Maths Problems

Open discussion regarding technological or telecommunication issues
datax1969
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Maths Problems

Post by datax1969 » Sat May 02, 2009 9:27 pm

Exetel users get 54 or 60Gb of off-peak download every month. I cannot reconcile this fact with the position that Exetel and the site admin here apparently take against IP theft. I cannot imagine how anyone can possibly use 60Gb of non-copyright data, on a presumably unsupervised (off-peak) computer. Here's my maths problem -

First we ignore all normal browser, YouTube, MySpace etc etc traffic, lets assume that most of us keep somewhat normal hours and sit in front of the computer at normal times and this is covered by our peak download limits.

Lets be generous and assume that there's a nerd or two in the house who play online games late into the night. How much traffic is a months worth of gaming? Lets be generous and allow 1GB even though I doubt it adds up to that much. Stuff it, lets be real generous and make it 5GB.

The rest of the traffic must be unsupervised computer traffic (alright, except for checking the SMH site when you're having your morning cuppa, but that really is nitpicking). Unsupervised computer means that you are downloading stuff. Assuming you are really in to free Indy music, how much music can you give serious attention to in one month - an album a week? An album of MP3 is about 300MB, so there's 1.2GB a month. Lets assume that you're king of the nerds and you get 5GB of truly free music every month.

Now lets assume you are a Linux guru (nothing wrong with that, I'm a software developer and have always developed for some flavour of UNIX, going way back to SunOS) and have every package ever known for Linux and update the kernel and all the packages every week. Gawd knows why but that's what you do. Again, being generous, that's 5GB of Linux traffic every month.

If you're a Windows fanboy, maybe you download 5GB of free apps every month. I personally reckon you'd be really struggling to find that many apps but I'm willing to be flexible.

Either way I've filled in 15GB of traffic. 45GB left.

Of course, there's two big data streams I haven't covered - movies and games. Hmmm, but they have to be free, as in, not copyrighted.

I'm pretty certain that there aren't that many games out there (that are worth playing) that are free. There's the odd free big online game but they're once off downloads, not 20GB a month or anything. Anyway lets be real generous again and allow 5GB for free games every month.

20GB left for non-copyright movies and TV. In DivX format ~1GB per movie (its closer to 700MB but I'm being generous), you have to find 20 Indy movies (or 40x1 hour episodes of something not copyrighted) a month to use up the rest. Are there that many non-copyright movies/series released? If there are, surely the majority would be the biggest piles of poo you've ever laid eyes on so you wouldn't download them month after month? Even if they're not, considering all of the gaming, and the music, and the on-peak browsing by this stage I'm saying "Get out into the sunshine - you'll die of Vitamin D deficiency".

By my reckoning, even uber-nerd cannot possibly use 60GB of non-copyright material month after month. I highly doubt whether its even possible to find 60Gb of non-copyright (and worth downloading) traffic in one month.

So how about we all get off our high-horse? On one side of the argument the hypocritical ISPs who pretend that they actually care about copyright breach whilst at the same time offering massive download limits so that they stay competitive. And on the other side of the argument the hypocritical pirates who pretend that they only do it because of the big bad corporations who charge too much. Rubbish, you download stuff because, like doing 80kph in a 60 zone at peak hour, everyone else is doing it and you can't get caught.

JasonM

Re: Maths Problems

Post by JasonM » Sat May 02, 2009 9:34 pm

Easily use 60GB off peak:
2GB backup file x 30 days = 60GB of data.

You also need to consider legitimate forms of P2P, and other forms of traffic. It's possible to use 60GB, and use it via legitimate means.

datax1969
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by datax1969 » Sat May 02, 2009 9:59 pm

I'd be guessing one user out of every 1000 you have uses the Internet to back up data (I'm talking home users here). You'd be lucky if one user out of every 1000 backs up his/her hard drive to an external drive every day, let alone the Internet. Anyway, that's UP traffic so it isn't counted.

I was trying to consider legitimate forms of P2P - I mentioned legal music, legal movies, game playing and other forms of traffic. But that's where my maths (or my imagination) let me down. Maybe you can add to my already generous list. Remember, I've already done my maths on what I would consider super-geek, the point that I'm really trying to make is how Joe (and his kids) Average are really using the Internet and why they choose an ISP with ever larger download limits. I think the answer to that is obvious to everyone and we shouldn't kid ourselves otherwise.

