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  Reply # 522763 18-Sep-2011 21:22
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BiDi:The TC download account is 7.9% above my estimate and the total traffic is 7.4% above what we measured. 

 

Now, really, would anyone believe a meter like that?
 


PenultimateHop:
6. You DO NOT want government intervention and regulation in telco billing unless you are prepared for much higher bills, and for it to take 10+ years to be implemented with little or no product development in the interim.

Wishing for regulation in this area is a bad, bad idea. The law of unexpected outcomes will fully apply.






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  Reply # 522765 18-Sep-2011 21:24
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You doubt it? Just look at people complaining about Telecom wholesale price - without realising the price is actually set by the Commerce Commission...




 
 
 
 


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  Reply # 522771 18-Sep-2011 21:46
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jnawk: This attitude is not really acceptable - if the ISP undercharges, you are still paying for whatever traffic you've purchased. When the ISP overcharges, the people who get all up in arms are the people who have been carefully managing their traffic usage based on the tools the ISP provides. When overcharging occurs, it usually results in the user having extra to pay, usually for a reasonably significant amount of extra traffic (1-2GB at a pop).

I'm not sure why undercharging is a problem. If the ISP misses 10% of your usage and doesn't charge you for it, you just got 10% for free. The lossy nature of many current billing implementations means this can occur - it's fixable, but if the ISP knows they are undercharging it might not be worth chasing that revenue leakage.

Overcharging is absolutely a problem and I have no dispute there.

freitasm: You doubt it? Just look at people complaining about Telecom wholesale price - without realising the price is actually set by the Commerce Commission...

Exactly. Government intervention is almost always a costly exercise in multiple dimensions:

* Cost of establishing the inquiry, consultations, and ultimately the regulatory framework (taxpayer foots this one, as well as the )
* Cost of compliance (taxpayer and the ISPs)
* Ongoing impact to the market, driven by the regulation - no longer is innovation free and flexible, but instead it must be driven and approved by the Government.
* The time it takes to implement. UBA took many years to establish, LLU similar, CFH/UFB, ... etc.
* The time it takes which forces business uncertainty while ComCom investigates and regulates as well - you might as well just freeze the market because you don't want to launch a new product which has to be completely redesigned from scratch, or worse, withdrawn from the market because of uncertainty over what new laws or regulations will bring.

This is not a desirable situation and should only be resorted to under extremely dire circumstances. I've lived (and worked) in countries where this is how the Government operates, and as a result you see high prices and an inability to innovate. An example case in point: it's still illegal to terminate "Internet originated" calls to the PSTN in India, which means that VoIP deployment to businesses and homes is still quite minimal, leading to people to either need a traditional POTS connection or use cellular services only...

On top of that, look at the pathetic outcomes of clear breaches like 0867 and the wholesale data cases. 10 years to not be resolved? Unbelievable.

A big fat -10000000 to any form of government regulation. Solve the problem commercially: publicize and don't patronize operators who can't manage their products and business.

Edit to add: freitasm's point is actually a perfect example and one I had wanted to mention in my previous post. On top of the pricing being a complaint, but actually set by the heroic-for-the-good-of-the-people Government, the service specifications are also set that way, which means we're still seeing extremely constrained service offerings. I was aghast when I saw the revised UBA pricing structure that's both more expensive and worse in terms of performance than the UFB pricing, which is also well known. I understand that they can't just destroy the overall pricing model that Telecom Wholesale currently operates under, but I expected bigger changes. Another example, IMO, of regulatory intervention failing.

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  Reply # 522780 18-Sep-2011 22:22
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PenultimateHop: Government intervention is almost always a costly exercise in multiple dimensions:


Government intervention in New Zealand brought an end to 'confusion as a marketing tool'.

Government intervention in New Zealand got a commitment for private investment to deliver 80% of New Zealanders 10/1 ADSL2+.

Government intervention in New Zealand got a delivery by private investment of 84% of New Zealanders 10/1 ADSL2+.

Government intervention in New Zealand got a UFB deal that has resulted in fibre roll out to 75% of homes that will be delivered sooner than the Australian project, despite the fact that ours has to be dug in and theirs only has to be blown though existing ducting, and was done without an $11 billion dollar payment to a private company.



While our usage plans may not be on par with Australia, our plans are well on par with what people are using.

However major CDN networks are saying our network is now faster than Australia's.

The roll of the government is to provide a regulatory frame work that ensures integrity in what companies provide.

It is also a roll of government to ensure all industries are treated equally and fairly.

If a supermarket has to ensure accurate billing, if the fuel industry have to ensure accurate billing, but the telco sector does not, then our government has failed us.

If the industry will not step up, as they have failed in the past, then it is the roll of government to take the lead as they did with Telecom.

This is not India, it is New Zealand.





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  Reply # 522787 18-Sep-2011 22:42
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This is going exceedingly into left-field...

DonGould:
Government intervention in New Zealand brought an end to 'confusion as a marketing tool'.

Don't see it.

DonGould: Government intervention in New Zealand got a commitment for private investment to deliver 80% of New Zealanders 10/1 ADSL2+.


Government intervention in New Zealand got a delivery by private investment of 84% of New Zealanders 10/1 ADSL2+.

At a cost to the operators which invested in LLU. Now that was indeed a misstep by those operators, but a perfect example of Government intervention and the law of unintended consequences.

The Government also intervened to deal with copyright infringement and that's just turned out wonderfully.

DonGould: The roll of the government is to provide a regulatory frame work that ensures integrity in what companies provide.

It is also a roll of government to ensure all industries are treated equally and fairly.

If a supermarket has to ensure accurate billing, if the fuel industry have to ensure accurate billing, but the telco sector does not, then our government has failed us.

If the industry will not step up, as they have failed in the past, then it is the roll of government to take the lead as they did with Telecom.

It's funny you should mention the fuel industry - it's deregulated. I couldn't find (but didn't look very hard) any legislation which mandates the calibration of fuel pumps or other delivery elements, instead I found references to the CGA and FTA. Strangely enough those Acts also apply in the telecommunications world.

I disagree with any further government intervention in telecommunications and Internet delivery in New Zealand, unless it is absolutely crucial to the growth of the country - as it was in forcing LLU and subsequently UFB. UBA I could kind of take-or-leave at this point.

Edit: In case it's not perfectly clear: Government intervention and regulation in the billing of these sorts of services is entirely unnecessary. There are already legal remedies available if the operator is failing to meet reasonable and fair standards, and additionally you can simply take your business elsewhere. Government is a big hammer and should only be used when there is no other option.

DonGould: This is not India, it is New Zealand.

Exactly, so we should be promoting free market evolution with some guiding principals around trade practice, and not the precise regulation and license of service delivery within industries.

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  Reply # 522790 18-Sep-2011 22:47
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Upon further thought, this is perhaps an area that InternetNZ should look into. A member should think about discussing it with their policy team.

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  Reply # 522799 18-Sep-2011 23:24
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PenultimateHop:
DonGould: If a supermarket has to ensure accurate billing, if the fuel industry have to ensure accurate billing, but the telco sector does not, then our government has failed us.

It's funny you should mention the fuel industry - it's deregulated. I couldn't find (but didn't look very hard) any legislation which mandates the calibration of fuel pumps or other delivery elements, instead I found references to the CGA and FTA. Strangely enough those Acts also apply in the telecommunications world.


The laws may apply, but it's doubtful if they are effective. There is still too much confusion (this thread is an excellent example) and people are just accepting what their ISPs are telling them.

Running the numbers, 15mbit/sec + 2mbit/sec can use a maximum of around 5TB per month. My 40GB per month could be achieved with a 64k symmetric connection (well, nearly). We're getting enough traffic for a connection 1/128th its size.

Looking at it another way - dialup will do (at best) 26GB per month (slightly less). That is about $1.90 a gig once you factor in a phone line as well, and is a little more than my plan costs. But my plan is 15mbit/sec. The ISP has to have enough bandwidth kicking around to deliver me 15mbit/sec at least some of the time. I don't need that kind of speed.

I'd be happy with less speed, and for the internet to be that much cheaper, or for the traffic quota to be higher. Drop me to 2mbit/sec. Cut my bill from $70 a month to $10 a month. Or give me 280GB instead of 40GB, for that same $70 @ 2mbit/sec. I'll still be able to use that amount of traffic, because full speed all the time would have me using 1.2T. Hell, the ISP'd be able to sell more customers with their existing bandwidth commitments, and I'm sure that = win for them!


