TelstraClear "unleashed" an unmetered weekend. And what a weekend it has been (still Sunday morning here). If you are not in New Zealand you should know most ISP plans are "metered", i.e. customers have a usage allowance measured in GB, with overage charges after that.
TelstraClear is the country's second largest ISP and boldly announced all data traffic from Friday 2nd Dec 2011 6pm through Sunday 4th Dec 2011 would be "unmetered", meaning this traffic would not be counted towards the customers' usage.
Obviously people would take advantage of this, by either uploading their digital content to online storage and backup, downloading as much content as possible for later viewing, or watching as much as possible YouTube, or using video calls like crazy - it's almost Christmas after all.
There's a long discussion on Geekzone on "how was your TelstraClear performance during free data weekend" and comments on NBR here.
Here's an interesting comment on Geekzone:
I must confess that I'm a bit confused as to why people are painting TelstraClear as callous, outrageous, moronic, illegal gits for actually TRYING to do, for once, what people have been clamouring for - "all you can eat" broadband.
Be careful what you wish for.
I decided to post my reply to this comment in this blog post as well, to make it more visible outside the forum. And I agree with the gist of that comment.
This is because ISPs can't provision resources based on a constant peak demand, because what happens with all those resources during non-peak times? Who's paying for that? The costs would be enormous, which would of course be reflected on prices to consumers.
This "experiment" weekend by TelstraClear is not even a valid model showing how much resources the second largest ISP would need, because people are actually using a lot more than they would normally, just because this is an unusual event.
In effect what we are seeing here is the most demanding usage the network would be required to service. But not necessarily the demand an all you can eat plan would require in "normal" sense.
What are your views? Do you think unlimited plans are a good idea? Or do you think metered plans are better? What would you suggest to limit the impact of the Tragedy of Commons for example, where a few use all the available limited resources that should be shared by a larger group?
But thanks to some dedicated people, who joined in the hunt for a fault, we now know this is a hardware fault, even one that was not seem before (thanks to us here using a new technology).
Those people worked after hours to find what is wrong, and for this I am thankful. You know who you are. Have a good weekend folks.
I tried swapping the router, direct connection from a PC to the modem, etc. Called their help desk and had someone reset my connection on the cable node. Note my connection is one of the very few 100 Mbps service in Wellington, so I thought it could be some configuration on the node, or the Cisco modem being one of the old DOCSIS3 version.
Fast forward to this weekend. TelstraClear made a big noise about their "unmetered broadband" weekend and I thought I'd take advantage of that - first to push my connection to the max, while the entire network is being used at its max.
Thirty minutes into a 60GB download (I'm copying a couple of virtual machines down as a backup) and an extra 10 GB upload to my Crashplan online backup, the connection died.
Again, before calling TesltraClear I tried all we know they were going to ask: swap router, plug a PC directly to the cable modem, etc. The modem won't come online.
Then I decided to call TelstraClear. Unbelievable. Their customer services is closed, and won't open until 9am, about 14 hours away. On the weekend they announced to everyone to push their network to the limits. For me, it's a fiasco.
All the good will they brought in when they announced a good reduction in broadband prices for this month is gone now. I can't work, cant do the things I wanted to do, and the LEDs in their frigging modem are blinking, without being able to connect.
UPDATE: We have now at least three people looking into this. After many remote resets and all, still no traffic. Everyone around seems happy, so it could be the hardware. If nothing works it looks like I will have to get a modem replacement.
Many thanks to those people working late at night trying to figure out what's going on.
UPDATE: It is now decided this is a hardware fault. So now we wait for a new box to arrive.
Again, thanks to those who joined a call late at night to figure this out, including those working from home.
Dates are not locked in yet, but it will be somewhere around February/March 2012. We are now looking for drinks sponsors, and prize donors. Check out 2011's sponsors and 2010's list.
This year I am thinking of getting a little bigger, with 80 people attending in Auckland, 80 people in Wellington and 60 people in Christchurch. I hope we have a great event in Christchurch, since last year's had to be cancelled after the terrible earthquake.
As usual these will be open to Geekzone users only, over 18 years old (because the beer rolls free until our bar tab is gone). Similarly to last year's we will be charging a $5 booking fee. That's because we pay the venues based on number of people booked, and in previous events we found out there's a large number of people who booked and didn't show up, so we had to pay for them anyway.
Booking will again be staggered: Geekzone subscribers will receive the link first, followed by other users a day later. Users can buy an extra ticket for guests, at full price.
Keep an eye on this discussion for updated information. We will send email notifications to everyone who replied there before the registrations open.
