All posts tagged ‘ISP’

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Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and Sprint to Block Usenet

New York’s Attorney General has just launched a blacklist-based initiative to quell undesirable Internet content. Child pornography is the target, although like all blacklists there will be a large number of blocked innocents and civilian casualties.

An undercover investigation by the Attorney General’s office uncovered a major source of online child pornography known as “Newsgroups,” an online service not associated with websites. The Newsgroups act as online public bulletin boards where users can upload and download files. Users access Newsgroups through their Internet Service Providers.

According to a report by Declan McCullagh, Sprint will be blocking the entire alt. hierarchy of Usenet, while good old Time Warner Cable has no time for such fussiness and will just stop offering all Usenet access. Verizon, the third participating ISP, has not yet announced its blocking plans.

There are plenty of other ways for subscribers to these ISPs to access Usenet still. It’s an ineffectual solution and a scary precedent. ISPs, whether under the influence of governmental or financial pressure, should not control what their customers can and can’t access, not least because they exert their control so sloppily.

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File Under: Business, servers

Time Warner Cable to Charge By the Byte

Starting this week, a lucky group of pilot customers in Texas will get 5 gigabytes of traffic per month for $29.95. After they exceed that cap (on day one, no doubt) each additional gigabyte will run them $1. There’s also a “high-end” package: 40 gigs for $55.

I ran a home server on Time Warner Cable for several years; now, mercifully, I have a much better provider. Even serving nothing but IMAP, as I did, would be quite costly under this new plan, which I’m sure is part of the case for the capping — TWC doesn’t want any users running servers. Their representative pitches it as a measure to tax the most gluttonous users of bandwidth: “5 percent of the company’s subscribers take up half of the capacity on local cable lines.” But even average browsing, YouTubing and Flickring, is going to rack up the gigabytes pretty fast.

Except where users are locked in by monopolies, they’ll doubtless be jumping ship to non-capping ISPs. Time Warner ought to be competing with the threat of cheap, uncapped floods of bandwidth brought by FIOS. Instead, the new rate system is competitive with burning DVDs and FedExing them. It’s not their first dubious business decision.