Sony Thinks It's 'Crazy' That Aussie ISPs Have Usage Caps

When Planetside 2's multiplayer functionality went live last week, Aussies had a pretty terrible time of it. Between the massive lag and the issues logging in, the game was close to unplayable on the Australian server. The multiplayer service was eventually fixed, but not before Sony Online Entertainment threw a bit of mud at Australian ISPs.

Sony Online Entertainment's forum representative for Planetside 2 took to the site on Friday to thank everyone in Australia for being patient about the server issues.

Before summarising the issues that plagued the Australian server, though, Veratu (SOE's representative) said that deploying Planetside 2 multiplayer into Australia had been difficult due to the state of Australian ISPs and various legal wrangling:

I want to iterate what transpired in one spot so it's clear what occurred here. Before I do, let me re-state that every region that PlanetSide 2 runs in is configured, designed, and built the same from a hardware and infrastructure perspective. There is no one region that has a "better" setup than another. The only thing that differentiates them is physical locations in the world.

That being said, this deployment into Australia was definitely a unique experience. You guys have some very unusual laws and limitations that we simply don't see anywhere else in the world. (ISPs cap your bandwidth and download amounts? That's crazy! I personally will be investigating ways to make that better, if it's possible, with regard to our games.)

I'm all for Sony Online Entertainment working with ISPs to make games unmetered in Australia, but will the "crazy" ISPs let it? That's the real question. [SOE]

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    As usual we get ripped of because we allow it

      What we can't factor into the equation is the "secret" treaties our government has been "forced" to sign over the years. Perhaps some powerful nation got us to sign a treaty that benefits them to our loss.

    As an American that's moved to Aus last year in July, I have to say that seeing internet usage caps still gets me. The system just doesn't make sense. Capping your internet usage is like capping how many miles you can drive a month in a leased vehicle. Paying for a service on a monthly basis that only allows you to use a certain amount of it seemed backwards and as far as usage goes, it doesn't change the amount they can throttle to their users. It's just another policy slapped on to your internet service to make more money. They certainly wouldn't be winning many points with their customers if more of them knew that Australian ISP's were some of the only one's in the world that capped bandwidth.

      Indeed, my mates in the USA keep telling me their useage is unlimited with everything... so jelly :(

      "like capping how many miles you can drive a month in a leased vehicle."

      That's actually standard practice. If memory serves the last lot of cars we got for the reps where I work (2 month contract) where capped at 4500 km per month.

      A business needs to factor expected usage into their pricing model. Having said all that data price in Aus is BS (first world problems).

        Was about to say, last time I dealt with leased vehicles, we had to estimate the usage in order for the leasing company to work out a price for vehicle leasing. If we went over by any amount then we would get a kick in the groin financially.

        Internet in Australia sucks. Either we cap you to prevent oversubscription and stupidly low speeds at peak times (although if you are on Telstra backhaul or a RIM it still gets congested) or you go on an unlimited plan and reap the rewards of network congestion.

        Even in areas where a provider isn't using Telstra backhaul, unlimited plans cause congestion at various points in the network. Somebody ends up suffering. Until the NBN comes along (providing it delivers on its promises) then we are stuck with sub par crap.

        I used to work for an ISP who basically turned off caps and restrictions one year on christmas day. Network congestion everywhere, in some places it was to a point where routing equipment and backhaul equipment had to be reset multiple times during the day.

      I pay $60 a month for unlimited ADSL 2+ (proper unlimited, no capping, no shaping, i download between 300-500gb a month at full speeds), soo if your net has a cap your doing it wrong.

        You're lucky though, not everyone, hell most people that are on ADSL2+ dont get full speed, so there is really no point in having unlimited bandwidth.

        I'm on the same plan, but TPG isn’t available everywhere and it has its own problems such as an oversubscribed network (IMHO) that results in slow throughput during peak times!


          Between the hours of 4pm and 9pm my TPG connection sucks. Mind you I only have a 4mbps connection so it already sucks!

