2) Broadband Bandits (Update: More on this topic can be found here)
Comcast is the easy target on this one, but there are many perpetrators of this travesty. You know who you are. More importantly, your customers know who you are, and will jump ship in an instant if given the chance. With most of the competition buried in the backyard, and a weakened FCC sitting idly by, Comcast, Verizon, and many other providers are ramping up prices and dropping service levels. They're also applying voodoo AUP interpretations to cut off paying customers that go over some amorphous limit. Many of these companies come from a delivery-only background, where they deliver the signal, and the customer passively accepts it, such as cable TV. Back in the day, this was largely true of the Internet -- Web servers existed in datacenters, ISPs, and universities, and most content was text and the occasional picture. With Flickr, YouTube, MySpace, and the advent of simple videoconferencing, end users are much more apt to be sending nearly as much as they receive, yet most broadband connections are still ridiculously asynchronous. I just ordered Verizon DSL to provide a backup circuit. $30/mo for a 3Mb/768k circuit. This means that uploading a few 5 megapixel photos will take me roughly 3 minutes, and completely obliterate that 3Mb/s download rate due to upstream congestion, even though I'm not downloading anything.
There are a few reasons that most of these wildly unbalanced plans exist. Contracts with peering partners generally dictate up/down ratios to be maintained (eg, saving the ISP money). They also prevent customers from using videoconferencing and VoIP technologies to their full potential, resulting in poor performance. This forces the customer to only use approved methods of communication (eg, paying the carrier more per month). And lastly, they've always been that way, right?
As a sideline to all this nonsense, many carriers go so far as to block well known ports, such as Web, IPSec, and SMTP ports to residential lines. True, most people aren't running Web servers from their house, but lots of them are just trying to connect to the corporate VPN. To do that, you need a business-level contract for way more money per month and usually lower bandwidth. What a bargain.