backtop


Print 69 comment(s) - last by joex444.. on Aug 24 at 8:50 AM

ISP unveils changes with its new "fair share" program

Details on the successor to Comcast’s policy of “data discrimination” have emerged, and the majority of its changes will affect the ISP’s most gratuitous users.

Rather than targeting a specific protocol like BitTorrent – a policy that riled up technologists and the FCC, despite its “surgical” precision in managing consumption – Comcast’s new form of network management will kick in when it identifies a single user “disproportionately” consuming network resources, and will move to throttle their connection for a short while.

“If in fact a person is generating enough packets that they're the ones creating that situation, we will manage that consumer for the overall good of all of our consumers,”' said Comcast senior vice president and general manager of online services Matt Bowling.

Comcast says its new “fair share” system of throttling troublesome customers has so far proven to be fairly effective, particularly when the throttling stays in effect for about 10 to 20 minutes.

Once the time limit elapses, speeds revert to normal.

It doesn’t mean a throttled internet experience will be undesirable, however, as Bowling says that users experiencing limited bandwidth will still have an experience on par with “really good” DSL service.

But if a user continues a high level of consumption, “we would have to manage them again.”

It appears that Comcast customers will still enjoy an essentially unlimited bandwidth allotment; however the company says it is mulling over the possibility of charging subscribers a higher price for heavier internet use – but, it “[hasn’t] made any decisions” yet.

Anecdotal reports from users indicate that the new throttling system is already in place in some territories – and that the old policy of “data discrimination” still appears to be in effect as well.

Comcast has made no indication of the kinds of numbers that would trigger a slowdown, nor any specifics regarding the capacity available for throttled users.

Comcast, with its 14.4 million subscribers, fell into hot water last year when internet users and an AP report discovered that the company was screwing with customers’ BitTorrent activities, by essentially cutting them off as soon as a file finished downloading – a potentially toxic condition to the health of the BitTorrent network. Accusations snowballed into an FCC investigation, with both the FCC and Comcast slinging nasty words back and forth for the better part of 2008; the exchange reached its culmination earlier this month, when FCC chairman Kevin Martin officially condemned Comcast for violating the Commissions' tenets of a fair, open internet experience.

Martin also left Comcast an ultimatum, demanding that it disclose its network management practices to the public, and submit a “compliance plan” with details on what it plans to do after it disables its BitTorrent blocking, which is set to happen sometime this year. This announcement appears to satisfy the FCC’s demands.



Comments     Threshold


This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

Im all for it
By Regs on 8/21/2008 9:12:28 AM , Rating: -1
If some one is using Kazaa to download porn or to sell movies to is high school bodies like he's running his own home business, I say cap him and not everybody else.

Unfortunately, what bandwidth advantages would we get? It's the internet and they are obviously more than one network that has to be "managed". But I guess this is a start.

I really want to know, however, what Comcast's idea of excessive is. I figure sharing movies (the legal kind) or files in the range of a few Gigabytes are becoming more routine these days.




RE: Im all for it
By FITCamaro on 8/21/08, Rating: -1
RE: Im all for it
By MrBlastman on 8/21/2008 10:13:20 AM , Rating: 5
They shouldn't advertise it as unlimited internet access then. That is the problem.

Sure, I think it is lame some users might hog the system and bring down the fun for everyone else - but - they should advertise it differently and not as unlimited if they want to do that.

Besides, if only a few users can slow down the whole Comcast pond, I'd say Comcast has much bigger issues with their network infrastructure as a whole than figuring out who to throttle next. They're a major ISP. If we are talking about one user within a local node pipe - well, that is slightly different, but, often a recognized issue with Cable.


RE: Im all for it
By SocrPlyr on 8/21/2008 10:19:59 AM , Rating: 2
This isn't just a cable problem for comcasts. This shows up all over the place on the internet. The issue is that the protocols treat all TCP connections as if they were coming from different computers. Peer to peer protocols game the system by creating lots of TCP connections and thus are able to take up a larger fraction of the bandwidth available, which does happen to show up more on the bandwidth limited cable plants. DSL providers have the same problem as well, but it shows up between the CO and the rest of the web. It is easier to get more capacity in the few areas needed by the phone company than it is on the cable plant.


RE: Im all for it
By DM0407 on 8/21/2008 10:56:47 AM , Rating: 5
They shouldn't offer 5/15Mbps if they can't provide it at all times. That's false advertising...

You would be pretty pissed if you bought car that says it gets 35mpg only to find out that if you got over 50 miles a day the mileage drops to 15mpg. (and dont give me the "if drive 100mph your mileage would drop" analogy, its not relevant)

Cable companies have limited competition so they don't need to take care of their customers. I for one cannot wait for Fios to get in my area, at least Verizon is spending the capital to build a decent infrastructure.

Also, how is this at all transparent to the customer? Where does it say what the cutoff limit is? What happens if someone is teleconferencing? Will they just get a choppy connection for 15min?


RE: Im all for it
By koenshaku on 8/21/2008 11:56:43 AM , Rating: 5
I agree, that is false advertisement and it just changed my decision to go switch AT&T DSL though I hate AT&T getting porn downloads capped is an unbearable thought... No seriously Comcast download rates I thought were always too inconsistent now that they're doing stuff like this I can now see why... AT&T are lying fiber in my area and I think they're offering a 12mbps download rates at competitive prices.


RE: Im all for it
By dgingeri on 8/21/2008 12:22:07 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by DM0407 on August 21, 2008 at 10:56 AM

They shouldn't offer 5/15Mbps if they can't provide it at all times. That's false advertising...


They don't advertise it that way. In every single ISP add I've ever seen, it's been advertised as "Up to" such and such.


RE: Im all for it
By dgingeri on 8/21/2008 12:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
by MrBlastman on August 21, 2008 at 10:13 AM

They shouldn't advertise it as unlimited internet access then. That is the problem.

Sure, I think it is lame some users might hog the system and bring down the fun for everyone else - but - they should advertise it differently and not as unlimited if they want to do that.

Besides, if only a few users can slow down the whole Comcast pond, I'd say Comcast has much bigger issues with their network infrastructure as a whole than figuring out who to throttle next. They're a major ISP. If we are talking about one user within a local node pipe - well, that is slightly different, but, often a recognized issue with Cable.


My problem with this mentality is that highways are 3-5 lanes, but you obviously don't want someone driving down the highway taking up all the lanes and going 30 miles an hour.


RE: Im all for it
By kmmatney on 8/21/2008 2:11:41 PM , Rating: 2
To all you whiners:

They don't advertise "unlimited internet access". They just advertise high speed access. You can see the advertised features here:

http://www.comcast.com/corporate/shop/productdetai...

No mention of "unlimited internet access". If you don't like the policy, then don't buy the service.


RE: Im all for it
By myhipsi on 8/21/2008 12:17:29 PM , Rating: 1
I would have to agree as well, but they should just do what Canadian ISPs are starting to do. It's simple and effective; Capping. I currently have a 10 mb "High Speed Extreme" connection through my ISP, Rogers, which is capped at 95 Gigs per month. If I go over, which I rarely do, I'm charged $1.50 per gig up to a maximum of $25. I'm all for this as long as I get my 10mb of bandwidth which, since the cap, has been very consistant. Also, if I want to download 10 or 20 GB in one day, I can without my connection being throttled. It's a tiered something like this:

Extreme = 10mb with 95GB/month @ 54.95 + 1.50/GB
Express = 7mb with 60GB/month @ 44.95 + 2.00/GB
Lite = 1mb with 25GB/month @ 34.95 + ?/GB
UltraLite = 500kb with 2GB/month @ 24.95 + ?/GB


RE: Im all for it
By TomCorelis on 8/21/2008 2:54:15 PM , Rating: 2
Those bandwidth limits are way too low. 95gb for one month?


