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Media-One Express, IP Masquerading

> It is important to read the MediaOne contract carefully.  ...
>  My understanding is that if you IP Masquarade you are
> not within the terms of the contract.  Furthermore, if you tell the
> MediaOne people that A) you have a network or B) you are running Linux, I
> was told they won't even come to your house to setup the service.  I also
> understand that for the MediaOne people to setup the service you have to
> have Win95 (or maybe a Mac?).  So I would read the papers they have
> carefully to make sure that you don't get yourself into any trouble.

This reminds me of the early days of cable TV, or even for that matter
the first several decades of phone service, when the installer would
cheerfully volunteer to hook up a "second outlet while I'm here", for
a "modest monthly fee".

The marketplace has spoken loud and clear on these billing practices, and
the vendors invariably lose.

Media One will get a heap of customer complaints if they try to enforce
a single-machine restriction on their IP dialtone.  In the end, they'll
lose--it's a competitive market, and the incremental cost to a provider
for these second-line hookups is negligible.  Essentially, such users
represent the "power users" who have a significant impact on profitability
only during the early-adopter phase.

As an example, if you go out and buy the $21.95 unlimited AOL service,
and actually use it all day, of course their cost of providing it is
more than the price they're charging.  But they make money based on
the fact that only a small percentage of customers are heavy users.  Before
the days of million-user PPP networks, of course, unlimited modem service
was as much as $250/month from companies like BBN and PSI--a reflection
of the true costs of building and operating a network whose user community
is small.  Today, the user communities of Media One, RCN, and CAI are small.

If it costs more to enforce a metering policy than to scrap it, then
ultimately it will be scrapped.  We have some bright people here in this
group:  can anyone here figure out a cheap way for Media One and/or any
of the cable companies to meter or to "catch" power users in the act of
running multiple systems?

As for the on-site technician's non-support of Linux--I wouldn't worry
about it.  If you have no inclination to run Win95 or a Mac at your house,
have a friend lend you a notebook PC long enough for the Media One
technician to test your installation.  Then plug in your Linux box
and enter your IP parameters.  The tech from CAI was fascinated with
my Linux setup but I didn't bother putting in the parameters before he
left; I was happy enough just to be surfing along at 2 megabits on my
Win95 box for the moment.  (I finally got around to the IP masquerade
stuff about two weeks later...)


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