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Cable giant defends Data Discrimination policy with 80 pages of chaff

The Internet was set alight last October, when news broke out that Comcast actively interfered with P2P traffic. Nasty words flew back and forth. Lawsuits were filed. Even the FCC joined the party, kicking off its own investigation early last January.

Fast forward to last Tuesday, when Comcast answered the FCC’s inquiries with an 80 page reply (PDF) that explained the company’s rationale behind its definition of “reasonable network management:”

Notwithstanding the enormous capacity and flexibility of the cable infrastructure, there are (and always will be) some throughput limitations. Thus, the question is not whether all customers will be able to use shared bandwidth indiscriminately… but, rather, how to optimize every customer’s online experience and ability to … use all Internet applications and services.”

Fair enough. Other parts of the document point out that Comcast is more concerned with making sure that their average users can surf the web proper, as opposed to placating the desires of a “vocal minority of users who make the most noise.”

Right there, however, Comcast’s logic falls apart. A quarter of the way through the document – Page 14, according to Acrobat – Comcast defers to the testimony of Congresswoman Mary Bono Mack, who says that “P2P applications are designed to consume as much bandwidth as is available, thus more capacity only results in more consumption.”

So that much is true – but just as true are the numerous other protocols and applications that are also bandwidth intensive. Almost every other non-streaming application works because of similar goals: using as much bandwidth as necessary to obtain optimal results. In some cases, bandwidth requirements are minimal, like in online chat applications. In other cases, however, saturating a user’s limited pipe simply isn’t fast enough, as you simply cannot escape the fact that downloading a file or streaming a high quality video requires a comparatively large amount of data. There are many, many bandwidth hogs out there that are just as good, if not better, at “clogging the tubes” than BitTorrent and its ilk.

Look at Windows Update: every time Microsoft drops a big patch on the Windows masses, literally hundreds of millions of computers throughout the world will compete for space to download it – and it is quite often very large: a 2005 estimate from Chris St. Amand of the Microsoft Operations team pegged Windows update traffic at 10-15 gigabits per second from the main download center during peak periods.

Comcast users represent a significant chunk of that number, being that the ISP is currently the #2 provider of Internet services in the United States. Where’s Comcast stepping in to manage its subscribers’ use of Windows Update?

The point I’m trying to make here is that BitTorrent isn’t the only bandwidth demon that haunts ISPs, and for Comcast and Congresswoman Bono Mack to accuse it of consuming “as much bandwidth as possible,” without mentioning many of the other applications that do as well, is obfuscating the real issue: that Internet consumption is expanding faster than ISPs would like it to.

Services like BitTorrent, and other P2P apps, have a legitimate place in today’s and tomorrow’s Internet. A number of progressive companies – Blizzard Entertainment, Joost, and others – use BitTorrent, or BitTorrent-like systems, to offload content away from the old guard of expensive, centralized client-server models and towards newer, P2P models. While this model does introduce an extra burden on the ISPs, I would think that ISPs should be responding to the needs of their customers, and not the other way around.

Food for thought: if Comcast invested all the money spent on excessive “network management” towards expanding the weak points of its infrastructure, how much further would the company be? How much further would the quality of our Internet service be? Instead of cracking down on protocols that Comcast deems unworthy, wouldn’t it be easier to promise – and enforce – a usable minimum of bandwidth to subscribers, and allow the rest of the pipe to be a free-for-all?

You can tell that Comcast is on the defensive. In the places where its response to the FCC isn’t littered with narcissistic praise, it constantly qualifies its “network management” practices with words like “little” or “minor” or “reasonable,” and there’s always an emphasis on the well-being of “all” users. Frequently these qualifiers appear italicized for emphasis. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for reasonable network management – and indeed Comcast names many examples of reasonable network management in other companies – but none of those definitions include Comcast’s, who thinks that injecting forged disconnect packets into P2P sessions is “reasonable.”

Comcast contends that its practices are necessary so that it can stay viable in an intensely competitive – hah! – industry. I am officially calling shenanigans on this claim. I think Comcast is unwilling to further invest in its infrastructure’s weak points despite its considerable financial growth in 2007, and that it is unwilling to support an Internet that is growing faster than its master plan.

The Greek philosopher Heraclitus once wrote that “nothing endures but change.” Comcast, just like most any big company, is simply fighting change – and all the disruptions that come with it.

But we all know what happens when you fight change, right?

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Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 12:09:33 PM , Rating: 3
> "There are many, many bandwidth hogs out there that are just as good, if not better, at “clogging the tubes” than BitTorrent and its ilk."

This just isn't true.According to some surveys, P2P data consumes up to 90% of all traffic on the Internet.

I don't support P2P throttling, but to claim its not the largest user of bandwidth on the Internet by far is flat out incorrect.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By KristopherKubicki on 2/19/2008 12:36:02 PM , Rating: 3
I've heard figures all over the board as far as P2P data. I've also heard that YouTube is 15% of the Internet traffic; that spam is 80% of all email; that MySpace serves more pageviews than Google and Yahoo combined.

(Tom works at an ISP BTW, at least for the next two days before he becomes at DT employee full time)

I've not seen concrete, accurate studies of traffic on the Internet. I don't suspect they exist. Even though we're a couple decades into it, the Internet is still in a state of flux anyway. What could be said to be true just three years ago is totally bogus today.

I think we need to ride it out a bit before proclaiming hard numbers in any direction.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 12:42:10 PM , Rating: 1
And don't forget on-line games! Those can be quite bandwidth intensive. What percentages do they accumulate to? Heck, what percentage of traffic is WoW alone?

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 12:49:50 PM , Rating: 2
Wow has only 8 million subscribers, the average who plays what, about 20 hours a week max? And the game itself consumes less than 128kb bandwidth.

Compared to the much larger P2P user base, consuming 100% of their 3mb, 6mb, or even 30mb pipe, often on a 24x7 basis, I'm sure you can see the two aren't comparable at all.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 1:00:12 PM , Rating: 2
I've used P2P for legitimate reasons (OC remix collections), and I've never achieved speeds, download or upload combined, that were even 2/3rds of 128kb/s on a 3mb/s connection. P2P seems extremely slow in my experience, although that could easily not be the norm, but I'd like to see actual figured on the matter before I'm swayed that P2P accounts for most traffic.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 1:30:38 PM , Rating: 2
As my other post indicates, the estimate comes from a hardware vendor of traffic monitoring equipment; it's not a figure pulled out of a hat.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By Christopher1 on 2/19/2008 2:40:54 PM , Rating: 3
As my other post indicates, the estimate comes from a hardware vendor of traffic monitoring equipment; it's not a figure pulled out of a hat.

And you don't see the problem with that, in that you are taking the word of a company that has a FINANCIAL STAKE in selling equipment to 'monitor' excessive traffic as rote truth?
Stupid, to the extreme.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 3:01:33 PM , Rating: 2
You make an excellent example of the human ability to rationalize away inconvenient data that doesn't fit your preconceptions.

IPogue has no "financial stake" in publicizing false statistics on total P2P traffic. In fact, just the opposite. Their livelihood depends on their ability to generate accurate figures on traffic breakdowns. False data would seriously jeopardize their product image.

They have absolutely nothing to gain from inflating one particular traffic source over another. Such a claim is-- as you yourself put it -- "stupid to the extreme".

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By The0ne on 2/20/2008 1:07:36 PM , Rating: 2
He just doesn't want to believe anything that he didn't say for himself from ANYONE or ANY BODY. This should mean he shouldn't be voting, shouldn't be buying name brand items, eating at fine restuarants, etc. That's because we all know people do research and from that make their choices. But maybe that's too far out for him :)

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By SandmanWN on 2/19/2008 3:10:36 PM , Rating: 2
Their company makes hardware that breaks down ALL traffic and creates an analysis of that information. They have no stake in what traffic gets revealed in the process. Their stake is only that the data is accurate.

Its the ISP that has a stake in the data itself, not the hardware monitor provider and their equipment.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By FITCamaro on 2/20/2008 1:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
MMOs are designed to use the least amount of bandwidth possible so that anyone can play. They come nowhere close to comparing to P2P or Bittorrent. I'd say you're probably using less than 100MB of bandwidth in an hour of play vs. about 1.8GB of bandwidth in an hour with a maxed out 4Mbps connection.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 12:43:51 PM , Rating: 2
Peer-to-peer applications account for between 50 percent and 90 percent of overall Internet traffic, according to a survey this year by ipoque GmbH, a German vendor of traffic-management equipment.

