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back to article Comcast busted for bagging BitTorrents (again)

New tests have confirmed that Comcast is throttling file-sharing traffic. Citing tests run on machines across the US, The Associated Press reported today that the big-name internet service provider "actively interferes" with attempts to swap files over P2P networks like BitTorrent, eDonkey, and Gnutella. The Reg first …

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Stop

digital hegemony

The trend of malware being used to directly affect what a person can do with a purchased product is beyond incredulous. This reminds me of the companies of yesteryear advertising "DDT is good for Me!!!" and putting Lead into petrol.. I presume those used similar language to say it "enhanced the end user experience"

We do have laws which protect our individual rights. The problem is that when dealing with something that can be abstracted with terminology like the hi-tech industry, medicine etc a Judge or Jury can be easily fooled into making the wrong decision.

People need to become informed, and not hand over their rights so easily to corporate entities. Just because they are interfering with the digital rather than the analogue does not create a new precedent where law need not apply. If they were interfering with your phone line, I don't believe you would be so lax.

Boycott this company and make it unprofitable for them to interfere with your online freedom.

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Who's Comcast?

Just goes to show... don't support the big guys.

Luckily companies like that don't come around here anyway. Cable providers only do cities because they can't cope with the long runs and sparse population in the mountains. In my area there is only one broadband provider and it's a mom and pop wireless operation with probably less than 2000 subscribers. When I go to pay my bill I just go to their house and give the cash to whoever answers the door. They know me by name. They call me back when I leave a message. There is mutual trust. That's the way it should be.

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So what...

Not really clear from the article but it sounds like they are saying P2P traffic is being "managed" ie. limited and slowed. I say so what.... I want decent service when I surf the web and resonable speed when I down load the occasional large file. If that means some kid down the block is has his speed capped when downloading 20 DVDs he'll probably never watch while acting as a seed for another 20, So what...

We are not talking about food, water, shelter, medicine or any other essential, we're talking about some entertaint for the (brain dead) masses.

Cheers,

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Unhappy

Not an Option

My (limited) understanding is that in many areas the situation is akin to the UKs Post Office telephones in the 1960s - Take it or leave it.

With legislation currently going through this will get worse as US telecoms companies will no longer be obliged (in theory) to provide free access to competing services

It seems that 'The Land Of The Free' (tm) has the worlds worst monopolies. I wonder why.

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Dual class citizens

The internet is sold on access speeds. Whether they are achievable or not for technical reasons, physics plays its part on how far down a wire the signal can travel. However, when an ISP actively decides to limit speed, surely this is at the very least a breach of contract, and at worst a criminal offence of theft.

This kind of behaviour shows scant regard for consumer protection regulations and is all about over selling their network capacity, taking money for a service they cannot provide.

It would appear that more regulation of ISPs is required as they show absolutely no signs of regulating themselves.

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Thumb Up

shaping

I'm with Eclipse who shape traffic but I still regularly get 100KB/s torrent downloads on a 1.5Mbps connection.

If it's done fairly it's fair enough...

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They're blocking legit business traffic too

According to Ed Brill, who is 'Business Unit Executive, Worldwide Lotus Notes/Domino Sales, IBM Software Group' they're screwing legitimate users of Notes who are trying to replicate over NRPC on 1352 from remote locations. His semi-official comments (well, it seems semi-official to me) are here:

http://www.edbrill.com/ebrill/edbrill.nsf/dx/associated-press-comcast-blocks-some-internet-traffic

To me, this seems like a Bad Thing, and effing hypocritical, considering the amount of crap that they try and pour into my company's and clients' networks because they can't control the amount of bloody zombies on the ends of their lines. They're going to blacklisted on my mail servers very soon.

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Modern AOL?

AOL used to be proud of their 'walled garden' approach or maybe 'Nanny State' would be closer -- 'here is what we reckon you should be accessing'.

