When people talk about how startups will be able to setup servers in their own garages in cities where Google Fiber has rolled out it’s curious to note no one ever discusses Google Fiber’s “Acceptable Use Policy”. People think that all Internet connections are the same, and if you buy a service you can basically do with it as you wish.
It’s important to note that every ISP I have dealt with has 2 levels of service. They have Residential Plans and Business Plans. Residential Plans generally have worse performance and support than the Business Plans, which considering the 20%+ cost difference is to be expected. Beyond this Business Plans generally allow you to buy a static IP address which Residential Plans generally don’t, and Residential Plans many times have “Acceptable Use Policies” that are over looked. Back in the bad old days ISP’s used to completely block ports such as 80 and 25 so you couldn’t run web or email servers on Residential Plans. Although those hard coded restrictions are more or less gone there can still be some curious restrictions in the Use Policy that can cause problems if you’re using your Internet Connection for work.
The point to bring up as far as Google Fiber goes is that under it’s Acceptable Use Policy for Residential Plans you cannot use the service to run servers for Commercial Purposes. This means that if I wanted to run GeekBrainDump.com from my house I’d be violating the Policy since I make money from it. By doing so I’d risk suspension and issues with the service.
To operate servers for commercial purposes. However, personal, non-commercial use of servers that comply with this AUP is acceptable, including using virtual private networks (VPN) to access services in your home and using hardware or applications that include server capabilities for uses like multi-player gaming, video-conferencing, and home security.
It’s easy to laugh this off, but if you have business clients using Google Fiber this is an important distinction. Being that many business people still really don’t understand the Internet they may order service simply based on price and not really understand what they are buying. As tech professionals it’s our job to not only be able to forward ports, but to also read Terms of Service and Policies to make sure our companies and clients are in compliance. Better to have a stupid argument with your boss before you have an Internet Connection installed rather than have to upgrade your connection when your ISP cuts off you service randomly mid day because you violated their policies.
It’s important to note that different equipment and departments are used for Residential and Business service. Upgrading from one to the other is rarely as simple and as quick as simply signing a new contract.
Check out the differences in Acceptable Use Policy between Residential and Business Google Fiber Service here: