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Five things I'd like to see from my broadband provider

Tom Steinert-Threlkeld posted yesterday five things he would like to see change about his cable operator. As cable is practically a thing of the past over here in the UK, with satellite and Freeview (free digital channels) hitting most television sets, I thought long and hard about where the next generation of television will come from.
Written by Zack Whittaker, Contributor on
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Tom Steinert-Threlkeld posted yesterday five things he would like to see change about his cable operator. As cable is practically a thing of the past over here in the UK, with satellite and Freeview (free digital channels) hitting most television sets, I thought long and hard about where the next generation of television will come from.

The Internet, of course.

But as a student in his second year of university, I have seen many ups and downs with student broadband, or broadband in general as it is all in the same kettle of fish. For a start, it took me a month to get my broadband fitted in the first place. Here's what I could change given the chance:

Specific peer-to-peer accounts

Comcast decided near the end of 2007 to block peer-to-peer traffic on its network, which ultimately ended up with them getting into a fair bit of bother. Peer-to-peer technology doesn't always involve downloading illegal content from the web, and to many Linux developers and users, using peer-to-peer is a way of life; downloading the latest distributions from torrents and suchlike.

Actively encouraging users to switch to a specialist plan which allows peer-to-peer communications and downloads would even out the networks behind the scenes and make the lives of subscribers that little bit better.

No bullsh*t speeds

We don't really need fibre-optic cables connected to our houses - we can survive just fine on 2mbps speeds. After all, the thrill is in the chase. I don't mind waiting twenty minutes to download an entire film of Rapidshare (that's right, I break the law) because it gives me enough time for a cup of tea and a cigarette outside.

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What students do not want is to be played around by a bunch of marketing idiots who will claim certain speeds when you won't get close. Depending on where you are, the cabling in your house, the distance between the telephone exchange and your house, the contention ratio and about half a dozen other factors, these will all change your connection speed heavily. So don't screw us around; be honest - we can handle it.

Large file download caps

When living in a shared house, you'll find within moments of all connecting to the network that there will be someone in the house who loves downloading massive video clips and hogging all of the bandwidth. I'll admit now, I am that person in my house, and it drives the other people crazy.

Wouldn't it be great if you could limit downloads which are 100mb or more in size to a limited bandwidth stream? Instead of downloading the 100mb and blasting the hell out of the rest of the network, it takes its time and caps the download speed. It'll take a little bit longer to download, but at least you won't have people screaming at you from the top of the stairs, because someone else in the house is streaming Skins off 4oD.

VoIP and gaming bandwidth allocation

Voice-over-IP, or VoIP, is most certainly the way forward for telecommunications. With Skype and Windows Live Messenger providing free and cheap phone calls back home, having VoIP is almost a necessity to students. But again, with download speeds not being great and other people taking up valuable bandwidth, you'll find call quality diminishes quickly, to the point where you can barely hear anything.

Having backend-QoS (quality of service) will enable dedicated channels for VoIP and over the web communications. This is something I'd like to see.

Pay-as-you-go and shared contracts

Most students stay in their accommodation for less than 12 months. Not only that, because of licensing and pointless policies set out by the ISP's, you can only have one person in a house of x many on the contract for the Internet; leaving one person to pay the bills. What if the rest of the people don't pay? What if they can't afford to pay? You're then stuck with a contract which you're paying entirely by yourself.

If you open up the contracts to allow x people in the house on the contract, it'll be split equally between those x housemates; making the bills cheaper for the individual and fairer for all.

Anything I've missed? Comment away...

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