/end-rant

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  Reply # 522933 19-Sep-2011 11:07
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PenultimateHop: At a cost to the operators which invested in LLU. Now that was indeed a misstep by those operators,



You seem very concerned about industry operators and not very interested in consumers.

The bottom line of NGN is that consumers got faster speeds in more places.



PenultimateHop:  The Government also intervened to deal with copyright infringement and that's just turned out wonderfully.



So far this is working out extremely well for consumers.

* ISPs now have a revenue stream and are paid to deal with copy right breaches.  So those costs are not born by all customers.
* Government owned Orcon tell us that traffic has dipped by 10%, which has to be good for profits as they don't have to buy as much capacity from international upstream providers, can generate higher profits and return greater revenue to the community via government.
* A limit has been set on the punishment for breaching copyright so rights holders can't get away with massive 'send a message' cases against single mums such as I read about in the US.

So I would say there are a number of wins that this space and we will seem more.

PenultimateHop:  I found references to the CGA and FTA. Strangely enough those Acts also apply in the telecommunications world.


Yes. 

We might have thought that the recent events with Telecom, with respect to fobbing customers off when there are clear billing issues, would have sent a very clear industry message.  Apparently not.

So very clearly CGA and FTA legislation is failing and the agencies entrusted to use those powers are also failing to get their message across.

So while you disagree that further government intervention will help and it should be left up to the industry to sort out, it is becoming clearer and clearer that industry are NOT getting that message and as consumers it is time we started to apply more pressure for more government involvement and not less.


PenultimateHop:
I disagree with any further government intervention in telecommunications and Internet delivery in New Zealand, unless it is absolutely crucial to the growth of the country - as it was in forcing LLU and subsequently UFB. UBA I could kind of take-or-leave at this point.



* CGA
* FTA
* UFB
* LLU
* UBA

Each one of those have resulted in some benefit to the consumer, however very clearly we need the regulator to push much MUCH harder than they are right now.

In Australia they have better options, but the government is taking a $43 billion dollar whacking stick to the entire industry to get that delivery.

Here in New Zealand we've been making much better ground simply with a wave of a pen. 



PenultimateHop: you can simply take your business elsewhere.


In 10 year time when the UFB is built, you 'might' be able to,  However that is not the case today.

Last week I requested a service quol to get VDSL2 in my building.  I figured as I'm in a business area with a medical center right next door, that I'd be a shoe in.

I was wrong

Checking the Telecom Wholesale coverage map, it is clear that Telecom have not made the investment in my area.  I suspect this has to do with the fact that a competitor has 100/10 in their network as a smoking gun.

Enabled - UFB

So I rang Enabled and talked with a planner (who was saying as little as possible, but was extremely helpful). 

Again, I should be a shoe in because I'm next to a medical center.  However he made it very clear that they are doing planning based on competitive risk.

I have a fibre run from one network running right past my door, I can't use it, but it's there.

I have HFC that's already upgraded to do DOSIS3, again, while I can't use it, it's like a smoking gun.  So I will be last on the roll out.

The areas that will get done first are the areas where the 100/10 smoking gun doesn't exist and Telstra can take customers off the VDSL2 network by dealing directly with Enabled rather than dealing with Telecom.

(Could be a massive roll of tin foil hat in there... but it it looks and smell like a dead fish...)


PenultimateHop:  Government is a big hammer and should only be used when there is no other option.


Agreed.  That time is on us.  If the hammer they used at Telecom did not send an industry message then clearly the industry is not listening.

Consumers are tired of being frustrated and fobbed off by multi billion dollar privately owned telecommunications companies.


PenultimateHop:  Exactly, so we should be promoting free market evolution with some guiding principals around trade practice, and not the precise regulation and license of service delivery within industries.


Good, we can agree on something.  However that approach is currently failing.  So we need the government to step up with a lot firmer guidance in the form of market intervention until the industry can get the market back on track.





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  Reply # 523083 19-Sep-2011 15:42
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DonGould: Good, we can agree on something.  However that approach is currently failing.  So we need the government to step up with a lot firmer guidance in the form of market intervention until the industry can get the market back on track.

