back to article Comcast: Our BitTorrent busting is 'best in class'

Just weeks after the US Federal Communications Commission said it would investigate claims that Comcast was surreptitiously throttling P2P file-sharing traffic, the mega American ISP has issued new terms of service, telling customers it likes to practice "reasonable network management". These terms of service seem to mirror a …

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Silver badge

We're ComCast

We don't need to care.

We've heard it all before. It isn't going to change. Remember, in the race between the tortoise and the hare, the tortoise ALWAYS wins. Put your money on the Slowskys!

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Happy

save the internet from Comcast and others like them!

Does the word BOYCOT mean anything to anyone! They listen to Money!

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Gates Horns

My bits, not Concast's

Plain and simple... their needing to "manage" traffic is a problem with too much consolidation and too little investment in infrastructure to guarantee the advertised speeds so often touts as being superior to the various DSL offerings. Plain and simple cable internet offers too little upload bandwidth to be practical for use as a means to back up any data. Sure they are bullish enough to claim up to 512k upload speed but I have never seen more than about 384k in practice. My ISP is DSL and they don't futz with my traffic. I pay the provider to give me the connection to the web and to that end I expect every bit issued from my location to be just that. Not some duped reset flag or other surreptitious altering of my output to the net. They corrupt/falsify my data for p2p today, tomorrow... who knows. I have always advocated against cable for their over the top advertising concerning speeds but this is just simply to damned far.

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Reasonable

If my only internet traffic was a single seeded torrent of a software application I created, would blocking it (thus blocking all of my traffic) be considered "reasonable" by any reasonable person? I don't think so. If someone is using a large amount of bandwidth, then by all means limit that person. But don't limit everybody using a particular port because one (or a handful) of your customers is using excessive bandwidth on that port. Blocking everybody because of the actions of one person is not reasonable, and is actually counter to their stated intention (since blocking everybody because of that one person is unnecessarily causing problems for other users).

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Stop

JUst Move

Once those 12 month contracts are up hit the highway and another ISP, at least over here in Europe we have an increasing glut of ISP's to choose from, unfortunately people over here don't realise that and never move, If BT ever did anything like that I would suggest to every one on there network to move.

Really the only horrible ISP's are the foreign ones, Tiscaili is rubbish, AOL is the worst ISP, People think MS is bad never go near AOL, Sky is rubbish to! So it seems that UK buissness for the must part can meet what there customers what just not outsiders so to speak... funny that...

(I'm not being prejudice just a statement on the market)

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Jim
Linux

No Troubles Here...

Well... I'm not having trouble with bittorrent on comcast....

Might it have something to do with me using header encryption and filtering RST packets on port 6880 at my router?

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RW
Joke

Marketing Wonks Strike Again

Seems to me that one of the root problems is the utter lack of ethics and morality among marketers. Their philosophy—and practice—is that lies are okay if they will improve sales/profitability/the chance of getting laid.

If Comcast and its ilk simply told the truth "we have finite network capacity and we block p2p software so heavy users won't hog the available bandwidth", there would be no issue at all.

But, no, the simple truth won't do: gotta claim extravagant connection speeds (with very fine print saying "up to") in order to lure in the suckers.

This turns Adam Smith on his head, since one of the key elements in an efficient market (in the economic sense) is transparency. I don't know whether to laugh or cry over pigopolists who appeal, when convenient, to Capitalism as the cure for all man's ills, but who then work actively to subvert Capitalism by lying when that is more convenient.

Marketing wonks, spin doctors, and most lawyers need to be sent on a free one way ocean cruise that includes a visit in person to the depths of the Challenger Deep. Free swimming trunks will be provided for this exciting extreme swimming event! Sign up your favorite marketing wonk, spin doctor, or lawyer now!

Perhaps it's time to bring to marketing the stringent demands on courtroom testimony: the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth.

