Dear Comcast: broadband isn't gasoline

[Read the post]


They want it to be like gasoline so that they can bend us over even more. I took a survey here in Tennessee about broadband Internet. I made sure to throw shade at Concast about their practices.


big communications company trying to rig the system to make more money while not increasing their costs by a penny.

seems legit.


No War for Broadband

  1. Dear BB/Cory, you seem to have forgotten to link to the Techdirt article:

  2. Really, you’re going to claim with a straight face that bandwidth is Too Cheap to Meter? The Techdirt article at least lays out the nuance better. (Summary of the most salient point Cory cropped out: if aggregate peak usage increases past a certain point, the service provider does incur costs.)

I’m not a fan of Comcast, but I’m also not fond of fighting B.S. with more B.S. of a different flavor.


Why are we still amazed when privatized monopolies do not pass the savings down to us?

  1. you seem to be
  2. see what I did there?

[edit: 3. I saw that edit. sigh. great faith bro]


Sure: you tossed out a quick zinger. Bravo, well played. Did you have an argument to back it up? Pretty much, what I said is (by implication) that bandwidth does have cost, and I pointed to the part of the original article that says as much. Is it me you’re disagreeing with? Techdirt? Or just collecting rhetorical scalps?

I’m not a fan I’m a human, & we humans have a basic inalienable right to angry birds & yootoob (but srsly, try & do anything w/out the intertoobs - you just can’t).

Providing Internet access shouldn’t be a profitable business. It should always aim to break even by pushing as much investment into expansion of services and service improvement as possible… and no, paying your executive creeps ever increasing strato-salaries does not count as a viable operating expense.

Every time I hear “but I have to fsk over X because I answer to the shareholders” I want to punch that person in the soul.

Edit: ?!$&@ automangle


My point is that , clearly, “I’m also not fond of fighting B.S. with more B.S. of a different flavor”… is, uh, well… sniff sniff. Failing the smell test.

I trust the rest of your opinion is similarly accurate and unbiased is all. And you can do the same for mine!

Have a great day, happy new year.


Not much to say to that.


[Edit: That means “Have a nice day.” I thought everyone knew this, but maybe not?]

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For someone so unfond of responding to bs with bs… :wink:


I’m really not sure why I’m following up again, but: my point is that your comment was essentially an ad hominem. You didn’t provide anything to actually discuss or debate, I suppose other than the acuity of your sense of smell.

If you want to have an actual conversation, by all means, say something of substance. Otherwise, feel free to provide one final zinger and enjoy the last word. Cheers.


So, nationalize Internet access or turn it into a regulated monopoly? Given that the current situation is a de-facto duopoly (at best, in some markets) it’s not as whacky as it sounds at first blush. I wouldn’t give it very good odds politically, though.

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Surely if people use more bandwidth then the ISPs infrastructure needs to be bigger? That infrastructure costs money to install and run.

Bandwidth isn’t like gasoline, it’s more like the road system. If everyone who owned a car in London simultaneously got in them and drove them around town then road network would grind to a halt. If people use their cars more, and more often, then you have to build wider roads, which costs money and which have to be maintained.

Computer networks, like road networks have to be designed around predicted peak demand, not the theoretical maximum use of every subscriber. This is why rush hour is such a problem. For most of the day the network is mostly empty, then everyone gets in their car at the same time.

Now, I don’t think simple caps are a good way to tackle this, as they don’t solve the problem of spreading out peak demand.

Virgin Media in the UK actually have what I consider a pretty sensible traffic management system. It only applies during peak times (weekday evenings, weekend 11am-11pm). If you go over a set limit in a given period, your upload speed gets reduced by about half for an hour. The limits all scale roughly in line with your bandwidth.

All of VMs caps are limited, and the “penalty” is relatively benign, from my experience you have to work pretty hard to hit them. They do the job of encouraging people to do bulk downloads etc out of peak time, smoothing out demand, without actually stopping people from using their connection to the full outside of the peak periods.


If politicians knew in the 80’s (heck even 90’s when the AOL CD’s were everywhere) what they know now, there would be no internet as we know it.

Being politically popular is a pretty good indicator that you’re doing it wrong these days.


Over 20 states have laws, paid for by Comcast lobbyists, restricting municipal broadband. This battle is already taking place!

Here’s one recent salvo: Tennessee fights for its right to squash municipal broadband expansion | Ars Technica


Before someone chips in with the inevitable “I paid for 50mbps so I should be able to use that all the time” argument, I suggest doing a back of the envelope calculation, multiplying the average maximum bandwidth of comcast subscribers by the number of clients and imagine the kind of infrastructure that it would require to handle that.

If you want guaranteed 100% utilisation you should check out true business class internet prices. At my previous employer we had a 100mb symmetric fibre line to BT’s business network with guaranteed 100% utilisation (i.e. we could always saturate the line if we wanted). That was a very, very expensive connection.


Sometimes, the only way to fight BS is with more BS.
Power, (as in the power ISP´s hold over its users) is exercised without concern for ethics, if it is not exercised, it is not power. And no, I’m not suggesting the the ends justify the means or that its OK to lie, I’m saying that when faced with an unrepentant liar, arguing over details and setting the record straight does nothing to debunk the effects of the lie.

I’m also not saying Cory’s post is BS, you don’t claim its pure BS, you only disagreed with the bit where some extra cost can be incurred under certain conditions, yet this doesn’t disprove the basic point being made, that users watching a movie over the internet aren’t consuming bandwidth like they are gasoline. If Comcast’s pricing is turning a profit then the cost of peak bandwidth is already taken into account and is conceivably a well understood pattern on a monthly basis where the cost is likely, on average the same month by month.
If Comcast’s accountants can’'t factor this in their pricing, then they are incompetent and the business will, (and arguably should) fail.

The only reason for the CEO to make these statements is to create the perception that Comcast is selling its users internet access at cost. It isn’t, and this is the BS that needs fighting.


The gas station doesn’t charge me a monthly fee. I guess he’ll be getting rid of that going forward?