Deal or no deal?

Two people lease a car each for 24-hour use, and the cars are identical in every way. The designers of the cars claim that their product has a top speed of 150 km/h, has a maximum seating capacity of five passengers, and a maximum luggage load of 100 kilograms.

Because of traffic and road conditions, the drivers are able to travel at a comfortable 80 km/h. Not bad at all, for their purposes.

The difference between the two drivers is that Driver X usually travels alone, while Driver Y often travels with four passengers and a 50 kilogram load. Driver X also usually travels only once or twice during the day, while Driver Y has a lot of here-to-there trips during the day.

Clearly, neither Driver X nor Driver Y are overloading their vehicles. Also, neither driver can cram 48-hour driving in 24 hours — not without a Back to the Future time machine or a Harry Potter-verse Time Turner.

We are now told by the designers that Driver Y is using his vehicle unfairly, and it is because of this unfair use that both drivers suffer the traffic and road conditions that do not allow them to travel close to the designed top speed of the vehicle. The designers then tell us that to be able to travel near the speed they advertise, all users of their vehicles are allowed to carry only two passengers per vehicle and no luggage during their trips.

When asked if the advertised top speed will be met if all their conditions are followed by all drivers, the designers mumble their excuses about traffic and road conditions — the very conditions that are supposed to disappear when all drivers follows the designers’ demands. The designers gloss over the question and continue to demand that users follow the conditions the designers want.

The situation above illustrates the impasse between internet service providers and subscribers, which the National Telecommunications Commissionis trying to solve. Their initial effort, a draft Memorandum Order, has been described with terms like “silly”, even “archaic, moronic”.

GMANews.tv reported a few choice quotes in defense of the draft MO. For instance, from NTC public relations officer Paolo Arceo:

“(This) particular clause was suggested by public and public telecommunications entities to prevent network abuse by unscrupulous subscribers who violate intellectual property laws, particularly on copyright, by downloading movies and software, similar to abusive subscribers of unlimited call/text promotions which were primarily designed or person-to-person use but used for voluminous commercial undertakings.

“These types of network abuse limit accessibility to a few instead of providing adequate access for all of the subscribers. Commercial or high volume users may avail of other internet connection packages which have committed higher speeds and allow heavy data exchanges.”

Similarly, from Philippine Chamber of Telecommunications Operators president Atty. Rodolfo A. Salalima:

“[The clause] is consistent with the demands of fair use. This guarantees that abusive consumers of broadband/ internet service do not monopolize available capacity to the detriment of other paying customers. The definition of the volume cap can be left to the individual telecommunications providers to define based on the different service plan offers they provide, all in the spirit of competition.”

The draft memorandum itself says:

WHEREAS, it has been observed that few subscribers/ users connect to the internet for unreasonably long period of time depriving other users from connecting to the internet.

The line of reasoning of the NTC and of the telcos is clear.

First, there exists such a thing as unfair use of internet connectivity, otherwise known as network abuse.

Second, there exists such a thing as unreasonably long periods of internet connectivity use.

To that, I say: gentlemen and ladies of the leadership of the NTC and the telcos, THAT IS ABSO-EFFING-LUTELY NONSENSICAL.

What constitutes unfair use and unreasonably long periods of internet connectivity, pray tell?

I look at a flyer, I subscribe to an “up to” 1 Mbps broadband connectivity, and schoolboy arithmetic tells me that in ideal conditions, my total data volume in a day will never go beyond 10.55 gigabytes. I apply Shannon’s Law to this “up to” 1 Mbps system, and because of the inherent inefficiencies of the telco’s system, my average connection speed will never go above 500kbps; schoolboy arithmetic tells me that my computer will recieve a maximum of 5.15 gigabytes in a day.

That’s if the hypothetical telco provides me with 24/7 reliable connectivity, of course — and none of them do. Furthermore, with a complaint about “unreasonable long periods of internet connectivity”, clearly the ISPs do not want me to maximize my internet use should I wish to do so.

It’s like Honda telling me that I can’t have 24-hour rides through provincial roads, a recreational activity I like doing now and then. Anlabo.

Should NTC follow this idiotic line of reasoning, here’s what I want to see, given I’m a user of internet connectivity:

First, a definition of network abuse and a list of activities that constitute network abuse.

Second, the minimum length of an unreasonably long period, supported by raw data and the final analyses showing unequivocally what constitutes an unreasonably long period. (To my way of thinking, an unreasonably long period of internet use is 36 hours per person per 24-hour period– to put it simply, unreasonable use begins above 100% utilization.)

Third, before deployment of the idiotic line of reasoning, I want a written commitment from NTC and the ISPs that their connectivities will always be using zero-noise, zero-loss transmission media with a goodput-to-throughput ratio of 100%, in accordance with Shannon’s law and other information theory principles. Anything less than this, I will be given my internet free.

Fourth, I want the written commitment to include a commitment of the telcos to sponsor the repeal or amendment of Shannon’s Law. The sponsorship will cease only after Shannon’s Law has been repealed.

No more lag when watching YouTube, or I get my internet free.

No more lag when playing Dragonica, or I get my internet free.

No more lag when Skyping or videochatting, or I get my internet free.

Advertised speeds always equivalent to actual speeds at subscriber end, or I get my internet free.

No limits to the size of the game patches and software updates I have to download regularly for my PC’s maintenance, or I get my internet free.

Deal or no deal?

***
ERRATA: This was earlier published under “Cocoy,” but this was written by The Jester-in-Exile. My sincerest apologies to the Jester, and to our readers for the snafu. -C

Image: by XKCD, some rights reserved.

Pierre Tito Galla

  • How true is it that there are bandwidth leachers out there?

    http://www.symbianize.com/archive/index.php/t-163034.html

    The ISPs should be looking into these anomalies first before proposing any caps or controls to the legit users.

  • GabbyD

    isnt the correct analogy having more cars on the road (and not the weight per car)?

    • i’d say it’s neither better no worse. see, a data volume cap and low actual data rates translates to less data being carried by the medium per time period.

      in a way, you could then say there’d be their requirement of less passengers, translating to the need for more cars on the road.

      simplistic, i know, but we already established so.

      on another note — with such low actual data rates and data volume caps, it’s going to make web developers and content creators forced to work with content that’s less and less rich, just to get their pages up, running, viewable, and interactive.

      (like my sun’s slow connection is doing now with propinoy.net right here.)

    • i’d say it’s neither better no worse. see, a data volume cap and low actual data rates translates to less data being carried by the medium per time period.

      in a way, you could then say there’d be their requirement of less passengers, translating to the need for more cars on the road.

      simplistic, i know, but we already established so.

      on another note — with such low actual data rates and data volume caps, it’s going to make web developers and content creators forced to work with content that’s less and less rich, just to get their pages up, running, viewable, and interactive.

      (like my sun’s slow connection is doing now with propinoy.net right here.)

  • GabbyD

    isnt the correct analogy having more cars on the road (and not the weight per car)?