AfterDawn: Tech news

Comcast P2P filtering energizes Net Neutrality debate

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 26 Oct 2007 0:33 User comments (14)

Comcast P2P filtering energizes Net Neutrality debate Start with some network "management" that hinders file sharing, add in some public criticism from consumer advocates, and a non-denial that sidesteps the question, and you may end up with just enough publicity to put the Net Neutrality debate back on the map. In an interview, congressman Rick Boucher, a Democrat from Virginia and long time fair use advocate, commented on Comcast's practice of interfering with P2P traffic.
"Comcast has made a major mistake in attempting to hinder peer-to-peer file sharing as an aspect of its network management," Boucher said. "The inability of customers to (share files) significantly diminishes their ability to utilize the Internet for one of its most important applications, which is user-to-user content." He also noted that "file sharing is already being used for a wide variety of perfectly lawful and appropriate applications."

He did ndicate sympathy for Comcast's financial considerations, saying "Comcast obviously needs to engage in some aspect of network management. The company has Limited bandwidth, and there are times when there is more demand for service than the infrastructure can support." However, the congressman stressed that "(the) management needs to occur in a more evenhanded way" and that "(Comcast) should not engage in a blanket disqualification of any category of lawful applications."

More important than the perspective of a single politician is the recent PR nightmare Comcast has faced answering allegations of deceptive practices. As we reported earlier this year, there have been numerous claims of filtering by Comcast customers, which have invariably been dismissed by company representatives and mostly ignored in the mainstream media.

At least it's been ignored until recently when both the Associated Press and Electronic Frontier Foundation conducted tests that verified consumer claims of interference with BitTorrent based file sharing. Since then, Comcast has mostly repeated statements that don't even address the allegations, primarily indicating that no applications are being blocked. However, applications don't get blocked at the network level. What Comcast is doing simply neuters some applications by limiting network functionality.

Source: Cnet News

Previous Next  

14 user comments

126.10.2007 1:44

I have Comcast. They throttle my account when I play Steam games online. Games such as Counter-Strike Source and Day of Defeat. I called them about 3 months ago because the problem has been happening for about a year now and I'm sick of it. I get disconnected every 10 to 15 minutes while in mid game, and the disconnection lasts for about exactly a minute. When I called the employee gave me a run around telling me I have faulty hardware. Ironically my hardware is only "faulty" when I have my bit torrent client running or when I'm playing online Steam games. I knew they were up to no good a while ago... This just verifies it.

226.10.2007 6:44
nobrainer
Inactive

Your good president has already said that Net Neutrality would stop American companies making a profit and ripping of north American citizens so this will never happen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r-MuwmcsrpQ

http://www.freepress.net/news/24202

326.10.2007 8:12

Net Neutrality is your basic play on words it means if you want the net you have today you will have to spend 3 times as much tomorrow, right?

426.10.2007 8:28

No further validation needed...Comcast is pretty deceitful! We are paying customers and we need to receive top figure services for the amount of money that we pay them.

526.10.2007 10:59

i know they throttle ive got em logged.

626.10.2007 11:18

And Comcast wonders why Verizon FIOS is taking their business...

726.10.2007 12:08

Originally posted by Joshewah:
I have Comcast. They throttle my account when I play Steam games online. Games such as Counter-Strike Source and Day of Defeat. I called them about 3 months ago because the problem has been happening for about a year now and I'm sick of it. I get disconnected every 10 to 15 minutes while in mid game, and the disconnection lasts for about exactly a minute. When I called the employee gave me a run around telling me I have faulty hardware. Ironically my hardware is only "faulty" when I have my bit torrent client running or when I'm playing online Steam games. I knew they were up to no good a while ago... This just verifies it.
Are you downloading/uploading on bit torrent when playing the games? Perhaps the bit torrent is using up the bandwidth your game requires. I turn off bit torrent when I play Team Fortress 2, and I still have occasional lag.

826.10.2007 12:19

This Rick Boucher guys sounds alright its good to see someone in office who seems to at least have a semblance of understanding of technology. Need I remind anyone of the senator from Alaska?

"The internet is a large series of tubes!!!!""" LOLOLOLOL

926.10.2007 13:26

If I'm not mistaken all of the flyers and advertising I get/see say UNLIMITED ACCESS does that mean something diff then unlimited? I say class action lawsuit anyone with me?

1026.10.2007 16:04

Originally posted by BludRayne:
Originally posted by Joshewah:
I have Comcast. They throttle my account when I play Steam games online. Games such as Counter-Strike Source and Day of Defeat. I called them about 3 months ago because the problem has been happening for about a year now and I'm sick of it. I get disconnected every 10 to 15 minutes while in mid game, and the disconnection lasts for about exactly a minute. When I called the employee gave me a run around telling me I have faulty hardware. Ironically my hardware is only "faulty" when I have my bit torrent client running or when I'm playing online Steam games. I knew they were up to no good a while ago... This just verifies it.
Are you downloading/uploading on bit torrent when playing the games? Perhaps the bit torrent is using up the bandwidth your game requires. I turn off bit torrent when I play Team Fortress 2, and I still have occasional lag.