This is more like getting rid of the wall but putting a chaperone on the customers 'do what you want but we know what you're up to and won't let you do anything we don't want you to do'.

Like having your mum and dad vetting all your mates and potential partners or even worse, like being back at school only bringing certain friends home for tea.

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Pirate

distressing

We originally discussed this with TorrentFreak back when the story first broke, yet it's worth revisiting.

What comcast is doing is spoofing packets, and effectively enacting denials of service. If you, or I did this to a comcast customer, or lots of them, we would be liable for criminal sanctions. Why is it then acceptable for Comcast themselves to do it to their customers, but no-one else?

Internet service providers are now acting like the airlines did decades ago. They are overselling their capacity, and shafting their customers when everyone they've sold to tried to use what they've bought. However, unlike the airlines, who maybe oversold by 5%, ISPs are sometimesoverselling by 3-500%. Early last year, Comcast hit the news for enacting a 100Gb monthly cap - that works out to a 0.4Mbit average. If an airline sold you a seat, but oversold and bumped you, they have to provide certain restitutions to you. If you are sold a product, and it's not as described, then in the UK, yu have a case under the trade descriptions act. Why do ISPs mysteriously escape both this law, and this prescident?

If Comcast wish to make the pleasent experiance for their customers, they should instead have their networks capable of dealing with exactly what they're advertising to customers. If they advertise 8Mbit, they should be capable of every consumer with the service using their connection at capacity all month.

Andrew Norton

Pirate Party of the US - http://pirate-party.us

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Pirate

Don't forget about Rogers

The ISP Rogers in Canada is up to the same tricks as Comcast, you should really mention them in the article, seeing as how they're a huge ISP over here.

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Virgin do this too

OK, so between about 4pm and midnight if I try to download anything via bittorrent, for instance OpenSUSE 10.3 it crawls along, however if I then switch (as I did) to using an FTP I get a decent speed. After midnight I get decent speeds on bittorrent again.

Oh and I'm throttled most of the weekend too. When it was blueyonder this was never an issue, with any downloading service be it, ftp/http/bittorrent or emule.

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Anonymous Coward

Disappointing...

When I use BT, I use it for legitimate reasons. I think it's a really great protocol for multi-user P2P transfers. If my transfer speeds are reduced in either direction, I'm disappointed that Comcast (my current ISP) is "managing" my BT transfers...

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Alert

I'm a comcast subscriber.

They use filtering for sure. This filtering allows burst speeds for me of over 20Mbit. I also can't seed torrents for crap. Not all torrents are illegal. I just downloaded the OpenSuSE 10.3 DVD over torrent. Now I can't seed it. There is a simple fix for this however on a Linux firewall:

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp --dport <YOUR TORRENT PORT> --tcp-flags RST RST -j DROP

This should alleviate the strain. The problem for me at least is that I use more bandwidth than the granny next door. Comcast thinks that I shouldn't be allowed to use more than the granny next door. I paid for "unlimited" service. I expect it.

As for the US and its consumer laws, the country is facist. Facism is when the corporations become the government. When we have trade organizations writing legislation that our congress pass without reading, then we have facism. This is why these companies are allowed by the government to harm consumers.

Most business contracts you sign in the US will have a clause stating that the other party can change the terms of the contract at will, without notification. We sign the contract because there is no alternative. They all state it. Even though it's against our constitution to do such a thing, the trade organizations have written their own legislation and have passed it with our sad congress.

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Flame

Shame they dont...

...do the same for SPAM. 75% of the SPAM that arrives in my mailbox is from Comcast's network but despite me (in the past, I get too much to bother now) reporting it to them they seem to have done stuff all about it.

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Flame

100GB of SUSE 10?

Just how many downloads of SUSE 10 are people doing? Ever heard of rsync?

I have whole senior schools (7-12) do less than 50GB per month. Why should you be allowed to download 100GB of (unlikely all of it is legal) data and you pay the same as me?