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Unhappy

Re: Just Move

Unfortunately, for most places in the US, there isn't much of a choice between broadband ISPs. For DSL, you have to be within a certain range of a DSLAM, and cable lines are normally owned by the cable ISPs, so there isn't any cable competition. ComCast knows very well that they wouldn't stand a chance if there WERE an alternative for most of their customers.

While some places in the US are starting to get FiberOptic broadband as an option, most don't yet. What's interesting (and infuriating), is that cable companies invariably offer much faster speeds in the areas where FiberOptic lines are available, because they have to keep up with the competition, while in areas without it, cable speeds are dog-slow. I'm using Time Warner cable here in North Carolina, which hasn't increased its speed since 1998! I've looked into DSL, but I'm at the maximum distance from the DSLAM to even get a connection, so it would be 1.5Mbps. I've called Verizon asking about their FiOS, but they don't have an estimate of when it will be available here. I can guarantee that Time Warner will be increasing their speed when FiOS does come here though.

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Heart

@ Jim

Great! finaly a good use for packet filtering!!!

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Stop

They're controdicting themselves

They say that they want to provide the best Internet experience for all their customers. How can they do that when they're blocking access to an Internet service many of their customers need/want simply because a small percentage of those customers abuse it? Now, if they said that there was a download cap and that service would degrade for a specified period of time if you exceeded it, there'd be no ground for complaint as long as the cap was reasonably high. Downloading the equivalent of one DVD per month would allow Linux users to get new distros via BitTorrent without trouble, but would limit people pirating movies, and I think most people would find that fair.

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re: Save the Internet, Just Move

There seems to be a misconception is much of the world that U.S. residents actually have a choice concerning high-speed internet. In reality, we don't. We have only three choices:

1) Cable (Comcast, Time Warner, Cox, Charter, etc). Since the FCC has deemed cable to be an information service, the cable companies are not required to provide access to their lines to competitors. In other words, they have a monopoly in cable internet access. You cannot get cable internet from a third party.

2) DSL. The problem is that most people can't get good speeds (typical DSL speeds are 768kbps to 3Mbps), and many people can't get DSL at all (too far away from the DSLAM). Until now, telecoms carriers were required to allow third parties access to their lines. In other words, I could get DSL straight from Verizon or I could get it from Choice One (who leases the access from Verizon). However, the FCC recently ruled that DSL is an information service (like cable), so this may change in the very near future.

3) Business-class DS-1 or DS-3 lines (T1/T3). These are prohibitively expensive and are not an option for individuals.

So really, we're limited to two choces: cable or DSL. Yes, I could boycot Comcast (cable), but then I would have to go to DSL (Verizon) which (in my area, at least) is more expensive, much slower (Comcast in Mass. is up to 8Mbps, while Verizon DSL tops out at 3Mbps), and less reliable.

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Alert

stop picking on a single ISP

oi! leave comcast alone. they arent the only ones doing this:

http://www.azureuswiki.com/index.php/Bad_ISPs

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@Chris:

"If BT ever did anything like that I would suggest to every one on there[sic] network to move."

BT _do_ shape traffic, believe me. They won't admit it, but I have it from someone who works there that they do. Plus, from my own experience, uTorrent got 30K/sec maxthrough BT, but now gets 800+ through a sensible ISP (I know, I know, that's about as anecdotal as evidence gets, but even through VERY well-seeded trackers, BT maxed at 30K, and the same torrent after the switch flew). Plus, they are the British Leyland of UK ISPs. Fuck 'em.

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Thumb Down

So they have a T&C

So does this mean if i sell a product (eg books) with torrent and they keep stopping my clients who want them, who is to blame.. me? hahahaha They really should offer a opt out to cover them self and give people a choice. The choice is not theirs. Why do I have a crap job? Who are you employing there???

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Stop

Uhhh, little non-thinkage going on here...