            Unfortunately, the day you do own an ISP, nothing is likely to change. You'll still be limited by the data caps assigned by your wholesaler.
            *edit: Pro comment here, was meant to be reply to the next one down :P

            Last edited 26/11/12 1:19 pm

          But even with the service problems, I just can't bring myself to move to an isp that has capped plans that cost twice as much.

          i dont get that, i seem to drop from an average of 20mbps to maybe 16 during peak, i must be right on top of teh exchange.

      Same, here I moved from the US a couple years ago. There I was paying $29 USD/month for unlimited cable internet without a contract (i.e. I could cancel any time wihtout paying fees) Here I have to pay $100+/month with telstra to get simlar quality and speed. (I know there are some cheaper options out there, but I live in an area of brisbane where it is either slow DSL or fiber optic, obviously I have fiber).

      You guys need to do the math when calculating cost that ISPs have to pay to provide sustainable bandwidth/data traffic since we are quite isolated from the rest of the world. If you have unlimited download quota but your ISP capacity links are congested, then it's really pointless.

      Man there is internet usage cap in america as well. 125-250 Gb per month depending on provider. read licence agreement. once you reach the cap they wont shut it off, but instead they will send you 2 warnings - 1 for each month and if you fail to limit your usage they will shut your contract for 6 month or 2 years i dont remember.
      p.s. and yeah i am talking about what they call "unlimited plans"

    topic gets brought up every 3-6 months, nothing gets done about it... rinse, dry, recycle and topic starts back up again...
    Don't get me wrong, limits suck, but until the day I own an ISP there is stuff all chance of it happening any time soon...

    I may be a bit dim here, so feel free to kick me in the nads, as no doubt some will. Capping has nothing to do with speed, I have a 50 gb limit and have never come close to maxing out and the speed is excellent too. Oh and even though I don't use it all, I like the option to download what I like without running out.

      "50gb of downloads, Speed reduced to 64kb/s once download limit is reached"
      ^^^^ Capping can be both about having a download cap and a speed cap.

        I'm using iPrimus "Platinum Max 500" and my plan doesn't limit the speed..

        Last edited 26/11/12 11:48 am

    Coming from the UK where caps are exceedingly rare I would have to agree with Sony on this one... There was a lot of "what do you mean there's a limit?" when trying to set up my broadband.

    it is really screwed that us aussies have to put up with so much bs i really hope soe can do something, i would buy at-least a subscription or 2 to say thank-you if they were successful thats for sure.

    To be fair, it's to keep people from going nuts and just downloading everything in sight. I know when I had unlimited internet (through SpaceLink, now closed I think?) we would sit there and ponder things to download. In the end we had 200gb of crap we never watched or used. Kind of unfair for the ISP who had increased costs because of the "download everything" group, but I suppose the light users would have paid for the heavy users

    But with that said, as I'm now a heavy Steam user and a big YouTube browser, we often run into our cap (100gb) and it's very frustrating. The internet is a valuable tool for everyone, and caps and excess data usage costs are sooooo 2004

    In addition, we also have a sparser population (21m compared to 200m in the US and Australia is roughly the same size-ish), so connecting infrastructure between places can be a little more costly (I would think?).

      Infrastructure costs per capita are one of the main constraints of Australia in general.

      This issue isnt just limited to the hypernets, its also got to do with things like roads, schools, hospitals, water, sewer, waste, etc etc etc.

      Infrastructure cost and demand in Australia is very different to almost all other places in the world.

      That said, the gov't is doing a pretty good thing through the NBN. They realised that private enterprise was not going to do it, and decided to get what needed to be done, done.

    Different market, different population density, different laws (from the past).. different, different, different. Mainly it's population.. what's the point of setting up the infrastructure or reducing consumer cost for such a tiny population.. when you're working with 100's of millions of people, you can afford to make only a small amount of each one.. when you're talking about 25 million in total, you need to factor that into the equation.

      This is basically the answer to so many other things as well. We pay more for everything. Cars, electronics, food etc. I could go on for hours.

    How many cables does the US have running to the rest of the world? How many Cables does the UK have running to the rest of the world? In the US all international cables were paid for by their military. The UK is only a a few KM from continental Europe.