I can't vouch for the accuracy of their figures, but given their hardware role, they'd certainly be in a position to know.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By IGoodwin on 2/19/2008 1:26:40 PM , Rating: 2
It is good that you posted the full quote about the statistic's range...

However, I hope this is not indicative of how you collect figures for your articles. A figure you have quoted with a 40% spread, which makes it obviously highly subjective, and you use the higher bound without qualification in an earlier post!

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 1:38:15 PM , Rating: 2
Without qualification? I specifically said "up to 90%" in my post, and further qualified it with "some surveys". I'd call that accurately qualified, especially given I was working from memory of a story read half a year earlier.

Point in fact, the range is primarily geographically based. The 50% low range comes from the Middle East (which accounts for a very low percentage of overall Internet traffic anyway). The high range comes from Europe. In Eastern Europe, it can go even higher still -- as high as 95% at times.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By IGoodwin on 2/19/2008 2:29:57 PM , Rating: 3
Lets just say we see your word usage highlighted the 90% figure without adequate qualification.

Anecdotal observation of peoples responses would indicate that the 'up to' part of your sentance was not sufficient to overshadow the 90% figure, leading to a skew in perception.

As I mentioned before, it is good that you do provide full quotes, as, in general, I like reading your material.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 12:38:57 PM , Rating: 2
That sounds totally incredulous. What evidence do they have to support that? I find it difficult to believe that most internet users would use P2P--or be using it all the time at absolute max settings with a client that's good enough to use all ones bandwidth--compared to how many users are just normally surfing the web. Not saying you're wrong at all, but I'd like to see credible studies on that, as 90% just seems like a ludicrous figure.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 12:45:27 PM , Rating: 2
I doubt most uses do engage in P2P. But remember, a P2P app running 24x7 (as many do) can easily use 1,000X or more the bandwidth of a user who sporadically engages in email and web surfing.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 1:23:52 PM , Rating: 2
"Some have claimed the peer-to-peer file-sharing system BitTorrent accounts for one-third of Internet traffic. This estimate is far too high, but BitTorrent and its competitors are very substantial bandwidth consumers."

A very lengthy article, but full of information on the internet, its traffic, history and possible future. They seem to be legitimate and site a few peer review articles. It's the best real info I've found thus far.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 2:17:49 PM , Rating: 2
Your link doesn't cite any reasons to discount those estimates. I'd put more faith in figures from actual hardware traffic analysis, than in an unattributed off-the-cost estimate from a academic talking head.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By Christopher1 on 2/19/2008 2:46:25 PM , Rating: 2
There is no evidence to support those numbers. Personally, even leaving a p2p applications like Shareaza or Azureus on for days straight, with it logging every single bit of data I transfer...... it usually comes to a grand total of 20GB's for 2 weeks straight.

That is less than I download while web surfing, according to the add-in that I found for IE7 that keeps track of every bit you download, which is anywhere from 30-40GB's, most of it demo games that I download.

The real problem today is that the IP companies have not kept up with the reality of distribution today, and have not realized that the people who are on the 'cutting edge' like myself (if I even am, considering that everyone who I ask admits to using Bittorrent/other p2p and streaming TV episodes from sites like are not going to be on the cutting edge for much longer.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 3:05:00 PM , Rating: 2
On the contrary, there is very good evidence to support them:

See the pie chart for a complete breakdown by traffic type.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 3:27:44 PM , Rating: 2

Discounts them. "P2P applications now amount for 37 percent of the total traffic" according to Ellacoya Networks as of 2007. Youtube alone takes up 10%? That immediately disproves any figure of 90% for P2P, as there's more on the net than just Youtube.

Arbor networks also puts P2P at 37% .

The more I look, the more that 90% figure seems totally impossible. We now have three lines of evidence, two from industry and one from an "academic talking head" saying it's 37% or less.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 3:42:19 PM , Rating: 2
> "We now have three lines of evidence, two from industry "

Err, Ellacoya Networks and Arbor Networks are the same company -- you just quoted the same survey twice.

So we have one survey which states P2P it is "50-90%" depending on area and another which states its 37%. However, they both agree that P2P is the largest consumer of bandwidth on the Internet, which was my original point.

In any case, I'd say the difference between the two surveys is most likely geographic distribution. Europe runs extremely high in P2P usage; North America is substantially lower.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 4:15:07 PM , Rating: 2
Ah, I did not know they were one in the same, so let me supplement with Cisco's 2007 study which says 50% in 2006 and losing ground to other activites to be 39% predicted in 2011,136069-page,1/ar...

Yes, it is obvious that P2P by itself has a sizable chunk that makes it the dominant single type of traffic. That is certainly not in dispute. But 50% seems to be the reasonable maximum that P2P takes up over the entire internet. 90% seems completely out of line, unless perhaps you only looked at one pocket, like a college campus that encouraged P2P, or something of that nature (as that seems the likeliest place for P2P to reach 90%, if it does anywhere on the net now a days). But this still calls into question the link you posted that makes the claim for P2P being 50 to 90% of "overall Internet traffic" (perhaps MSNBC took the study out of context). The revised estimate should be 37-50% then, working off only numbers we can be reasonably sure of. This certainly changes the gravity of the matter, though not the core issue of what single data stream is taking up the most resources.

In any case, the 90% of all internet traffic being P2P is definitely false (that has only been what I've been disputing), so Tom doesn't seem that far off with his statement, and the issue revolving around P2P isn't as grave as 90% would implicate.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/19/2008 4:35:48 PM , Rating: 2
Tom's statement was that there are many other applications "as good if not better" in consuming bandwidth than P2P. Even your own study claim otherwise. From your link:
Internet traffic is still dominated by peer-to-peer (P2P) applications and this trend is not slowing, the Cisco report finds . P2P traffic will more than quadruple from 649 petabytes per month in 2006 to 2,836 petabytes per month in 2011

> "In any case, the 90% of all internet traffic being P2P is definitely false "

As stated before, the figure was "up to" 90%. And in fact, apparently in some Eastern European countries, the figure can be even higher, rising up to 95% just from P2P.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By geddarkstorm on 2/19/2008 4:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
Again, I was never debating the point that P2P takes up the largest share for any one data steam type. Nor was I saying Tom was right. But, 90% for the over all internet is definitely incorrect, and by quite a wide margin. That's what the original "up to 90%" claim was referenced to in the actual link. And it is that alone that I was disputing.

It still seems ludicrous that even a single country would be as high as 90, let alone 95% in P2P (unless the Pirate Bay is now a country and I missed the news clip). That doesn't make it impossible, but I'd still like hard cold facts, as it has many implications in networking design and usage, and other interesting sociological connections.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By MatthiasF on 2/20/2008 10:21:03 AM , Rating: 2
I support P2P bandwidth throttling. The biggest reason, which seems to be left out in the debates, is the fact that BitTorrent and gnutella clients alike both try to make as many connections as allowed to download a file and use as much bandwidth as possible or allowed for each connection.

If you have a massive base that has no limits to the speed governing their constant traffic (assuming most clients are left open constantly to allow others to download) then they will always take up a significant chunk of the available bandwidth.

If today the average broadband line is 1 mbit upload and in a few years that doubles or tripples, so will the overall load being applied to the residential networks by these softwares.

Consider this, the average cost of a residential router for home is around $100. The average cost of a commercial router capible of DS3 speeds is over $10,000. DS3s can handle about 25 households at 2 mbits. At 60 million households, do the math. That's 2.4 Trillion US dollars so that you guys can share rediculious crap like music and videos.

Don't like the numbers? I was being conservative. Tweak them however you like, but you e-hippies are so far out of reality it's not funny. You'll never pay enough to support upgrades that extensive and yet you expect more and more.

The rest of us shouldn't need to pay for your bad habits. The net neutrality act was shot down and the freeloading mentality being spread (even by this blog post) is costing us more and more it seems.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By Methusela on 2/20/2008 3:25:44 PM , Rating: 2
Sorry, buddy, but you're wrong.

In general, ISPs oversell their bandwidth by a factor of 4-10. It used to be a factor of 12 or 15, back in the dialup days. This means that for every DS3 circuit, or 45mbit synchronous pipe, you most likely have between 90 and 225 people serviced.

Let's take the middle ground for our figures, or 160 people per 45mbit of bandwidth. At 60 million households, that's actually only $3,750,000,000 in capital expenditures for routing equipment. I think this estimate is still far too high, since this isn't a recurring expense.