What no one here seems to acknowledge are the limitations and differences between DSL and cable modems/connections. You (collectively) are thinking of the access point as a perfect system, a line directly to the internet from your home. That's a nice thought and in many ways is accurate, but cable modems have seperate upload/download segments. A modem can tell when data transferred wasn't intended for it, but not upload. Cable modems in a single neighborhood/street/w/e converge at a certain point and the whole street basically shares that one connection and with so much bandwidth dedicated to download it's not a problem receiving information, but modems can actually send signals that collide with and destroy each other at the meeting point on upload. If a single person on the network is sending hundreds or thousands of these packets a second, the odds of a collision increase significantly and the modem cannot know when it doesn't make it until the connection times out waiting for a response that will never come. Most of the time it's not a problem b/c there are thousands of times a second when a modem can send packets but if someone is seeding and d/l'ing on the Bit all the time, they're likely to degrade the QoS of their neighbors and effectively become a bandwidth hog. That's why it actually is reasonable for them to reset sometimes. Note also, they don't reset EVERY connection ALL the time.

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Linux

Illegal again

Why is it always P2P targeted?

How many of us download Linux via P2P?

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This post has been deleted by its author

Boffin

Re: Reasonable

They still can claim that you are violating your T&C because you are offering a service. As per their ideas you are not supposed to.

It is essentially the decade old "Content Fallacy" which came to the internet the moment CableCos and Big Telcos started offering residential internet service. They immediately introduced "no server/no service" policy. According to them users are not supposed to produce content. They are supposed to consume content served by their provider and their internet connection is a mere conduit to facilitate this.

As a result of this fallacy we have severely asymmetric access technologies where the user can upload only a small fraction of what they can download. After all, a user that is not supposed to produce content does not need uplink speeds. So high uplink speed was never in the designer's brief.

Until the "Content Fallacy" is fixed at its root we will continue ending up with network designs which require vicious traffic management Comcast style.

Further to this, quite clearly Comcast has technical competence problems. Surprise... Surprise...

Their primary stated reason for the filtering is to ensure even share of uplink bandwidth to all users. If we look at the DOCSIS Cable specifications we can clearly see that the way the uplink bandwidth is shared between users on a CMTS interface is determined by the provider. Namely, the Cable Modem Termination System regularly broadcasts a frame known as "MAP Frame" which tells all stations on a given cable branch when they can try to transmit. The MAP can either tell all stations to attempt a classic Ethernet-like transmit during a free-for-all phase or can give specific stations guaranteed transmit opportunities. As a result all that CMTS can easily make the sharing of the cable strand "fair" by shortening the "free-for-all" portion and giving dedicated transmit opportunities to clients. No real rocket science here. Even if the relevant features were not present in its CMTS 3-4 years ago, Comcast with its size is capable of dictating vendor roadmaps. It should have had these features by now. The only reason I can see for not having them is that their network design department cannot be bothered to even read the cable specs. Similarly, for the amount of time they had at hand they could have requested and received ingress hierarchical per-MAC queueing and metering from the CMTS vendor. The CMTS is obliged to do some of that on the downlink anyway starting from DOCSIS 1.2/2.0, extending it for the uplink is no big deal.

There are plenty of ways to get this done if you have the resources of the biggest Cable company in the world. In fact, you can do that even if you do not have resources on that scale. It is simply a matter of actually wanting to do that. Quite clearly Comcast has no intention to deliver high quality service to their customers. For some reason I am not particularly surprised...

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Anonymous Coward

couple of thoughts

First one don't use Comcast if you have an alternative. Second there is actually a project to use single packet authentication, fwknop (www.cipherdyne.org/fwknop/) is basically a way to filter those reset packets it's firewall stuff but could be reworked to make sure that bittorrent only resets for real reset packets. Hint fucking hint.

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Silver badge
Paris Hilton

@Illegal again

|My uninformed opinion:

p2p is targeted because:

its the majority of internet traffic (its worth doing)

the applications see slow downloads as something to be overcome by spewing more traffic.

its difficult to manage with management techniques used for TCP based protocols

Its a "background" app and doesn't usually matter too much if its slowed down, unlike streaming video/audio/http.

Its typically used by small customers who don't actually spend much money with their ISP.

Comcast sees it as a problem because its symmetric up/download speeds attract more bandwidth demands from (non-comcast) ADSL p2p users. I can understand them being a bit miffed at this, though it is technically their own fault for providing their own customers with fast uplinks.

I download linux via p2p but its very slow. Probably because its "managed" more than ftp is!

Personally I see the "no servers" T&C as a bit of a red-herring. Originally the ISPs are trying to grab a slice of revenue from people who make money off their network (business users running ecommerce sites) by making them buy a "business class" link. But to ban personal p2p apps is rubbish because technically the IP stack responding to ping requests is "serving" information because it listens for requests and sends responses. Telnet and SSH are servers, skype and I suspect IM client apps probably run network servers, but few ISPs would say you can't have these running under its T&Cs.

Personally the only solution I can see is for people to pay more for their connections to fund their ISP's backbone infrastructure. If "truth in advertising" were compulsory, I suspect advertised speeds would drop rather than more investment be made in the network. Perhaps ISPs should be forced to start advertising throughput based on typical (observed) traffic on their network rather than the link speed to customer premises.

I'm probably wrong on a number of points but I think this is what's happening :)

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It's all about the benjamins

Illegal or legal ISPs couldn't care less (caveat on what's legally required).

It's all about the economics. If Joe public wants an all you can eat IP buffet they will supply it. But fully expect the 28 stone bloater to be turned away (or given a very small plate)

<10% of the users use 90% of the bandwidth. These user will be targeted by traffic shaping.

Often most of the bandwidth is browsing or video (you tube et al) so p2p shaping isn't the panacea.

If moores law starts to break down for access, i.e the cost per bit stops doesn't come down faster that the avg bits per user/session/what ever measurement you like. Expect to see prices increase

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Paris Hilton

send lawyers guns and money

1. remember to keep legal/political issue separate from tech - actual characteristics of connections, speeds, ports etc are unknown and incomprehensible to legal and marketing folks for a variety of reasons ranging from ingorance to irrelevance. No point in agruing about whether that is good or bad, it's reality. Bear in mind though, that as much as it creates roadblocks, it leaves openings. In the country of the blind, the one eyed man is king. The internets are the most glorious example of this in human history, as there are so many rooms and corridors just slightly off the main thoroughfare where the clods never go - indeed they have no idea there are doors there, much less what lies behind the doors.

2. Unfortunately, for the heedless and ignorant, the swamps are broad and deep, http://www.independent.co.uk/news/science/facebook-can-ruin-your-life-and-so-can-myspace-bebo-780521.html

It will certainly get worse, too.

3. Don't be confused about the legal infrastructure, greater good, free markets and all that. Since the corporation was invented as a legal fiction/concept, and actually before that in the form of grants and charters from the crown, it's always been about those with access to power figuring out ways to embed and strengthen their unfair advantage.

4. From a pragmatic point of view, where does that leave the poor user who just wants to use BitTorrent to download an iso or a movie or two? I haven't invested much time in trying to crack that problem - oops! bad phrasing, how about 'resolve that issue in the context of the existing technical and regulartory environment'. But it seems to me that there must be some way through the thicket. For example, registering your own domain is as cheap as $9 us and hosting plans can easily be found for $10 us for a year that will let you host multiple domains on a generic server. Now you have email accounts, ftp, ssh, blah blah blah that are not linked to your immediate isp or internet provider. Make a little page or a script on that personal web site that does the bitTorrent thing and puts the files in the ftp directory on that site. When the cake is done, take it out of the oven with a simple download link (not throttled by your isp, right?) or ftp or whatever. All the interchange and other traffic is between your personal site and the bittorrent server(s), right? Maybe I'm totally off on the wrong track, but it just doesn't seem that big a deal to me.

Any experts out there who can shed real light on it?

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Jon
Flame

When we say 5mb/s down we don't actually mean 5mb/s down

I think ISP's are fully of crap. If you advertise a 5mb/s connection, the consumer ought to be able to max out 5mb/s all day without affecting anyone else.

