast anyhow.

If the telcos don't make money it's because their infrastructure is costing more than their competition's. No amount of sneaky pricing can help that. Adapt or die.


 11:06 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Unfortunately for those of us us who do not live in the USA all this talk of competition making this "blackmail" impossible do not apply to us (except maybe in the UK ) ..my VOIP is crap ( unusable due to echo and chopping ..costs me nevertheless $25.oo per month extra on top of my dsl 2.5 megs down ( costs me $55.oo per month plus $$22.oo per month to France telecom for the line )..wow! ..and I cannot change suppliers ..the national law locks me in for 12 months to the present one ..even if they dont live upto their ads nor contract ..and anyway it is the old state monopoly ..France telecom who make sure the VOIP is crap ( they control the last copper down to the inch )..( their "offer" would cost me $80.oo per month locked in for 24 months :(

If they get the idea to give us "2 tier service" via broadband ..they will jump on it and we have no legal protection against it ..


[edited by: Leosghost at 11:09 pm (utc) on Dec. 14, 2005]


 11:07 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

I wonder if BellSouth has thought this thru. Goggle and other may now contemplate slowing down delivery based on who pays them.

Does BellSouth realy hold the cards?


 11:22 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

That's how I read it too. It's about "load speed" and not bandwidth. Having said that, I can see a similar viewpoint being taken by ISP's in relation to VoIP - "use our voice services and it'll work fine, use theirs and you might notice delays and echos".

I've heard reports that Telcos in several countries are already doing this to try stop Skype et al from working well.


 11:28 pm on Dec 14, 2005 (gmt 0)

Like I said ..( our telcos hate skype ..our national telcos pension fund shortfall not counting their debt is bigger than that of all of South America combined ..they do not need working skype or VOIP of any kind ..and will do anything to stop it working where I am ..whilst I am locked into them I am keeping them alive ) ..

Rant ..you bet ..!Truth too..:(


 1:05 am on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

What it means is that they want to have finer grained control over traffic.

So, when you buy 10mps at your hosting service, you can get the 10mps slow, the 10mps medium, and the 10mps fast.


 1:14 am on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Where I live, the telephone company has DSL, the cable company has high-speed, the PUD offers fiber, and I can even get high-speed wireless. XM radio is starting to go mainstream which could also open up new possibilities in high-speed satellite downloads. Seems like the wrong time for a company to openly advertise that it's going to make its service crappier on purpose.


 4:17 am on Dec 15, 2005 (gmt 0)

Don't all these ISP's load balance traffic between them? If one ISP starts charging they ALL have to start charging and then there is no more free internet. I'm sure the proposal is illegal and breaks several FTC guidlines.

This 45 message thread spans 2 pages: 45 ( [1] 2 > >
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