Thursday, May 15, 2014

What? ISPs are going to "stop" innovating?

I laid this out in my last post, but I'll make it clear again - ISPs in the United States don't care about customer service, they don't care about innovation, they care about the bottom line... that is all.

In Ars Technica on Tuesday, they broke it down again. ISPs are making threats that if the FCC reclassifies internet service as a Title II common carrier service, they would stop "innovating". There is factual evidence that effectively shows ISPs stopped innovating a few years ago, and aren't making any substantial investments in infrastructure currently.

Today is the day that the FCC votes on the proposal to decide if the new rules Tom Wheeler wrote up will take effect. If that's keeping internet as an "information service" or if they decide to push it into the public utility realm. Either way, there are plenty of folks who have spoken out to the FCC that what the ISPs are doing is wrong, and no matter how much money ISPs throw at Washington, the public is going to fight what ISPs are trying to do.

The ISPs are making threats, but are they willing to piss off the people even more? When is the breaking point going to be reached that people start pulling the plug completely? Is that even an option for some? In my opinion, this needs to go far beyond just an FCC reclassification. The major ISP networks need to be forcibly removed from the content business. There are too many conflicts of interest here that are being ignored. Comcast shouldn't own NBC, and Verizon shouldn't be allowed to have major interests in companies like Redbox. The content companies need to be distinctly separate from those that are bringing it to our homes.

Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Verizon FIOS isn't throttling data - they're simply not upgrading, and we don't care

OK Verizon - I get it, you aren't slowing your customers' data speeds. At least not in the sense that you're prioritizing packets or providing preferential treatment to one data service over another. What you're doing is much worse. You're intentionally refusing to upgrade your trunks for your internet service to keep up with the demand imposed by customers that purchase services from companies like Netflix, YouTube. I see now what you're doing, and I'm not happy about it.

I equate this issue to one simple problem for Verizon: poor customer service. It has nothing to do with bytes being categorized or handled differently in some way. Verizon isn't even intentionally reading the content of those packets we perceive as being slowed down.

Verizon refuses to upgrade their network because they are being greedy.

But you may ask - how are they being greedy? The Netflix's and YouTube's of the world are sending large amounts of data through Verizon's networks... why shouldn't they get paid for that? Let me answer that by asking a question of my own.

What would happen if a cellphone provider said, "I refuse to upgrade my wireless network towers from 2G up to 3G or 4G"? The answer is simple, they would lose all their customers.

If any well-known cellphone provider decided that it was going to scrap all it's tower upgrades going forward, and only provide the most basic cellular service to its customers, I can guarantee their customer base would accelerate out the door. If it so happened that Sprint or T-Mobile made an announcement like that, their doors would be spinning so fast, we'd see their entire networks collapse in no time. No self-respecting customer would accept or expect a service provider to explicitly say "I refuse to upgrade; it's too expensive. If you want faster, better, more reliable service, look elsewhere."

But that's exactly what Verizon is doing here.

When Verizon refuses to upgrade their networks, they are making a clear statement that they don't want to upgrade because it costs them money. Obviously, they don't like to spend money. But it's more than that, Verizon is acting specifically this way because the American public has effectively said this is 100% OK.

Ignorant users gladly put up with poor or less than acceptable home ISP service, while simply paying more for the appearance that we're getting more than we actually do. This remains true so long as there is a new shiny object (i.e. iPhone 1 released on completely under-powered 2G-EDGE networks). As long as the new "shiny" can distract attention away from the poor service that supports it, we never realize the service is lackluster or hopefully being upgraded, eve if it's at a snail's pace. This whole problem boils down to a perception problem on our part. Here's the logic behind my entire point to all this nonsense:

  1. Verizon doesn't upgrade because it costs them money (obviously)
  2. ISPs like Comcast and Verizon have enough clout and leverage, that smaller companies like Netflix have no choice but to bend and pay ISPs separately for what Comcast calls "priority service" - network neutrality be damned
  3. There is not nearly enough competition to force the incumbent ISPs to change their strategy
  4. Until customers start truly voting with their wallet or voice their opinion until it is deafening to their ISPs, the issue will never be dealt with
ISPs know for a fact that Americans are lazy, complacent and non-confrontational. We Americans don't like to cause conflict if we don't have to, and we gladly accept being in the bottom rung for service and network speed and availability when compared to the rest of the world. There is a ton of evidence