If the network is not capable the bandwidth the advertise, than they shouldn't advertise it as that! (we provide a 1mb/s connection with burst speeds of 5mb/s)

Comcast is getting away is a bunch of crap and the FCC is going to let them slide; screwing consumers instead of being forced to upgrade their network. Eventually, everyone is going to increase their bandwidth consumption as the world moves to IP switched voice/video... ISP's need to quit 'fighting the future' and upgrade their dammed networks.

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Contention

"I think ISP's are fully of crap. If you advertise a 5mb/s connection, the consumer ought to be able to max out 5mb/s all day without affecting anyone else."

This is the problem of offering a contended service. All these products work by having contention on the bandwidth because the assumption is made that not everyone is going to be using their downloads at the same time. (Much like how they don't expect everyone in the UK to be on the roads with their cars at the exact same time)

Of course this doesn't work in the real world. We all know the roads will clog up at a certain time in the morning and later on in the evening due to everyone going to work or coming home at similar times of the day. The same is true of broadband, everyone is on-line from 5pm to midnight.

The remaining problem is the nature of the technology, ADSL is an always on "Anytime" connection you give someone that facility and of course they will use it as much as they can. BitTorrent and other P2P apps just so happen to make use of this always on nature of the service by sitting there and always using the bandwidth regardless if anyone is on the computer or not and taking up space on the contended service.

Personally I do not think the problem is with P2P but its the massive oversight of providing an always-on service with contention and a subsequent "up to" speed without a minimum speed we can expect at peak times.

At the end of the day Throttling is a cheap quick fix to the problem of overselling your contended capacity and lack of investment, it involves punishing your customers for making the best out of their connections rather than investing in better equipment.

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Black Helicopters

obviously

the p2p sharing of data is not the issue, it is the reduced "available bandwidth" that is of primary concern. the prevalence of p2p is blamed on illegal sharing of data - who knows - it probably is the primary contributer but this is just the smoke screen. the popularity of p2p means that there is excess demand on limited connectivity and thus "contention" rears it's ugly head. so, when the likes of "concast" (sic.) moan about file sharers, what they are actually bleeting about is "lost potential revenue" and as everyone in the real world knows, once money becomes an issue, your human rights, your customer care and the law can all go and fuck themselves.

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Flame

Yet aother reason not to move back...

Here in Singapore, I'm paying for a 10 Mb/sec connection which, in eight months' service thus far, I've never seen drop below 12 (between me and their edge router; they've got two internal routers with all the stability of nitroglycerin in an Oklahoma tornado during a 12.0 earthquake, but that's another story.) It's costing me less than US$50 a month, even though we essentially only have one DSL provider (SingTel) and one cable provider (StarHub, who presently max out at 100 MB/sec for US$88 - with unlimited VOIP thrown into the package). From evverything I've been able to see and read, these service levels and price points don't exist anyplace in the former USA, let alone in the large-ish California city my folks live in (which has two "competing" monopoly providers: one cable, one DSL). The difference seems to be... on this side of the Pacific, monopolies are regulated with a view towards actually providing service to the public, and in the States, monopolies are viewed as the absolute monarchs of their fiefs, with the peasants kept firmly in line. Until Americans collectively decide that we want to be citizens of a functional republic again rather than mere consumers in the worst Jerry Michalski tradition, this will not change; the US will continue to become an island of technological Sopwith Camels in a world moving at TGV speeds. Instead, people are repeatedly hoodwinked into acting against their own self-evident interests, and shouting down anybody who has the temerity to point this out.

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Ref Just Move by Chris

Unless you go to LLU then you don't take into account that *all* ISPs use BTs network (so imagine what would happen if BT did network management on a grand scale?) so you don't really get that much of a choice no matter how many ISPs are out there.

And personally I find Sky Broadband (via Easynet LLU) has been my best ISP so far.

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bleh

you know, this is making me reconsider the idea that I had back in 2004/2005...

a publicly funded (and by public I meant the public not the government) wireless network mesh where people would pay something like 10 to 15 quid a month to their neighbourhood wifi network operator for access with maybe an extra 2.50 to 5 quid for "roaming permissions so that they could use the network nation wide (where coverage is available).