There are true uncapped plans out there, but you guys wont pay what 100GB *REALLY* costs to transfer... here in Australia it's 17c (US$0.155) per megabyte or US$155 without any administration, line rental, or other fees.

There are plenty of ISPs that will do P2P shaping during peak hours (end of schooltime to midnight) and others who tweak their QoS to manage the traffic sensibly. I applaud these people because it is commonsense. 80% of traffic is now P2P and it shows no sign of abating. Hopefully the good management practices win out, or you lot will have brought ComCast style problem solving to everyone else.

Grow up and realise this is not your god-given right. You're paying for a shared service which is subsidised by Mums and Dads, and Grandparents - ie the casual users. If you don't like the service, vote with your feet - oh that's right you'd rather milk the cow dry now and complain about the lack of milk tomorrow.

ungrateful sods...

</rant>

I realise there are legitimate reasons for bandwidth, like online backup systems or linux DVDs, but in most of these cases working with the ISP to politely pressure the backup/download-mirror people into some sort of peering arrangement is much easier and benefits all parties involved.

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Coat

Where's the problem ?

What about VPN tunnels, or the build-in encryption that comes with almost any BT client ? $ISP uses port priorisation ? - just change ports. Anyone capable of using a search engine will find gos's of solutions. If $USER still can't figure out how to waste bandwith, that's fine with me.

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Water Supply

Another analogy would be the water supply. There is sufficient capacity and pressure in the system for everyone to run a bath on the top floor, and there may be service level guarantees to this effect and a flat annual fee.

If, however, some people are running their taps constantly for selfish reasons (e.g. running industrial processes in their houses or maybe having oversized ornmental fountains) then this will destroy the reliability of the service for everyone. Nobody else would complain if the water company imposed sanctions on those excessive users, whether they were installing meters, limiting their pressure, or changing them to a more appropriate tarriff.

The only problem with ISPs is their advertising. They are overselling what they can provide, in their desperation to compete for customers. They all advertise unlimited service knowing that admitting this is impossible to provide for everyone simultaneously would make them seem uncompetitive. Having these bandwidth hogs paying their subscriptions does allow the ISPs and telecoms companies to invest in high speed equipment, so the typical user isn't too badly off out of it.

I don't see a major moral problem with them blocking illegal file sharing. There is the privacy issue involved in distinguishing the illegal traffic, but "freedom to steal" is something that I can't condone, except when someone is starving and steals a bare sufficiency for survival. A look at an average torrent user's activity shows they are stealing considerably more than they need to survive.

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Boffin

Nothing so technically advanced as torrent management

The thread on the same subject on slashdot contains a number of very interesting references. Apparently they hit with a RST any tcp stream from one cable customer to another. It does not matter in the slightest if this is bittorent or something else. In fact one of the examples (with tcpdump traces) was Lotus Notes.

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Title

" - oh that's right you'd rather milk the cow dry now and complain about the

lack of milk tomorrow."

And all because you were gullible enough to believe the salesperson at the dairy, who assured you that you were buying the whole cow, when in fact you had to share with the rest of the village.

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Tom
Silver badge

This is a basic problem with a shared resource (the cable)

The basic problem is that comcast provides as its "last mile" a shared resource. The cable they use has a finite bandwidth. They allocate it as a BIG pipe in the downlink path (to the consumer), and a smaller pipe in the uplink path (from the consumer). Then we get all these P2P services that clog up the uplink pipe (not to mention the comprimised machines emitting spam), and they must limit the bits moved in the pipe. Try putting up a web server on the end of a cable modem. It won't get very far (most likely because it against the terms of service, as well as consuming uplink bandwidth). The P2P people do this just by being there. It is no wonder that a finite last mile shared pipe has problems. While DSL has problems, its "last mile" is dedicated service (not shared). Really much better. Other services with similar sharing (satellite providers come to mind) have similar problems. If you decide to plug up THAT pipe, you will find that a 56k modem might be faster.

