[CalFiber] This is a new one from Comcast

Dane Jasper dane.jasper at sonic.com
Thu Nov 19 15:39:29 PST 2020

I'll confess, we were a bit worried when we launched symmetric service.
Because with inbound usage, there is a practical limit: how many screens
you can stream 4K video to, and how many hard drives you can fill up with

But with high outbound speed, a consumer could simply set up a small
server, put some desirable content on it, and saturate the full speed of
the outbound 24/4.

The design and economics of consumer access networks rely upon typical
household usage patters. If someone builds a data-center in their garage,
both the network and the economics break. Regarding the first part, GPON
for example provides 2.4Gbps/1.25Gbps of total capacity,
typically optically split 32:1. And as you can see from the 1.25Gbps of
outbound, if just one of those thirty two homes simply fills the outbound
constantly, everyone else will experience slower speeds. The availability
of "gigabit" relies on the fact that the capacity largely goes unused.

And this is why business data services are so expensive. They're priced and
designed to provide dedicated capacity. We charge $1499/mo for
1000/1000Mbps for a business, with the understanding that they're likely to
keep it pretty full. It's dedicated, so no one else is affected if they
saturate it, and it's priced in such a way that we can cover costs if that

Our two "fixes" for this were to cease providing residential customers with
static IP addresses, and to define "unlimited" as "typical household
usage", with the latitude to serve notice if someone the connection to host
content etc, that we could cease providing service. And with tens of
thousands of fiber customers to date, that's never happened, so I guess our
fears didn't manifest.


On Thu, Nov 19, 2020 at 1:26 PM Harold Feld <hfeld at publicknowledge.org>

> I had this discussion with Verizon engineers when they were deploying FIOS
> back in the mid-aughts.
> Me: Why are you only selling an asymmetric product?
> Engineer: It's what our customers want.
> Me: How do you know?
> Engineer: Because it's what they buy.
> Me: But you only sell an asymmetric product. Maybe they would buy a
> symmetric product if you offered it.
> Engineer: But they don't want symmetric, they want asymmetric.
> Me: But how do you know that??!!
> Engineer: It's what they buy. No one buys a symmetric product.
> Me: Does anyone offer a symmetric product?
> Engineer: No. Because no one wants it.
> It reminded me too much of this scene from Idiocracy.
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kAqIJZeeXEc
> Harold Feld, Senior VP
> (202) 559-1044 | @haroldfeld
> Public Knowledge | @publicknowledge | www.publicknowledge.org
> 1818 N St. NW, Suite 410 | Washington, DC 20036
> Support Public Knowledge's Mission <https://www.publicknowledge.org/give/>
> On Wed, Nov 18, 2020 at 2:22 PM Ernesto Falcon <ernesto at eff.org> wrote:
>> One of Comcast's lobbyist on this California Broadband Council meeting
>> made the standard cable argument that people use the Internet
>> asymetrically because look at what our Comcast customers do.
>> I suggested that perhaps people with symmetrical services use the
>> Internet differently and that data would provide a bigger picture.
>> Comcast's person responds. I am unaware of any ISPs that offer
>> symmetrical services.
>> I just left it that at.
>> --
>> Ernesto Omar Falcon
>> Senior Legislative Counsel
>> Electronic Frontier Foundation
>> Office: 415 436 9333 ext. 182
>> Cell: 202 716 0770
>> _______________________________________________
>> CalFiber mailing list
>> CalFiber at lists.eff.org
>> https://lists.eff.org/mailman/listinfo/calfiber
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Dane Jasper
dane.jasper at sonic.com
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