In the end, that's just not a whole lot of money spread across so many different ISPs. Consider that it's only $62.50 per household, I'm just not convinced that you know what you're talking about, not to mention your spelling.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By MatthiasF on 2/20/2008 5:54:18 PM , Rating: 2
Oversold in the PAST, before the days of P2P. We're talking about what's necessary for the future.

If the mean (or worse the median) average for broadband usage increases substantially like has been hinted by not only all the statistics flying around but Comcast's actions of which you guys are complaining, they probably won't be overselling at all in the no-so-distance future.

Anyway, my calculation was way off. It should be $24 billion, not $2.4 trillion, for my scenario. Not sure where those two zeros came from in Excel (and of course I didn't save the file).

With that in mind, I'm changing my position. Comcast is a bunch of cheap bastards.

Verizon spends $15-18 billion a year upgrading their network, no reason why Comcast can't keep on par for their subscriber base (which is most likely smaller).

Oh, and on the spellcheck smack, I'm using IE6 today. I'm use to Firefox's form spellchecker. Hmmmm... can't wait for version 3.

RE: Sorry Tom, but..
By masher2 on 2/20/2008 8:41:43 PM , Rating: 1
Err, you're just counting the cost of the routers. That's peanuts. The real money is spent on the cables between those routers, as well as all the labor required to support and maintain the network. And it's not cheap.

For people who think it's is all lightness and air, fun and profits, remember that three of the top 10 largest corporate bankruptcies in history (including Worldcom, the very largest of them all) were all communications companies.

Maintaining a modern, national data network is *expensive*. If its not done just right, it costs much more than customers are willing to pay...and the company quickly loses billions, and folds up shop.

The problem is...
By Screwballl on 2/19/2008 12:01:19 PM , Rating: 2
... that too many companies do not distinguish between legitimate file sharing traffic and illegal traffic. Rather than put all these restrictions and try to kill off a sharing technique simply because it "can" be used for illegal uses, why not put the time and money into upgrading the infrastructure, stopping spam which uses exponentially more bandwidth and throughput than all other internet traffic combined, and packet sniffers that is aimed at illegal usage. There is enough info on illegal files that it should be able to get them blocked if they truly wanted to stop it but still allow legal usage. Using this same line of reasoning, Comcast is at fault for allowing their system to be used for botnets through their customers, their email servers as open or direct relays for spam (I work for an ISP that has them blocked), and for allowing hackers to simply use their service to do much more damage than P2P could ever do. In some cases, the hackers access the internet to control the botnet that is used to send out spam, and Comcast is one of the worst offenders in the US.

RE: The problem is...
By Spivonious on 2/19/2008 12:04:05 PM , Rating: 2
Comcast is simply placing a limitation on the bandwidth used for torrents, not blocking it completely. Since cable connections are shared among neighborhoods, something must be done to make sure all users have enough bandwidth to browse the web. I know I'd be upset if my neighbor was stealing the neighborhood's bandwidth to download some large files and it caused my browsing experience to slow to a crawl.

RE: The problem is...
By SandmanWN on 2/19/2008 2:15:02 PM , Rating: 3
you are incorrect in a sense.

I got a call from Comcast last week. Apparently, even with my bandwidth being throttled at 6mb/s, I still managed to make it to the top percentage of their monthly discriminatory bandwidth abuse list. My first appearance on this supposed chart in my 3 years with Comcast service. I used a P2P service, NOT a torrent site , to download all my saved files (about 500GB) after a system crash. I was told that if my account reach the top 17% in my area again within the next year my account would be terminated. While not a block per say, terminating an account is more of less the same.

None the less, I called a new ISP and ended my account on my own accord.

RE: The problem is...
By Christopher1 on 2/19/2008 2:50:13 PM , Rating: 3
If you got a call from Comcast like that, I would ask to speak to a supervisor and get the name of the person who called you.

I once got a call like that from someone purporting to be doing it on the auspices of Comcast saying that I was in the 'top 17% of their downloaders', and it turned out that he was doing it of his own accord, overstepping his authority by leaps and rocket-propelled jumps.
That person was fired, and I got a sweet little coupon from Comcast for my troubles.

RE: The problem is...
By eye smite on 2/20/2008 8:28:56 PM , Rating: 4
I can summarize in one sentence why comcast and others don't improve their infrastructure or use softwares to filter the proper files instead of just throttling everyone back. There's no money in it and actually money to lose. It cuts into their profit margins too greatly. That's pretty easy to see. Personally I'll stick with filetopia, it's usually got what I want and it's 128 bit encrypted.

