Farewell Net Neutrality, Hello Opportunity


(Max Walker) #1

So for those not so aware Net Neutrality is “the principle that Internet service providers should enable access to all content and applications regardless of the source, and without favouring or blocking particular products or websites.” Basically it means every internet site or service gets the same priority and is the same cost to access.

Anywho, Three with their ‘Go Binge’ (and Vodafone with their new VOXI plans) offer access to some sites such as Netflix, Facebook etc without eating into your data, and particularly with Vodafone, any site that falls into certain broad categories can currently ask them to be added:

  • Social

  • Chat and Communicate

  • Music

  • Video

Now Monzo doesn’t really fit anywhere here at the moment, but with more of this happening wouldn’t it be good if at some point in the future Monzo could be included on these whitelists, I think It would be a good step to get ahead of other banks and lets be honest checking your bank balance can be fairly crucial.

What I’m saying is that at some point in the future with this becoming more of a thing, If the option arises or they happen to be discussing things with mobile networks that they could and should be part of these unbilled categories as an essential part of modern life.

Obviously at the moment, the current account is #1 priority and obviously its a kick in the teeth to net neutrality.

Update: EE are up to it too with free apple music and apple music data


(Max Walker) #2

On second thought this might need moving to ideas, I didn’t see that topic so my bad


(Hugh) #3

These used to be illegal. I’m not sure what has changed but a few years ago Three was prevented from doing exactly what they are now doing…

It’s terrible. Net Neutrality should be defended.

EDIT:

Maybe it wasn’t Three but:


From: http://www.ispreview.co.uk/index.php/2017/06/ofcom-report-eu-finds-no-major-abuse-net-neutrality-uk-isps.html


(Max Walker) #4

Unfortunately for net neutrality I think ofcom https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0011/50510/statement.pdf is more concerned with selective speed throttling rather than the moral arguments.

I guess the spin that networks would put on it is that they are offering free access to social media and whatever In addition to normal data allowances. I mean in practice I’d have a massive massive problem with them throttling or prioritising certain sites speeds but I have less of a problem getting free access to certain sites (though as a computer scientist I certainly get the moral reasoning).

Will be interesting to see if ofcom says or does anything or whether the public getting free access to facebook will ultimately override these concerns.


(Andre Borie) #5

Nope nope nope, I don’t want Monzo doing any kind of deals with the mobile networks - those scammers have got enough money as is, not to mention that the Monzo app uses so little bandwidth it’s not going to make any difference anyway.

If you could pay money to vote an idea down I’d put some good money to see this awful idea gone.


(Gareth) #6

It was Virgin for WhatsApp and FB Messenger - http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-37896933
That said, Three have had zero-rated Skype in certain situations since the 3G days.

Net Neutrality is nice, but unlike home broadband the networks are still generally charging for x GB. Until the unlimited rates become more reasonable, the option to ‘binge’ is a compromise I’m happy to have the option to opt-in to.


(Hugh) #7

It’s a bit like the NHS, once it’s gone it’s gone - you can’t really opt in or out of Net Neutrality.


#8

I don’t mind the networks having a opt in for certain features. As someone pointed out you have to pay for your gb data on mobile.


#9

The amount of data that Monzo throws around is going to be absolutely tiny compared to those other services listed.

I don’t think there’s any need for Monzo to get involved.


(Adam Williams) #10

This sort of zero rating practice is absolutely awful and shouldn’t be encouraged.

If enough people buy a mobile plan without a data cap, the other networks will take note. I have no idea why widespread data caps are still a thing in 2017.


(Max Walker) #12

Very few networks offer unlimited anymore and those that do are either ridiculously expensive or in practice have very limiting fair usage policies that throttle speeds or usage over a certain limit (arguably worse than just giving someone free access to facebook).

Data caps are a thing because like foreign ATM fees, a few people take the p**s and ruin it for the many. Whilst you or I might just use it for a bit of browsing, I’m pretty sure that a few people would take it as a lets stream 4k Netflix all day long and burn through a significant number of gigabytes (maybe into the terrabyte level with 4g connection and 4k streaming/tethering).

Update:

  • Giffgaff calls their unlimited “Always On” which in practice means only 6GB at full speed and vastly reduced after https://www.giffgaff.com/sim-only-plans/always-on

  • Three offers it at £29 a month (sim only) but again that feature limits your video streams to standard definition and limits tethering to 30gb a month (again arguably not net neutral).

Thats about it on the anything pretending to be unlimited


(Adam Williams) #13

I use Three. I pay £24/mo for their all you can eat plan, and regularly use upwards of 100GB a month. I don’t see it as taking the piss - I’m paying for an internet connection with a maximum speed of X. That limit is what determines my maximum usage per month.

The other networks (e.g. EE) may offer 40Mbps download speeds at burst but that soon drops to zero if you actually use it fully for half an hour or so!

No other service providers do this - if I rent a leased line from BT I’m given guaranteed bandwidth to use and there’s no additional usage cap on top. You don’t see this with residential broadband either anymore (although you used to maybe ten years ago).


