Why does this group have so much spam?

Steven D'Aprano steve at REMOVE-THIS-cybersource.com.au
Fri Sep 4 02:09:08 CEST 2009

On Thu, 03 Sep 2009 16:01:26 -0700, Ethan Furman wrote:

> Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>> On Thu, 03 Sep 2009 12:19:48 -0700, Ethan Furman wrote:
>>>Steven D'Aprano wrote:
>>>>On Thu, 03 Sep 2009 04:01:54 -0400, Terry Reedy wrote:
>>>>>ISP's price residential service based on average fixed cost and
>>>>>average usage. Multiple homes using one connection push those
>>>>>averages up.
>>>>Is that meant to be a problem?
>>>>When people buy more, the unit price they are paying falls, but the
>>>>total price they pay generally goes up. E.g. we've recently upgraded
>>>>our business link from AUD$150 per month for 60GB to $190 for 100GB.
>>>>The per GB price is less, but the total we pay is more -- and the ISP
>>>>doesn't have to do much extra work for that extra money.
>>>The difference is that you *upgraded* your service and so incurred a
>>>greater total cost.  If my neighbor lets the rest of the neighborhood
>>>use his wireless, while I do not, yet my prices go up because on
>>>average more usage is happening, I am paying more but not getting more.
>> Incorrect -- you are getting all the downloads you make yourself, plus
>> the warm fuzzy feeling of happiness from the knowledge that other
>> people are making downloads you have paid for.
>> Of course, if you've *unintentionally* left your wi-fi open, perhaps
>> "cold feelings of dread and horror" would be more appropriate, but
>> we're talking about the situation where folks deliberately leave their
>> wi-fi open for whatever reason.
> Read a little closer, Steven -- *my* wi-fi is *closed*, it's my neighbor
> (in theory) who has his open, and all that extra usage is making *my*
> rate go up -- no warm fuzzies, only irritation.

Okay, that makes zero sense at all.

If your neighbour left his wi-fi closed, but just downloaded twice as 
much stuff, would you be irritated? What if he gets a roommate and they 
share the same account?

What's the difference between "my neighbour is personally downloading 
twice as much stuff" and "my neighbour is letting other people to 
download stuff, doubling total usage on his account"?

Your argument supposes that open wi-fi will lead to increased average 
usage, which in turn will lead to higher prices, neither of which are 
obviously true.

If I'm leaching off my neighbour's open network, chances are that I'll be 
using my own account less, so the average will tend to remain about the 
same. Even if I download more than I otherwise would have, because I'm 
not paying for it, the difference will be offset due to inconvenience: I 
can't control when my neighbour has his account on or off, or bounce the 
router if there's a problem. If I have to pick up my laptop and 
physically walk outside and park in the street to access his open wi-fi 
network, forget it, I'll use my own account.

According to the theory "increased usage leads to higher prices", we 
should be paying more for Internet access now than we were in 1999, and 
hugely more that from the early 90s when there were hardly any Internet 
users. That's nonsensical. I don't know about you, but I'm paying about 
the same for ADSL access now as I would have paid for dial-up access in 
the late 90s. The explosion of Internet use has lead to more competition, 
lower prices and lower costs. In the late 1990s, I was paying something 
like AUD$35 a month for dial-up access just for myself. With inflation, 
that's about equal to $45 in today's prices. Now I'm paying $60 for ADSL 
access, for two people, that is, about $30 per person -- less than I was 
paying for dial-up in 1999.

Even though the total amount I'm paying has increased, the cost per 
person, or per megabyte, is lower than it was in the 90s. My total cost 
has increased because my circumstances have changed, not because the 
service is more expensive. That contradicts the prediction "more usage 
leads to higher prices", and as far as I'm concerned, pretty much refutes 
the hypothesis.


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