We'd run our own DNS system and be independant of the original internet or some of the funds would be spent on getting a fat pipe connected to the mesh net in order to speak to the outside world.

To become a provider all you would have to do is register with the central company who would keep records on where you are servicing and any services and addressing space you're providing. The equipment would be down to you as long as they meet organisational communications standards.

This way, no trusted computing rubbish, greater competition and better customer support because your ISP would be a neighbour in the area.

Sadly, I don't think it'd be workable.. but it's worth a brainstorm.

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Avi
Paris Hilton

Pfft!

Let's ban all ISPs!

I'll start my own based on dial-up

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Sad but necessary

I'm sorry to say that I have to agree with the need for ISPs to intervene in the transfer of bittorrent files. People seem to have no respect for intellectual property and theft is so commonplace that people on this site generally do not even believe it is theft anymore. I suspect that 99% of the people who advocate P2P file stealing owe their professional careers to the monetization of intellectual property. Yet these very same people see no hypocrisy in stealing it if they can do so without being caught. Pathetic.

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Alert

@ Sarah Baucom

"What's interesting (and infuriating), is that cable companies invariably offer much faster speeds in the areas where FiberOptic lines are available"

Speeds up to 30Mbps down are available for Verizon FiOS in my area. Comcast cannot offer more than 10Mbps down because the DOCSIS cable modems are physically incapable of anything faster (and in reality, offering more than 5Mbps down is a good way to get sued for false advertising).

I had Comcast's service. I dumped them for DSL which was advertised at 3Mbps down when I moved. It was, in fact, 3Mbps. Comcast was claiming 6Mbps at the timr I dumped them. Actual measurements showed somewhere in the 1Mbps range. When it became available, I moved to Verizon FiOS, and I now have 15Mbps down and 2Mbps up. Actual measurements show this to be pretty accurate, even during "peak hours."

Best advice I can give: Dump Comcast if you have any other practical choice.

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Paris Hilton

Alas no freedom of choice in reality exists !

Alas , in the land of the paranoid and imprisoned many users do not have a free choice as to which ISP to select and/or if the town or city wishes to create a peoples funded alternative commercial interests usually lodge vexatious law suits claiming unfair business advantages over their system of screw the user install the least cost system and max out all charges and fees plus inflation riser on top and bill the sucker for everything kitchen sink and the cost of the bribes for exclusivity !

To create the illusion they only compete in certain selected large markets with very large populations of over two to three million subscribers smaller population centres are ignored and become exclusive domains very neat and very evil to paint a false picture of freedom of choice which it ain't !

Most UK based ISP's are forced to compete as the punters have a freer choice of you suck at end of contract period get nicked and can switch to alternate sucky providers all because they do not own the communication lines from the house to the Dslam's unlike their trans atlantic cousins who are forever giving the right royal finger to their customers because unless they use the electric utility power lines like Iceland they have no choice !

I suppose the only real way to end this kind of stupidity and greed , is to create what they call a cost neutral line delivery division and a separate mob for exchanges in which all ISP's and phone companies are an equal share partner to contribute upkeep and maintenance and expansion but do not own the lines thus allowing the punter full freedom of choice of provider ! So effectively what comcast would be doing is commercial suicide as the users would defect over night to a more reliable provider ! Sadly , in the land of the paranoid and imprisoned such a system thus is pure treachery as it gives the punters the real freedom of choice and thus smacks of communism which they fear absolutely because that is what they have always been taught ! What a vicious no win self defeating circle they have self created .

Paris is chosen because she has more brains then most of these silly incompetent screw the customer wankers at comcast combined !

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Pirate

Reasonable network management... HA!

Reasonable management of the network means, not only controller bandwidth but INCREASING the capacity of the network when the demands call for it. Comcast and other US ISP's don't want to take that route, instead they just want to keep the same technology and then punish customers for actually USING their 6Mbps download rate. Well, that is, if you can ever GET that much speed.