JasonM

Re: Maths Problems

Post by JasonM » Sat May 02, 2009 10:39 pm

Even if they don't use all their usage, the potential to do so is always there. It's entirely up to the user to use the data within the acceptable usage policy.
60GB a month in the off peak period is entirely possible.

peterh_oz
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by peterh_oz » Sun May 03, 2009 12:41 am

Video & Audio Podcasts.
Internet tv shows (revision 3.com).
live.twit.tv.
Linux Distros.
AFL.com.au video.
Internet radio.
ITunes movie downloads and music purchases (yes music is small but movies are not).
Windows and other software updates.

ALL x 3 for 3 pcs in a house. That is only 20Gb each. 2 teenagers watching streaming video and youtube plus a parent running a home-based online business.

What car do you drive? Is its top speed over 100kph? If yes (which it would be!) then do you support illegal driving and dangerous speeding? No, I'm sure you don't. That extra power doesn't mean you USE it all but its nice to know the power is there if you ever use it (eg when towing a caravan up a hill!).

datax1969
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by datax1969 » Sun May 03, 2009 7:29 am

Looks like you need 60GB peak and that's fine. I'm talking about off-peak, presumably with the computer unsupervised so Internet radio doesn't count. Who listens to Internet radio at 0000? Internet TV, well you're not supposed to be keeping a copy of that so you have to be there watching it between 0000 and 1200. How much can you really watch of that?

Same goes for all your other examples where you have to be in front of the computer.

My maths already counts free video and audio download (podcasts), Linux distros, windows updates, I mentioned all that and I thought I was being generous in that department. I admit that I forgot to count movie downloads that you pay for - what an odd concept that is - but apparently some people do it, so maybe you pay for a movie or two a month rather than going down to the video shop and getting it immediately (and then copying the DVD:-). I still doubt that the average user can chew up 60GB, who has that much money for movie downloads?

I drive in Sydney. I don't drive at 100kph all the time but if I'm not breaking at least 3 traffic laws simultaneously than I'm a nuisance on the roads. Its not a matter of how much I'm breaking the law by, its just matter of breaking them. Assuming I'm not stuck in traffic, I am certainly going faster than the posted speed limit, I'm usually undertaking the one idiot who IS doing the speed limit, and I'm sitting right up the bum of the guy in front of me. If I, and everyone else, weren't doing this then Sydney traffic would be worse than it already is. I've got all 12 points on my driving license and its been at least 5 years since I've been done - I don't get caught because I'm protected by numbers. Same as downloaders.

Anyway, my point is not your or any particular person's usage habits - someone's bound to use it all legally. I'm just pointing out in general how hard it would be for Joe Average to use it, and that we all know what's really going on when ISPs spruik how much download limit (esp off-peak) is in their plan. I just wish someone would come out and say it.

And on the other hand we all know why people download games and videos from the Internet. Its not because of the big, bad entertainment companies, TV networks and so on, its because "Hey, its free and I can't get caught". It would be nice if the downloaders would just come out and say that too rather than all the thin excuses.

dbr
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by dbr » Sun May 03, 2009 10:29 am

You really need to stop projecting. Each of us is different. There is no 'norm' that has to be applied. Just because you can't see it, doesn't make it so.

You've had James and Peter both show how it is easy to crank through the quota. yet you dismiss them both with a "I can't see how this could be the majority of users".
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David R
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by David R » Sun May 03, 2009 11:53 am

Obviously putting the nightly media/60 GB through the cash register, would cost 100s of dollars many a-pensioner/low income person could not so easily afford, realistically nor reach arguably, beyond their extant recurring connection costs and, occasionally, usenet fees which cannot be avoided. while we each represent some of varying market segments in consuming this stuff we each benefit from some pricing model or other.

Check nine underbelly#2 for an innovative concept: I get to May 11 to view and or distribute the 10GB program (legally) online anytime I feel like-it's that flexible around modern habits, allowing sleep time or multitask while things happen naturally in the background. Same for ABC downloadable content.


IRT off-peak, if we did not harness this special capcity then a valuable resource would go to waste indeed & I'd sooner cut my throat than create avenues for expenditure. *60 reasons here not to change, TA*
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CoreyPlover
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by CoreyPlover » Sun May 03, 2009 1:20 pm

datax1969, you do make some obvious and realistic points, but there is no link between "offering 60Gb" and "encouraging illegal activities".

As has been mentioned, the off-peak quota is high in order to allow the "average Joe" an effective unlimited off-peak allowance (because as you say, the average joe couldn't possible exhaust it all). While I'm not privy to details, I think the amount (60GB) could be set mathematically, not to encourage illegal downloading by any means, but as a by product of provisioning bandwidth. Exetel need to provision bandwidth at some aggregate level to cope with maximum peak-time usage. Based on this provisioning, Exetel calculate that they can offer xGB allowances to all users, relying on only a small percentage take-up rate on such an offer, and still make profit. This xGB just so happens to currently come out at a value of 60.