Besides cable based internet is more costly.

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Pirate

Another Proof

That in the USA (and canada and probably all arround the world) goverments are serving big OPENLY CRIMINAL corporate instead of they Citizens. This illegal CENSORING of traffic by comcast is clearly illegal and yet... the goverment is doing nothing to protect they citizens from such corporate abuse. when you pay for 10 Mbits of speed the ISP is supposed to offer INCONDITIAL access to that FULL speed. been slowdown because website/FTP server are slower is oK, but ILLEGAL ARTIFICIAL slow down the ISP shoudl be punish with most severity and *ALL* of the ISP consumers should be entitle for a REFUND for full period where the illegal bandwidth throttling toke place.

But hey! this is america where the all the big criminal cartels run the shows.,...(won't be suprise to learn that the MPAA/RIAA as offert incentive to Comcast to break the law and illegally slow down P2P)

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re:100Gb of Suse 10

Yes RSYNC's great but it still requires a central server, or server pool on round robin DNS or similar. Plus it's slightly more work to get it running.

At the end of the day, this boils down to a few points;

1/ If I rented you a house then starting wandering in and using the bath while muttering about 'fair usage' I'd expect a negative reaction. Maybe I wrote it in small print in the contract, or some document on my website that I referenced in the contract but said I could update at any time. It's still contentious to say the least.

2/ Nobody should sell something they do not intend to supply, otherwise depending on your location that's probably fraudulent.

3/ A good or service should be fit for purpose. If I call up and say "I need 8Mbps down and 1Mbps up 24/7 with no usage allowance and 99% uptime", and am subsequently sold something that does not fit that without being informed of the shortcomings, there is at least a consumer rights issue here.

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Happy

As a Comcast subscriber... please continue

I'm extremely satisfied that leeches are not robbing *my* share of bandwidth just so they can illegally download (and very occasionally share) copyrighted works.

I like the bandwidth I have available most nights (500-600 kB/s are typical rates to east coast sites like SourceForge). To contrast, I stay at many hotels which do not shape or euphemistically "manage" P2P traffic, and I'm lucky to get 1 kB/s most nights. You can't do squat with that amount of bandwidth.

I might care more if there was more legal P2P stuff going on, but there's not. For every legit Suse 10 download, there's 18 gazillion illegal CDs and DVDs being stolen by folks who will never listen to watch even 1% of the stuff they download.

This has NOTHING to do with censorship. I fight against censorship. I've sent my MP copies of 1984. I have personally spoken to my senator about freedom of speech and Internet issues for more than half an hour. I've engineered the technical security of DNS in Australia to protect privacy. I've helped the EFA. Have any of you "this is censorship" commenters done any of that? I doubt it. Go destroy your Torrent client and get out there - help Electronic Frontiers or Amnesty International and do something for folks who actually are hurting.

This has everything to do with making legitimate customers like me happy, and annoying the 1-2% of leeches who will not be satisfied with even a free dedicated 1 Gbps fibre to the door. They can go get stuffed.

Comcast - don't stop now. Also, when you have a second, please block port 25 outbound.

Andrew

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Thieves getting choked? How tragic...

So lessee... you're saying that people stealing music and people stealing software and people stealing moves are getting throttled?

So the rest of us can get a bit of bandwidth without having to pay more for our connections...

Now that is truly tragic... :-)

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ISPs are great for impeding the spread of knowledge?

The basic point is, if you're only allowed to surf basic websites and spend an hour a week on youtube, the ISP should make that clear in the contract.

I really do not see why most people are defending the ISP here. If this were a flight, and your seat had a 2:1 contention ratio, and the other user was ~35 stone, would the discomfort be his fault for being fat or the airlines for being stupid enough to sell capacity for one person to two people?

