Comcast prepares to test "Net Neutrality" protocols

By Justin Mann on June 4, 2008, 9:30 AM
Another move by a major ISP to change the way they handle traffic, Comcast announced that they are ready to begin testing of a “protocol agnostic” method of controlling bandwidth. The protocol will identify users that make heavy use of the connection, and during periods of network congestion will throttle only heavy users, irrespective of what services they are using. They admitted (after lying) to have been specifically targeting torrents in the past, but this new approach promises to be fairer to people who rely on torrents. Assuming a torrent is not causing you to enter the “heavy use” category, this will supposedly result in torrentors experiencing better connections overall.

The same is not true for those who download a lot or stream a lot, as in theory those people who go above average will be prioritized below those who don't. This obviously won't be helping those who do make heavy use of it, though clearly it is those customers that Comcast is least interested in pleasing. As ISPs continue to modify what they consider to be reasonable service, year after year the U.S. is continuing to lag behind other countries in pure connection speed. Five years from now, the idea of a bandwidth cap or speed throttling might lead to protest.

User Comments: 3

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thejedislayer said:
mut80r said:
yawn. why can't they just let the users do what they want with it? if it's putting strain on the network that speaks volumes more about the ISP than it does the users. time to upgrade it maybe?I'm on 20mbps with virgin media (UK) ... 3GB/day download limit, but other than that I can do whatever I want with it. and I'm happy.
WytnoiZ said:
I hate the fact that Comcast not only restricted the BitTorrent protocol, but then LIED about it. Now that is bad business. I will say this though. Having just read the above story, it explains something I noticed a few days ago: My BitTorrent transfers (and others) are now flying! As of 7/4 or so, I was finally seeing xfers at the speed I'm paying for (8mbps), and even more! Comcast has added something called PowerBoost® that kicks the speed up to 11 or 12mbps for awhile (but not constantly), and I can vouch that this is true. I keep an eye on my xfers, and definitely clocked speeds of 12mbps. I'm not promoting ComCast, just sharing what I've noticed recently. I'm sure I'll be tagged as a "heavy user" soon (11gb incoming since 7.1), but no sign yet. I'm still waiting for Verizon or AT&T fios to hit my area, but this latest (and hopefully lasting) move by ComCast makes the wait a LOT easier. A lot of folks say to me "get a new ISP if ComCast is throttling, etc."...Problem is, they've BOUGHT all of the smaller regional companies in the area (Adelphia, Susquehanna, etc) and there are NO alternatives. Now that sucks.WytnoiZ[Edited by WytnoiZ on 2008-07-07 01:21:11]
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