If Time Warner Cable is anything to go off of, with their complaint of "5% of their users using 50% of their network bandwidth", that means that TWC has the ability to ONLY serve 10% of its users base, if even that at all. As things become more centered around the use of Internet-Based services, we're going to need a WHOLE lot more bandwidth and soon.

Bittorrent traffic is only the bad guy at the moment because its one of the only things thats utilizing your connection to the full. What happens when we are running OSes remotely through the internet? Are they gonna throttle bandwidth when legalized movie and tv show downloading and streaming because popular? We have already hit and surpassed the point where downloading legal disc images of software, games and etc are above the 1gig mark. Frankly, I'd rather NOT see my download of a game come in at -24kpbs-45kbps with a time of about 48 to 72 hours.

Geez, there is so many new technical advances and we are STILL arguing over internet speeds below 10Mbps.

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Pirate

free bandwidth

Hmmm.. need tiered internet so that Google et al don't get "free bandwidth". Drool new customers drool. But, when it comes to actual existing customers and P2P, we'll let them download off of customers of other networks - but not let those customers of other networks download off of our customers. So P2P solves bandwidth issues by distributing the load and finding closer sources, but some ISPs want to only get the advantages without contributing themselves. Who is getting free bandwidth now? Take the network neutrality issue, turn it around, and slap them with it like it is the big stinky fish that it is.

How about all other ISPs block all P2P requests from Comcast, since they don't feel like contributing to its usefullness - and then see how popular Comcast service is? Maybe then they will change their tune once their customers start fleeing en masse?

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False Advertising

The answer is quite simple, be honest about the service you provide. It is prohibitively expensive to provide maximum bandwidth 100% of the time to 100% of customers, in fact it's probably impossible.

The US is currently, and very slowly, upgrading it's comms, but atm it still largely relies on 1960s and 1970s tech to push internet into people's homes.

While areas of fiber connections exist, and certainly the backbone of the internet has been upgraded, the majority of users are limited to whatever their local cable or telephone companies can afford to install.

So again, the answer is simple - be honest about what you can and can not provide. Comcast are arseholes. They lie about service, are a monopoly and can get away with it. They do not just throttle back torrents, they throttle back ALL internet service. But they're also not alone. Just about every major cable internet provider in the contiguous 48 states does the same thing.

The thing that gets me is in a state like Alaska, with it's remote locations, huge areas, unfriendly weather and a host of other difficulties has providers that offer a far superior service than most of the "easy" states. The reason for this is the local telecommunications companies have invested heavily in their infrastructure and continue to do so every year. It may be convenient to suggest that providing internet to 1/2 million customers is an easier proposition - but it also means a lot less money. So if they can afford to keep their equipment uptodate, purchase sufficient bandwidth and offer services with no throttling and no limitations on the downloads, why can't the rest?

Personally I think the monopolies in the lower 48 states should be broken up, because it's clear to me that smaller, independent providers can provide a far superior service with more consistent connection speeds.

As for unlimited downloads, this is something you pay for here. You can have the same service as everyone else for the same price as everyone else, or you can pay more and get unlimited uploads/downloads.

But having used both services, and having used torrents to download things like Linux, software updates and maybe the odd movie - I've never been subject to any sort of throttling.

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Oh Yeah...YOUR bits!!

Well anonymous coward I supposed you believe it's your electrons and not the power company's too huh? Did you know the water delivered to you house, if you're on "city" water, is free?? No really, it's free.... you can't charge people for what falls from the sky. But they can charge you for the piping to get the water to your house. So yeah..... the bits are yours maybe, but the piping to get them to your house is theirs. All theirs. :+) So funny, you children are so ignorant and idealistic. Yea for the impotent kids...sooner or later they get me free toys.

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@ alphaxion : "the idea that I had back in 2004/2005"

What you mean like - http://locustworld.com/ or http://www.consume.net/ ?

Other people had this idea long before "2004/2005" !

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