Anyone heard for example of Project Gutenberg? If not look it up. Then tell me why we can't distribute using bittorrent protocol. Likewise any linux distro. Likewise other software or creative works released under e.g. GPL, BSD licence, under creative commons, or similar.

I agree people who don't use p2p should get what they paid for from their ISP. I also believe people who do use p2p should as well. And I believe if the ISP can't supply what it has sold it should sort out its capacity or refund people and release them from their contracts.

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ISPs have little choice

The pricing-model for pipe bandwidth means that ISPs resell that bandwith at quite a low profit-margin. Thus, to break even they must make the best possible use of that bandwidth. There are essentially only two approaches they can take; capping of download quotas, or throttling. Capping drives potential customers away, so throttling is the preferred option.

p2p is by far the biggest 'problem' in this respect, and one issue is that while p2p data streams can usually be identified as such, there is no easy way of determining what those streams contain. Thus, your Linux download gets throttled as well, along with the zillionth pirate copy of Terminator.

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Cable vs DSL

Comcast and other Cable-based ISPs must manage traffic in order to keep bandwidth "evenly" distributed. Cable Broadband has shared bandwidth, in contrast to DSL's dedicated lines (for the most part), and therefore up/down rates are estimated based on traffic. So, I'd say they probably throttle all traffic. That's not to say they aren't paying particular attention to Torrents. I'm sure they do, mostly because that represents a huge percentage of traffic when its happening.

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Flame

It's about the infrastructure

I've said often, and the same about Mobile Phone networks, that the infrastructure of ISPs should be made public, or only semi-private like the power companies in the US. These actions taken by ISPs are just the tip of the iceburg in trying to limit and profit off of providing a gateway to the already public (or govt/military) owned internet. This is like the Federal Government constructing the US Interstate Highway system, but then allowing private companies to construct on/off ramps with tolls, and profit while paying a pittance for renting the network. We should have equal access to a public infrastructure, and if tolls need be payed, they should also be made public. Enough of this crap. ISPs and Mobile providers are taking us for a ride, with no accountability, and huge payoffs.

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Oversold bandwidth

The same model as any other service aimed at consumers. Verizon sells point-to-point T1 service starting at $400/month USD base. This does not include equipment that may have to be installed on premises, labor, and that price is for short haul only. The price increases dramatically if you have to go interstate or through a different carrier at the destination end. We have some T1s that we pay $2000/month USD. There is no throttling/capping on these lines however, you can max them out however you want.

So you think you can get T1 speed or higher for a fraction of the price with the same quality of service?

Here is an article with details on how Comcast uses Sandvine to interfere with Torrents:

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/C/COMCAST_DATA_DISCRIMINATION_TESTS?SITE=1010WINS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

It would be naive to think that other ISPs will not begin similar practices once they analyze what percentage of their network traffic is being consumed by P2P.

You may even see some providers offering a "premium" connection with no throttling or capping for a higher cost which will probably be the case if enough people begin to complain about the traffic shaping.

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Finite resource bollocks

Why the *bleep* are people defending companies who throttle bandwidth below what they advertise using the old finite resource bollocks? If they don't have a resource available then they should not sell it. They need to cap because they over subscribe their service in hope that people are not going to all use what they have paid for. Then when they run out of bandwidth instead of investing in more infrastructure to actually handle what they advertise they throttle instead.

They are cheeky doing what they do, but good lord you must be a monkey to actually defend this type of practice!

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Seems to me...

That the problem isn't whether or not the ISP can shape traffic, but _how_ they shape traffic.

If they were to say "Download X megabytes and upload Y MB at full speed, then after that we'll throttle you to something less than full speed _if we need to_ (i.e. dynamically, i.e. during busy periods), and it doesn't matter what you download or upload" then everybody should be happy. Every user gets guaranteed the same deal, but those who go off into the territory of exceptional usage get slowed, but not stopped!