    For Australia to connect to the rest of the world, we have to run a 9000km cable under the pacific ocean. With a price tag of arround $300m and a government refusing to build infrastructure, there are not many of these out there currently. Therefore bandwidth needs to be limited somehow.

      a government refusing to build infrastructure? what do you call the nbn? inter-continental links are owned and build by consortiums, of which the fed gov may be one small part. besides, we have enough capacity going in/out of the country its the to the node part that is stifling us.

        I'm reffering to the previous government. It takes more than 5 years to plan, and construct an intercontinental cable.

        Also you are correct that ther is sufficent capacity in the cables we have now. What the point is, is there is not enough competition. At the moment, the carriers are able to set their own price for data cariage. If there were other players in the market, there would be more competition forcing prices down.

          yes you are right - more competition is required for the international links. that competition would indeed trickle down to the consumer. i hope the libs dont think wireless is also the answer there...

    There are unlimited plans available in Australia, people should start using them. Money talks. My money says I want unlimited broadband for $49.95 a month.

      Yeah unlimited plans and the like are only available to the select few, for example I tried to get TPG Unlimited Plan ADSL2+ problem is that literally no word of a lie their coverage stops rough 9 metres from my front boundary. It is utterly ridiculous for those of us living in older estates where there is no infrastructure to facilitate the needs of the community. It doesn't matter I'm 500 metres from an exchange, I still get absolute woeful speeds.

    How much porn can ya'll download? If your going over 100 gig of porn per month you really need a girlfriend, or a whore

      Not just porn. Basically anything you're not supposed to be downloading to begin with! hehe.
      If you don't download anything "illegal" you'd be hard pressed to get close to 20gb.

        I download over 100GB/m worth of TV shows that dont get to Australia, or take months to arrive.

        i disagree, the amount of legal youtube, online games, and general website usage me and my flatmate go through in the month could easily hit 100gb. admittedly the other 1TB-ish is me going "oo new 2gb HD episode of nevermind the buzzcocks, yes please."

          Well you'd both have to be online in front of a PC 16 hours a day. Sounds like you don't have much of a life.

      Well some people buy releases of shows & movies from iTunes & Amazon, then there's Steam some games are coming close to 40GB now in terms of a download.. Then there's legit music purchases and streaming on YouTube in HD, etc etc.. I could easily break my cap per month if I was doing that but I choose not to, not that I need to anyway.

    Looks like Sony really didnt do there homework expecting that the world falls at their knee;s.

    Freezone on iinet would solve their "problems" in a heart beat, but the arrogance of Sony holds no bounds.

      This just in! Apparently 100% of the australian population use iinet.

    Has all been said before ... rather than pouring all of this money into the NBN and then capping usage why don't we lobby for the expansion of our international pipelines and remove this antiquated caps? .. Sony is Dead On

      International cables are fine. The Telstra Endeavour has a capacity of 1.3Tb/s but is only running at 80Gb/s. the problem is not capacity, lack of competition leading to increased price.

        Anyone watch this ?? :

          And this is relevant to the current discusion how? They never even mention the backhaul network. Only the Last mile.

    Our caps mainly stem from what tonyintsv said. We have only 3 major international pipes that run out of Australia. Only till fairly recently we only had 2 which are owned by optus and telstra who where happy to keep the prices high. Then it was happy days when pipe networks a non isp got their a link in and prices magically dropped. Unfortunately pipe then got bought by tpg. meaning our main links are all vertically owned again (they don't have to share if they don't want to). This is why tpg had there unlimited plans because they route all the unlimited people down there own pipe costing very little.
    Until we see some more non isp own back haul links we won't see unlimited across the board in Australia.
    Conroy had some talk about the NBN may consider putting in a link but I think that may be way down the line.

      from 2008 -
      looks like more than 3 cables to me.

        There is only 3 "major" international pipes. The Southern Cross Cable own 2 on the east coast (optus) , Telstra Endeavour and PIPE Pacific Cable (TPG). The SEA-ME-WE is the one on the west coast, which is small fry comparatively.

      I honestly don't think a new international like is needed for capacity, but for competition. Not sure how they will budget an extra $300m to build a new cable to the US into the NBN's total cost or if it will be a seperate item.

