P2P Part 3

I love the feedback on my position on P2P traffic. The well thought out “You Suck”, ” Or “the internet isnt that way”, or “The ISP is selling me 10mbs, I can use it anyway I want”
Guess what, business models do evolve over time. You may want your ISP to be exactly how you want it to be. You may read into your experience with them anything you want. But it can and will change if the economics don’t work for them. No amount of whining about “what the internet is supposed to be” will change any of that.

You can argue about how fiber should make it all the way to your bathroom if you want, that won’t create the capital for ISPs or force them to spend it the way you want them to.

Maybe instead we should look at some realities and options.

So I’ve come up with a better way to get rid of P2P without calling for an outright disabling of the protocol. Maybe ISPs should just treat upstream bandwidth the way cellphone companies treat minutes. Give users an option on how many upstream bits they want to be able to use and during what times of day.

Charge more during prime usage times, less during off hours. For most internet users, like probably 99pct of us, it wouldn’t make a bit of difference in our bills or consumption. In fact, many of us could opt for cheaper plans because beyond the family photos or videos we may upload every now and then, or the rare backup of our hard drives, most people don’t consume much outbound bandwidth at all.

Of course that probably wouldn’t be the case for users and abusers of the P2P protocol and applications. Imagine what would happen when WOW users or the rare bit torrent WAREZ or illegal music or video downloader got their bills and realized that they could either throttle their upstream bandwidth and wait forever for their goodies (if they could get them at all ), or open the throttle and watch free downloads start to cost a lot of money. Think that would be fun ?

How are they going to feel when they get a bill for upstream bandwidth for periods when they werent even downloading anything, but their PCs were busy acting as seeds for other P2P clients ? Think they will enjoy paying that bill ?

So I take it all back. DONT block P2P traffic. Just charge for upstream bandwidth usage like cellphone companies charge for minutes. That way if P2P really is more efficient, it will be a non issue. More people will use P2P and will never have to worry about their upstream bandwidth charges.

Or, if its less efficient, it will survive for applications where the owner of the application is willing to pay for the bandwidth the application consumes at both the host and destinations. It could also survive if off peak pricing for upstream bandwidth is cheap enough that its worth it to the user to pay for the bandwidth and take delivery of files during that low priced time period. A truly market solution. Imagine that.

Let the “you suck” comments begin.

119 thoughts on “P2P Part 3

  1. Hi Mark,

    There needs to be a real distinction made between “P2P technology” and “P2P file-sharing” and the impact they each have on ISP network traffic. There are many different applications of P2P that are often painted with the same broad brush. Commercial P2P traffic is still very low compared to the traffic generated from P2P file-sharing applications. These things are evolving separately, driven by companies with very different objectives and desired outcomes.

    Since Nov 2007 (the date of your post) a lot has happened on the commercial P2P technology front that is moving towards it playing a larger, more contributing role in content distribution. For starters, take a look at the work of the P4P Working Group which accomplished quite a bit in 2008. P4PWG is based on research at Yale that concluded that ISPs and consumers could benefit if the ISPs provided guidance to P2P companies to make better peer disclosures. Verizon, Comcast, AT&T, Microsoft and a host of other companies are investing resources in this effort and a P4P standard has recently been submitted to the IETF. ISPs now have a way to impact commercial P2P traffic in a way that reduces their costs by encouraging peer communications to remain “on network” and reducing the number of costly off-network peer connections. And the data provided by ISPs can be dynamically updated based on the current traffic conditions on its network. What a difference a year can make – now in fact P2P has a way to of offering a more efficient way to deliver to the last mile! Field trials have shown that using P4P can reduce ISP transit costs by 80% while improving transfer speeds by 200%. The advent of P4P has brought a new method of improving network efficiency that holds the potential of becoming competitive with other efficiency alternatives such as ISP caching, direct network peering and IP multicasting. Every delivery method has its benefits and its shortcomings. P4P has the distinct advantages of being easy to implement, dynamically adjustable and most importantly, requiring relatively little in CAPEX.

    To your point about consumers subsidizing content distributors with bandwidth – why not? Everybody wants content but few want to pay for it. But delivery costs publishers real money. With online ad rates dismally low, subsidizing the cost of delivery by contributing a resource that consumers have already paid for may be a good compromise for some publishers who have consumers who want their content but can’t find an effective way to cover the variable costs of delivery.

    That said, it is my view is that content distributors who use P2P but require consumers to “seed” content for some period of time after the consumer interaction is over are being exploitive and that this practice is bad for the industry. Even worse is when there is inconspicuous or even no disclosure as to how and when the content will subsequently be shared. This will inevitably hurt consumer adoption as many users will ultimately have a real problem with this and reject this exchange as unfair or even deceptive. Unfortunately, I think too few P2P companies share this view.

    I have long been a proponent that users should be contributing only when they are actively engaged with the content publisher – either by downloading content, playing a game, viewing video on a website, etc. When consumers disengage (leave a site, stop playing a game, etc) then they should no longer be contributors to the network. Providing users transparent and intuitive control of their participation in P2P will promote trust and adoption of these types of services. And the upshot of this approach, for the ISPs and its users, is that in the aggregate *the amount of data transferred on the last mile networks will not be significantly more than it would be if everyone got the content from a web server or CDN.* The amount of data transferred is roughly the same except that the traffic load is distributed across the network. Yes, there will be bytes retransmitted when there are broken connections, but this does not result in 50% less efficiency as you have described, not even close. And with P4P, it can be done in a way that works cost effectively for the ISPs, perhaps even better than relying on Internet transit to deliver all the content. The real limitation right now is in ensuring QoS, which if necessary can be addressed by utilizing the traditional delivery methods such as webservers or CDN. Finally, it is worth noting that employing P2P technology in this manner does nothing to contribute to or promote illegal file-sharing. It does not require the adoption or promotion of P2P applications that can be misused for piracy, illicit file-sharing or downloading of content illegally.

    File-sharing applications aside, I believe that the future for commercial P2P technology is in making network utilization more efficient by distributing the traffic load based on resource availability, which will include input from the ISPs. Users that request content will temporarily connect with other users within proximity, either on the same network or well connected networks that are low cost links for the ISP. The objective will be relying on fewer connections each with high transfer rates so that the transfer is completed quickly while avoiding network congestion.

    Getting people to understand the distinction between P2P technology and the P2P applications used for file-sharing has and will continue to be a long row to hoe. I know that you have been down on P2P in general for a long time and have repeatedly condemned it in the past as never to become an effective and efficient means of commercial content distribution. However, I am hopeful that you will be open to the idea that P2P technology, at least when used in the manner I have described, has the potential to be beneficial for the last mile networks, and need not be a freeloading activity nor a means of exploiting consumers resources. If so, please take this into consideration before using broad statements in any future diatribes against P2P file-sharing that do not rightfully distinguish it from those commercial efforts to deploy P2P technology in an efficient and responsible manner.


    Rick Buonincontri
    CEO, Solid State Networks

    Comment by Rick B -

  2. The network capacity problem seems silly to me considering that most content is static. And by static I mean that once a peice of content is published, it isn\’t changed. It has a single source and many delivery points. Even live audio and video fit this definition. Certainly any content that is going to have a noticeable affect on capacity fits this category.

    Dynamic data such as chat, gaming, blogs, message boards, etc are miniscule in comparison.

    So why aren\’t ISP\’s caching this content instead of letting the same data travel through many networks over and over again? Is their bandwidth cost less than supporting a distributed content caching solution?

    Comment by Mufaka -

  3. I have seen your posting. It is an excellent one. It is quite informative too. But hey. Check out our site related to smart lipo and other healthcare services like Eye Care. Eye care treatments like Lasik and Cataracts are also available.

    Comment by Smith -

  4. Clearly, the market has failed, and the government will be stepping in soon to stop this abomination.


    Comment by doofman -

  5. i have to say your position on this matter is too obviously biased. it\’s a shame that you had the vision to cease opportunity when you were younger yet you fail to see the potential behind P2P for monetization:
    such as simply charging more $$ per month for a higher upload cap. P2P users will shell out more $$ to your ISP on a monthly basis to avoid paying for movies, games, etc. the amazing part about that is it would be an acceptable cost since P2P users live for the internet and will pay a lot to have constant access. it\’s like gas prices. people just keep on shelling out the dough because there\’s \”no choice\” in the matter. \”don\’t fill up my tank, i can\’t get to work.\”
    i really think you should consider ways of making money off the P2P phenomena rather than thinking of ways of curbing its existence. (that is like trying to get people to stop drinking back in the early 20th century…it just created a bigger black market with a larger degree of nastiness than had it just remained in place and the government created other disincentives for drinking). (the high drinking levels from 1850\’s to 1920\’s, btw, were only a reflection of the cheapness of liquor due to the surplus of grains that could be stored indefinitely by way of fermenting it down to alcohol).

    Comment by messels -

  6. What the hell should Mark care? He\’s rich as hell, so any proposal raising fees to the end user of this technology would never affect him negatively. In fact, I\’m sure he stands to profit in some way if he owns or has intentions of investing in an ISP.

    We\’re a small fledgling business struggling to pay our phone bill as it is, and use uploads to update our website, or to send (as well as receive) large files like DVD brochures from suppliers on yousendit.com, as well as frequently do backups online. I\’m also unsure about how VOIP or video conferencing works, but I\’m pretty sure my voice or image would be uploaded using heavy bandwidth?? What about my current reliance on online office apps to allow for online collaboration?

    So Mark, would you have small businesses like ours who use yousendit, or google apps, or zoho or a million other innovative and cheap or free solutions (TRUE market solutions employing innovation and genius business models) revert to the old way of doing business? I\’m sure FEDEX, Microsoft, and the phone company would LOVE that.

    Please Mark, you don\’t suck, but don\’t become so wrapped up in your own perspective on these technologies that you forget how invaluable the availability of the internet has been to the little guy with big ideas and no budget. Your analysis smacks a bit of \”Let them eat cake.\”

    Comment by Warren -

  7. As far as upstream bandwidth, do not forget the 2+ million folks that now use the internet for their phone lines. Not just Vonage but there is a ton of remote users like myself that work out of their homes. I use my ISP for my work phones as well as apps and email. I am on the phone all day– conferences calls, etc. When I travel I take my phone with me via a USB headset and some software. So charging for upstream is not an option for a lot of folks and it could hurt the VoIP industry which is just getting off the ground.


    Comment by gospelbeliever -

  8. Interesting theory Mark. And I think I can see where you are coming from, actually Mark, I agree with you.

    I live in a country called New Zealand, not sure if you have ever heard of it, but if you haven\’t come for a holiday some time, the scenery is breath taking. I remember they unrolled unlimited broadband usage, meaning no caps and unlimited speeds. Do you know what happened Mark, I am pretty sure you do. The massive p2p downloading, etc that took place crippled our small countries network. It was like being back on dial up again, because people were using and abusing the bandwidth by downloading large amounts of things in peak service. They canceled that service until they can sort out the problems. But essentially people are blind to the idea that there is a limited amount of bandwidth available, and if they are 24 7 downloading and uploading they are affecting others experience.

    Comment by Richard -

  9. OK WAIT….. I see a lot of excuses here. What about Its my PC its my ISP provider and I am responsible for what goes in and goes out. That concept has apparently been washed away from American society how sad we have become we hand out excuses left and right and look at what we are building.

    Comment by Chad -

  10. [Refresher coarse]
    Once you let someone know a secret its not a secret any more. It becomes general knowledge once a third person knows and FREE for everyone. Internet is an extreme example of this theory. Get used to it.