This is way off topic and I'm not going to reply point by point.

I disagree that further government intervention is needed or anywhere near a remotely good idea, especially at the micro operational level like rating and billing. This is a recipe for disaster and consumer unfriendliness, as proven in other markets.

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  Reply # 523126 19-Sep-2011 16:28
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BiDi:
The main finding is that there is NOT a significant difference between TC's metering and our data over the 7-day period. The TC download account is 7.9% above my estimate and the total traffic is 7.4% above what we measured. 
 



http://clearnet.co.nz/unmetered.html

"Please note that the usage meter provides an estimate of your usage only and may be running up to 6 hours behind. "

Oh I didn't know that.

My understanding was that Telstra have just installed a new usage metering system and that it should not only lag by up to 20 minutes.

So reviewing your graphs BiDi (which are very cool by the way), it would seem that this is just a perception issue only.

"All content specified on Trade Me, Clearnet Video and Ziln will be unmetered until 30th September, 2011."

Oh...  catch there for young players!  We do lots and lots of trademe time because it's free.  Might have to throw a counter on that now to just see what we do.


However with respect to perception... isn't this also what the Vodafone $1 a day for 10mb thing was all about in the courts recently?  The billing worked just fine, but customers had a very different perception?






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  Reply # 523134 19-Sep-2011 16:41
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PenultimateHop: 7. Pushing for removal (or substantial increase) of billing data caps would really help resolve this sort of problem. If your data cap is 1TB - largely to prevent totally abusive use at a residential price point - then do you care if the meter is out slightly? Bonus for this is that it reduces operational cost for the ISPs significantly too!


That's a very interesting suggestion that I've thought about as well.

http://www.iinet.net.au/nbn/ - 1TB $85 then shaped to 256/256.

You are quite right in suggestion I'd have a very different attitude if I was paying less for 16 times more data.

At 10 cents a Gig I'd be far less inclined to be concerned about 20 GB, but that $1.65 I do get very upset when I just get fobbed off when I query a very clear billing error.









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  Reply # 523141 19-Sep-2011 17:02
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DonGould: So reviewing your graphs BiDi (which are very cool by the way), it would seem that this is just a perception issue only.


Of course, my mistake, how silly. I just saw the TC graph with time marked off in hours and I just figured that was intended to mean something!

You will recall that one of my initial questions to the forum was about the accuracy of the meter.

Based on my limited data set, it is hard to see how the TC meter could really be much help to customers in its present form. The delay in updating seems unpredictable. As my graphs show.

I am willing to believe that the sum of meter counts over a long period of time has meaning. Perhaps TC should redesign the presentation of data. They would need to indicate the time between updates, so that the customer could see the period during which the data was collected.

At the moment, it can look as though there has been a huge burst of activity (eg, 4 GB in one hour), when that is not the case. If that data was in fact collected over 6 hours, the peak shown should have a wider base.

It might not look pretty though. A meter that updates every 20 mins would be much better.





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  Reply # 523143 19-Sep-2011 17:11
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BiDi: Of course, my mistake, how silly. I just saw the TC graph with time marked off in hours and I just figured that was intended to mean something!


Well it does.  It's an indication of when the traffic was counted against your account, not when you actually down loaded it. 

So the issue now just seems to be explanations on their web site - this is not a new problem to Telstra and one that I've personally had involvement with for over a decade...  I thought they'd got a bit better, but it seems it's time for a refresher!






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  Reply # 523327 20-Sep-2011 00:43
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netlimiter shows exactly what times data was downloaded, and even shows you per executable/progran how much was used. I'm sure there are other bandwidth monitors out there that can do this as well. Once you've proven through testing that your bandwidth monitoring software works accurately then you don't need to rely on the isp's metering tool. Seems easier this way rather than wasting energy and getting angry the isp meter is not showing the data at the correct time.

Although there is one exception where you should take note each month if your close to going over your usage limit. Because the meter can be out by up to 6 hours or so they say, if you downloaded too much in the last 6 hours of the month sometimes the usage appears on the next months billing cycle around 2am etc. So this can be good or bad, if you weren't going to go over then its bad, if you were , then you were saved because of the usage delay. This happened to me so i called telstra and they credited back the extra amount that was billed in the new month.