(Max Walker) #14

As I’m unable to find a £24 plan I would guess its a legacy plan (I also used to get unlimited on my old three plan) and the prices appear to have risen.

100gb+ a month is a ridiculous amount (but totally your right if three are willing to provide it), even with my PS4 and video I use less on my wired home connection. Despite not particularly liking their journalism, the huffington post http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/mobile-data-usage-uk-statistic-2017_uk_58e24719e4b0c777f788cb39 suggests that the average amount of data used in the UK per month is about 1.75GB.

I guess the point is that for home broadband the costs are fixed, you’ve got a cable of some variety in a fixed number of locations whereas with a mobile you have to provide a signal anywhere in the UK with an increasing amount of data being used by more smartphones and a theoretical limit on wireless signals that is lower than a fixed wire which is why I can see they have to ration it.


(Adam Williams) #15

From what I understand it’s discounted for signing up for a 12 month plan… or maybe they have increased it (which I’m all for if it enables them to upgrade the infrastructure).

In any case I wouldn’t say 100GB is that ridiculous. Three’s network speed is designed such that you can’t do more than 1TB (even if you’re downloading 24/7) a month so my usage is under 10% of what I’m actually paying for.


(Tommy Long) #16

Except that the UK has never had net neutrality and hopefully never will. Net neutrality is a Ludditesque non-solution to what is essentially a technological and economical problem.

I’m not sure the NHS analogy really works. Whilst we’ve kept the label “NHS”, what it actually is constantly changes, with radical changes in 2002 (market reforms) and 2012 (commissioning reforms).


(Gareth) #17

But you’re definitely not average by a long mile. The network may not be tailored for everyone using it like you are.

People complain about throttling, move to a company that offers a better deal, eventually that deal will be net neutral. This isn’t the US where you may be stuck to a single cable provider because of your location.


(Andre Borie) #18

Data caps are bullshit - the limited nature of radio spectrum is not an issue, if it’s Sunday at 3am and nobody else is using that particular tower/base station why should they care about how much data I’m using ? Either way they’re running the tower and paying for electricity… in fact it’s beneficial to them that I am using it because at least it’s not just burning energy and is actually serving and making a customer happy.

The proper solution is to control access to radio spectrum just like any other scarce resource - give it to the highest bidder. If a particular tower is congested then start throttling everyone to a basic guaranteed speed (1mbps?) but the highest bidder, that way people can actually choose how important their connection is. Are you a basic user who uses Facebook and Snapchat only? You’d be fine with a basic plan which gives a few Mbps. Are you a professional who needs fast and reliable internet anywhere for your work? Get the faster plan and prepare to pay a lot for it (more money for the network).

This extra money from the best plans being extremely expensive should be used to build new base stations where congestion happens frequently (you want the least expensive plans to remain usable as a lot of consumers can’t afford the “better” plans and would run away to competitors) and to improve customer service (not outsourcing it to slaves being paid less than a quid an hour in a third-world country) and maybe actually innovate (how come with my own MVNO I can provision one or multiple - possibly foreign - numbers from Twilio on a single SIM but the big players still can’t?)

The truth is, the main reason for data caps is so that scammers can sell “data” you end up not using, and coupled with contracts (“we’re so bad we need to lock you in otherwise you’ll run away”) is a pretty efficient (but anti-consumer) money maker. I am surprised it would be legal for someone like your water or energy company to sell you a resource that you are not using but apparently the government is fine with this scam when it comes to mobile networks.


(Gareth) #19

I like the idea of charging for speed instead of usage, but I see two problems:

  1. MNOs did offer this, by charging extra for 4G. For some reason, they stopped.

  2. Things like this:
    2.1) “Want to use your data at a festival? Buy the Reading & Leeds Add-on!”
    ------ (Unless they are actually providing temporary mini-cells)
    2.2) “Live in the countryside and want to stream video? Buy the Outskirts Bolt-on”

Some misc reading about the limits of the number of connected users for LTE.


(Andre Borie) #20

4G is the natural successor to 3G and actually benefits the carrier more than the user, so charging for it (and getting some users who don’t pay and stay on 3G) is counter-productive. However, speed and network technology is totally different, you can very well be on 4G and be throttled to 1Mbps because you’re on the cheapest plan (which is fine - there is a huge market for really low bandwidth devices like sensors, etc so being able to get network for those for super cheap like a quid a month would be awesome).


(Adam Williams) #21

I honestly don’t understand how you can use just 1.3GB per year (am I reading that first link correctly?). Maybe this is pulled down by people who don’t use mobile data, I don’t know… but I feel like Spotify would do more than that given a few days use. You can’t even download a Linux ISO.

Admittedly, I did use a bigger chunk of my allowance during a month where I had no home internet and relied solely on the phone (obviously all this data was done on the phone, I would never consider doing over 30GB of data on another device because this would be a violation of the ToS).

The Giffgaff figures look a little more accurate. I admit I laughed at the “meteoric rise” to FIVE whole gigabytes per month. I suspect this will go up at a steeper rate than that as apps start to use more data, stream in higher bitrates etc.