    Sports games: you can go to actual game and tape it too, watch it on TV and record it, no way to stop copying!
    Movies: you can go to theater and record it, copy VCR/DVD/HDTV and more, and you cant stop it!
    Music: go to concert and record it, off TV, from CD/DVD/Tape etc., and cant be stopped!
    Patents: go to patent office or online, get copy, build it, cant top this either!

    Example: Just try to tell all students to stop copying from teachers backboard, HAHAHA.

    American DOD rejected Internet for its totally insecure structure. It was given away for the purpose of FREE sharing of information for all [all on this planet]. Distributed networking guarantees this freedom and CAN NOT be shut down no matter what.
    Result: file/information sharing will continue as long as Internet is up.

    These days almost all users have Server capable Operating Systems. This means they become a Server as soon as they log on. It also means they can share any and all information they want.
    [End of refresher coarse]

    We already pay a levy for downloading content so why are we penalized again?

    RIAA, CRIA and rest of Spoiled Little Brats trying to stop users from sharing can go piss up a rope. They are wasting Billions of our money to promote their drivel so they can sit on their Asses and get a free ride. Yet they have declared WAR on the general public. Are we going to put up with it?

    If you notice, the IPs attacking any flow of FREE information are the governments, big business and their related SPAM factories.

    I propose a Tarpit/Honeypot be coded to trap all offending IPs. You know, the ones that attack file sharing and any user communications. This would solve any infraction against any user.

    Theres no call what-so-ever to throttle any connection in Canada for bandwidth use. All ISPs that throttle bellow what user pays for [example: 5 Mbps dwld and 3 Mbps upld] should be charged for Fraud or charged for ripping off customers by whatever they take away from customer. You might include your wasted time on phone, loss of work, business etc. on invoice.

    Also, as Michael pointed out, complain to CRTC and Competition Bureau and dont stop till they change it back to acceptable levels. Contact all Premiers of all provinces with your complaints too. Many of us use P2P for beta testing software, files, sending / receiving security or home video and much more which is none of ISPs or anyone elses business.

    Senior Network and Systems Analyst

    Comment by tudmax -

  11. Hello Mark,

    You seem a bit confused. I can see that you\’re not a fan of P2P but it doesn\’t seem you thought your solution through very well. How much are you paying per month in hosting fees for this blog? How many hits do you get per month? Every time someone views your site the hosting server must upload the page to the requesting user. This will obviously rack up the upload usage and I doubt your hosting provider is willing to pay for the increased charges from their ISP. As you can see P2P users would not be the only ones affected by this solution.

    Now then, what about the problem of those pesky seeders eating up all the bandwidth? I\’m going to let you in on a secret, go visit an ISP\’s home page and take a look at their available plans. Notice there are different speeds listed and that the faster plans cost more per month? That\’s right, they already cap upload and download speeds. The argument that I have the right to use my bandwidth is a valid one. I have every right to expect that I will receive the service I am paying for as shown in my contract. The reason they cap users to certain amounts of bandwidth is to prevent what you\’re so worried about. One user cannot take all the available bandwidth since their upload/download rates are capped in the cable modem. These settings are controlled by the ISP and generally inaccessible to the end user (doing so is a breach of the TOS).

    I\’m sorry that you hate P2P (and apparently online gaming) so much but you\’re just going to have to get over it.

    I hope this has cleared things up for you.

    Comment by Rich -

  12. Mark- kind of surprised on your comments about P2P and wanted to give some perspective. As you may recall, I work for Kontiki, which is a peer based distribution platform that is used in both large media companies (like the BBC) and large enterprises (wachovia bank). Your point on private, or discreet, networks being the best application for P2P is dead on. Hence, the use is large enterprises and some of our customers see greater then 95% peering rates, therefore not even affecting the valued WAN links.

    On the internet, clearly there are greater challenges, and having a free flow upstream/downstream application will not be successful long term. The last mile is actually not the core consideration for ISPs, its all about Gateway traffic. So, a system that forces in network peering first, preferred network peering second and enables cap flows across the delivery continum will be of extreme value. The holy grail for any content owner or distributor is to have a direct path to a global set of users to enable more frequent, targeted consumption of higher quality content.

    Here is an interesting tidbit from a dicussion I recently had with a senior person from a major media company. They released a DVD a few months ago that was one of biggest titles of the year. If they would have gone through a pure digital distribution path, the aggregate amount of data needed to be delivered would have exceeded the total capacity of internet. That is the story they are telling. Only distributed computing can accomodate the pending demand.

    Comment by Harvey Benedict -

  13. Mark, I\’d like to hear a specific example of a time when you feel your internet experience has been diminished because of the bandwidth leeching of p2p users.

    Not once have I, while waiting the 5 seconds that it takes for a youtube video to load, gotten frustrated to the point that I damn to hell all of the p2p users clogging up my ISP.

    The problem IS the last mile. End of story. Until margins and ROI for fiber to the bathroom cover the marketing budgets of ISPs, expect to wait a whole 1/2 second longer for your Flickr upload.

    I\’m out like the winning streak over norleans.

    Comment by Ben -

  14. But of course, P2P = Piracy.

    That\’s WHY the broadband guys were all in favor of it in 2000. Kazaa-style p2p was a godsend to them, when the average user had 2GB of music files – it only took a couple hundred users to be able to serve 95%+ of all song searches. A couple hundred users INSIDE the local cable head, inside the last 5 miles, all sharing = no discernible cost to the broadband providers. Cablers pay incrementally only for interconnect long haul bandwidth, their WAN.

    Torrent style traffic is close to the same tipping point. When you have just 10-20 other people trading a 700MB file inside your head-end, they get all served, they all get happy, and they all want the bigger bandwidth plan. That $20 extra bucks a month for 10Mbps – none of it goes to Hollywood.

    The real issue is long haul file transfer, and that goes down everyday – expect smarter torrent software (just add geo-ip tracking) and the benefit of more people using it – it is being built into the new HD-DVD players.

    Comment by Morgan Warstler -

  15. thank you Mark

    Comment by sernak plywood -

  16. Thank you

    Comment by sernak plywood -

  17. Mark, I agree… but ISPs are really already anti P2P now, I don\’t know because they are just covering their own butts or is it that the bandwidth requirements are really straining on their networks.

    Look at Comcast for instance with their unadvertised bandwidth limit. Whereas they will terminate customers for crossing a limit they don\’t let you know what that limit is (until you have reached it).

    Many Candian companies will throttle your bandwidth to less than dial up speeds when they detect Bit Torrent usage, so do we need to ban P2P or let the ISPs handle it the way they see fit?

    Comment by Anthony -

  18. Mark, great job on the article and your others. As for the verbal hits you take from people, I\’m just glad you keep going with your blog, it means a lot to many readers, having a chance to listen to ideas, thoughts, theories or opinions from a successful man. Don\’t ever let the bad shit people say get you down, just remember this, if Bill Gates had his own blog out there, what harsh things would some people say to him? You may not always be right or have the same views as other readers, but the fact that you put it out there anyways speaks volumes, so keep going!

    Comment by Dr Drew -

  19. I posted in part 2 about you investing in Red Swoosh which is a P2P company that was recently sold this year to Akamai.

    I saw the post go on, but hmmm, deleted…

    I wonder if this will also be deleted.

    From MC:
    as i replied to another post. I see P2P, and Red Swoosh as a valid application for private networks. when you control the network, or you are actually paying for the bandwidth, there are valid uses for P2P. its still an inefficient last mile protocol.

    Red Swoosh was a great way for me to learn a lot about the P2P world. Travis is a smart guy and when the chance for them came to sell to a company that actually could use its technology, it was a win win.

    my perspective never changed on P2P

    Comment by Ryan Milnes -

  20. Runescape gold
    Runescape money
    Cheap runescape gold
    Cheap runescape money
    buy Cheap runescape gold
    buy Cheap runescape money
    buy Cheap rs gold
    buy Cheap RS money
    RS2 Gold
    RS2 Money
    Cheap RS2 Gold
    Cheap RS2 Money


    Comment by igfor -

  21. Dear friend I think you are abosolutelly right about user an abuser of P2P, and your idea of charging upstream usage is a good one. I always think about charging the download bandwidth. I agree that slowing the bandwith is not good for anybodie but here, in Europe, I live in Spain, Madrid, the problem with P2P is piracy, to give you and example in Spain there is no more than 18 millons broadband lines, do you know the downloading estimation for this year……. 200.000.000 movies illegally downloaded!! This is a problem!! and maybe the idea of charging the upstream will be a good solution. In countries like Spain, France and Italy the movie industry is suffering and nobody agrees about how we can defend our business.

    Comment by Alejandro Miranda -

  22. The problem isn\’t the people using P2P – its the network providing the bandwidth.

    We\’re the only \”1st World\” country to have such anemic bandwidth. Much of this has to do with the way ISPs think about their networks, their bandwidth, and their business model. Korea, Japan, and a slew of other countries have 100mbps connections for about $35 USD per month – and we pay twice that for a 10th of the bandwidth.

    While I agree with your assessment that bittorrent users (other P2P apps don\’t have quite the same \’ratio\’ requirements and other upstream commitments) are subsidizing many of the money-making, for-profit trackers they are using by providing the bandwidth that is delivery system for the commodity their business is riding on – your proposed solutions are over-simplified and represent a mis-understanding of the issue here. Here are somethings to consider:

    1) Upgrade to a faster connection – you really won\’t feel any slow downs in casual web use when you\’re at 10mbps or higher. A \’super-seed\’ in your neighborhood is unlikely to sap the entire connection.

    2) Heavy Users should throttle their connections during peak usage times. The Transmission client and others provide tools to do this on schedule. (Self Regulation is probably a long shot though).

    3) Ensure your own network is streamlined to avoid \”chatter on the wire\” – consumer routers with lots of nodes (computers and other network devices) connected to it will slow down your connection in small, but noticeable manner.

    4) US ISPs need to get on the ball and provide more bandwidth to more users. This costs money, and requires many of them to upgrade their networks and routing equipment. Instead they focus on these lazy \”fixes\”, like lobbying against Network Neutrality and filtering content on their wire. Its a ploy, and you fell for it.

    Comment by dr.xnlb -

  23. I think you have some worthwhile thoughts on a variety of topics, but this is an example of a topic where you\’ve let your ego get the best of you. You\’re not an idiot, but you\’re wasting your time with this idiotic debate.

    Comment by Steve -

  24. Mr. Cuban,

    I have long been a fan and supporter of the Mavs, BUT…….
    You sir, made me sorry that i ever liked you, rooted for \”Your\” (after all you own \’em) team or voted for you on \”Dancing With The Stars\” simply because you ARE the Mav\’s owner and I am a Dallas Native.

    I am a 6th generation native texan, and the way you have humiliated our US military by financing this movie has put another black mark on the city of dallas, and you have shown me that you are only in it for the money you can make…!

    You sir are NOT a \”Patriot\” and you don\’t love america as you profess, you love Mark Cuban, or maybe even more the almighty $. OH, WHAT A SURPRISE !!!…I \”AM\” TRULY SHOCKED..I thought you were the \”exception\”..NOT !

    You should be ashamed, what would your mama think?

    I will still \”try\” to support the \”TEAM\” because I am a native Texan and that is what we do…but…I don\’t like you very much anymore and you should worry about that consequence more than any other, you might lose a few \”fans\” because of this \”profect\”…the people of Dallas have always \”liked\” your spirit…but you sir, may have just messed up!


