Note: This column represents the opinions
of the writer and as such, is not represented as fact|
this story on the IDG website today,
Telecom are clamping down on a Jetstart users who use P2P file-trading
the contents of Aardvark's "million-dollar ideas" notebook
are revealed for all to see!
"Thou shalt not run a server" is one of the restrictions associated with
the flat-rate DSL service -- and now they're getting serious about enforcing it -- but
is fair and what else might be affected?
First-up -- we all know that Telecom's DSL service is an extremely expensive
(by world standards) service that suffers from some rather annoying technical
problems right now. IDG have been like a pit-bull in following and exposing
the existence, and Telecom's seeming reluctance to fix, a micro-outage problem
that cynics like myself might consider to be simply a marketing ploy to force
serious users onto more expensive data links.
And don't even get me started about how a hacker can send your JetStream bill
through the roof simply by sending you data you didn't ask for and don't want.
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But what about this lame restriction that JetStart users can't run servers on
machines connected through this service?
What a crock!
For a start -- JetStart barely qualifies as a broadband service -- being capped
at a rate which is little more than twice the speed of a dial-up modem on
uncompressed data -- and potentially slower for highly compressible material
(where modern dial-up modems can in theory provide throughputs approaching 200Kbps).
Telecom seem to claim that it must prohibit JetStart users from running
servers because such activity becomes too much of a drain on bandwidth. BZZZT -- wrong
Guess who controls the bandwidth? Yes -- Telecom.
Given the pitiful uptake of DSL in NZ (compared to other pacific-rim countries
such as Singapore and Korea) -- I'd be very surprised to learn that the handful
of Jetstart customers are producing unfixable congestion.
No, Telecom seem to be playing the same old bait and switch game designed
to squeeze customers into more expensive options.
"Hey, you want flat-rate DSL? -- get our JetStart"
"Oh, what's that, you've got JetStart but you want to run P2P file-sharing? You
need to step UP to our JetStream product"
"Oh, what's that, you're having trouble with micro-outages? You need one of
our DDS or Frame Relay connections..."
Get the picture?
Remember -- it was only a few years ago that Telecom was telling the world about
this great new fibre-optic Southern Cross cable that had so much bandwidth you
could send a full-length motion picture around the world in the blink of an eye.
What they failed to tell us, it would seem, is that only those who are rich
are allowed to enjoy unfettered fast Net access.
According to today's IDG story, Telecom claims that "uploading large
amounts of traffic is causing the problems that some JetStart users are
reporting." Well if this is the case -- how will shifting them to the more
expensive JetStream service fix such problems? Are Telecom asking us to believe
that the two products use different networks?
As far as I'm aware -- JetStart and JetStream share the same basic infrastructure
-- so what Telecom are really saying is "if we force
these users to a non-flat-rate service we can make a heap more money out of them."
Couldn't they effectively control the problem by using asymetric data rates
and limiting the outbound stream to 33.6Kbps just like a dial-up modem? If they
did this then a JetStart user would represent no more of a bandwidth burden
than any other computer running P2P over dialup.
Or could it be that even dial-up users of Telecom's XTRA service may soon
find themselves banned from using P2P file-trading software too?
However, all this talk about running servers and P2P file sharing has little
relevance to your average JetStart user does it?
Well don't be too sure about that.
The contract actually says "You must not run servers, use static IP addresses
or provide public information service via a computer connected via this plan."
So -- are other P2P services such as instant messaging also forbidden?
And what if you provide free information and advice by email to others who might
perhaps share your own hobbies or interests?
Isn't that a "public information service"?
How long before the bean-counters start clamping down on these apparently forbidden
uses of JetStart too?
Of course if I were really drawing a long bow -- I'd wonder whether perhaps
the recording industry and Telecom weren't getting into bed together to stifle
affordable access to P2P services such as KaZa and Morpheus from this part of
Meanwhile, affordable, flat-rate broadband access remains an illusion to
the vast majority of NZers. So much for advancing our knowledge economy eh?
Usenet Archives Online
Those of us who were active Internet users long before it was fashionable can
now take a nostalgia trip thanks to Google.
The search engine has put a huge wad of old usenet postings online as part
of the service offered through its
I suspect they'll be getting huge numbers of requests for postings to be
removed right now -- as some people's past comes back to haunt them ;-)
Hey, Christmas Is The Time For Giving
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