Comcast is a Monopoly
By eyebeeemmpawn on 2/19/2008 1:10:46 PM , Rating: 3
First of all, Comcast has a monopoly. Just because Comcast and the other major cable providers have split up their areas, doesn't mean there is any competition.

I live in northern vermont. Since adelphia handed the reins over to Comcast the cost of basic cable internet has increased from ~$50 to ~$65 after taxes and fees.

If there was an actual free market here in the US, then this wouldn't be an issue. Customers who cared about this sort of "helpful" "traffic-shaping" would just leave for a provider who wouldn't impose this BS on them. Comcast might then say: "oh man, after people found out, XX% of our customers left. Maybe that was a stupid idea, maybe we should give our customers what they want instead of what makes us more money." And that my friends is healthy, market-driven competition.

If the government would just do the job that it was intended to do, we might actually a free market, not just a distributed monopoly. I believe a free market might help clear up a lot of issues that people have had. Comcast wouldn't be dragging there heels on admitting to this, they'd be scrambling to save their market share by doing away with it, and maybe dropping prices for a change.

Cable Internet vs. DSL != Competition.

RE: Comcast is a Monopoly
By lexluthermiester on 2/19/2008 3:31:39 PM , Rating: 2
I live in Salt Lake, UT and here we have Comcast, Utopia, Three different DSL providers[That all run through Qwset lines], Bi-directional Satellite and of course dial-up. I can sign up for 6mbps DSL for $45 after taxes. You live in a more developed area than I, so perhaps you should do some home work... I did a check and in Vermont there is Verizon Fiber & DSL @ 6 to 10 mbps, Speakeasy DSL @ upto 15 mbps and a few different satellite providers... eyebeeemmpawn; you have plenty of choices, pick one if you don't like Comcast. Granted, I have no love for them, but we both have choices.

As for the Comcast filtering[false disconnect pockets] of BitTorrent, I use the Azureus client and have the encrypted connections setting on. I also use a non standard port, which gets rotated once a week. I've had no issues with any level of bandwidth. And honestly if they ever did manage to "filter" my BT traffic, I'd simply go to a different carrier. Boohoo, I'll get over it. Qwest doesn't allow traffic shaping and neither does Utopia...

RE: Comcast is a Monopoly
By TomCorelis on 2/19/2008 3:43:14 PM , Rating: 2
Most Americans don't have your luxury.

RE: Comcast is a Monopoly
By eyebeeemmpawn on 2/20/2008 9:14:04 AM , Rating: 2
yeah, there are DSL options, but why don't you go ahead and try to get service somewhere here in Vermont? Fast DSL would be an option for me, but its not available at my house. Maybe you should do your homework. Not to mention that DSL charge would require a home phone line as well. I haven't had a home phone line is 7 years.

But again, I'll repeat my original statement:

Cable Internet vs. DSL != competition

I'm glad to hear that in other parts of the country you have options. But you're only kidding yourself if you think that having a cable internet option, and a dsl option is competition. The bills have increased ~20% in 2 years, with no increase in service level. Not to mention the customer service is absolutely terrible.

What will happen here is, they will charge "what the market will bear". But the market is set by Comcast, so the price will continue to creep up as they see fit. People will cancel when they just can't justify the expense. But with the increased profit margin on the remaining customers, what is their motivation to stay competitive? They're the only choice.

RE: Comcast is a Monopoly
By lexluthermiester on 2/20/2008 6:14:54 PM , Rating: 1
The point of my post was to point out that you DO have other choices, as with most people. And the $47 6mbps DSL connection included a basic phone line[dial tone] connection. Based on your challenge I did a little more research on the matter. I don't have your exact address[and don't want it], but DSL coverage seems to be an option for about 90% of Vermont's populace. Satellite is 100% of the USA and starts at 10mbps, full duplex. So really if you don't like Comcast, go with something else.

Windows Update
By Spivonious on 2/19/2008 12:02:18 PM , Rating: 2
Where’s Comcast stepping in to manage its subscribers’ use of Windows Update?

I'd much rather get the latest security update than download a movie or some other large, noncritical files. I'm sure Comcast agrees.

RE: Windows Update
By JakLee on 2/19/2008 2:20:00 PM , Rating: 2
and they do agree..... as long as you don't download it via torrent

RE: Windows Update
By mindless1 on 2/20/2008 4:10:22 PM , Rating: 3
Ok, so you are a mere one customer. Pat yourself on the back for realizing your subjective desires are not more important than anyone else's.

By therealnickdanger on 2/19/2008 10:51:49 AM , Rating: 2
Isn't spam supposedly responsible for something like 80% bandwidth waste across the whole Internet? I just picked that number from my arse, but it seems to me that the best idea would be to focus any and all dollars toward blocking spam.

RE: Spam
By OrSin on 2/19/2008 11:04:41 AM , Rating: 2
Most spam is email and the ISP has no idea what mail is spam and what is not so they can't throttal that traffic.

Non-email spam is browser pop-up and again they have no control.

Personally I dont throttal bit torrent traffic is bad thing. I used BT alot, and I mean alot and some slow down on that so that other can get a decent usage level is ok by me.

RE: Spam
By Christopher1 on 2/19/2008 2:55:31 PM , Rating: 2
Actually, they do have control. Comcast lately has been blocking sites that have been reported to them as 'malware sites' and have been contacting people whose e-mail accounts have thrown out more than 200 e-mails in a day, asking them to check their e-mail program for viruses.

I got that e-mail from them, checked my thing, and I wasn't pumping out mass e-mails, so I'm not worried.

The ISP's can also control Spam e-mail by keeping a 'whitelist' of sites that are known to be good sites, and only letting e-mail in from those sites unless a person marks differently in their account settings, and I have with e-mails from

Most 'spam' also comes from servers that are easily yanked and the people who own them should be pressured HARD with threats of extreme jail time to get them to crack.
If someone offered me money to run a server.... I wouldn't do it unless they gave me their name, home address, and a copy of their drivers license.

By nbachman on 2/19/2008 2:32:55 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that settles it! Everybody grab a broom, it's Shenanigans!

By Doormat on 2/20/2008 3:44:05 PM , Rating: 2
You say that every protocol, sans streaming, uses as much as it can. That part is true. HTTP, FTP, BT, etc etc will use as much of the pipe as they can.

However, the unique part of BT that sets it apart from all the other protocols is that the user becomes an information host as well as a consumer. When you browse to a website, you send the request and get the 50KB page and images back. If you have a 1Mb/s pipe or a 10Mb/s pipe, after that 50KB have been transfered its done and over. No more data will be transfered until the client makes another request. And because web pages, emails, etc are generally small, a bigger pipe helps a little (for the flash video, email attachment, etc), but a typical end user generally wont increase their consumption that much if the ISP upgrades their speeds from 5/512 to 10/1. The web pages they browse don't get bigger because the have more bandwidth - once you get enough bandwidth its a point of diminishing returns for the average person who doesn't do anything hardcore (IOW, NOT YOU).

BT will use that extra bandwidth if an ISP provisions it. And I think thats what Comcast meant in their filing. As long as that torrent is popular, people will come looking for pieces. This is the case with a movie or a linux distro.

From a technical standpoint Comcast doesn't want 9-10 users bunching up their pipes. They're technically correct in that a DOCSIS 1.1 node can only support 9Mb/s upstream to the hub. It doesn't take a lot of users to clog that upstream, considering Comcast has 450+ homes per node.

Other ISPs (Cox) have 300-350 homes per node, and are working to cut that number down to 250 and expand their plant bandwidth to 1GHz (in the original meaning of bandwidth).

Reguardless the protocol
By AdamFX on 2/21/2008 11:48:45 AM , Rating: 2
I am in agreement with this article. If torrents or P2P were a flash in the pan, I could see some credence to Comcast's actions. However this is not the case, they need to put money into expanding and optimizing without disconnecting current customers.

The 800lb Gorilla
By sphyder on 2/21/2008 2:19:55 PM , Rating: 2
I think the main issue here that is not being addressed is the fact that if I am paying for a service that tells me I get x amount of bandwidth for my money, they should give me what I am paying for. As long as I am paying the money for the service, it is MY decision how to use it. If I want to max out MY bandwidth, I should be able to. If they cannot deliver for ANY reason, it should not be sold as such. Call me old fashioned, but we used to call this sort of thing false advertisement aka fraud.

"If a man really wants to make a million dollars, the best way would be to start his own religion." -- Scientology founder L. Ron. Hubbard

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