Curated by: Luigi Canali De Rossi

Monday, January 29, 2007

IPTV And Home Television Offerings Are Telcos Best Stealth Solution To Bypass Any Net Neutrality Resistance: Wake Up

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Has your telecom company called to offer you its latest Internet high-speed line offering bundled with their latest home-IPTV bonanza? Watch out, surprises coming....

Photo credit: Intellix

In this article I report about the very negative experience of installing the newest Internet high-speed offering cum IPTV solution in my home as to avoid others not only the same frustrations and the waste of time and money, but also to share the fact that what many may still perceive as an upgrade offer to their Internet connectivity, is nothing else but your own very unconscious capitulation to net neutrality, as well as your official consent to install a proprietary IPTV system at your premises.

Don't believe me? Read on.

"I am trying to watch some video clips from YouTube but I am scratching my head as none seems to load. What's going on? Why is everything so slow?

And then it hits me.

Alice Home TV is taking all the bandwidth available, however large that is. I am left in a second-class channel, where I can see little or nothing of what I really wanted to see. Talk about what net neutrality looks like?

Here I have it in full 3D."

While I would have sworn total resistance and refusal to both IPTV and regulations against supporting full net neutrality, I, a new media reporter, have fallen like a sleepy fish into the wide net set up by one telco (telecom - company). Nonetheless my articles on IPTV and its key differences with "open", bottom-up, Internet television, I couldn't see an IPTV line being installed in my home right in front of my nose, if only when it was too late.

And just the same, nonetheless I have spent a good amount of time writing and preparing articles that would inform many of you on the significance and dangers that a lack of net neutrality would bring, I was myself the doorman that let my telco install hardware and devices that would in fact allow my provider to slice and dice how much bandwidth I would get for my own private web surfing, relative to the private commercial interests of my own telco IPTV channel.

Yes, you have read it right.

A telecom company, who is also a large Internet provider, needs only a little marketing campaign to convince its users and potential clients that with about $50 a month they can get the most unique offer to come around in recent times: super-high-speed Internet access, (the customer representative who called me to explain this offer and clarify any doubts said specifically 20 Mbps), home television channels with free and pay-per-view content including movies and live sports, and even a video-phone!

What they don't tell you is that the moment you accept to do that, this is what will really happen:

Photo credit: Telecom Italia - Alice Home TV

a) They will disable your present ADSL line and activate new circuitry that does not operate according to open standards and that will not support other commercial ADSL modems.

b) They can now effectively deliver up to 8-10 times more bandwidth that you could have used before, but they pre-set their equipment in your home to reserve the majority of this bandwidth to their IPTV channel and video-phone service. You have no way of configuring how that "split" is served and when or how it is activated.

c) They do not care to check, verify or ask whether you are happy or satisfied with the "upgrade" nor to measure whether the bandwidth and connectivity available to you is any better than what you had before.

d) They lock you into a one-year contract, notwithstanding all the false promises they gave you on the phone about you being free of cancelling out of the program anytime or this being a free offer that you could back out from easily during the first few months.

As if that wasn't enough, consider also the following:

e) No Mac support. With my previous, privately bought Wi-Fi modem, I could support any number of stations at my home including Macs, Linux and PCs. Now, I have a pre-configured max number of users set to five, and my Macs cannot connect to the Wi-FI line. Either I connect them physically to the new modem or they won't go online.

f) Reset, reset, reset. With the new setup, I need to reset the new ADSL modem at least once a day if not more. When computers go offline and then are switched on again, the modem doesn't like it too much, and unless you switch it off and then turn it on again, it will not give an Internet line that you can use.

g) Slow. The first and only reason I accepted this offer was because I felt it was my duty to test the most popular home tv system offered by a telco alongwith the promised new high speed ADSL lines. But of the promised speed I have seen really nothing. The bandwidth available to me before and after the upgrade has remained essentially unvaried. No improvement over what was already available to me at a much lower price.

h) Home TV? I haven't seen any. Fortunately, I was one of the many lucky subscribers who got such bad IPTV service as to start thinking more effectively with his own head. The IPTV channel is a joke: first the bandwidth is not enough and the image is continuously marred by visual jitters and disturbances often accompanied by nasty rumors and sounds. Quality of service is a word unknown to those who have set this program up and I will restrain myself from mentioning the sad show reserved to those expecting access to a film library worth of that name.