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Alert

One word: Encryption

This is yet another argument for the idea that everything we do on the web should be encrypted. HEAVILY. The ISP won't know what you're sending if your data is encrypted, so they can't really interfere too much. Sure, they can still figure out to whom you're sending it, and maybe get an idea of the nature of the content from the port number, but they won't know what it is - nor should they.

I always prefer a public key scheme over a private one, and really only ones with key management authorities or stored public key thumbprints. Most of my web traffic is tunneled via SSH to a trusted host, and I rarely send an IM without a cryptography plugin.

Using cryptography is our right, so take advantage of it. If you're a law-abiding citizen, there is absolutely no reason whatsoever that anyone, anywhere, anytime should have the right to monitor, limit, censor, or inspect how you communicate. You're afraid of dictatorships? Fuck that. Be afraid of corporations. Be very, very afraid.

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@everyone who says Comcast is throttling

Comcast is not throttling (or, at any rate, not ONLY throttling.) If they were throttling, there'd be an article complaining about this anyway, but I'd join a bunch of you in telling the complainers to more or less STFU. However, Comcast is not doing something so innocent.

They are inserting false spoofed packets apparently from the peer you are connected to, (and apparently from them to you), a "RST" (reset) packet which is designed to force the connection to close. I don't know if my cable co throttles or not, if they did I would not give a crap, I don't need the umm.. legal content.. yeah, that's it... I download *right now* 8-). (Note, in fact I do use bittorrent to download Linux isos as well, besides other content.)

However, interfering with connections is simply not cool at all. Particularly if they are just interfering with any and all inter-modem connections as one poster said. And even more especially if they are interfering with some games and with Lotus Notes and the like -- those are unarguably legitimate applications for a high speed internet connection.

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Encryption not so good.

Actually, I've had to stop using encrypted links because my ISP's throttling 'assumes the worst' and assigns anything it can't identify to the lowest priority. :-(

Thsi is the unacceptable side of throttling, beause it means I have to sacrifice security or suffer low speeds.

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Pirate

throttling, cow milking and the seven seas!

Arrrrr me hearties, how can you tell people who have bought a 20MBps connection to STFU and such like?!? I think its perfectly acceptible to be disgruntled not to get a red car when you bought one? likewise with an incorrectly described internet connection.

Talk with your feet people! if you bend over your going to get b*******

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A pity...

It's a pity that "Spamcast" doesn't take as seriously the issue of bots on their network sending spam, hosting spammers websites, launching DDoS attacks, and acting as nameservers for spammer web sites. But I guess there's no money in it for them to do so...

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Alert

The solution...

Packet shaping and traffic prioritisation is a necessity. Having the capacity to service all customers at maximum usage 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, would be hugely inefficient and environmentally unfriendly, and would result in most of the streets in the country being dug up for cable-laying works.

James, if you use more than the granny next door, shouldn't you pay more too? Should an old age pensioner be subsidising your connection?

The argument by the "net neutrality" lobby is that limits in responsiveness will mean that people who don't need to use the internet at peak times won't, because it's unresponsive.

Most of the Reg readership should be able to understand how weak this argument is.

We use the internet at work. We have no choice as to whether to use it or not. The heaviest home users are also at work. But they've left the PC on to pick up their torrents (whether they're downloading Red Hat or Red Dragon is irrelevant). They are not affected by the unresponsiveness, so there is no motivation for them to disconnect.

We need the excessively vocal minority to just shut up and accept that capacity must be paid for. If they aren't willing to pay extra, they should accept that their bandwidth will be hit at peak times.

If they could accept this, rather than throwing a mass strop all over the "Blogosphere", then the broadband companies would be able to start openly offering appropriate packages.

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Silver badge

@James

Sorry, but you are mistaken on one point : fascism is not a form of government controlled by corporations.

That's an oligarchy.

Fascism has been given a striking example in recent History by Hitler. Total power embodied in one man suffering no dissent and no refusal, enforcing blind obedience to all economic actors and to the population, whilst pursuing an overtly aggressive agenda against one or more foreign entities, often interlaced with some form of racism.