Bottom line is that Exetel is a commercial business. And in the commercial ISP world "xGb quota" is a selling point, even if it is just for those people who have absolutely how little usage they truly need (I know someone on a 36Gb/54Gb plan who uses under 1Gb total for 11 months out of 12). Exetel simply provide as much quota as they profitably can and any line of reasoning that then goes from "Exetel are allowing me to download 60GB" to "Exetel are encouraging users to download illegal activity" represents completely unjustifiable and feeble reasoning (much like peter-oz's car top speed analogy).

So, to address your question about "how do you reconcile Exetel's high off-peak usage and their position on IP theft", the answer is twofold:
  • The 60GB is a byproduct of regular, legitimate bandwidth provisioning that is very useful for marketing and selling services (Exetel bill themselves as one of the most value for money ISPs)
  • An ISP wishing to make a stance on IP theft can do so in either 2 ways: cutting quota or acting on copyright infringement notification. The former would severely hurt Exetel commercially, so they have instead adopted the second; something which many other ISPs refuse to do and has landed one of them in particular (iiNet) in court.

PM
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by PM » Sun May 03, 2009 7:22 pm

Interesting discussion.
In essence I tend to agree with with what datax1969 is saying. The average user not downloading copy protected product would use far less than their peak plus off peak quota per month. Obviously there are many, many exceptions. But if I recal JL saying a few months ago... "The average use across all users is around 40%". I'm not sure if that is based on peak or peak/off peak. Probably the latter. That says that the vast majority of users use very little data per month. Obviously Exetel will have a "tipping point" where too much usage becomes unprofitable. How far above 40% that is is probably business confidential. That's fine. My MIL using a whopping 150-200 MB per month is obviously doing her bit to keep that 40% figure alive.

Perhaps Exetel can "encourage" lower usage by pricing acordingly in the future as costs come down, and charge higher prices on higher usage to "encourage" heavy users to either pay appropriately, or leave. Obviously the current pricing works, but those who go way above their peak quota by trying to use close to 2GB before paying the extra cost per GB when they've selected shaping should get a once off warning. If they continue the shaping abuse they should be "encouraged" to leave. ;-

Obvioulsy the high downloads available is a selling point that has/is working well for Exetel. It worked for me, although I would have signed up for much less, as I don't think I've ever gone above 20GB, but usually closer to 15GB.

That average of 40% says that there is a very large low (say sub 20GB/month) user base out there that Exetel should be tapping.

datax1969
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by datax1969 » Sun May 03, 2009 9:26 pm

I'm surprised at the number of non-staff members who seem blind to reality. The reality I know is that people are downloading copyright material left, right and centre and are being encouraged to do so by ISPs competing with large download limits - there's at least one ISP that specifically advertises something along the lines "a whopping 40Gb of downloads which you can use for movies and games". Exetel is competing on the same ball park and in the same reality. I just wanted some regular users to admit that. Why did I choose Exetel? Put it this way, my favourite software when I was 12 years old ran on an Apple II and was called Locksmith. Yep, I've outlasted at least 3 parrots since then, my eye-patch is frayed and I'm a tight-fisted old so and so and the best bang for buck in town is Exetel.

Staff have responded as they must. Corey's response is exactly what one would expect and is even believable. The one slight slip up with which I'll claim a small victory:

"because as you say, the average joe couldn't possible exhaust it all"

I said it was impossible using NON-copyright material. Pirating willy-nilly you can blow 60GB in a flash. A few games, a few movies, a few seasons of your favourite TV show, the usual amount of pron and you're there.

"The average use across all users is around 40%"

I'm perfectly willing to believe this. Pegleg and all, I don't use more than half my off-peak quota most months, who has the time for all that content? There's actually not that much good copyrighted content out there. However, I would be interested to know how many users do manage to use up >30GB of the off-peak limit on a regular basis. If that number is relatively large, and I suspect it is, lets face it Exetel, your customers are not angels. What are the stats on infringement notices? What is the record for the most to a single user?

Consider the pot half-stirred. I got the response I was after from one half of the parties. I'd like to get the other half of the hypocrites to admit that the main number one reason for pirating is because "hey, its free and I can't get caught" - anyone out there willing to put their hand up and be honest with themselves?

JasonM

Re: Maths Problems

Post by JasonM » Sun May 03, 2009 10:14 pm

Reviewing what data is available, the number of notices being sent is not even close to a large percentage of our users.
Approximately 350 notices may have been processed in April - about 10 a day for April.
This compares to October 2008 - about 20 a day.

