Monday, March 3, 2008

Comcast is playing a new game with some old tactics

I think I've got it pretty good here in the frigid north/central part of the US, from an internet connectivity perspective. I've got good speed (up and down), short latency, and pretty cheap prices. And I'm with a cable company that doesn't seem to mind that I use their fiber optics to download all of my entertainment from sources all over the world, mostly via bittorrent. Well, at least they've never officially notified me that they have any issues. Um, knock on wood.

But apparently, some folks aren't so lucky. It seems that Comcast has broken the Net Neutrality de facto armistice and has turned the guns on it's customers. Reports from users, including some noted experts in the field, show that Comcast is blocking bittorrent traffic and shaping/throttling other "heavy" download traffic. And they are denying everything. That's some sneaky sh*t, Batman! Users are paying for bandwidth, but simply not getting it. It would be different if Comcast changed their terms of service and imposed a tiered pricing structure based on usage. But to resort to these kinds of deceitful practices is pretty dang low.

All is not lost, though. The FCC recently had a public hearing in Boston on Net Neutrality. Surely once they heard the voice of the many concerned citizens, they would gain some valuable insight on how the public truly feels about Net Neutrality and act to stop Comcast's shenanigans. Um, that's not quite how the hearing went...



Yup. Comcast paid a bunch of yahoos to pack the house, leaving the true concerned citizens literally out in the cold.

Look, I'm sooo not a fan of FCC meddling. They usually do more harm than good. I generally prefer they keep their noses out of things that don't concern them. But the internet is a communications INFRASTRUCTURE. Most companies and average citizens can't just lay a million miles of trans-atlantic fiber and start their own internet. Keeping the internet equally accessible to everyone MUST fall within FCC scope. And they need to wake up, quit bending internet radio over, and refocus on this Net Neutrality issue before it blows up in somebody's face.
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