Yes, it’s late and I’m irate about the whole Canadian ISP thing with Bell.ca throttling their last mile connections, no matter who’s upstream of that, on e pretense that “it’s not fair otherwise”.

Their claim: 5% of users use over 30% of bandwidth, to the tune of 33%, at peak times. Leaving the other 95% with the remaining two-thirds. What this translates into is one in twenty users using nearly 10x the bandwidth of the average user. So you have one user in the twenty responsible for the same amount of traffic as ten “average” others combined. Or maybe just nine.

But let’s think for a minute. Who do they say the “average” user is? Maybe it’s unbiased an all, but if the “average” user puts through 5GB of traffic per month (normalizing for various usage patterns between high-average and low-average, that’s about 167 MB per day, plenty for web surfing and e-mail and the occasional YouTube video and such other traffic) then the “bandwidth thieves” are only putting through 50 GB per month. That could be surfing, downloading *legal* music and movies, watching video, listening to podcasts, backing up their computers to the internet…$20 spent on AmazonMP3 music means probably 100 MB downloaded, my weekly podcast bunch is probably to the tune of 200 MB, you have movies weighing in at 700-1500 MB apiece…

Then, on the off change that you want to upload a trip movie to Google Video, plus some photos to Flickr, you might use several hundred megs per day on just that. Backing up your system might take several gigs per month…so basically using the internet for all it’s worth…all legally…may put you in the “abuser” bracket. Forget long talks on VoIP…a voice conversation is a megabyte per minute so if you talked a half-hour per day you’re talking about nearly a gigabyte per month right there. A five-minute video call to whoever would cost 30 MB of data at minimum, probably more like 50. Not to mention websites being rather unwieldy these days. A download of Microsoft Office weighs in at a few gigabytes, and every month a few hundred megabytes of patches come in from the operating system vendor of your choice. Did I mention streaming video from decent-quality sites like Revision3 or Hulu?

In short, just because you’re actually using the internet like it’s 2008 doesn’t mean that you should be throttled like the backbone is from 1998. If the DSL equipment feels that old, it needs to be expanded and replaced; throttling should not be passed onto the customer or whatever ISP you’re renting your lines out to just because you don’t feel like doing the work needed to add capacity.

In closing, my computer has been active for nearly eight hours. In this time I’ve transferred around 3.3 GB of information to and from the network. I’ll have to change by computer’s habits on checking e-mail, backing up information and probably surfing the web when I go home for the summer; the ISP there limits users to 25 GB of transfer per month. Then again, the connection is slow enough that I may or may not be able to max that out anyway…

Moral of the story: the internet needs competition in the ISP space, not penalties for progress. Bring on the fully open, ten-megabit links to whoever wants them…though thirty or fifty is perferable 🙂