j) Uploading speed is a joke. 384 Kbps is all you are given to do your video or FTP uploads. This is just a slap in the face of anyone who wants to get serious broadband deployed in this country. 384 Kbps is the same upload speed I had five or more years ago with any provider out there. Now you offer me a 20Mpps line (really a private IPTV line for you) and the upload channel that comes with it is only 384Kbps? You gotta be kidding or.... as I am afraid this is very much the case... we don't read your offers and fine print until after we buy and our ignorance and blind-eyed drive to get the best and the latest is going to burn us good this time.

i) No contract, but payment required. I have not signed any contract for this. I have been called over three months ago with the a customer representative promising me a 20Mbps line and an offer to try Alice Home TV and the new video phone technology. I was also guaranteed the ability to cancel the contract anytime. Now, that all of this beauty has been installed at my premises, I have already received the first bill though I have never signed with my hand any contract.


I could go on with more as the contract itself and the manuals offer opportunity for lots of stuff on which to write about.

IPTV - Conclusions

IPTV is nothing else but the ability of your provider to have you buy into a mix of Internet access and private DRMed content for which it installs dedicated reception/decoding equipment at your end.

By doing this you basically give up into a partnership into which your Internet provider is basically serving itself a reserved channel and abundant bandwidth to have you see and pay for this premium content. Further, the telco locks you into having to use its own equipment (as mentioned my old standard ADSL modem does not work anymore - as mentioned, I have basically upgraded myself into a "proprietary network" without realizing it - and the telco has created a "de facto" proprietary dedicated IPTV infrastructure and delivery channel to my home/office).

The moment you realize this, you should also realize how you yourself have now sold your line to the very enemy of net neutrality. You have sold and paid for a telco that will devote the greatest and better part of the bandwidth you have supposedly leased, to serve to you its own very content. (A little slower internet surfing will not be noticeable when most of you have already been long spoiled by bad and inconsistent service from these very companies.)

The telco can therefore boast the delivery of a bandwidth it is in fact reserving for the greatest part for its commercial interests while serving you with just the same bandwidth (or less) you were getting before.

In this scenario, you and I become the very unconscious allies to these companies while providing them with the very means to install and deploy their own private IPTV delivery infrastructure into our homes.

Is this what you want?

Make your voice be heard. All of our comments and insights are all very welcome.

Robin Good -
Readers' Comments    
2007-05-15 18:19:36

IPTV Watch

The point about provider dependency is definitely a warning point on the technology.

Here in the UK broadband markets have been liberalised to the point of offering cheap accessibility, but second rate service.

IPTV is the media platform of the future - but unless it's given the support it needs, it could too easily end up providing second-rate delivery.


2007-05-02 16:16:25


In response to this comment:

"By doing this you basically give up into a partnership into which your Internet provider is basically serving itself a reserved channel and abundant bandwidth to have you see and pay for this premium content. Further, the telco locks you into having to use its own equipment (as mentioned my old standard ADSL modem does not work anymore - as mentioned, I have basically upgraded myself into a "proprietary network" without realizing it - and the telco has created a "de facto" proprietary dedicated IPTV infrastructure and delivery channel to my home/office)."

What probably is happening is the Telco is using MAC address filtering; The hardware or IPTV device that the Telco provides has a network adapter or "NIC" installed that has a unique hardware address or "fingerprint" that is "hardcoded" in to the Telco's network infrastructure or servers. The Telco's network or servers will only accept those connections with the MAC addresses already set up, thus delivering content, network access, etc.

2007-03-17 16:29:07


If cable companies start providing IPTV service to their internet providers, they could save some bandwidth and restribute it to faster internet connection. Don't forget that cable TV carries over 200 channels at the same time, while IPTV will only carry one channel that you are watching.

2007-03-06 06:26:33


thanks for the article, it throws some light on the service. i can't see in which country you tested this, can you tell me? as far as i know the alice offering is available in at least germany, italy and france. thanks!

2007-01-30 03:31:17

Valerio Di Giampietro

Thank you very much for this very detailed, informative and useful post. It really opens our eyes and let us understand the implications of subscribing to these kind of services.



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