    A Texas Home Grown Fan

    Comment by g peterson -

  25. This suggestion pre-supposes that downloading of information is somehow more \”normal\” for internet usage than publishing. You\’re either saying it is more important for the masses to consume, so that should be free, or it is less important for the masses to contribute opinions, so that should be taxed. That\’s a dangerous approach. The internet is about changing media, changing information flow, and empowering the populous. Much the way a free press has shaped America, a free internet is the best way to shape the near borderless world. It was a founding principle for our forefathers, and makes sense today. Publishing should be everyone\’s right.

    No, that clearly doesn\’t mean that all uses of P2P should be permitted or encouraged, but both the notion of limiting a technology to avoid slow-down and the notion of creating expense for those who want to share their views are counter to the progress the Internet has made. You are right that the game might change, but I think the comments you are receiving indicate that people don\’t think the game should change the way you are suggesting.

    Perhaps instead of creating capital incentives for telcos, we should be reverting to the original information \”superhighway\” mindset and building accessible (perhaps tolled) internet infrastructure at the government level. Segregate those laying the pipe from those with an interest in what travels over the pipe. You\’ll fix net neutrality, you\’ll get access to the under-populated regions of the country, and you\’ll increase incentive to innovate services, rather than incentive to use the near monopoly over the last mile to dominate a services industry…

    Comment by Lee -

  26. It seems that you and I are reading entirely different sets of comments on your blog items. I just read 20 out of 20 well informed comments on this article, and the previous ones had a pretty good ratio as well, each with something interesting to say. Claiming that all your comments more or less say \”you suck\” doesn\’t change the fact that many well informed people disagree with you for well thought out concerns (and happen to think this idea sucks 😉

    Comment by Marcus -

  27. If telecom were a competitive market, then I would be happy to pay a congestion varying per-bit upstream and/or downstream rate. However, for most consumers the market for a high speed internet connection exists as a duopoly. Either you sign up with the 1 cable company who services your neighborhood or the 1 phone company who services your neighborhood. Since duopolistic market players tend to raise prices and underinvest, is it any surprise the United States is ranked 11th in the world in term of broadband penetration? Why is that that Verizon\’s top tier FIOS service is still a fraction of the speed readily available in Japan?

    Don\’t blame P2P traffic for the problems that our uncompetitive telecom markets have created.

    Comment by Mike Brown -

  28. Marc, were you not an investor in a P2P company “RedSwoosh” which was sold this year to Akamai?

    From MC and although i made money on the deal, i asked out early for the reasons mentioned in my post. That said, I thought akamai was the perfect buyer. They can use it as a protocol to distribute between the servers they own and for which they pay for the bandwidth they use. If you read my posts, if you pay for the bandwith you use, i have no prob with p2p

    Comment by Ryan Milnes -

  29. As with some business models, I think your ideas about charging for upstream traffic are antiquated.

    CDN networks like Akamai and Limelight place content closer to the user, and most ISPs and companies are leveraging caching solutions near the user with more sophisticated ISP\’s adding in network route optimization. They\’ve spread content so the last mile isn\’t as big an issue as it was a few years ago. Ironically, these technologies aren\’t that different than the bit torrent type solutions that are disdained.

    The solution needs to be based on quality, not consumption. The direction of the Internet isn\’t towards charging for upstream content. Just look at the overall trend in telecommunications overall. Ma Bell charged by the minute, then offered unlimited local calling, and now CLEC\’s are offering unlimited national and even international dialing. The same will happen with the Internet. I expect that whenever we have mobile IP telephony we\’ll see the same explosion.

    Consumption plans always fail. Unlimited quality plans tend to succeed as your getting people accustomed to the model of unrestricted access. As the become more savvy, or more dependent, on the product they move upchannel.

    I\’m using Cox and think they\’ve got a good start on the solution. They rate shape P2P and offer higher grades. I pay a premium for higher speeds (no P2P, just don\’t like slow VPN).

    Comment by Rob -

  30. Mark,

    Rather than issue your moronic ideas of bandwidth throttling, I have a progressive and novel idea, rather than limitng the services that people pay for, why not have the ISPs use the cash to increase infrastructure and thereby bandwith availability, rather than padding the pockets of stockholders. But then serving the customers is what business is supposed to do anyway, except in your bizzaro world.

    From MC:

    gee. thats brilliant. no one else would think to ask that ISPs expand their infrastructure and offer more bandwidth…unless of course you watch the video of my house testimony

    Comment by Jon Weiss -

  31. Hi Mark,

    I agree with your overall theme. P2P is a bandwidth hog and is a very inefficient protocol, despite being a very useful and legitimate tool. I cant see anyway that P2P can change to make it more efficient without making huge changes to the way the Internet works in general. Peers connecting to other peers all over the world, concurrently, and at random will always tax the system more than if those same peers all had a single stream to a central provider.

    I think the idea of pay-per-usage is a very good idea. The unlimited bandwidth plans we see now will only remain available as long as the people with low bandwidth use can subsidize the heavy users.

    Any one who denies how much load P2P has been putting on the Internet has definitely had their head under a rock.

    The problem many people have with the your idea, and similar ideas, is that people treat the Internet like they treat politics. P2P looks like democracy and freedom to these people, while ISPs look like the big evil statist/fascist government that wants to control everything. These people are in error. The Internet is not a virtual world. Bandwidth is a resource that someone must produce, it is not a fact of the natural world that some people seem to think it is. They take for granted that the Internet is here and will always be here.

    Comment by Justin -

  32. Well, I almost feel as if you are playing devils advocate. Do you really believe that nonsense. There are people out there today who can\’t even read their cell phone bill much less break it down into charges for bandwidth. Now, the cable market has gone and put a \”triple play\” for IP phone, Cable and Internet- perhaps you are jealous you didn\’t catch that bandwagon? But it is very murky when you add variables to billing and add restrictions to use. There will ALWAYS be that guy out there allowing it all for less. Perhaps, if you want you model- you should make a \”Universal\” package and contact every provider and sell it as the user community grows your rates go down. People like feeling like they got in on a good deal. But like I said, you are just being a devils advocate to stir the pot. A pot you are sad you don\’t own….

    Comment by Theresa -

  33. Mark,

    I\’m on the fence with this issue. I understand what you are saying but I\’d like to see if there was away we could get facts / data that showed how much bandwidth / speed we are losing do to P2P.

    As it stands I guess I\’m more in favor P2P mainly because I have such trouble with my ISP and getting them to be the least bit helpful that I like the idea of them \”losing\” money on their investment (network connections).


    Comment by Nick -

  34. Your P2P letters are sure stirring up the internet at the moment… jeeze.

    Comment by MySpace Text -

  35. Wow, people are really going after Mr. Cuban here. But guess what? He\’s right. This is the direction we are going in. I know hard core internet people, folks who\’ve had e-mail for over 20 years, have some utopian view of what the internet should be. And for a long time, where it was heavily substidized and part of the academic world, it was close to that. But we\’re in a different world now, and the reality is the ISP are going to start cracking down on P2Ps.

    In fact, they already have – Comcast, for one, has been found to have put in specific software that severely cripples P2P files. (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21376597/) I believe they are now being sued, which means one of two things will happen – they will win, in which case other ISPs will jump in and start using such programs. Or they will use, in which case, what Mr. Cuban has proposed will probably start popping up – pricing schemes that will either discourage P2P use, or substidize the bandwidth used up.

    As for accusations that Mr. Cuban probably has a business interest in it… you\’re probably right. He\’s a billionaire businessman who made his fortune in computers and the internet and continues to have many investments. I\’m sure there\’s some interest for him. And for the people defending P2P? No financial interest? Most of what it is used for is illegal movie and music downloads. Cut that off, you might have to pay to watch \”Transformers\”. A bit of a financial incentive right there, don\’t you think?

    Comment by John Rybock -

  36. Mark –

    Thanks. This is much more like the well thought out positions I expect from you. P2P is a problem for these businesses, and banning it will only alienate customers that could become big moneymakers for them. If you switch to a pay per use type model for upload, these types of people will still (grudgingly) pay for it. I am a \’power user\’ and I know my bandwidth consumption is higher than most people, and I pay more for faster speeds in order to use it faster. I have fiber to the home, and I pay more than I would for lesser services because I value that increased capacity. If p2p were banned on my ISP, I would switch, and they would lose a customer. If instead, they reworked their agreement from a false \’unlimited\’ to a pay per use, I would consider staying. The market works, and companies should use it to nudge their customers towards desired behavior. Give people incentives to behave, and you can avoid the tragedy of the commons that you were facing with your connection.

    Comment by Derek Tumolo -

  37. This is for all the people who\’ve been bashing Mark…
    I do not know him (i.e. even remotely closely), or work for Mark (not even remotely). While I got a bit of a shock on reading his original \”shutdown P2P\” post, but on thinking a bit more about it, the overall idea might be worth a little consideration. I am not siding with Mark\’s idea, or against it, but just providing a little food for thought.

    ISP\’s and Telco\’s were making a lot of money during the last 2 decades. Look at the share prices of any of those, and it\’d be no fairly evident that most of them are not doing well. The revenues have plummeted, or atleast the growth flattened. Between revenue and growth, the most worrying factor obviously is growth. So if these service-providers do not continue to make lot of money & grow, how will they ever improve their networks, increase capacities, and evolve to newer and better technologies ? If they continue — not to make lot of money, they wouldn\’t like to do charity to improve networks, and eventual degradation of network will happen.

    Many decades back, telephone companies used to have 1:16 blocking ratios, which were down to about 1:4 around the turn of century. Blocking-rate being the number of people who would be blocked (due to unavailability of resources), per person who is able to use the service. Those blocking-ratios\’ made it possible for Teleco\’s to offer call-rates that were affordable. Reserving 1 resource per subscriber, would have made the call-rates so high, that no one would be able to use the service. The same block-ratio concept is also used by ISP\’s. The total-bandwidth of ISP\’s is shared, to keep the per-subscriber cost of usage, affordable. It\’s a critical pricing game. Charge $200 per month for ADSL, and ISP\’s would probably be able to give you guaranteed end-to-end 60Mbps internet connectivity.

    When the age of Internet connectivity using dial-up arrived, the 1:16 blocking ratio of teleco\’s took a beating. The resources where too less to take care of the average 60minutes of internet browsing during which time the voice-circuit would be blocked. Thus Telcos had to spend lots of money on expanding & evolving their networks. This was when ARPU was still phenomenal.

    Now, when the ARPU is really low, P2P traffic (as a breakthru / disruptive technology), is overloading (assumed true claim — just for the sake of argument!), the originally dimensioned resources of ISP\’s and the overall Internet in general.

    Of course, blocking P2P is not the answer, and possibly differential charging of upload/download traffic isn\’t the answer either. However, ISP\’s need to have some way to make enough money to put that money back (or a fair part of it), in improving and sustaining their networks, to accomodate the greater demand on it. This could be in form of significant increase in commercial ISP connectivity rates, which would definitely have some \”indirect\” impact on most other subscribers, like it or not, since those businesses (like Amazon, eBay etc. etc.) will have to subsidize their higher outgoings in some way!

    At the end of it, by putting more and more load on the Internet, we (the consumers) are exerting more pressure, and that pressure (in monetary) terms, would have to exert back.

    my 2 cents.

    Comment by Banibrata Dutta -

  38. I\’m with you on this. And part of why I am against P2P is that people are using it to steal things that aren\’t theirs. I know the MPAA and RIAA are going about the whole thing the wrong way, but it doesn\’t condone stealing.

