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Comcast claims BitTorrent throttling over

by on07 January 2009


A gentler, kinder Comcast?

The second largest broadband provider in the U.S., Comcast Corporation, has announced that it has ceased network-management practices that focus on slowing P2P BitTorrent.

Before we start thinking that Comcast is voluntarily doing this and sending us down the primrose path, keep in mind that Comcast was mandated by the U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to cease its former network management practices of throttling P2P traffic.

The FCC ruled against Comcast in August of 2008, claiming that Comcast violated the FCC Net neutrality rules of slowing or blocking Internet traffic or applications. Comcast cried ‘foul,’ and said that the FCC didn’t have the authority to enforce Net neutrality policy; it finally reconsidered after much bad press and hate mails from Net neutrality advocates.

Comcast’s new and improved recipe now calls for a 250GB monthly bandwidth cap on its customers. The new network management policy also provides that Comcast can slow traffic to high-bandwidth users during times of ‘peak network congestion.’

Comcast indicated on its Web page that it "…will identify which customer accounts are using the greatest amounts of bandwidth and their Internet traffic will be temporarily managed until the period of congestion passes. Customers will still be able to do anything they want to online, and many activities will be unaffected, but they could experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish."

In other words, if you’re a bandwidth hog, prepare to have your bandwidth usage put on a diet. Comcast claims that its new bandwidth management will not manage congestion based on the applications that users are using, but will "…only focus on the heaviest users in real time, so the periods of congestion could be very fleeting and sporadic."

This is a nice use of fancy words to really mean that P2P traffic will likely remain unhindered only between 3 A.M. and 5 A.M. on some weekday mornings.
Last modified on 07 January 2009
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