Nope. I am very serious *insert "internet is serious business" image here* when it comes to my online gaming and having as much bandwidth as possible. I even shut off all programs running in the background except xfire. It's because when you are gaming online you are sending packets out as well as receiving, and Comcast probably sees this as the same type of packet transfer as bit torrent downloads. Those two applications are the only programs I get throttled with.

X360 - iXtreme1.4 ||| Xbox - EvoX Dash ||| PS2 - CC 2.0 PRO SLE ||| Dreamcast ...lol ||| NDS - Acekard 2/M3 Simply/EZ Flash 3-1 ||| Rooted HTC Hero with Ic3rom

1126.10.2007 16:09

Originally posted by justme81:
If I'm not mistaken all of the flyers and advertising I get/see say UNLIMITED ACCESS does that mean something diff then unlimited? I say class action lawsuit anyone with me?
They also claim that their high speed internet is 6Mbs but in actuality (after performing 5 separate tests from 5 different sources) the speed is in the neighborhood of 3.5Mbs. I called them out on this and their reasoning was that outside of Comcast servers you will experience less than 6Mbs because the data has to ping out to other server and back to theirs and that only on Comcast's server will you experience 6Mbs. Essentially the only time you ever see 6Mbs is when viewing Comcast's home page and associated websites... whoopidy doo...

X360 - iXtreme1.4 ||| Xbox - EvoX Dash ||| PS2 - CC 2.0 PRO SLE ||| Dreamcast ...lol ||| NDS - Acekard 2/M3 Simply/EZ Flash 3-1 ||| Rooted HTC Hero with Ic3rom

1226.10.2007 17:40

i was with insight who i think are part owned by comcast the cheeky f**k's even phoned me a couple times to tell me i was using too much bandwidth, but they couldnt give me a number as to how much was too much, which got me to thinking, i pay for 10mb down and 1mb up, if i am using 10 or less down andf 1 or less up how could i be possibly using "too much". i could understand if i was using more than i was paying for.

anyways i left them a couple months ago and went back to dsl after alot of strange things going on with my p2p apps (mainly connections with other peers being cut as soon as they start while seeding), no doubt all down to testing ways of stopping p2p traffic, didnt stick around long enough to see them implement it permanantly.

1326.10.2007 19:09

Originally posted by Joshewah:
They also claim that their high speed internet is 6Mbs but in actuality (after performing 5 separate tests from 5 different sources) the speed is in the neighborhood of 3.5Mbs. I called them out on this and their reasoning was that outside of Comcast servers you will experience less than 6Mbs because the data has to ping out to other server and back to theirs and that only on Comcast's server will you experience 6Mbs. Essentially the only time you ever see 6Mbs is when viewing Comcast's home page and associated websites... whoopidy doo...
If it's anything like the UK's supposed "8Mbit" service then you have to factor in all sorts of criteria to get the full download capacity.

Firstly the distance from the exchange. Secondly the amount of data being served to other users on the same exchange. I live less than a hundred yards from my telephone exchange, yet most of the time, I get the "Standard" 3.8Mbit that most "8Mbit" users in the UK seem to manage. However it does vary and I have had 7Mbits a few times, such is the variation of this latest DSL technology.

As far as throttling goes, BitTorrent is a No-Go with most UK ISPs now (Several ISPs throttle BT). Other downloading methods are a different matter though, with differing results reported with different ISPs. I was using Toucan Telecom's broadband service (Run by Tiscali) until a few months ago and it appeared as though they were pretty much throttling everything except standard web downloads. I was struggling to get up to 1Mbit downstream even on Usenet (Which should get full speed all the time). I am now using the "BT Total Broadband" service which whilst costing more, gives me a lot more speed with everything except BitTorrent. I can only assume that P2P is now the official ISP target for throttling. A shame because it has many legitimate uses, such as Linux and other Open-source software, as well as proprietary P2P services, such as the Kontiki service used by Sky Anytime. But as usual, the illegal side of things will be blamed for everything.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 26 Oct 2007 @ 19:12

My opinions come with no warranty whatsoever, but are totally open-source, so you can reverse engineer or decompile them as you see fit. All other rights reserved.

"Freedom" in the west consists of: Freedom of speech, freedom of opinion and freedom of movement. So why is it then, that people want to know what youre saying, what you think of them and where you are going?

1431.10.2007 17:50

The whole filtering thing is acceptable the release of information is not :P

Comments have been disabled for this article.

News archive