It's clear already, video streaming is only going to get bigger. All the major technology players are throwing their hat into this ring. Amazon, Google, Apple, Netflix, etc., they all have spent a TON of money outfitting their systems with high-bandwidth network pipes capable of pushing petabytes of data out to millions of customers at once. But companies like Verizon and Comcast are the last mile. They are the big gate keeper that sends all the data that reaches from the cloud into your living room. And now we've set a terrible precedent that allows them to bully all these technologically more advanced companies into PAYING THEM to deliver content that the ISP's own customers requested. Contrary to Verizon and Comcast's claims, the direction of the humungous surge in network traffic isn't coming because Netflix, YouTube and Hulu are forcing the data down Verizon's throat, all that glorious content is being requested from Verizon's own customers. Which brings me back to the point that this is an issue of customer service.

Verizon is acting like the Ma Bell from which it sprouted again. They are refusing to upgrade the interconnections between their networks and the large in-flowing pipes trying to provide the content that all those millions of customers are asking for. We're all paying our ISP's fees. I do so monthly for the 75/35mbps FIOS connection, but Netflix streaming in my house sucks day or night. I can't get better than 480p to work on my iPad or Apple TV.

Verizon is looking at this situation with Comcast and Netflix and wringing their hands together hoping to capitalize at our expense. I'm already paying for my internet connection and so is Netflix from their end... but Verizon is holding their hand out again saying they won't upgrade their service unless someone else pays them to do so. This is ludicrous logic, but Verizon is patient enough and they're holding too many cards to be ignored.

I will be leaving Verizon FIOS soon, but with so few other options available to me, even in a techno-centric city like Pittsburgh, what other choice do I have?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Art Through Adversity

I might come back and do a timeline later.

Here is O2D #7.


Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Dropping a Deuce

Conrad and I decided to try out my iMac's podcast recording capabilities last week. I didn't put any fancy music into it like Josh does, but thought it turned out pretty well. It was just the two of us, and it was fun to just chat about some things and pass the time.

I hope you enjoy.

00:00 - Google +
15:00 - MySpace / GarageBand
19:15 - Independent Video Game Developers
21:00 - Amy Winehouse is dead / Drugs are bad m'kay
26:00 - Netflix pricing increase / video streaming
36:00 - Bandwidth and Comcast / Verizon sucks
42:00 - Phones - still in your house?
43:45 - News of the week judgements
59:00 - Media Consumption
60:00 - Buffy (spoiler alert)
64:00 - Quick vs. Questions

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Google told me Happy Birthday!

So apparently if you enter your birth-date into your Google profile, the Google homepage will tell you happy birthday!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Stroke the Furry Wall

Here is episode 5, wherein our intrepid hosts are joined by two lazy bastards who should really join us more often. Show notes below.

  1. 1:10 intro
  2. 2:08 Regretful purchase
  3. 17:30 Green Lantern review
  4. 21:05 Green Lantern Movie and comic book spoilers
  5. 25:50 spoilers over
  6. 27:00 Rude movie viewers
  7. 39:45 Rude patron's Audio
  8. 43:00 FURRIES
  9. 46:00 Techincal difficulties
  10. 48:00 A special guest appears. It's not very effective.
  11. Then TV, Quick questions, and something about playing cake, for Corwin.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Don't Hack Me, Bro!

Episode 4 of the Open 2 Discussion podcast, titled Don't hack me, Bro, is available for your aural pleasure. This week we discuss Pen and Paper RPGs, Diablo III, Star Wars: The Old Republic, the ramifications of hackers, the Riots in vancouver, Game of thrones (WARNING: Spoilers from 49:30-100:00, regarding Episode 9), and general entertainment consumption.

We also introduce a new, Conrad-approved, segment call Vs. Quick questions.

Listen to find out our opinions of hacking, riots, and who is the official superhero of the Open 2 Discussion podcast.