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Topic # 151487 27-Aug-2014 12:10
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Morning all,

As a long-time watcher of the NZ ISP scene I find the sudden, widespread movement towards unlimited data very surprising, but (hopefully) very positive for NZ internet users... our island isolation is truly reduced if we can make full, enthusiastic use of virtual presence without constantly worrying about the ticking meter. Its certainly been a big deal for my business.

Traditionally if an ISP has had an "unlimited" option it has been in a pool with very finite provisioning. It always reminds me of the kid's paddling pool at an aquatic centre, and has probably had equivalent water quality (and for much the same reasons!).

So I'm even more surprised that this doesn't appear to be the case this time, with Orcon for example going universal with this offering, and saying they are abandoning any user "pools" at all.

With the others all joining in on an apparently equivalent basis, what impacts are we expecting to see on service quality overall? 

I'd expect that some users will go nuts, but most probably won't change their behavior very much; I imagine that is what the ISPs are budgeting for anyway. But its pretty new territory and who knows? 

What do you guys expect? How long will it take to play out?

Tony








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  Reply # 1116425 27-Aug-2014 12:23
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largely depends on the ISP you are with.

I don't think anybody is doing separate 'pools' anymore.  
The upside of this is that the usage is spread across everybody, so less impact overall.  The downside is that when there is an impact, it hurts everyone on that ISP.

Have a look at something like Truenet reporting to see comparison between ISPs. The reporting isn't perfect by any means, but it's probably the best comparison there is right now
https://www.truenet.co.nz/articles/july-2014-urban-broadband-report

Slingshot has probably the most 'unlimited customers' and they seem to have the most network congestion at peak times according to Truenet. However other guys like Flip, Bigpipe, Orcon, also have unlimited (Bigpipe only does unlimited), and their performance is very good - better than the likes of Spark and Vodafone who probably have the least unlimited customers.

So it really depends on whether the ISPs provision enough bandwidth to cope with the demand.   Slingshot, apparently, doesn't.  Other ISPs, apparently, do.

whether this is economically sustainable really depends.  

An unlimited user who really wants to smash the network can only do so much damage on an ADSL plan, but as UFB rolls out wider the potential for 'damage' increases.  Somebody maxing out their 200Mbps connection with torrents has a lot worse impact on the network than somebody maxing out their 20Mbps ADSL connection with torrents.

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  Reply # 1116426 27-Aug-2014 12:23
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I have had pretty good unlimited for the last what 4 years at least I would say over the last two it has increased speed

Of course unlimited allows one to use the full benefits of the internet.




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  Reply # 1116444 27-Aug-2014 12:48
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Thanks gentlemen.

FYI, at least for business, Orcon too is now all-unlimited...

http://www.orcon.net.nz/work/page/business_broadband_overview


Its interesting to hear that ISP performance does not correlate much with data limits. One thing I do enjoy about the IT scene, as soon as someone articulates a "common sense" assumption about future possibilities, reality seems to torpedo it out of principle!

My guess is that YouTube's HQ certification is going to become a non-negotiable necessity for ISPs as consumers move steadily further into online TV. Strangling bandwidth to manage demand is not going to be a viable strategy... and if traffic shaping is genuinely not going to happen, great increases in per-user international bandwidth are simply unavoidable, and will become standard.

Crikey, its looking like happening faster than I expected though. TVNZ and TV3 should be absolutely scurrying to come up with a Plan B, but I doubt they are, and I don't like their chances of finding one anyway.

Tony


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  Reply # 1116447 27-Aug-2014 12:55
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tonysutorius: Thanks gentlemen.

FYI, at least for business, Orcon too is now all-unlimited...

http://www.orcon.net.nz/work/page/business_broadband_overview


Its interesting to hear that ISP performance does not correlate much with data limits. One thing I do enjoy about the IT scene, as soon as someone articulates a "common sense" assumption about future possibilities, reality seems to torpedo it out of principle!

My guess is that YouTube's HQ certification is going to become a non-negotiable necessity for ISPs as consumers move steadily further into online TV. Strangling bandwidth to manage demand is not going to be a viable strategy... and if traffic shaping is genuinely not going to happen, great increases in per-user international bandwidth are simply unavoidable, and will become standard.

Crikey, its looking like happening faster than I expected though. TVNZ and TV3 should be absolutely scurrying to come up with a Plan B, but I doubt they are, and I don't like their chances of finding one anyway.

Tony



the Youtube thing is kinda meaningless for NZ anyway.  Your ability to access HD youtube depends far more on your wifi signal, modem, and distance to exchange than anything your ISP does.

It is only really useful in the USA, where cable broadband is so much more commonplace.

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  Reply # 1116713 27-Aug-2014 17:14
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It's significant that multiple players are now offering it. In the past not only was the cost of bandwidth more expensive (it gets steadily cheaper), but there were very few unlimited players. As a result, those wanting unlimited flocked to one plan on one ISP, which had a finite pool of bandwidth for those users. The result was of course congestion and a horrible experience.

Now we have multiple ISPs offering it, the load is spread between each of these businesses rather than everyone trying to fit on one boat and then that boat sinking.

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  Reply # 1116820 27-Aug-2014 20:18
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Just some observations, assumptions and conclusions I have made. All of this is guesswork.

Given that ISPs pay for bandwidth on the southern cross and nation wide backbones it makes sense for them to move to using that as the product differentiation. Rather than the ISP doing the math / estimations to work out the bandwidth they need. Not sure if any ISPs had fixed billing cycles for all customers but I would imagine they would have seen a drop in usage in the last week or few days of the month as some people hit there caps.

The fact that UFB is being deployed mean everyone will have the maximum speed available. It doesn't have the drop off like the copper lines did and so all customers have the same choice.

The ISP can overcharge more since it is harder for a customer to see how much bandwidth they are using, this is in contrast with usage caps where a customer can see they are only using 50% of there cap and downgrade.

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