    The last mile is the problem and my understanding is that ISPs often sell more bandwidth than the actually have because not everyone is using it all the time. I upload for commercial reasons 24hrs a day from my home and I pay extra for it.

    Most, not all P2P is not really seeding, but leeching off not only the record and film industries but their neighbors.

    Comment by Mike -

  39. Mark you are getting closer to reasonable on this, congrats to you and the poser(s) that improved your opinion.

    Basically this debate is the same as Network neutrality. Both to me should be decisions left to the network operators to make. The filtering or TOS ought to be a required disclosure so the consumer could decide who they wish to do business with.

    The market has room for more than one policy to thrive. If as a consumer you wish to use P2P and consume massive bandwidth that should be an option. If there is a large market for this type of service as there appears to be then it will thrive. If you want fast, but just use it for web surfing then a filtered or P2P blocked connection would be fine for you.

    The act of decieving your customers by not disclosing the policy up front is a problem. The ISPs are aware that they will not be able to charge as much for a throttled connection. Thus they are trying to have their cake and eat it too when they block traffic and do not tell their users. Fortunately the hacker microscope makes this type corporate piracy harder to pull off.

    VOIP is a protocol ripe for abuse in this same way. I am sure Comcast would rather you buy you telephone from them rather than use skype or vonage. If they are covertly shaping P2P traffic what is next?

    Comment by D. Leathers -

  40. Oh and I forgot. Should cable companies start charging Television users by the number of hours they watch? If thats the case most users Cable bills would probably go up, as they never turn off their actual cable box and have a cable show constantly being fed to them, weather they are watching it or not. And honestly, Google video?

    Comment by Preston Swain -

  41. Isn\’t it true that you are/used to be a partner in RedSwoosh, a company which uses peer-to-peer technology to deliver rich media, including video and software to a user\’s PC?

    And honestly if you have noticed the whole \”minutes trend\” for cellphone services is starting to move towards unlimited calling for a set price, much like Internet usage already is. And if you want to complain about slow internet, blame your ISP Japans average broadband speed is over 60 MB/s.

    Comment by Preston Swain -

  42. To run at this from a different angle – some torrent sites (e.g. Zomb) I use have web-seeding options. This gets you access to a server which you can use for all your torrent activities – just like a web server, really.

    The advantage is that you only use up your \”own\” bandwidth when you are FTPing stuff to or from the server. All the traffic from seeding and leeching goes to the server and not to your own computer.

    Perhaps this would be a better solution for ISPs to offer: come up with their own web-seeding options and reduce the impact of P2P traffic on non-P2P users of that ISP. Indeed if they were smart with how they set it up, P2P traffic *within* that ISP could be kept within one part of their network and in close (network) proximity to the rest of the internet. This would minimise the demands on the other parts of the ISP\’s network.

    One problem though: why would I pay for the fastest speed my ISP can give me if I don\’t need it for torrenting? I could easily drop down to their second or third best package if I only really needed the speed for FTP to/from the server.

    If the web-seeding option is priced attractively then I\’m sure the ISP could still make money from it. After all if P2P is so disruptive to their network then there must be a benefit for the ISP if they can get customers moved to a web-seeding model.

    Comment by Colin -

  43. Mark, I\’m already paying for unlimited upstream minutes at a maximum of 1.5Mbits per second.

    Honestly your idea would work if the ISPs wouldn\’t use it as a way to screw us. I\’d be fine with paying a \”fair\” price for using more upstream than my neighbord, but I\’m not about to pay $3-400 for upstream when that doesn\’t reflect the COST which is what you\’re saying they need to pass on. Looking at Comcast\’s 8K…there is plenty of profit margin there to try to tell me that they\’re even close to losing money on ISP service.

    Comment by David -

  44. Mark, you don\’t suck. I just disagree with you on how big the upstream bandwidth problem is and what the solution is. With both Cox cable and Sprint wireless broadband since August, I have never noticed a slowdown in bandwidth that might indicate congestion. I develop and use two applications that could be considered P2P under your definition. One is a free, cross platform, super easy to use, mom tested (TM) screen sharing application that tens of thousands use to help their friends and family with computer problems or do things like shop together. The other is an application and web site system used by thousands of kids to help with literacy. The kids sharing and publishing their creations is an important component of the literacy mission. Sharing and publishing means upstream bandwidth. Follow my sight link if you want to know more. Would you be happier if only a bandwidth whore like Google could offer such a service? I\’m more than sure that our customers wouldn\’t be.

    At the same time, I agree with you that\’s it\’s not up to you or me, but to the ISPs who own the bandwidth tubes. If an ISP were to put a tariff on bandwidth that interferes with my users\’ ability to share screens or learn to read, I\’d be more than happy to make a private or public case to said ISP. If they want to go that route, they need to block or throttle the applications with the least redeeming value. They need to discriminate. That\’s the case I\’d make.

    Comment by Brad Hutchings -

  45. Mark, I\’m usually with you, but I do believe you\’ve lost touch with reality and it does threaten your advantage that wealth has brought. P2P is of the same vein as open source software and in the same way manifests itself as open collaboration. We\’ve seen that top-down distribution networks do indeed have a comparative advantage in the short to mid term but in the long term openness wins.

    Comment by Stephen Crowley -

  46. Cuban can\’t respond because

    A.)His opinion is not realistic and he doesn\’t understand the how\’s and why\’s of p2p and ISP\’s

    B.)He throws his own opinion on this blog and never reads or responds to any comments. Maybe he is sick of other peoples opinions kinda like I\’m sick of his white collared billionaire opinion on things he knows nothing about.

    BTW Go Mavs!

    Comment by keichler -

  47. Mark, there was a wonderful article today from Informationweek http://news.yahoo.com/s/cmp/20071121/tc_cmp/204200341;_ylt=Atuh6a3a.IChWj4BQ5xfuwQDW7oF . Fact of the matter is, people are already paying too much for the internet. Also, the way the rules are structured now, you can use your bandwidth any way you want. You can speak in hypotheticals, but the reality is we have paid for our bandwidth and it is ours. But since we\’re into hypotheticals now, I think we all know that if AT&T or Comcast started limiting upstream bandwidth, their rates would not drop. The straight story on this is that these companies have put themselves in a situation where they have underfunded development. Broadband, at least in my area, is 35-40 per month. Take into account that there are millions of subscribers…how much money is that per year? Where does that money go? Ed Whitacre\’s retirement package? Seriously, you\’re not going to make me or anyone else with a net worth under 5 million dollars sympathize, even for a second, with companies like AT&T. I give enough to AT&T due to their unchecked monopoly on home phone service in my area, and their high prices by way of limited competition in mobile and internet. But you\’re right, Ma Bell is back and they\’ll be able to do whatever they want to squeeze more money out of me…until the populace changes changes their focus from stealing music and movies to stealing free internet service.

    Comment by Tom -

  48. Mark,

    I commented on each of these stories, and I saw many other people echo the same comments as me. While some people had the \”You suck\” comments, MOST of the comments I saw were along the lines of explaining WHY P2P WORKS BETTER THAN CLIENT-SERVER.

    While you have made three posts about this subject, you have not explained why you think it is better to send bits from far-away servers than from other clients in the same ISP, saving that ISP peering bits. Explain to me why traffic from other ISPs is cheaper or better than local traffic. And please, do not lump all of the thoughtful comments on this subject into \”You suck\”. I thought you wanted intelligent debate…

    Comment by Jason Tracy -

  49. Oh, Jesus fucking christ, this childish ,me, me, me, mantality. Get over yourself and understand the internet belongs to everyone who pays his fee to his ISP, and we are all free to do whatever we want to do with it. Is that P2P communication, so be it, get a fucking life and live with it.

    Comment by thomas -

  50. Mr. Cuban,

    Apparently your web log does not allow for Trackbacks. Here\’s a link to my recent response:


    I cannot believe your stance on the matter, Mr. Cuban, as I will make apparent in my post.

    Thank you.

    Comment by Eddy -

  51. I\’d love to see a response from you, Mr. Cuban, to the comments on this thread. I think some reasonable points have been made countering your position and proposition, and that these points are worthy of discussion. I think this is a worthwhile conversation to have, and the volume of comments suggests that I am not alone in this.

    Comment by Pat Morrison -

  52. bla bla bla. Mark I like what you\’ve done for the mavs but do you ever have anything interesting on these blogs? I\’ll answer for you…uhhh no.

    ooo maybe tomorrow we can talk about the new transistors theyre using on video cards….exciting. then maybe next day we can discuss the ins and outs of ip routing!!!!!! yay.

    this website was way more interesting when kenny and charles (tnt crew) were completely dominating you.

    Comment by keichler -

  53. oh yeah and i\’m of the younger generation that p2ps and rages on the internet. i will never buy another cd / movie / application / or anything else computer related that needs to be bought. only old losers go to computer stores and actually BUY software. microsoft needs no more money, tom cruise…do i even need to go there, audioslave also too rich for their own good.

    and you will never stop these p2p apps. never. you cant. open source sees to that. you can slow it down but new apps can be written just as easy.

    this is what it comes to. just like records to tapes to cds. or typewriters to whatever to computers…its a revolution, you either disagree and stay on land, or you immerse yourself in it and learn it and jump on board.

    l8a ya old sucka\’s

    Comment by keichler -

  54. mark, come one… you and I both know if your ideas happen it will not be for the best of everyone. the vast majority of internet traffic is p2p [as you already know], so how does limiting it and discriminating it help overall [it doesn\’t, as you already know!!]?

    That\’s like saying: Man, traffic is slow … i hate traffic jams, so, let\’s ban all white cars from the road from now on! or, let\’s make all people with white cars pay $10 to drive everyday because white is the most common car color, that will cure traffic jams. let\’s ignore the fact that it would screw everyone over because it\’s the most common car color… deedeedee.

    stopping p2p on the internet is like stopping track meets on tracks… WTF IS THE POINT OF THE TRACK IF IT CAN\’T BE USED??

    You must have a big business plan in the works to be saying this stuff… cuz everyone knows it isn\’t best for anyone, and I cant imagine you would say this stuff cuz you think it\’s right.

    Comment by eddie -

  55. If we glom nothing else from this series of exploration, yo-yos and future geniuses may mark this thought, and apply it to everything about business and society that they are currently grappling with:

    that won\’t create the capital for ISPs or force them to spend it the way you want them to.

    There is a huge disconnect between what you want, what works best, what is quality, how it is supposed to be, what is non-zero-sum, whats right vs. wrong and understanding how/why what happens in business, economics, media and society actually happens. Essentially, you have to speak the language and use the strategy that befits the realm of combat. (Money.)

    Id say Marks unique in that hes a bit of a hybrid and can translate through some of the gut speak, but as hes essentially an entrepreneur; if you want to establish a point of view, present points and counterpoints that speak to the stratagem in a masterful way.

    So many terrific ideas die for lack of communication.

    Until you see The Matrix for what it is, it will be impossible for you to participate.

    Read this again until you understand that it applies to you.


    Comment by j -

  56. Upstream bandwidth is used for more than just P2P. I have a dedicated server and upload files regularly.

    Something like your idea would punish anyone who uploads anything of any size, regardless if it was P2P.

    Seems reactionary to me.

    In such an event, the market will speak, and people will trend to either the lowest prices, or the vendors with no such pricing structure.

    The first ISP to make the capital investment, will own the industry based on your theory.

    Comment by themicrowave -

  57. Oh, please. Stop whining so much. God knows that if I was a billionaire I wouldn\’t be as big of whiny bitch that you apparently are.