That is fascism.

The actions of Comcast may feel like fascism in their effects, but that has nothing to do with corporations controlling the government.

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Flame

Encryption

Encryption isn't a solution. Here in France people started encrypting p2p services to get round throttling by Free (a large ISP). End result was that Free dropped *all* packets that were encrypted. No VPN, no SSL email. I could surf fine in the evenings, but I couldn't work. They denied it, blamed it on lack of infrastructure from France Telecom, which was patent nonsense.

Eventually pressure from consumer bodies got the situation resolved after about 2 months of no connectivity :(

I pay a reasonable monthly fee, for a reasonable amount of always-on bandwidth, which I know is shared with all the other people in the area. If some spotty teenager wants to share copyrighted stuff with his mates 24-hours a day and so suck up more than a fair share then by all means let him pay the going commercial rate (which will be 20x what he actually pays) or be capped, but at least do the capping/throttling with some degree of intelligence.

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Bronze badge

BBC iPlayer - Kontiki P2P

Last time I checked there were no legality issues with BBC iPlayer ( Kontiki P2P ) the only issue I have is that the software sux. I would be interested if that was limited too.. especially on unlimited packages.

P.

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Gates Horns

SPAM

As was mentioned, what about the Spam?

Some estimates say that spam accounts for 90% of internet traffic at times...I wonder how much traffic P2P uses up?

May be something to look into...

When I read stories like these, I get an image of an old fogey sitting at a board meeting:

"What should we do? We can't just buy enough bandwidth for our customers? If it weren't for those damned kids! Bunch of pirate file-sharing commies, let's get those troublemakers!"

You get the idea.

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Thumb Up

Comcast

As a comcast customer, I say block bittorrent. I actually blocked bittorrent from entering/leaving my home network when i had inconsiderate roommates. Just the basic design of bittorrent is detrimental to any network's performance... On cable, the more you upload, the less you can download. I've never seen *any* bittorrent client really allow you to throttle your own uploads. They give you the nice pretty option of limiting it, but if you do an iptraf on the machine that is seeding, you'll notice that it ignores the limit and uses whatever bandwidth it can get ahold of. For the people complaining about not being able to download x distribution of linux... WHY? Download the minimal install image (1-10MB), and do an online install. You only need to download the packages you are going to use, not the entire 100 DVD set of every package ever available to mankind.

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Boffin

Do the math

I just want ISPs to advertise their products truthfully and then give me what I pay for. With my current provider I have a 4Mbps connection contended 30:1 :

4Mbps/8 bits = 0.5MBps (neglecting overheads)

Daily maxed-out traffic would be 0.5*60(secs)*60(mins)*24(hours) = 43200 MB

43200MB = a little over 42GB.

So on a 30 day month total download potential is 42*30=1260GB

When I signed up I accepted a 30:1 contention ratio so in my head I should on average have a 1/30 share of the maxed-out pipe over a month:

1260GB / 30 = back to 42GB again.

I get a monthly allowance of 40GB so not too much robbery there then. It seems like my ISP is being fair. At this point I consider it none of their damn business what I do with that pipe. If I detect any deliberate interference with any of the protocols I use then I would consider that to be grounds for leaving them.

Do the sums for your provider. If the monthly limit is significantly less than your contention share of the whole pipe you are being ripped off. If they are interfering with your traffic then that is unacceptable and you should go elsewhere. I'm just waiting for the RIAA/MPAA to take an ISP to court because some piece of kit they have bought could potentially throttle illegal downloads to nothing but they "choose" not to. I wonder if any of this kit will generate possible legal liability for them down the line.

