Now an ISP, Google not so hot on net neutrality


Gentlemen, to evil!



Shocking . . .

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network neutrality rules Google once championed don’t give citizens the right to run servers on their home broadband connections

I’d rather those “rules” didn’t give anyone the right either. Rather, we should recognize the far more fundamental right of free speech. “Give the right”, my ass. The most they can hope to do is recognize a pre-existing fact.

Bullshit. What’s a server? EVERYTHING’S a server nowadays.


The server ban also prohibits you from attaching your personal
computer to Google Fiber if you are using peer-to-peer software,
because that works by having your computer be both a client and a

This would include perfectly legal P2P applications like the one built into the World of Warcraft patch downloader, and any sort of P2P telephony program like Skype. Obviously that’s not Google’s intent, but the article is not wrong (hyperbolic perhaps, but not wrong) that these applications are banned under the existing TOS wording.

I’m disappointed that Google would ban any legal device or traffic on their networks. But if they’re going to insist on backpedaling away from a truly neutral internet, then at least they could do it in a clearly defined manner that didn’t technically forbid a large swath of acceptable (even by their standards) online activity.


To be fair GOOGLE is trying to stop people using servers on residential internet connections for business purposes. This isn’t them against people running mine craft servers or such fun and games. This may be in part about them wanting to offer a business class service, but more important are issues of legal accountability and taxation. This has very little to do with net neutrality and business use has been separated from personal use in every telecom industry I can think of.

Even Microsoft Office legally requires a different license if you plan to make money with what you make.

It just may require a re-wording on Google’s part. But most likely would only be enforced vs shady business practices.


“Server” is way-too generic a term these days, as was already pointed out. I think they need to make some distinction between something that was intended for “home” broadband use and business/commercial use.

I have roughly the same broadband speed at home as my company does, yet my company pays almost 100x for its connection. That’s because it is commercial-use, and we are expected to use up to 100% of that bandwidth all the time. That’s not true for a home user. People (home users) want everything for free or at a low cost, but don’t think about what it costs to provide those services.

I think it is fair for Google to want to restrict some home use, especially for people who try to run commercial enterprises from home on their fiber. Commercial users pay a premium for their high usage levels, and that is subsidizing the home users right now. I do feel Google has gone too far with this current policy though- since there are a lot of legitimate home “servers” out there, including things like security and home automation systems.


Don’t Be Evil! =P


As Jbforum and neowolfwitch note, there’s a problem with legal terminology here, and it’s difficult to define just what Google and almost every other residential ISP wants to prohibit.

As examples, it seems obvious that Google and other ISPs are fine with someone running a Minecraft server, while they’re not fine with someone running a webserver that gets 100,000 visitors a day and saturates the connection most of the time.

But the problem here from the ISP perspective is one of bandwidth usage, not content neutrality, and trying to frame it in terms of content causes problems. As people point out, almost everyone is running some sort of server at this point, and there’s a wide range of what can be considered a server.

Unfortunately, simply banning “servers,” and using it as an excuse to kick people with consistent and extremely high bandwidth usage off your network, probably makes far more sense from a marketing perspective than having to have some sort of direct limitations on usage, likely involving metering, caps, or slower speeds. I don’t think an uncapped symmetric 1 Gbps connection for anywhere near the prices Google is offering is reasonable if customers can use the lines for large production servers.

This is something like saying we will provide you a really wide bandwidth with the proviso that it is not meant to be used to choke the network with crap. No, it is exactly saying that.

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Then call a spade a spade. Limit residential usage rates. Don’t call it unlimited. Charge per megabyte Make policies based on how much and how often I use the network, not the sort of device I connect to it.

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This sounds like pretty a ordinary setup, to me. Usually you’ll need to pay (a lot) extra for a static IP so it’s kind of hard to run a server (of the public-facing web service variety), and there is always some fine print that says you can’t use your residential internet connection for that sort of thing. This is why any ISP worth its salt will offer a variety of business packages that let you do those things. It would be nice if Google didn’t have that fine print or that distinction, but I’m not seeing anything interesting in that they do.

Disclaimer: This is my personal opinion, not that of any my current or previous employers, customers, or corporate overlords. If it were an official corporate statement, it would have a company logo and I’d be wearing a tie while I type it.

Many years ago the company I worked for owned a cable modem business. We did have business-class and consumer services. Other than willingness to pay, and the tendency of businesses to buy more bandwidth (which isn’t an issue if Google’s selling gigabit fiber to the home, but that was the days of 10 Mbps downstream / <<1Mbps upstream), the big difference is that business want a Service Level Agreement guaranteeing pretty close to zero downtime, and the economics of running the service are largely driven by the number of technicians, trucks, and spare parts you need to fix stuff fast enough when it breaks.

Providing business-class SLAs on cable turned out to be really hard. For DSL, the broadband service is piggybacking on a telephone network that has a century of service promising to provide life-critical reliability and technicians that go out in storms and earthquakes to restore service. For cable modems, it’s piggybacking on consumer television, and if the cable TV stops working during a snowstorm, it’s just television, and if it’s broken you can go read a book, or have your kids watch that same DVD a couple more times. Cable infrastructure has become a lot more reliable since then, and Google’s fiber infrastructure is undoubtedly way more reliable.

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Still feel that Google is about being open? I think not.

most likely we’d like to think would only be enforced vs shady business practices

There, fixed that for ya! Never forget, Google is a public company, with investors!

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“Don’t be evil” means nothing. No one is evil in his own narrative. “Don’t do evil” would mean something.

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Also peak vs. non-peak hours.

Four legs good, two legs better.

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This TOS is ridiculously restrictive, I don’t care what their “rationale” is: not allowing one to SSH to a home computer to retrieve files from work? Are they kidding?

So basically, you get 1Gbps but only if you don’t use that much all the time. Fair enough. So say so. But not allowing someone to run a server is ridiculous. If I want to run OpenVPN from my home computer so I can log in from remote locations, that is my business. If I want to use a p2p service that is my business. This is ridiculous. Google sux.