Rogers Cable Throws Down 60 GB Gauntlet
February 23, 2005
As file-sharing and P2P revolutionize the Internet, literally millions of individuals engage in various networks searching for multi-media files. Over the course of several years, the amount of bandwidth file-sharing and P2P networks consume is growning substantially. While the growth of these networks can be classified as modest from 1999 to 2003, few were expecting the impact BitTorrent would have.
Since the advent of the BitTorrent network, the amount of bandwidth consumed has grown dramatically. According to CacheLogic, a network management/solutions firm, BitTorrent is responsible for an upwards of 60% of some ISPs bandwidth. However, the percentage of individuals actually using the BitTorrent (or any P2P network) is considerably less.
In order to strike a balance, which would allow mere web surfers to coexist with the file-sharing crowd, some ISPs have enlisted the help of various network solution firms. CacheLogic's solution allows for uninterrupted file-sharing with no bandwidth cap. This is achieved by "caching" common P2P requests on an ISP server. This allows for network traffic to be directed to the server rather than the ISPs network.
Others, such as Rogers Cable, have decided to cap the amount of bandwidth an individual can utilize per month. For Rogers Cable ISP customers, they will now be imposed with a 60 Gigabyte bandwidth cap. This 60 GB value includes both upload and download bandwidth. If BitTorrent happens to be the customer's network of choice, it is likely this value may be reached much sooner than someone who simply uses Kazaa or Gnutella. Unlike most other file-sharing networks, BitTorrent forces every user to contribute to the community. If an individual does not upload, they will be given little or no priority to download.
Rogers Cable justifies this action based on cost of maintaining an ISP network and providing a quality service to all its customers.
In an effort to keep pace with the evolving Internet needs of our Rogers Yahoo! Hi-Speed Internet customers and to continue providing you with a fast and efficient service, we have implemented a combined upload and download bandwidth limit of 61,440 Megabytes (60 gigabytes) per month. This is a very generous limit which is approximately equal to the consumption of a typical customer in an entire year. This limit was announced on February 15 2005 and will take effect starting March 17, 2005.
New Internet file sharing applications have had a dramatic impact on the way people use the available network capacity. It is Rogers responsibility to ensure that we can deliver the level of service our customers are expecting. This limit is one of the measures we are taking to address this issue.
While Rogers Cable claims 98% of all its customers will notice zero change in their service, this appears a bit difficult to accept. Rogers is going through considerable effort to bring this information out to a mere two percent of its population, including the development of a nifty bandwidth counter so individuals can keep track of their usage. Granted, 60 GB is a considerable amount of bandwidth. One would have to absorb approximately 1 gig a day down and 1 gig up (2 gigs total) per day in order to achieve this. Does such activity seem so rare as to compose of a mere two percent of a typical ISPs population?
Over all, most would never consume this amount, even the most avid file-sharing fanatic. However with advancements in file-sharing (and as websites grow), such a limit may not be practical in the future. Rogers Cable may realize this if their customer base begins to dwindle.