    Comment by Andres -

  58. Echoing the non-\”you suck\” comments on this post, I\’m curious about your argument that what we have now isn\’t a market solution, and that we need one. I\’d like to ask exactly what about the current situation isn\’t a market solution? Are there government regulations preventing ISPs from implementing your ideas? Or are you just calling something you disagree \”non-market\” as a polite way of calling it \”commie\”?

    Comment by doofman -

  59. What about small companies and freelancer programmers who do a lot of uploading, it would cripple them

    Comment by Shaun -

  60. P2P is the poor man\’s higher speed broadband. When analog dialup disappears, and the average Joe get tired of the Telcos \”dynamically-adjusting\” their DSL data rate, then P2P will flourish. When the \”every man\” gets tired of automatic-updates sucking up all their bandwidth, then P2P will florish.

    Remember, P2P is not about reliability or efficiency. It\’s about BUFFERING… near-realtime playback. HELLO!!! Big money hates it. The every man loves it. It will be the future\’s standard media for Internet Radio. But better yet, when P2P proves that it can be a platform for ad distribution, then big money will covet it.

    Comment by www.freeway2000.com -

  61. Mark, your thoughts on economics and business plans for \”internetish\” companies seem to have changed dramatically since I started reading your blog. I guess this has happened due to completion of you mentally transitioning from IP/Tech businessman to content owner/provider type.

    However, the economics works against you: internet connectivity serves as a catalyst for change, economic growth and further development, just like railroads had been in last two centuries.

    Much has been written about US falling behind other developed nations in this regard.

    And you are calling ISPs to act more like cell phone companies? This is insane – you are asking them to adopt business practices that led cell phone industry to be 2nd at the bottom of customer satisfaction. Look at it: this is the most pathetic industry with \”high-tech\” prefix.

    Because of businesses like yours, my TV experience is *still* retarded, handicapped by a stupid cable box from the 90s. We still do not have proper video over IP, we still have not moved away from retarded phone lines to VOP, we still intentionally \”hooked\” to technologically inferior cell phones and our computers have not made it to the living room. Because of such attitudes, my cell phone is dumber than average European sibling form 3 years ago.

    Just go away – all of you: cable, catellite and cell phone companies and record labels. We do not need you. You are not selling us products we want, you are taxing us with \”services\” we can live without. You are slowing down economic and technological growth. (not you, personally, but companies whose business plans you like so much)

    P.S. This is 2007. I pay $110/month for my cell phone service. And the damn thing cannot tell me where I am and getting football scores takes forever.

    Comment by Eugueny -

  62. It\’s sad the USA continues to focus on restrictions, regulations and acceptance of the oligopoloy ISP\’s and their crap low-bandwidth pipes labeled \”high speed.\”

    Japan and Korea, for example, have true high-speed internet connections often 10x as fast as here in the US yet 50% less per month as far as cost.

    Comment by Steve -

  63. Easy for a billionaire to call into question the downloading of overpriced media (dvd, music, etc.). It gets annoying buying albums that have 1 good song, or going to the movie theaters to watch the same plotline unfold as the film before it. But hey, it\’s just as easy to condemn those who don\’t have the means to see every single film and/or buy every single album. For we are the ones who get burnt by the crap record companies and Hollywood bring to the forefront

    Comment by John Kyle -

  64. i have no idea what you\’re talking about in this blog, i just wanted to say that you\’re awesome, and i almost did a speech about you in my speech class, but i decided dirk was a little bit easier to fit into a 4 minute time frame…
    keep on keepin\’ on!

    Comment by Lindsey -

  65. Makes sense to me.

    Comment by Cyndi -

  66. Mark,

    I\’ve refined your model a bit. Largely I\’m in agreement with you. P2P users are for the most part freeloaders, and no matter the legitimate uses of the technology for the most part we all know they are used to download content illegally. I\’m not going to argue the morality of pirating content, but I certainly agree that the effect it\’s having on everyone\’s Internet service is unsatisfactory. The way in which the ISPs are going about attempting to combat it is failing (see Comcast\’s recent PR debacle), and they\’re not making anyone happy with their current solutions.

    The need for a market based solution is clear. Offer customers something that will make them happy. I\’m arguing on my blog for the creation of tiered service offerings from the providers. One is a metered service which in exchange for limiting your monthly transfer rates (and when I say limited, I mean limited to the extent that a normal user would never come close to hitting the caps, but a P2P user who uses 100x or 1000x more bandwidth than the average user wouldn\’t choose that plan) you receive a higher quality of service, and the second is the existing plan that will continue to work fine for the abusers. The abusers will just take a backseat in a network congestion scenario.

    The whole idea played out in my blog post: http://clintsharp.com/down-with-p2p-part-2/. Hope you have a chance to read it and respond.


    Comment by Clint Sharp -

  67. Hello everyone,

    Could anyone here give me an explanation about why people think \”P2P sharing is illegal, immoral, but acceptable\”?

    Comment by Miki -

  68. Mark,

    You are absolutely correct – this is an interesting thread to follow;-)

    If I\’m reading you right, the reason you don\’t like P2P is that it wastes / inefficiently uses bandwidth (at the last mile), and this \”pay for uploaded data\” is really the better way to go.

    It\’s a fine argument, but haven\’t we been there already?

    I certainly remember dialup charges based on how many hours you connected. People that used the network were paying for it. (And for some, it was better to setup their own dialup network than to pay to use a commercial one)

    And then someone realized that if they had a million subscribers, and could get a measure of the right amount of infrastructure to supply service to the people that wanted to be on at any one time, they didn\’t have to charge by the hour, they could – tada – charge a flat rate to all of them!-)

    Many business go with this model – charge a reasonable flat rate for service and know that some users will make more use of it than others. All-you-can-eat buffets, amusement parks, telephone service, and even cell phone service (flat rate cell is certainly starting in my area). The services differ, but the flat rate concept does stretch across them. (and for ISPs, the service is transporting data to and from a consumer\’s location)

    I suggest to you that if the current system is so flawed as to collapse under the weight of \”excessive use\”, that the free market will deliver a solution, people will adopt something new, and life will go on.

    That is, when people go to the buffet, they understand that there may be service issues. It\’s not the same thing as other dining options, but that doesn\’t mean it doesn\’t have its place. If things don\’t stay well supplied, tasty, and pleasant, they\’ll choose not to return. (and that\’s just the way it goes)

    Sure, some consumers may not be able to afford the newest, fastest, biggest pipes out there, but that really isn\’t a new situation is it? (or unique to connecting to the internet…)

    And if some ISP can\’t keep up with the demands to supply their customers with the right mix of technology combined with business savvy, they close the doors, sell the assets and customers, and the world keeps revolving.

    I am perhaps a bit too light hearted about this, but what\’s to fix that won\’t fix itself?


    Comment by Steve Tylock -

  69. Congrats, you just made an even more retarded case for yourself. Hey keep digging and you might make it to china. I think online gaming is a perfectly legitimate use of my connection that uses upstream data, so why should I pay more to play a bit of BF2 or whatever when we have cunt-tards like you surfing around on Facebook spreading your emo views. Get a grip, get out your house and get some fucking common sense. You really do sum up how retarded man kind can be in this day and age.

    P.S. I highly recommend this: http://www.elc.co.uk/toy-43136 for your computer needs, should be able to cope with it.

    Comment by Neonkoala -

  70. It is true that redefining the pricing structure would lead to a different market equilibrium and perhaps P2P would suffer. But this is not to say that it would become more efficient. You are only looking at a different definition of efficiency. Right now the system is good because it provides information to users quickly. You are saying the system would become more efficient because the system would be doing less work to deliver the same data, but nobody cares about this if it comes at the expense of the users\’ time.

    Comment by bruce -

  71. Could anyone here give me an explanation about why people think P2P sharing is illegal, immoral, but acceptable? Thanks for your opinion in advance!

    Comment by Miki -

  72. Where in the world did the complaint about WoW come from? There is no way that WoW uses comparable bandwidth to even moderate internet surfing… Also, you dont stack a queue of downloads and leave it running 24 hours a day. Even the most hardcore players rarely play more than 30 hours a week.

    Comment by Robert Ober -

  73. \”Guess what, business models do evolve over time.\”

    and business models adapt to consumer demand.

    You seem to have lost grasp of the fact that the demand is for the internet…what on earth does the cellphone model have to do with it?

    (how\’s aol doing by the way? didnt they have a real good p2p unfriendly minute by minute system goin back in the day? Odd how the promise of unlimited internet access blew them the hell away)

    An ISP like comcast is more than free to treat the internet like a cellphone… go ahead… I DARE YOU.

    and we can watch as the throngs of comcast customers run like to the nearest real INTERNET SERVICE PROVIDER.

    Yeah, they will stay alive as long as they can continue to gauge the poor remaining comcast customers who have no alternative isp available to them until bit by bit other INTERNET service providers arrive to save them.

    After all, p2p users are the tiniest fraction of consumers…pissin them off wont hurt.


    If YOU personally are having a problem with your isp…and the isp points a finger at p2p users. All that means is your ISP is selling you WHAT THEY CANNOT PROVIDE.

    And THAT is the message you seem to be sending. A Good internet user…does not make use of what they pay for and in turn an ISP can take money for what they really cant provide.

    But really, youve got to get a clue…bandwidth demands will Only INCREASE drastically over the coming years, and the vision of INTERNET service providers you seem to have (ie: p2p free Comcast) will indeed go the way of the dinosaur,and it wont be p2p users who send them that way…it will be another ISP with a Better Business Model that does it.

    yeah, poor guys will still be crying about p2p…but theyll sure be sitting on top of what used to be comcast\’s money while they do it.

    \”cars will never replace the horse\”
    \”The TV will never catch on\”
    \”nobody needs more than 1 phone\”
    \”Its a series of Tubes\”

    \”block p2p\”

    Comment by Alan Martin -

  74. Well, upload is capped in a sense, but charging for it seems more reasonable than banning it.
    My only worry is that I know that measured values are gamed constantly in favour of the provider – at least here, and yes, I know for sure, I work in that area.

    Charging more sounds sensible – you upload too much, you skip to the next range and pay, say 5 or 10USD more. Compared to my 64USD /month charge it is not that big a raise.

    On the other hand, if technically P2P IS helping the ISP as several people pointed it out, maybe you should penalize non-P2P downloads and uploads.
    How about that?

    Comment by Roland Hesz -

  75. Dude seriously, where do you get this stuff? :-s
    I really am starting to believe you haven\’t the slightest idea how the internet works…
    You say: charge for upload right? Well, for every download one person engages, there is another machine/person who is uploading that information.
    Hell, just visiting this site, makes me download these posts, and makes your server uploading them to me.
    Seriously man, wake up, this isn\’t a problem of limited bandwith, frankly I have never even encountered any sort of lag whatsoever, and I live in Belgium (aka internethellhole).
    Next to that, I bet someone whose wallet packs such a whallop as yours could easily afford a hookup to the fiber-optic lines directly, so why don\’t you 😉 I know I would ^^
    That\’s what needs to be done, like it\’s already been done in Japan for example: their internet is as fast as a normal ethernet network, which is somewhere in the regions of 10Mb upload and 100Mb download.
    Hell, even here in Belgium, I know there is already fiber-optics in the ground, but for some godawful unknown reason, it\’s not hooked up yet.
    The point is, the internet evolves, and so do the tastes and needs of the common people. It\’s not because you only send pictures of your dog to your relatives, that the rest of us don\’t engage in audio/video conversations, don\’t watch internetTV, play games online and what have you. Hell, today I have to make a statistics assignment, for which I have to log into a remote server on my school, to use a remote install of SAS. Guess what kind of upload that\’s going to generate 😉
    Frankly, if you really do suffer from any sort of lag, I suggest you re-evaluate your internetsetup.