I am told IBM has completed the software research project for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Global Telecospe. While we wait for a decision where the SKA is actually being built (contenders are Australia/New Zealand and South Africa), here's an infographic showing how big Big Data is when it comes to this project (click image for larger version):
SKA will be the world's largest and most sensitive radio telescope. It has been estimated that the SKA will generate in excess of one Exabyte of raw data in a single day - more than the entire daily internet traffic. One of the central design challenges of the SKA project is how to process this huge volume of astronomical data and enable insights to be drawn from it.
A couple of months ago I was contacted by Computerworld to give some information about our use of a New Zealand-based datacentre. The story "The rise of the local datacentre" is now live on Computerworld.
Having a local datacentre provider is vital to Geekzone.
"Our analytics tell us that 55 percent of our traffic is from New Zealand and about 70 percent of this local traffic comes from Auckland," says Freitas. "Having servers in Wellington would add unnecessary hops to the majority of our readers, and having servers overseas would add to the international latency. Also, having local servers allows our local readers to reach the site even if their ISP's international links are down or overloaded."
"We looked at Intergen in Wellington, which is not the largest but has a nice infrastructure," he says. "But because of the Auckland numbers we decided to keep the services there."
Freitas believes in being closer to customers, mainly because of speed.
Found this from Nathan's blog:
The internet of things, big data and virtually limitless inexpensive storage will transform the online environment. Huge volumes of data from new sources such as sensors, biometric devices and smartgrids will create significant opportunities in business, healthcare, government and countless other fields.
At the same time, the data deluge will also carry significant risks that must be managed if society is to realise its value. Brendon Lynch, the Chief Privacy Officer at Microsoft, will discuss these trends and their implications.
Dean's Distinguished Speaker Series:
Monday 5 December 2011 from 5.30pm
The University of Auckland Business School
Lecture Theatre OGGB3, Level 0
Owen G Glenn Building
12 Grafton Road, Auckland
Event details and registration
Wellington Employers' Chamber of Commerce
Breakfast Tuesday 6 December 2011 from 7.15am
Wellesley Boutique Hotel
2-8 Maginnity Street, Wellington
Event details and registration
I like reading some aggregators site (www.fark.com for example) or RSS readers on my smartphone. The sites/readers link to some news sites that are getting very clever about mobile devices. But still dumb.
Here is the thing: if I want to read an article and your site automatically redirects to a mobile version, at least have the decency of sending my browser to the article I am trying to read, not your front page.
Here, this XKCD cartoon explains it really well:
I am doing what I think is probably a first in New Zealand (please point us to other sources in the comments below if they exist) by publishing page load speed for Geekzone, as reported by Google Analytics.
I'm doing this because I started thinking of web experience in general, after reading a couple of discussions on Geekzone ("Vodafone improved browsing while TelstraClear DSL comes in last of top 5" and "More misleading consumer ads?"), both based on TrueNet's reports.
TrueNet works by distributing routers to volunteers that will "host" these boxes at home and office. These TrueNet routers will from time to time test the broadband service and report back for data consolidation. I believe it's a great service, and we have one of these routers here at home - if you want to volunteer contact them.
Now, back to Geekzone and New Zealand numbers. I try to work hard in giving our users maximum page load speed. We do this through lots of different techniques. This includes web page optimisation, CDN, database optimisation, and more. We obviously follow those numbers very closely, through different tools. One of them is Google Analytics.
In this post, covering the period from 20th October 2011 through 20th November 2011 you will see web page load times for New Zealand regions, New Zealand ISPs and even a comparison with other countries. We had about 835,000 page views (New Zealand only) over this period, and Google used 51,985 samples to give me the numbers below.
Again, these numbers are for Geekzone only. We currently have our server colocated with Datacom in Auckland, where 75% of our New Zealand traffic originates from. Also note all numbers are sorted in descending order of speed.
What is the average web page load time distribution in New Zealand?
Which region is slowest? (lower Avg. Page Load Time is better)
Which city is slowest? (lower Avg. Page Load Time is better)
Which ISP is slowest? (lower Time is better)
Note that in the ISP table I am only showing numbers for those domains I know are associated with an ISP. Private domains are not listed. If you know of a domain associated with an ISP that is not here, please let me know and I will try adding it later.
How does New Zealand compare with other countries?
Obviously the majority of our samples will be New Zealand based, but here is a cut of the fastest (the ten fastest, followed by some select countries: Australia, France, United States, United Kingdom, Germany). Again these are sample size, not total page views.
I hope this will be a good reference for other content providers, and perhaps some might even be encouraged to post numbers so we can compare.
UPDATE: Just to make clear, these times are web page load time. This includes all resources in a Geekzone web page, including the html itself, CSS, images, scripts. These scripts include Google Analytics, Google DFP.