    It's a lovely fantasy of mine, but I dream of the day that NBN Co at least decide that all traffic across the NBN infrastructure becomes non-metered. I think it would promote Australian hosting for game servers etc, and a lot of content could be mirrored locally if it not already (akamai).

      As far as I'm aware NBN is all unmetered as far as downloads go. ISP's pay for bandwidth allotments not per MB.

    I got 500GB limit at about 11Mbps. I download as much as I want, I can download an HD movie with no lagging 99% of the time. What I do have an issue with is up speed which is like 90Kbps.

    The joys of having a monopoly owner of the wholesale network.

      You really don’t understand the issues at play here do you? Admit it. You don't have a clue.

      Usage caps are not a function of cost of the "Last mile" network. Thats the monopoly you are reffering to. That is only from the first socket at the customer premesis to the MDF at the exchange. From from the MDF out is up to the ISP what they use. They can use a Telstra DSLAM, an Optus Dslam or one of the other providers DSLAMs or even their own. Then they can chose what backhaul they use. Again Telstra, Optus, Pipe and I think there is another one as well. Its this backhaul that is the limiting factor. There are several competitors in the backhaul network. There is no monopoly in the back haul network. Optus and Pipe have their own backhaul network. remember when Optus' main fibre link for the east coast was damaged? only Optus was affected. Why is that? Because it was their backhaul.

      Remember when their redundant cable that runs from Brisbane to Longreach up to Mt Isa then back in to Townsville failed to cut over to pick up the slack when the main failed? That Only affected Optus too, because it is Optus' network. And when it took 4 days before they could get their services like internet, phone and eftpos back it was Optus' arrogance and spite that made them refuse to use one of Telstra's 3 fibre links down the east coast to get their customers back online.

      Many business lost money for that decision. No eftpos or internet for 3-4 days is a big deal for business.

    This article doesnt actually explain what our download caps have to do with Sony's inability to host a server in Australia??? Did they try serve a massive update that no one could get??? I dont get it.

    Plently of other companies have no issues hosting stuff here... Sounds like Sony is just trying to pass the blame onto our ISP's.

    um the americans have tiered usage now as well. even thought their caps might be much higher and their latency to local content much lower.
    we have had caps for donkeys years. if its not working for you, move to a larger cap.
    cap free net was tried and has pretty much always died. these days, even on tpg, its massive caps and a correspondingly higher contention rate so lower speeds.

      Most of the major cable carriers have 250GB caps now. And Canada is even worse.

    What I'd like to know is when that National Broadband connection finally arrives, are isps going to continue capping speeds? There seems to be no point in it really. Capping downloads and speeds is from an era when the internet just started and they didn't know how else to regulate stuff.
    A lot of countries already ditched their caps since 2001 when they finally manned up and actually gave the customer what they wanted for a competitive price.

    When I moved here I was like. NO WAY! Am I living in the dark-ages again?

      As I said below, do you download more than 200GB a month?

      Then caps don't affect you and essentially, you're paying just for your speed and quality of service (via caps).

    remember the days of telecom dialup and 20min a day useage caps or before that landline phone useage caps, how about "if you want a phone you have to pay us 15 grand to install a line to your inner city house"

    Can anyone seriously tell me that, on average, you'd use more than 200GB a month?

    I'm on the net ALOT. Sure, I don't go downloding pr0n all day or gaming 24/7 or youTubing every spare second.....but then again, I'd call that healthy.

    The Average Australian download usage PER PERSON is 5GB.....until that gets to 200GB, I don't think we really have to worry about caps....

      With all the smart TV's entering homes people are starting to stream YouTube content and that soon uses up your data. Also in our house we have 2 x Iphones, Ipod , 2 x ipads and a laptop, all of which are sucking up data.

    I live in a rural area I pay $80 for 40GB at 1MBPS the only other option being satellite which is the same price for less usage but slight faster speed. Oh it also suffers from high latency that makes gaming impossible

      That's rather horrible. I hope the NBN comes to your area soon.

    Umm we Americans do have caps, typically if you go over 200gb a month for several months you'll either get a notice for excessive usage or get cut off. We have caps they just aren't talked about much.

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