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Wednesday, 6 August 2008

Vint Cerf calls for Internet speed limits

Judging by the comments, Vint's suggestion is not going to be wholly welcomed! I doubt it would be here in the UK either, and certainly not by consumers who are fed up with being ripped off, lied to, and served up an unappetising, barely fit for purpose, product. After all, let's face it the network is congested because it is not fit for 21st century purpose.... This sort of thinking can only prevent innovation, which is a BAD THING! Precisely because it "could end up creating the wrong incentives for consumers to scale back their use of Internet applications over broadband networks."

Although it would be nice to have some honesty in broadband marketing - it really is a 4Mbps connection Madam, it is what you pay for - one can see that the idea of having to give a QOS on broadband would fill the telcos with dread. We all know that they actually need to get their acts together and invest in what is required.

The reality is that data costs are approaching zero now, and the telcos have got accustomed to far too high profits, and resisted investing in the infrastructure for far too long. As Bill Thompson said recently, there are many who will be watching the Olympics with interest, not for the sport, but how the networks cope.

In the meantime, how does anyone stop the telcos from applying whatever pricing structure, data caps, unlimited downloads (subject to AUP of course!) suits their shareholders' whims? Well, it won't be Ofcom for sure controlling tariffs as Vivien has done more to sort out both the telcos and the mobile operators than they have, so it'll have to be the competitive marketplace with customers voting with their wallets to go to companies who do invest in the right infrastructure - future-proofed for starters, and who can deliver what it says on the tin. For that we need new entrants it would seem though....

And maybe a starting point would be the "honesty in advertising" approach? If anyone made a claim that their car could get you from Point A to Point B in x minutes, regardless of road conditions, they would be strung up by ASA, OFT, Trading Standards etc. But we let the telcos do it all the time. If we could stop that rot, the consumer might make better use of the network by actually understanding what is available.

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