RE: Im all for it
By myhipsi on 8/22/2008 8:54:14 AM , Rating: 2
Sure, you can always use more Gigs, but I'd rather that than throttling. Also, for an extra $25 charge a month, or $80.00 total, I have unlimited Gigs if I choose.


RE: Im all for it
By Icelight on 8/21/2008 4:27:34 PM , Rating: 2
Capping with per-gigabyte overage fees is one of the worst possible thing to do. North American ISPs are slowly but surely bringing us back in time because they're too damn cheap to upgrade their aging infrastructure.

North American ISPs: Bringing the world of yesterday to you. Today.


RE: Im all for it
By zolo111 on 8/21/2008 4:53:22 PM , Rating: 2
I think this's the last thing comcast want to do since alot of people who don't even know what a GB is will just switch to the lower plan with 5 or 10GB monthly. Comcast will lose $$ this way..

So instead, they charge everyone $50~$60 ( unless you wait for a good deal; as good as $24 for a year), then they start whining. But where do you draw the line though? this year the monthly cap is 150GB for example, with more people singing up for thier service ( and thier infrastructure remains the same), and more bandwith consumed; they will lower the that cap...etc


RE: Im all for it
By rs1 on 8/21/2008 1:47:44 PM , Rating: 3
Um, no. How about, if I pay for what my ISP advertises as a 10 Mbps connection with "unlimited access", then I get to use up to the full 10 Mbps as much as I want, as often as I want, regardless of what I am using it for. That's what I'm paying for, after all.

And if my ISP doesn't have sufficient network resources to actually support all of their users fully utilizing their connections 100% of the time, then that is their problem, and they should either be working to add capacity until they can properly support their users, or they should stop misrepresenting their capacity by offering 10 Mbps links to users when they really only have 512 kbps per user to go around.

Everyone's connection shouldn't suffer because an ISP exaggerated their capacity in order to get more subscribers by promising a higher per-user bandwidth than what they can really deliver. Punishing users isn't the answer, ISP's need to be held accountable for delivering the bandwidth that they promise to each user, regardless of what other users happen to be doing . And if they can't, then you punish the ISP until they get their act together.


RE: Im all for it
By kmmatney on 8/21/2008 2:13:47 PM , Rating: 2
You are paying for the features shown here:

http://www.comcast.com/corporate/shop/productdetai...

there is no mention of "unlimited access" anywhere...


RE: Im all for it
By lifeblood on 8/21/2008 4:49:42 PM , Rating: 2
Their is also no mention of limited access. The only variable is in the actual connection speed.


RE: Im all for it
By davekozy on 8/21/2008 7:03:47 PM , Rating: 2
You have unlimited access. They only periodically limit your bandwidth. Kind of like rolling blackouts (maybe brownouts in this case) when there isn't enough power for everyone at the same time. The important line in the fine print is "Actual speeds may vary and are not guaranteed." Not so different from other misleading numbers like maximum bandwidth on wired or wireless network cards that never come close to their claimed speeds. Or my 500 GB HD that's really 465 GB after formatting.


RE: Im all for it
By rudolphna on 8/21/2008 10:55:41 PM , Rating: 1
you make absolutely no sense at ALL. You cannot say "unlimited bandwith" and "throttle if you are using it to capacity" Duh. Its not the consumer fault. You are supposed to get "unlimited bandwith" Thats what its advertsed as. That means, that you should be able to download at your max connection speed all month long, without any penalites. Its not the consumers fault that comcrap cannot keep up with network load.


RE: Im all for it
By Regs on 8/22/2008 10:19:09 AM , Rating: 2
Apparently ISP's have been screwing over enough people with unreliable connections and slow speeds, that they created enough anger to bend logic and business sense. I can agree to this at least.


"DailyTech is the best kept secret on the Internet." -- Larry Barber














botimage
Copyright 2014 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki