I work for an ISP, and actually we do have a fantastic way to cap bandwidth; it is called a telephone. We sell a "consumer" service. If you run a warez server or a web server that is knocking down a gig of transfer a day; you should be aware that it is only a click of a button to change you right over to the "business" class DSL. If you want 40GB transfer a month; you got it, but you are going to pay for it. The reality of it is, that as a small ISP, if every DSL customer we had was downloading shit all day long, we would literally need dual DS3's to handle the load. A full DS3 runs around 13 grand a month; so, within the guidelines of what is reasonable, smaller providers would not be able to provide DSL at all and it would cost about 5 times what it does now.
Now, we could put it in the "rules" that you can only use X amount of bandwidth per month, bandwidth monitor every customer and shut them off when they exceed their limit.

Or

We can use the phone when we see that you are getting a little out of hand and ask you to knock it off. We prefer to be what we are; a small Internet Provider, which will make an attempt to communicate with you so that we may have lax rules and not a pissy corporation that shoots first and asks questions later.

Dear Valued Customer,

Thank you for taking the time to write us and tell us of your concerns. We use such comments to evaluate the service we provide and make improvements.

After careful consideration, we must reject your request to share your bandwidth with others. When we entered an agreement to "rent" bandwidth to you, we did NOT agree that you could "sublet" it out to anyone you choose. This is not only to protect the safety and integrity of the data flowing through our networks, it's also to protect our customers to the best of our ability. We simply cannot do this if you open up OUR networks to services and people of your choosing. The DSL service simply is NOT set up for this, and it's one of the reasons we CAN offer it so affordably. We ask that you don't share your bandwidth with "80+ systems" because, to be quite honest, sir, you're placing the integrity of our network on the line in manner that we cannot oversee properly. This means that you're placing all our customers at risk with your request, and we simply cannot take a "needs of the one outweigh the needs of the many" stance in this situation. And if ANY portion of our network were used to cause harm, or placed you in a litigious situation, we would be completely unable, as your service provider, to protect you, let alone ourselves.

Another thing you seem to have misunderstood is the concept of Committed Information Rate, or CIR. DSL providers, in order to make the service affordable, spent a lot of time analyzing the usage patterns of their customers. We realize that even though our customers have a permanent "always on" connection to the Internet through DSL, in actual practice the customer will very rarely "max out" their connection for any extended length of time. Thus, we are able to place more customers on any one circuit than the sum of the maximum bandwidths sold to those customers, and offer a lower CIR than the max bandwidth.

We do have a solution by which your CIR will always match the maximum bandwidth available to you. It also allows you to set up your own networks, and run your own services, as this solution was designed specifically to meet these particular needs, whereas DSL is not. It's called a frame relay connection. We'd be happy to investigate this solution with you. Of course, this service is offered at a somewhat higher rate, and you will probably have to purchase some equipment on your own, but we also are able to offer better guarantees to you as well as allowing you a much greater flexibility and control over your connection.

Thank you for expressing your concerns to us. We here at Generic ISP hope you now better understand the concept of "You get what you pay for, and we're not going to let you try and get away with more, rip us off, or open our property and networks up to possible abuse or worse. These things don't belong to you, and you shouldn't act as if they did by going behind our backs."

Sincerely,

The Management


Dearest College Socialist Fuckhead:

Perhaps you don't understand the concept of you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar. Had you stated these things nicely to yonder monolithic corporation rather than spewing mindless frothing invective at us, you might, just might, have been granted a boon. Instead, you had the preconception that people who work for large companies are faceless automata that could in no way possibly comprehend your individual situation. If you hadn't begun our correspondence by hurling your own end user "I'm getting screwed by the technocrats" rhetoric at us, we might even have considered granting you cgi permissions on some of our machines. We're not ogres. We like playing Diablo II and Jennifer Love Hewitt as much as you do.

Now, however, we're going to be forced to show our BOFH just what you really think of us.

We can't be responsible for the consequences.

Sorry.

Love,

The Management

Oh, and PS ... you obviously don't understand sarcasm either. The original reply above was adapted from a form letter developed at an ISP I used to work for, written for infuriated LPB's such as yourself. Given what you wrote, did you really expect anything more?

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