I was in Germany recently and I stayed in a hotel. That hotel had wireless operated by a company called M3Connect. I was getting decent web, FTP and VOIP rates but a torrent I started downloading ran far below what I expected. I opened the VPN into my office and tried it again. My transfer rate doubled. IMHO this is fairly conclusive evidence of throttling as the rate really should have gone down due to my office modem only having a 256kbps upload and the packets now having to dance a merry, encrypted dance. At least my ISP at home doesn't do that.

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Pirate

The way I look at it....

If I buy something, I should get what I pay for. Period.

If I buy a car, I expect to get what I pay for.... buy a fridge, same thing. I under stand the necessity to shape traffic and I can ALMOST buy limiting bandwidth under the most EXTREME conditions. Limiting bandwidth based on protocol is not only wrong, for something that was sold as "unlimited, unrestricted" access it is actionable in the US Court system.

I ~AM~ a Comcast customer.... do I get what I pay for? You betcha, in spades. I pay for an 8MB connection, and actually get 25+ MB. How did I get it? Calling and complaining when something wasn't right. Modem dropping offline? Call them. Slow ass speeds? Call them. Make coming out a weekly (if not daily) thing. EVENTUALLY they will fix the issue (and apparently in my case) take the pad off the line. And no, I have detected no decrease in BT speeds, I suspect in part because I bitched so much they don't dare touch my line. Crappy lines in my area? Was a daily call until they strung new cable. Blasting port 53 on my router trying to "discover" an internal server in my house? Threat of legal action... never got hit again.

There is no reason why everyone can't have an 8 to 12 MB connection to thier house running at full bore. Don't bellyache about capacity. There is soooo much dead fibre strung right now it sickening. And for every one high-bandwidth user there is, there are 4 "grannies next door" who are so far below the maximum threshold it isn't funny. If 20% of the users are saturating capacity, then there is a serious issue with their capacity.

Voting with your feet only works if EVERYONE stands up and walks out, which isn't going to happen. The true people who are effected are the high bandwidth users, who, by and large do not want to reveal the reasons for their high usage. Guess what, doesn't matter what you use the bandwidth on. Call and complain.... repeatedly. You will get results.

I will leave you with one final thought. Never, ever, ~EVER~ take NO from someone that can't tell you yes to begin with. If you get "NO" from some script reading loser on their tech support line, keep escalating... repeatedly if required. This applies to everything.... not just Comcast.

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Silver badge
Boffin

@ throttle bittorrent clients

"I've never seen *any* bittorrent client really allow you to throttle your own uploads."

"I've never seen *any* bittorrent client really allow you to throttle your own uploads."

What clients do you use? My BitTornado clients have a nice --max_upload_rate flag that works pretty much as it must, it keeps upload rate at the speed I ask it for. My previous ISP barfed if my upload rate hit the advertised max, and as a result any non-P2P traffic went dead. I found this out because when a friend jacked into my network, his eMule/Azureus/etc apps would eat away the upload and immediately kill everything else.

Anyway, my current ISP doesn't throttle network traffic, and in fact service hasn't been the least bit bad. Cable companies however throttle AND block their connections; they even give private addys (10.x.x.x) so setting up servers in there is *impossible*. Those who still use cable ISP's are either too stupid to realize it or don't want to spend $30 USD on a 1Mbps ADSL link.

Local monopoly Telmex may be bad on some stuff, but it is the best broadband ISP over here.

That said, I do reserve the right to throttle uplinks/downlinks on my local network to avoid p2p'ers from choking my upload pipe.

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Anonymous Coward

@ Daniel B

Have you put iptraf in front of the box you have that running on? I can almost bet that it's not showing you the right numbers in your client. But the simple fact is bittorrent is detrimental to a network, and comcast is doing what any good network admin is doing and removing the problem from their network.

Go comcast. Block 'em good.

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Anonymous Coward

@Pascal Monett re "fascism"

The person you mentioned as a "striking example" of fascism may well be "striking", but was in fact not really typical of fascism. I think Mussolini would be a better example of a typical fascist.

In any case, you have automatically lost the argument by mentioning him. Sorry.

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