The notices seem very effective, Exetel grows every month, and the number of notices are halving, yet bandwidth consumption has grown over that time - I don't have any per user stats on off peak bandwidth or notices though (a much better method of looking at this).

Based on bandwidth growth, I say the users are either changing to paid or free content, or getting smarter.

CoreyPlover
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by CoreyPlover » Sun May 03, 2009 11:02 pm

One note: I'm not a staff member, just a forum moderator and Exetel user. So the views I express are completely my own and not necessarily representative of Exetel

I'll respond with one slip-up of yours (emphasis added)
datax1969 wrote:and are being encouraged to do so by ISPs competing with large download limits
You should not blame others for "encouraging" something when they are simply providing the service. Ultimately it is the responsibility of the individual to control their behaviour (or bear the consequences of their own actions if they don't). It is not an ISPs job to police or babysit its users simply because the services provided can be misused. This would be akin to saying Exetel encourages spam because it provides email facilities.

OK Fine...two slip-ups. :)
datax1969 wrote:I said it was impossible using NON-copyright material.
It is not "impossible", as two forum respondants have already indicated. I'm sure you meant "unlikely"; but your point still stand.

I do, however, appreciate the candidness of your post. Copyright infringement has always been a pervasive aspect of society, especially since MP3 and DivX technology. I think there are three main drivers of copyright infringement in society today:
  • monetary gains (not having to pay for movies, DVDs or CDs)
  • perceived anonymity (users mistakenly think that they cannot be traced, when in fact it is quite trivial to track down infringing users).
  • perceived immunity (the argument that "they never target me because I'm too little in the grand scheme of piracy")
You can be assured that over time, these last two drivers will disappear as the processes become more and more automated (not just in Exetel but worldwide)

peterh_oz
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by peterh_oz » Mon May 04, 2009 12:18 am

datax1969 wrote:Looks like you need 60GB peak and that's fine. I'm talking about off-peak, presumably with the computer unsupervised so Internet radio doesn't count. Who listens to Internet radio at 0000? Internet TV, well you're not supposed to be keeping a copy of that so you have to be there watching it between 0000 and 1200. How much can you really watch of that?
Everything I quoted is a "download now, watch later" product, other than internet radio.

Most "internet tv" is downloadable. EVERY show on revision3.com is downloadable.

Ever heard of video podcasts?

I download LEGALLY Good News Week every week from channel 10.

I also download some shows (video and audio) from the ABC - LEGALLY.
I drive in Sydney. I don't drive at 100kph all the time but if I'm not breaking at least 3 traffic laws simultaneously than I'm a nuisance on the roads. Its not a matter of how much I'm breaking the law by, its just matter of breaking them. Assuming I'm not stuck in traffic, I am certainly going faster than the posted speed limit, I'm usually undertaking the one idiot who IS doing the speed limit, and I'm sitting right up the bum of the guy in front of me. If I, and everyone else, weren't doing this then Sydney traffic would be worse than it already is. I've got all 12 points on my driving license and its been at least 5 years since I've been done - I don't get caught because I'm protected by numbers. Same as downloaders.

Anyway, my point is not your or any particular person's usage habits - someone's bound to use it all legally. I'm just pointing out in general how hard it would be for Joe Average to use it, and that we all know what's really going on when ISPs spruik how much download limit (esp off-peak) is in their plan. I just wish someone would come out and say it.

And on the other hand we all know why people download games and videos from the Internet. Its not because of the big, bad entertainment companies, TV networks and so on, its because "Hey, its free and I can't get caught". It would be nice if the downloaders would just come out and say that too rather than all the thin excuses.
So, using your analogy, EVERY CAR on the road should be speed limited to 100kph. No-one *should* go over the limit, so anyone who builds a car which CAN, is aiding people in breaking the law. NOT building a car which is powerful enough to tow a boat up a hill, simply building a car because the SUPPORT people speeding.

And I'm not sure how speeding in Sydney's blocked traffic jams helps, but if you think it does, enjoy your licence cos you will get caught one day,

And I hope you're not the type who write to protest "I've got a perfect driving record, please let me off". By your own admittance, you have a perfect driving record because you've been lucky, not lawful.

PS - people may not listed to internet radio at 00.00, but they may up until 12.00 which is ALSO offpeak! I schedule my downloads to run during offpeak, and watch them during peak (which happens to be "normal" tv viewing time).

peterh_oz
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Re: Maths Problems

Post by peterh_oz » Mon May 04, 2009 12:34 am

datax1969 wrote:I said it was impossible using NON-copyright material. Pirating willy-nilly you can blow 60GB in a flash. A few games, a few movies, a few seasons of your favourite TV show, the usual amount of pron and you're there.
Unusual, maybe. But not impossible.

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