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  Reply # 523406 20-Sep-2011 09:49
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Hi everyone,

To clarify one thing: TelstraClear counts traffic based on the IP address as this identifies the customer and is highly accurate. This applies to both cable and ADSL.

We don’t and can’t accurately measure traffic that passes through your modem. As I noted in an earlier post, we can ‘see’ your modem (ie, we know it’s there and is talking to our network) but we have no way to meter at the modem to count the amount of data it’s sending, receiving and passing, or receiving and rejecting).

All we know is that a packet of data has your IP address on it (whether sent by you or addressed to you), so that is what is counted. In cases where we give our customers zero-rated access to content (such as TradeMe, our Steam server, ClearNet video, Ziln and some others that are in the pipeline) we look at the IP address it’s from and the counting software ignores it.

I’ve noted a few interesting and really creative analogies in this thread (GZers are a bright bunch!). The one that, for ISPs, is the closest though would be to think of the postie. They deliver the mail that’s addressed to you – they don’t know whether you’ve requested it (new credit card, say), need it but don’t want it (also possibly a new credit card! Or a bill for car repairs), or if it’s unsolicited junk (the local real estate agent trolling for leads). The postie knows how many letters were addressed to you, they know the mail went to your mail box. But they don’t know whether you wanted any, some or all of the mail or whether you’re home when it’s delivered. The analogy for zero-rated traffic would be the postie seeing that it’s got no stamp but, as it’s from NZ Post itself, it’s delivered free-of-charge.

Short of us being able to sit in your house with you and ask you whether you wanted each and every packet of data, there’s nothing practical we can do. Indeed, as others in this thread have noted, the Internet doesn’t and can’t work that way.

Others have talked about how ISPs operate. I don’t know about any others, but TelstraClear builds and maintains networks that carry traffic (data) to and from those requesting and sending it. Every packet has a cost in infrastructure, equipment, software, the electricity to power it all and the people needed to keep it running. Each year we invest around $100m in our network alone. Our profits (a small loss this year, but attributed to the costs incurred in the earthquakes) aren’t exorbitant. Going back to the last ‘normal’ non-earthquake year, our profit (before interest and tax) was $16m. You can see the figures for 2009/10 here: http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/company-info/media-release-template.cfm?newsid=366&myear=2010 and for 2010/11 here: http://www.telstraclear.co.nz/company-info/media-release-template.cfm?newsid=420

As I also noted in another post, the traffic counting system is accurate, and the data billing is accurate. The online meter is generally close to real-time and is always accurate up to the second of the date/time stamp on the meter (have a look under the chart and three boxes of written detail at the bottom). For example, mine noted this morning at 09:40 am:

This estimated usage covers the period up to and including 20/09/2011 08:46:14 and excludes any usage via any ISP other than your TelstraClear ISP.

So, the amount of data I had used up to 08:46:14 this morning was shown and was accurate. The online meter is usually around two hours behind but can be more or can be less. There is usage meter help here: https://www.telstraclear.co.nz/customer-zone/internet-usage-meters/

We state at the bottom of the page:

Note: The usage meter information is provided as an indication of your usage, the information you receive on your bill is authoritative. In some circumstances information may be a day behind. For your security, password details are encrypted before being transmitted. We provide this service in order to help you estimate your usage. Traffic you consume is your responsibility to account for, and will be charged as per your bill.

While it’s technically possible to have an online meter that provides more data and closer to real-time data that would involve a great deal of computing power (and associated investment and running cost). As PenultimateHop noted earlier, the costs are already substantial. We believe that our customers receive more benefit from investment in network improvements than they would by knowing to the nearest minute (rather than nearest hour or so) how much of their data has been used. If you want to monitor your data, you can check every hour or two and (usually) have an accurate update. Unless you are up or downloading a large amount and are right on your cap, you shouldn’t have much of a problem.

On those occasions where you do check and don’t see any change for at least 6 hours, but know you’ve used a reasonable amount of data, it could be a case of the measuring system not talking nicely to the online meter system. If you spot this, please call and log it as a fault.

Hope this is useful.

Cheers, Gary   

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