    Comment by Soliber -

  76. You are so off the mark it isn\’t even funny. You have tossed together the likes of a pirate torrent downloader with a business user of Skype or Groove. On top of this you totally have no idea of how most of the residential Internet works it appears.

    1. Most residential ISP\’s limit upstream and the limits are a fraction of downstream. In my case I have roughly 5MB down (yeah right) and 350kb up. The local Cable provider has plans up to 10MB Down I am told and 512kb Up so it\’s clear they have plenty of wiggle room and bandwidth. The provider is already limiting your access to the Internet by limiting your up speed. Your neighbors acting as a seed for a torrent file are not putting any hit on your downstream, you sound like a spokesperson for the RIAA when you say that.

    2. Business use of P2P Tech is growing and it actually reduces Internet traffic, not increases it. Applications like Groove, Foldershare, Skype and others allow businesses to share information with their employees and customers without placing everything on a single point for downloading. By distributing the file to multiple Peers the load on any single provider, router, backbone is reduced, not increased. On the other hand as you suggest using Google I think it was for uploading your video for them to download to thousands of end users would in fact increase the load on that pipe, that provider, that backbone, etc. How happy would you be if you just happened to be on the same loop as Google and you were sharing it with all those downloaders?

    P2P is not the problem, if anythign it\’s a solution. I can remember back when ISP\’s screamed about how much email some users were downloading and putting caps at 10MB/month, how much email do you get/send? Would you like to limit that email because it\’s in the pipe and clogging it up too.

    Comment by JamesB -

  77. Ted,

    I think you\’ll find that if you actually measure the bandwidth used by P2P in your scenario vs. intelligent content caching the P2P method will fail miserably at protecting the ISP. (assuming that it\’s a non-network topology aware p2p protocol like bittorrent)

    Mark, you suck…

    I honestly wish there was a market to prove you wrong, but unfortunately there is not much of one, so if you get your way, we\’ll all have to suffer your well regarded opinion. There are plenty of good uses for outbound network traffic, in fact, many of them are precisely the type of behavior that is contrary to the sit on your ass and watch whatever crap the commercial world sends you culture that you seem to want everyone to subscribe to.

    Comment by Bryn -

  78. Mark — I\’m glad you agree with my solution in the last post that ISP\’s *could* if they wanted to charge for uploads (probably best to say you get 10m upstream per month, and get charged after that). There is of course concern about how much people actually upload. Wouldn\’t that kill youtube, flickr, picasa etc?

    But my #1 question is — why is the market not taking care of this itself? I know you to be a proponent of market forces — whats wrong with this?

    And the answer is that left to itself, the ISPS could care less what you are transmitting, they just want your money. If they thought they could make more money offering a \”less than unlimited\” plan, they\’d do it. Why do you want to force business to regulate themselves in a way they don\’t want to.

    I think the bandwidth shortage arguement is a red herring. If there is a need for more bandwidth, the ISPS can easily add more. I\’m sure you\’re familiar with Verizon\’s FIOS. Wi-Max is another easy way to roll out more bandwidth to those who need it. My point is, the market is very capable of dealing with supply/demand issues, and as far as I can tell, it\’s doing an excellent job already.

    Finally, I\’d like to ask you if maybe YOU\’RE the one who should be changing YOUR plan. If you wanted to, for not much money (relatively) you could have a VERY fat pipe running into your house, and not have to share with anyone. In fact, Comcast offers services like this. Perhaps you need to accept that p2p will stay exactly where it is, and people who wish to be unencumbered by it need to get a different service.

    I recall hearing that there is a coalition of Amazon, MSFT, Yahoo, Google and a few others who have publicly stated that if Net Neutrality ever came to pass, they would lay down their own connectivity. Using Wi-Max, and modern fiber, their new network would be vastly superior to the old one. Does Comcast, Verizon, ATT etc want to even risk that happening?

    People who are saying \”you suck\” are such idiots, and I\’m pleased you get the same giggle out of them that I do.

    The one thing I would ask of you is a fair disclosure of what HDNet is, and how much bandwidth affects your businesses. I know you have said that this is your position, and it has nothing to do with HDNet. Be that as it may, I truly believe the p2p impacts you directly — but more from an ability to infringe on copyright than anything else.

    I\’m not sure you\’ll profit on it by being first, but heck what do I know? I have yet to buy MY favorite sports team (and even if I had the money, I\’m pretty sure Jerry Jones is not selling).

    Comment by Dan -

  79. Mark,

    It\’s not a \”market\” solution when you try to get all ISPs to agree on a model. That\’s called collusion.

    If you think this is a good idea, please start up an ISP with a per-bit model. I predict your competition would love the advertising fodder you would provide for them.

    Comment by Matthew -

  80. Mark,

    I\’ve been reading your P2P posts. While there are certain aspects I agree and disagree with you on, I\’d like to let you in on my current ISP dilemma.

    I\’m a business customer. I run an e-mail server at my home for my small business. I\’m too far from my Verizon Central Office to get decent DSL, the best they can offer me is 1.5Mbps by 768Kbps, which for the average internet user sucks, let alone a professional like myself. Time Warner is my only choice.

    I need a static IP address for my e-mail server. Time Warner\’s Residential Plans leave me two choices: either 7.0×512 or 10.0×1.0, $45 and $60 monthly, respectively. Dynamic IP\’s on both of them. What\’s my other option? Time Warner Business Class (their business channel) that offers me the same 10.0×1.0 package but with 5 Static IP\’s for $140 monthly (over twice the cost of residential for static IP\’s, with most DSL providers a $10-$20 add-on) AND I have to pay installation fees, be forced to use their proprietary modem and sign a three-year contract. It\’s safe to say I\’m paying a premium considering whenever my side of Plano\’s cable network goes out I\’m down. My modem has died and been replaced three times and every time I try to run off-site backup sessions that last more than three hours my connection is disabled by Time Warner\’s P2P filtering. I rarely do any P2P… maybe once a month, Maybe… but every time I try to run an off-site backup I\’m told I\’m trying to do P2P and I have to power-cycle my modem. Recently I was in Atlanta for a business meeting and Time Warner\’s filtering system caused my modem to drop out. Luckily I had a backup mail service pick up my e-mails but the fact of the matter remains that as a business customer paying a premium for a cable connection I barely do any P2P and their systems leave me in a pickle time and time again and now I\’m tied to a 3-year contract.

    For grins, I ran some BitTorrents for a day straight. I had to power-cycle my modem 4 times. My point is this: the only carriers I\’ve seen complaining about P2P are the cable-based carriers (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Communications, Charter), but not the telco/DSL/fiber providers. One of the times a Time Warner Business tech was out here replacing my modem I asked him about Time Warner\’s new business VoIP service I read about and he told me that their infrastructure is not nearly strong enough to withstand that added time-sensitive traffic. Wasting bandwidth I disagree with, but I think it\’s a crutch used by the cable modem ISPs so they don\’t have to invest in a strong infrastructure, because from a network expert\’s standpoint (I hold a few Cisco certifications myself and work in the networking industry) the cable modem service provider\’s network infrastructure is out-grown and very elementary compared to the DSL and fiber provider\’s networks.

    I personally think that ISPs should offer premium services for people who want to take advantage of such bandwidth-hogging applications. My point is I\’m paying a premium for my bandwidth and I can\’t even use it for my business duties (backups) OR P2P if I wanted, and that\’s not right.

    Comment by Texas Hammer -

  81. Welcome to China…

    Geez Mark – this doesn\’t seem like you at all. The guy that always says, \”the consumer should control the market\”….ugh. Well the consumer has come up with an ingenious way to utilize the free bandwidth with an amazing global collaboration tool. You just love Google video because Google is fast – they should be – they\’ve built their own mega Akamai. P2P is one of the most amazing inventions ever. It\’s the classic case of pooling resources for crowd gain. There is some \”law of the commons\” going on here and that\’s why you\’re ticked off. Too many people eating your grass and you feel like you\’re starving. I will support the people on this one who purchase a capacity of broadband and expect what they were promised. You know how shocked I was when I called Qwest to complain about my 100k downstream DSL that is called 1.5MBPS and they said that it falls in line with their minimum service requirements (which of course are not posted anywhere). Blame the ISPs who oversell. Just because the U.S. is a big land country that doesn\’t have a high population density, you want to punish something that will make the world a better place? Just because you don\’t find value in it, doesn\’t mean that the majority of internet users don\’t either…

    Anyways, I find it fascinating that I write comments in your blog. It\’s mostly because I know you\’ll read them and because you are an influencial person that really opens a dialogue with others – the very thing that makes you who you are is the exact person that should get this P2P thing. It\’s not going away and how dare you even suggest that the ISPs control, censor, or throttle the bandwidth that they have available.

    Thanks for being a great sounding board – peace.

    Comment by Rio -

  82. > we should look at some realities and options.

    Reality 1: The statistics about what p2p use are questionable.
    The only stats we have are from the ISP\’s. The ISP\’s have a strong motivation (lawsuits and threats from major copyright holders…we all know who that is.) I find the numbers from the ISP\’s to be extremely suspect.

    Reality 2: Search engines and video sites use a huge amount of bandwidth.
    Google alone chews a staggering amount of bandwidth. No other site on the internet single handedly uses as much bandwidth as YouTube and GoogleBot.

    Reality 3: There is no shortage of legitimate bandwidth.
    Dunno what the heck is going on in Dallas, but down here in Austin, it rare for me to wait for anything but the largest dl\’s. The average user has bandwidth to burn.

    So while I agree with you that net neutrality is a bad idea; however, if we are going to slam p2p average joe, then lets also go after the heavy corporate users/abusers as well.

    – bt

    Comment by Brett Tabke -

  83. One thing I\’d like to say, is thanks for giving Brian De Palma artistic freedom in the way he made his film, even though you redacted some of it. I haven\’t seen it yet, I wonder will you release it using P2P to distribute the HD quality version of it without DRM on the Internet? I would gladly pay $3 or $5 for that, and maybe you can get a few million other people around the world pay that same amount. Thus please figure something out with Brian De Palma, tell him you are sorry about the redaction of his film or something, so please give him the means to make more awesome films and I suggest you release the films not only theatrically, but also online in HD p2p downloads.

    Now about the bandwidth issue, I do believe ISPs will charge per Gigabyte used and it will be less of a flat fee issue. But the price per GB should be extremely affordable, for example less that $0.05 per GB delivered over 100mbit/s Fiber to the home or $0.20 through Mobile WiMax. With a minimum monthly payment for example. This way the bandwidth then needs to be guaranteed and of high quality. This will be common I think once HD video streaming, higher quality live p2p streaming, cached p2p RSS distribution and other online HD video becomes mainstream.

    Comment by Charbax -

  84. There are some good non-\”You Suck\” comments here…

    I will add – as has been noted – we already do pay for uploads. They cap my connection at 1 MB upstream… while downstream is 13. That is a cap – you can play with words all you want, but that is exactly what it is.

    Second, what you suggest is a two way street. If they start charging for set allotments, then they must provide said allotments. While they can get away with terrible slowdowns and overall horrible speeds (compared to some of those outside the US) because it is an all you can eat proposition. It is essentially a buffet. If you change it from a buffet to a pay by meal scenario.. and you are charging $60 a month as a cable company you had better provide good service! Buffet to nice restaurant and I do not think these companies can deliver nor want to deliver that.

