Thomas (boggyb) wrote,

On the Internets, and Virgin Media

It's been interesting, looking at the reactions to Phorm and more recently Virgin Media's CEO's announcement that "This network neutrality thing is a load of bollocks". Unsurprisingly the general reaction online is "Run for the hills!"

Which is a shame, as I don't think they deserve all the flak they're getting. The announcement from the CEO worries me, but at least they don't appear to be doing per-protocol traffic throttling or other nastiness. In fact, they've got the best traffic management policies that I know of. On cable, if you use the equivalent of flat-out for half an hour then you get the next 4 hours at half speed (and this only applies between 4pm and midnight). On ADSL, if you're in the top 5% of all downloaders over the past week then you get throttled for the next week. Much better than "download more than x GB and get charged extra", or one ISP's "download more than 50GB in a month and get ISDN speeds for the next month".

The connection's generally been reliable as well. When I was using cable it went through spates of dropping out, which were never fully resolved but when it worked (and ipcop behaved) I could get most of the rated 20Mb/s out of it. Here I ordered 1Mb/s ADSL, and I can easily sustain the full 1Mb/s. The ADSL connection does seem to drop out every few weeks, though the stats are pretty good and it's become noticeably more reliable now that I've swapped out an ancient Westell Wirespeed USB modem (connected to a hardware router with a USB port) for an all-in-one Netgear widget.

I think the main reason I'm not going to change, even given all the announcements of Bad Things, is that everyone else either offers massively overspecced connections (like 24Mb/s ADSL2+), or has overly harsh traffic management (hard caps, expensive caps, hard throttling - you name it, most ISPs will be doing it). All I want is a Mb/s or so of bandwidth, without any hard caps, and unless I pay for a business class connection Virgin Media's about the only ISP who can do it (and even with business class you *still* get ADSLmax with caps). Unfortuantly all Jo Public wants is "up to" 8Mb with "unlimited" downloads.

And as to Phorm... well, I don't know if I'd use it, but assuming the technical description in The Register is accurate then it's not as nasty as most people make it out to be. And if it means I see useful adverts rather than annoying evil flash monstronsities then I may even turn it on. Yes, I do browse the internet without an ad blocker. The sites I visit have got to pay for their hosting somehow.

BT's hidden trial was still Not Nice, as is any opt-out implementation. Opt-in please, or not at all.

Anyway, this rambling and possibly point-lacking post brought to you by 11:30pm and an annoyance at the Internets tendency to rant without cause.

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