Monday, 23 August 2010

UK ISP Creates Broadband Plan Centred Around Gamers

A UK-based ISP named Demon has put forth a broadband plan named Game Pro that is said to be directly beneficial to gamers. The plan promises prioritized traffic, lower latency and ping times, up to 20MBits/sec down and 1MBit/sec up, and is limited to a 100GB/month data usage cap between 8AM and 11PM. They are also promoting peered connections with "gaming companies" to ensure faster speeds while playing. the package will cost £23/month, up £3/month from Demon's standard plan.

Ignoring the obvious issues this would create with net neutrality, this is a scam. For one, they're labelling this as a gamer plan, but what it really is is just a small business plan with nothing quantifiable, except for the 100GB/month cap during a 15 hour peak time, which is pathetically small compared to the 250GB that other companies offer. You can't quantify "lower" ping times the same way you couldn't quantify "up to" 20MBit/sec. downloads; those are all dependent connections, bandwidth and noise on both ends of the connection. Lastly, the offer of "peering" with other "game companies" is not only suspicious - what companies? - it's misleading.

If you're a PC gamer, having a "peering" setup with most companies that provide services is useless because you're connecting to dedicated servers that have nothing to do with the company providing the game itself. Furthermore, what kind of traffic is getting through? Just game traffic? Is Demon's backbone smart enough to port forward specific game packets? If so, they either know every port that every game needs to play online, or they're doing deep packet inspection, which raises a plethora of issues if that's the case. None of this is taking into account Demon's reputation; everything I've read so far indicates that they're awful.

Anyone in the UK tempted to do this should run. Screaming...

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