    You also write as though it is P2P. As has been pointed out bandwidth is simply bandwidth. Ultimately everything is P2P on some level the server is simply the stamp put on the machine running the site. Uploading happens not just with P2P but with emails sent with attachments, uploading content to legal services (smugmug etc) and such things as the emerging backup markets where people can upload files online which can be many gigs. Further, some chat would be P2P, or any number of new technologies (mainstream at least) such as remoting into a persons machine to assist, sharing your files across multiple machines and so on. What you suggest hampers technological growth while protecting decaying and outdated schemes. What you suggest would dampen growth

    While you may look at the cell phone market as a good one to view, how many times have your read or heard people saying how much they love their phone company? Do a search! Do you think this is a good way to market a product i.e. produce happy customers? What you assert makes you look silly and I do not believe you are. It is more likely you are viewing this as someone afraid your content will be stolen via the Internet. While you do not mind (I have no doubt) if Comcast or insert whomever uses the same pipes to push your content down.
    The Internet in the US is already falling behind countries around the world where cheap Verizon FIOS like speed can be had by almost everyone while you want to take things back to 1997 type systems. So if you truly believe in your assertion what is the cap? Give out what you consider to be reasonable? How will customers keep track of that? Do you think customers will actually know how to keep track? How will the metering take place will it be by sampling or actual usage? How will you protect or track the traffic and what does that imply privacy wise? These are just a couple of the 10s that need to be answered.

    Comment by Ben B -

  85. At least give some credit to your comment base–to the degree that you criticize them. Sure, there are plenty of you suck comments. They should have been your idea sucks, but that\’s another point. Over three days, they have molded your ideas to something closer to technically accurate and palatable. Can we get a thank you?

    Comment by Chris Woods -

  86. I don\’t see anything in this post which would impact on \”net neutrality\”. If you are purely talking about measuring the total traffic (up, down or both) and changing aspects of the user\’s service (price, speed or both) then that has no relation to any specific type of traffic.

    What I would like my ISP to do is, at the quieter times of day, *increase* my upload speed so that I can keep a better ratio on torrent sites (live music sites like Dime) with less effort. There\’s a 40:1 difference down:up for me (20Mb down:0.5Mb up) and a couple of hours at, say, 20Mb down:5Mb up would help my ratio a lot. If that also meant accepting a slower speed at other times of day then I could manage my uploading/downloading around that. There\’s got to be some incentive for me. Variable speeds might also be more acceptable to customers than variable prices but would have the same overall effect.

    As others have commented, most internet users don\’t have any need to think about these issues. There\’s no reason to change things for them. For users who want higher than average speeds/bandwidth (especially upload) then what would be wrong with creating a different, better (faster) and probably more expensive service for them?

    Comment by Colin -

  87. Heh. I won\’t own a cell phone until the prices come down more. I at least want unlimited incoming calls. I think all cell phone providers should give me unlimited incoming!

    I\’m being snarky. Of course, the free market should decide. One size fits all never actually fits anybody. Charging per the minute could certainly be an option for the ISP you decide to set up, but it\’s pretty crass of you to jump in and tell the other ISPs how they should be running their business.

    AT&T started charging landline customers a premuim when they didn\’t spend enough in long distance! Because I don\’t download things, I predict that with your scenario, I\’ll soon be paying a premium because I am *not* using enough bandwidth.

    Free internet, supported by advertisements, seemed like a great idea to me, but the market decided that paying for better and faster access was the way to go.

    I even signed up for lifetime dialup access for a one time fee of $99.99. The ISP needed startup money. I figured it was really only a 9 month risk, and I dialed up for 3 years before I opted to go with high speed, even though I had to start paying again.

    You\’re an idea guy – take your ball and run with it. Give us consumers choices instead of crying that other people are hogging the internet.

    Comment by Angelatc -

  88. mark, was this a clever ploy to increase traffic to your site? 🙂

    Comment by Brian -

  89. When I buy of sell on AdBirds.com , eBay or Craigs\’ list I should pay more for uploading or downloading a page with a photo? How will normal traffic be affected?

    Comment by Randall Stephens -

  90. Mark,
    Maybe when you have as much money as you do, this type of model makes sense. How about people who work, say, in the video industry who upload hundreds of GB of data a month to save money on FedEx. You are attempting to make a statement about the effects of P2P on content producers, well what happens when you bankrupt the small companies with Bandwidth charges!!

    Then we are all stuck with whatever the conglomerates want us to watch, and they are only interested in making more money and pleasing shareholders. If content companies spent half of what they do trying to stop P2P in creating good content that people would actually pay for, this would be less of an issue.

    They make billions in profit, and they wonder why people who make $7/hr are downloading their stuff. Think they feel a bit screwed when they go to buy that movie at an insane price of $25! Now why would they do that when they can get it for free.

    These companies are making more and more money while the average person is making the same wages with inflation. I only know a few people who are not living paycheck to paycheck already, now you want to up their costs even more because they are taking what they can\’t afford already?

    I do not condone piracy (I used to be a HUGE pirate and distributor), I even did a documentary on piracy in Canada. I buy my movies, my TV shows and music, however, I don\’t think jacking up pricing and net neutrality are the answer. Better content, keeping up with technology and easy options are the answer. People want easy, cheap and fair. You will always have the people that will find it for free, but don\’t put that on the rest of the people who are (sorry for saying this) too stupid to realize what they are doing is wrong (And yes, even with all the media, most people still don\’t know how to properly compose an email and don\’t know what \’piracy\’ even is).

    Comment by Kray -

  91. Completely agree with you Mark. If P2P isn\’t addressed, we will all see either higher rates or slower connectivity. In my case, I am already seeing slower speeds.

    People continue to be proud that they can beat the man and use the Internet as they want to. Spam, P2P, spyware, etc. It\’s out of control.

    Comment by Dave -

  92. So you\’ve decided to to think the issue through a little. This is a better solution, however you must also think about the cost of installing equipment capable of metering EVERY subscriber on the network. It is highly unlikely that the telcos have this level of sophistication at each subscribers house. Installing the gear is a financial barrier, perhaps one that would require a significant amount of time to recover.

    Also, unless every provider switched to this form of billing it won\’t work. The people you are trying to restrict will simply change to a provider that doesn\’t have this kind of plan. Since most providers share a certain level of the last mile infrastructure, it won\’t help your issue of P2P slowing the network for other subscribers.

    Let\’s also remember that cellular providers are among the most loathed in the communications industry for the billing and contractual practices they force on customers. Any telco adopting those practices would certainly risk losing a large percentage of their subscribers to the competition.

    Comment by J Cornelius -

  93. Cell phone minutes? A familiar topic.

    In 10 years bandwidth will be a mute point. You probably will have fiber to your bathroom!

    Zipityzap. Internet Television. Seeking partners, investors.

    Comment by Gerald Zuckerwar -

  94. If the best you can do to counter your critics–and there were some well thought-out comments on your previous two p2p posts–is to insinuate that all of your detractors are idiots writing \”You Suck\” or making worthless appeals to the status quo, then I think you have a weak argument. It\’s deliberately misleading and should be beneath you.

    Comment by Ben Compton -

  95. Why don\’t we expand this out just a bit? Why don\’t we make the net a nicer place? ISPs simply start charging more for transporting packets with \”mean\” content. If you want to be mean, you can pay more! Imagine how nice people will be after their first bill after a huge flame war!

    The idea of looking at specific kinds of traffic and assigning some different value for transporting it? Down that road lay dragons…

    Comment by Patrick Berry -

  96. Usually, I read your blog and think \”pretty clever guy\”. This P2P thread…not so much.
    My ISP provides a service. I pay for that service, with the understanding that I will be able to use it without FUNCTIONAL limitations (particularly hidden ones). Would you support a car manufacturer that limited top vehicle speed to 25 mph? Or restricted them to certain roads? It\’s even worse with ISPs, because consumers are frequently limited to one or two companies serving their area.
    Right now, I pay for Comcast through my HOA, but do not use it. I pay a second time for Brighthouse. Guess why…

    Comment by Jay -

  97. Mark says:
    \”So I\’ve come up with a better way to get rid of P2P without calling for an outright disabling of the protocol\”

    And that\’s your problem right there. Nobody is buying your proposition that P2P is the menace you claim it is. You\’re attempting to move the conversation forward on how best to get rid of it, but *no one thinks you should be removing it*.

    And many don\’t believe you\’re doing this for the \”public good\” either. You\’ve got a lot of investments and I\’m sure somewhere you\’ve got a vested interest in seeing P2P removed for whatever reason (and no, it\’s not because you think your \”internet is too slow\”).

    Comment by DML -

  98. Wow the billioniare wants to raise the price of internet access. We should raise the monthly fee to $1000.00 a month. That way only people of worth to society can have access to do their truly important work. Gamers and people sharing files dont really matter. Mark Cuban says the internet has got to change, so thats the way it has to be. Sorry you\’ve been paying a monthly fee for all these years, but our betters have spoken.

    Comment by Chris -

  99. Paul K brought up a good point (others have too, but he was first): computer owners cannot always control what comes to or from their computers. Viruses. Trojans. Legit Auto-updates. Etc.

    They [generally] can with their mobile phones.

    Mark, open your books and reveal your interests in this matter. Generally when someone makes an illogical argument (over and over and over), it\’s because they have something to gain…

    Comment by King Tut -

  100. Hi Mark,

    when formulating your argument you had bit torrent in mind as your concrete case. Please reformulate your argument with Skype in mind and see if your argument still makes sense.

    You are mixing two contentious issues: piracy and bandwidth allocation.

    — Parveen

    Comment by Parveen -

  101. Mark,

    I think that what you need to realize is that P2P actually helps ISPs. No seriously. If you think about it from an ISP\’s perspective the cost to them is the connection to the Internet, not between hosts on their network. So let\’s say that have two users downloading the same bittorrent link for the latest Linux CD. If those two users both download half and then send the other half to each other, the ISP just save money by not downloading two copies of the file.

    What ISPs need to do is embrace P2P to the point that they provide seeds for every file imaginable in their data centers. Then set up those so that they\’ll only talk to their customers. Their customers would percieve the connection to be very fast, but in reality the ISP would save boatloads of money not downloading the same files everytime over the Internet.

    Now, you\’ll have to work out some sort of Common Carrier justification with the lawyers and the seeds, but I\’m sure that\’s possible.

    P2P solves the last-mile problems that you\’ve been talking about so many times before.


    Comment by Ted Gould -

  102. Mark – it\’s funny you bring up the economic motivations of ISP\’s running internet \”to my bathroom\”…..because, as it turns out…


    We paid them with an instrument called \”tax breaks\”, which are essentially deferred promises (you know about these as a sports franchise owner, yes?!?!?). When the companies we\’d paid reneged on their deals (Verizon, Global Crossing, AT&T, Qwest, et al), nobody (including yourself, MR. Amazing) really held them to task or even ASKED FOR THE DAMN MONEY BACK!

    So, the shareholders and executives made out ok by promising fast internet to my bathroom, and then not delivering. In my book, that\’s called \”fraud.\”

    Now you come along whining about how P2P is affecting *gasp!* everyone on an ISP network, and somehow it\’s now the responsibility of CUSTOMERS to keep ISP\’s networks operational.

    Sorry, Mark…not with you on this one.

    Look at it this way: I buy my $100 Mav\’s ticket, but the Mav\’s don\’t play, and you STILL want me to pay for my parking and food, and not ask you for my money back.

