EFF Slams Google Fiber for Banning Servers On Its Network

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News Posted: Tue, Aug 13 2013 1:23 PM

Anyone who has tried to host their own website from home likely knows all-too-well the hassles that ISPs can cause. Simply put, ISPs generally don't want you to do that, preferring you to move up to a business package (aka: more expensive). Not surprisingly, the EFF doesn't like these rules, which seem to exist only to upsell you a product, and it's making its complaints very public.

This time around, Google's Fiber service is targeted, as it's the latest ISP of the bunch to say "No!" to running your own "server" from home. The problem, though, is that all ISPs are deliberately vague about what qualifies as a "server". Admittedly, when I hear the word "server", I think of a Web server, one that delivers a webpage when accessed. EFF's main complaint is that servers exist in many different forms, so to target specific servers "just because" is ridiculous (and really, it is).

Maybe a good example of a server not meant for home use

Torrent clients, for example, act as servers (and clients), sometimes resulting in a hundred or more connections being established between you and available peers. With a large number of connections like that being allowed, why would a Web server be classified any different? Those who torrent a lot are very likely to be using more ISP resources than those running websites from their home - yet for some reason, ISPs force you into a bigger package when that's the kind of server you want to run.

Past torrents, even Skype acts as a server, and so do remote login services, FTP, SSH and so forth.

It's the EFF's belief that there simply shouldn't be any discrepancies, and that's a hard thought to disagree with. I wholeheartedly believe that if you subscribe to an Internet service, you should be allowed to use it in whichever way you please, as long as it doesn't break local laws or deliberately bog the network down, of course.

We'll have to wait and see if EFF's movement here will cause any ISP to change. Of all of them, you'd think it would have been Google to finally shake things up.

One thing I find funny is that these ISP restrictions existed years ago, when our Internet services were rather primitive. Today, a fiber connection is capable of a lot - yet the restrictions remain.

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realneil replied on Tue, Aug 13 2013 8:01 PM

We're in the middle of an explosion of technology. I think that ISPs would like to meter it and charge extra for those of us who use it more.

Regulating how we use it is just the first step in their plans.

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RWilliams replied on Tue, Aug 13 2013 8:31 PM

Well, there's been ISP regulations like this for as long as I can remember... there's just been no ISP that will set an example. I find it foolish... a hardcore torrent-fiend that downloads 1TB per month is going to use a lot more resource than those who are hosting even a decently-sized website (say, 125,000 visitors a month @ 250GB bandwidth).

If an ISP forces you into a business plan to host a website, I'd say the best move is to just go with a remote host. I know having a local server is useful, but you can easily score a decent VPS for $50 a month with a ton of bandwidth and hard drive space. That's much less expensive (at minimum, half) than what a business line would run you.

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