    Comment by Jeremiah -

  103. Counter argument here: http://www.borella.net/mike/blog/2007/11/23/why-congestion-pricing-doesnt-work-on-the-internet/

    Comment by Mike -

  104. Mark,

    \”Guess what, business models do evolve over time. You may want your ISP to be exactly how you want it to be.\”
    I have no problem with ISPs evolving their business model. Even though they are in as close to a monopoly as is allowed in the US, in many areas. I do have a problem with the bait-and-switch which has gone on – from the unlimited downloading to this current P2P blocking.
    When they choose to be honest with their customers, then I will be less outraged. I \’ll also expect more transparency, and pricing options. But without competition it\’s unlikely we\’ll get all that many options, let alone pricing pressure.

    With this comes the knowledge that I\’m not getting 8Mbs from Comcast. I\’m really getting as much as 8 if no one from my area is online, and as low as 1 if there are a ton on. FiOS will loom even larger at this point.

    Comment by Dave -

  105. I\’m guessing that since I have a dissenting opinion, that means it\’s a personal attack 😉

    Mark, everytime that someone has tried restricting a specific use of the Internet, it has failed miserably. In fact, the attempts to restrict a specific activity have resulted in its increased use. Metallica learned this with it\’s battle with Napster. Viacom is learning it with YouTube. Even the record companies are starting to realize that DRM is a bad investment.

    Mark, why not build a model around what consumers are demanding?

    Comment by Brian -

  106. You suck! No, just kidding.

    I think a lot of people are misunderstanding what you propose – which is, basically, asking customers to pay for what they use.

    What is happening now, with ateempts to block to P2P is indeed controlling what you can do – and clumsily. What you are proposing is economically rational: you can do whatever you want with your bandwidth, but you will pay for the bandwidth.

    Note that what we SHOULD see (but probably wouldn\’t) is that more casual users – like, say, my folks, who get their email and do a little web browsing – should see the prices drop because they are such light users.

    Comment by John Whiteside -

  107. You still haven\’t convinced me that P2P users really are eating up bandwidth from the rest of us (i.e., making it less available/more expensive for the rest of us). You asserted this was true, by asking that if it wasn\’t \”why is the last mile so expensive?\” That hardly completely fails the laugh test for argument.

    Let\’s see some stats. Not just of use, but of capacity.

    (From what I can recall of WoW, it doesn\’t use that much upstream bandwidth.)

    Comment by King Rat -

  108. Mark, You got it right this time. In fact, the first time you wrote about P2P and bandwidth I was pretty sure what you really meant was metering bandwidth, not blocking P2P. It just makes sense.

    I agree with you that the ISP\’s should think about charging for bandwidth the way wireless networks charge for cell phone minutes. You should be able to buy different levels of bandwidth based on your usage. That is the real issue, not what you are doing with the bandwidth, or if you use P2P or not.

    I thought this was your main point all along, so I didn\’t react to the P2P example. I thought you just used P2P because it was an obvious example of the bandwidth inequities.

    The problem may be that the cable/DSL providers don\’t have the metering and billing capabilities in place yet.

    It is inevitable that this issue will be addressed, and metering seems to be the most reasonable answer.

    Don Dodge

    Comment by Don Dodge -

  109. My net connection by bell up here in Canada is capped out with a /mb charge over and above. If the ISP\’s are concerned about misused bandwidth (that could arguably fall outside of the T&C\’s – like using dyndns to host a site on a home connection), then I agree – just cap it on both sides.

    If an ISP is currently selling unlimited bandwidth usage, and people use it for P2P, WOW, whatever, then shame on the ISP for selling unlimited usage!

    Comment by Chris Hamoen -

  110. Mark, I always worry when anyone tries to borrow a business model from the cell phone companies, especially when the bandwidth providers have even less competition (and thus less portability for users) than those companies.

    And if you look at the phone companies, competition is driving them away from any realistic measure of number of minutes: myFaves, Free mobile-to-mobile, etc, are all chipping away at pay-per-minute until soon they will be permanently eroded. Why?

    Because when you open this up to unlimited use, a vast majority of people\’s usage will remain the same. Mine would. And if you look at what happened when NetFlix went to an \”unlimited\” model, their average monthly rentals per user actually went down, beacuse the users didn\’t feel the pressure to get their 4 movies that month. So on a whole, with a large pool of people, things average out. My parents have a connection at home, and one in their vacation home. They use a tiny fraction of what they could. There have to be 100 other like that for every seeder.

    The same, I guarantee, is true of P2P. The number of people who actually know what BitTorrent is is extremely low compared to the general population of internet users. The number of people who participate in those activities, especially as seeders, is even lower. So in the end, the bandwidth providers can spend millions on new billing and metering systems, customer support, etc. with a huge risk of alienating their userbase (and creating entry for new competitors) and no potential returns on their investment.

    And I have to take issue with this statement:

    >>A truly market solution. Imagine that.

    There seems to be a disconnect between many people on what a \”market solution\” is. Isn\’t what\’s out there now a market solution? Has anyone prevented the ISPs from implementing this?

    So then your definition of \”market solution\” is more like \”Mark\’s Solution\”. The same can be seen with those anti-unionists (and seen currently with the writers strike) who say \”Let the market decide what to pay without union interference\”, completely ignoring the fact that the unions play a legitimate role in that market.

    You can\’t call for a \”market solution\” and only invite those to whom the money ultimately flows. That, by definition, is not a market solution.

    Comment by Nick Davis -

  111. (copied from my comment on Mashable)

    I totally agree with your idea of a Centrally Planned and Controlled People\’s Internet, Mr. Cuban. I think there should be heavy restrictions on on what people can and can\’t do with the bandwidth they pay for.

    And you are so right about P2P. It\’s ridiculously inefficient to have each client acting as a server, taking the load off the main site. So much bandwidth wasted!

    I was on Ares last night and it brought down my ISP, because I was trying to download 8 songs at the same time. So that\’s proof right there that P2P is a failed technology.

    Also, while I have you here, could you sign my petition to ban electric lightbulbs? They\’re totally inefficient and they waste electricity. Once we make them illegal, we can go back to using gas lamps.

    Comment by CountRob -

  112. Mr. Cuban\’s attempt to criminalize upstream bandwidth is naive and misguided.

    ISP users are already paying for a unlimited steam of capped bandwidth. Upsteam bandwidth is used for a variety of technologies, including P2P traffic. There is nothing illegal about P2P networks, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with upsteam bandwdith.

    Pay per byte internet services went the way of the Dodo, even cell networks are going unlimited. There is enough bandwidth to support the business model of unlimited high speed Internet.

    Bandwidth is going to continue to go down in price and uncapped upsteam rates are going to continue to increase. With technologies like FIOS and continued compression advances on cable, there will be more than enough bandwidth go around.

    Comment by Alex Valentine -

  113. \”You can argue about how fiber should make it all the way to your bathroom if you want, that won\’t create the capital for ISPs or force them to spend it the way you want them to.\”

    Well. The thing is: once the demand for higher speed is there, there will be an incentive to increase bandwidth. Of course it won\’t be cheap, but that\’s why it will only happen when demand is there. The more people use P2P the more demand for bandwidth there will be, which will make the ISPs invest more so that they can offer higher speeds and get more money.

    And true: charging a flat fee if you upload TBs of data or not is not logical, but that\’s the heritage of the over investment during the late 90s and 00s wasn\’t it so? The result was unfavourable terms to the providers. Too bad for them.

    In fact if you look at some of the broadband plans you will notice that the higher the speed (up/down) the higher the price i.e. high usage is already factored in their business plans.

    Now, you as a content producer might need to really think about the effects that eradicating P2P might bring, and I am quite sure they are pretty much against your own interests.

    I obviously dont have numbers to back it up, BUT (there is always a but), wouldnt you be better off selling your film off the net through p2p for 5 bucks? You would probably reach many more people.

    Not only that: give a bonus to the heavy seeders, it can even be a ticket to watch the movie in a proper theatre, a t-shirt, or whatever (something that helps to virally spread the movie)…

    Don\’t you see, P2P is not a threat to you, it\’s an opportunity.

    If people want to pirate your movie, they will, if they want to pay for it, they will. The thing is: if you have a good range of convenience x price x quality forms of delivering your movie, you will win not on a per transaction basis, but on the total…you will have more transactions, which per se help to spread the idea, which makes people consume more, and so forth.

    It\’s like taxes: you want to tax LESS money from MORE people. Same in media distribution: try to reach more people and charge them less for it (assuming you can decrease distribution costs by that, of course)…

    I am just not so sure eliminating P2P solves anything….

    Comment by Ndugu 123 -

  114. Hi Mark,
    This seems to be a round-about way of arguing against the established principal of net neutrality. I\’m not sure if that is that accidental or intended but perhaps clarifying your position (on net neutrality in general) might help.


    Comment by John O\'Shea -

  115. Hey, Mark, why is such a usually-rational person like you being so weird about this topic. Clearly, you hate P2P, and your goal here is to stamp it out. But that\’s not leading to even remotely logical arguments.

    You\’re moving your assumptions all over the place, acting as if you understand the ISP business when you clearly don\’t, and coming up with harebrained schemes to achieve what amounts to an emotional goal.

    P2P is here to stay. It makes a lot more sense to brainstorm about how traditional media companies — like HDNet — can monetize it. Bandwidth is cheap and getting cheaper, and that\’s not going to change. Inventing problems that don\’t really exist and using them to justify draconian anti-consumer policies just shows that as forward thinking as you can be at times, you are at least 50% old-world media mogul who\’s scared of the impact this whole internet thing will have on your outdated business model.

    Comment by Brooks Talley -

  116. This is just plain silly. I really don\’t know why but I couldn\’t help but chuckle a bit at your proposition. 🙂

    In essence they already do this by making upstream less available than down stream. Say one person gets a 40 kB/s cap on their upstream per month. Simply multiply 40 by the number of seconds in a month and you get how many kB\’s they can send in a month. It sounds like more effective suggestion would be make the rate smaller. That just means that you get a whole bunch more pissed off consumers because they can\’t post their frat party photos to Facebook.

    An alternative solution means keeping track of all these kB\’s. So let\’s look at this… it means keeping a database of some kind of all the subscribers to one ISP. This database is CONSTANTLY being updated. That\’s a heavy load. Not only this, but the database is very important so you have to hire a nice team of security specialists to keep the troublemakers out. It\’s sounding pretty costly for the ISP now. Probably more than you\’d actually save from these vicious P2P users chipping away at your precious high-speed traffic.

    On top of this, what do you make of the consumers who don\’t know enough about computers to shield themselves from viruses? Many types of viruses send out tons of email from the infected computer. That traffic is upstream. This would cost them a bundle.

    This devious little plan wouldn\’t work unfortunately because the consumer is screwed over royally and the ISP is paying more just to perform this screwing over. It sounds as if you\’re so vehemently opposed to P2P because all these innocent little people are becoming seeding nodes unbeknownst to them. So you, the great crusader against P2P, are out to free them from their shackles by your silly plans that really accomplish nothing but maybe, just maybe, give you an extra kilobyte per month.

    Comment by Paul K. -

  117. I have a hunch that any company with a trafficked website wouldn\’t like your model much.

    Comment by Robert M -

  118. I feel sorry for you…

    Comment by Matt -

  119. You are completely right however what you are doing is suggesting that ISPs take away the ideal and the norm from many people who cannot afford or are not willing to spend money to purchase software, music, movies etc. in a legitimate manner. An internet connection costs the same amount per month as 2 music CDs. The linux distribution argument is horse shit.

    Comment by Mark Poole -

Comments are closed.