It looks like Comcast and Sony are looking to take a bite out of the Apple pie that is retail marketing, by opening up their very own joint retail store that will push Sony’s tech and Comcast’s services.
“At Sony Style Comcast Labs, trained staff show consumers how to unlock the full potential of their devices by demonstrating how Comcast's advanced delivery services integrate beautifully with Sony's hardware products and entertainment content,” said Stan Glasgow, President and COO of Sony US.
If anyone out there is looking to check out this store on its first day, the location will cut the ribbon today at the Comcast Center in Philadelphia, on 17th and JFK Boulevard.
Sure, Comcast was caught filtering for profit and ushered in the metered bandwidth revolution. And yes, a Comcast technician might even fall asleep on your couch. But a part time super hero as well?
That latter part might be stretching it a little, but two Comcast technicians did manage to save an elderly woman from perishing in flames as her house caught on fire. It all started when the woman's husband escaped from the burning home and ran outside calling for help. Jim MacConnel and Tom Masciulli, who had been installing a phone line in the area, rushed inside.
"There was so much black smoke and she had soot all over her face," MacConnel said. "If we had left, it's just my opinion, but if we weren't here she would have perished."
The two man escorted the 88-year-old woman through black, billowing smoke and out to safety.
All systems are go for Comcast, who confirmed to DSL Reports it has implemented its broadband throttling system across all markets. The two-condition throttling system works by first examining aggregate traffic usage data for individual segments of Comcast's high-speed internet (HSI) network. If the overall upstream or downstream usage reaches a predetermined level, the software system then identifies which subscribers are using a disproportionate share of the bandwidth and assigns them a lower priority status. According to Comcast, throttling won't actually occur "so long as the network segment is not actually congested" (see Comcast's filings with the FCC in PDF form).
It will take a sustained use of 70 percent of the downstream throughput for a user to be assigned a lower priority, which will remain that way until usage drops to 50 percent of the provisioned upstream or downstream bandwidth for about 15 minutes. In this throttled state, traffic may or may not be delayed or dropped, depending on the overall demand, Comcast says.
In the past, Comcast received heavy criticism over its decision to use forged TCP packets to throttle upstream P2P services no matter how much bandwidth a user was consuming. This new system of identifying and potentially thwarting bandwidth hogs sounds a fair bit, well, more fair than the ISP's previous approach, but we'd like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
Do you like what Comcast is doing? Hit the jump and sound off.
Maximum PC intercepted the following memorandum from a high-level Comcast executive to the company’s Board of Directors. We suggest you read it once, and then immediately delete all traces of this text from your PC. This is seriously twisted stuff.
Judging by the reader comments in past news blurbs regarding bandwidth caps, the general consensus appears to be that they suck, regardless of the limit being imposed. Not only have opponents attacked the concept of a set cap, but many of you voiced concerns over the inability to track your internet usage to know when you're approaching the newly imposed GB ceiling. Come January, that's going to change for some customers.
According to DSLReports, Comcast will start offering its subscribers a bandwidth usage meter, possibly by the first week in January. However, Comcast is being careful not to commit to a set date, saying it will first test the meter out with an employee trial.
"When that testing is complete, we plan to launch the meter to all of our high-speed Internet customers, said Comcast spokesperson Charlie Douglas. "It will be available for free via a customer's Comcast.net account and it will enable them to very easily keep track of their aggregate data usage each month."
Would a free bandwidth meter make the 250GB easier to swallow? Hit the jump and sound off.
Whether you place the blame on ISPs for not upgrading their infrastructure or the small number of bandwidth hogs clogging up the pipes (with all legal content, of course), metered bandwidth looks to become the norm rather than the exception. AT&T becomes the latest to jump on board and will begin trials for metered internet access for subscribers living in Reno, Nevada. But that's not the half of it.
Those of you who were outraged at Comcast for having put a 250GB cap in place might want to stop reading now. According to a letter filed electronically with the FCC, AT&T attorney Jack Zimmerman says the size of his company's bandwidth caps will vary based on the service level. Customers on the 768kbps plan will be hit the hardest and have just 20GB to work with, while 6mbps subscribers will be capped at 150GB, or 100GB less than what Comcast is allowing. Should customers go over their service level's limit, a $1 per gigabyte charge will be assessed to the monthly bill.
Customers who want no part of the caps can choose to cancel their service and have their early termination fee waived. We imagine there are readily available alternatives in Reno, but should AT&T's test run spread to other areas, finding another ISP may not always be as easy. AT&T boasts 14.7 million subscribers, enough to rank the company as the largest ISP in the U.S.
Comcast is in the news again, but this time it has nothing to do with throttling connections or those ever-unpopular bandwidth limits. Instead, the ISP has announced it is rolling out DOCSIS 3.0 'wideband' internet service, giving (er, selling) subscribers up to 50Mbps downstream and 10Mpbs upstream.
At those speeds, Comcast puts itself nearly on par with Verizon's FiOS service, who's top-tier package offers the same downstream but twice the upstream at 20Mbps. But a key difference lies in compatibility. DOCSIS 3.0 means that cable operators don't have to install new lines and instead can use existing infrastructure.
The Extreme 50 service, as Comcast is calling it, will run $140 per month for residential subscribers and $190 per month for businesses. According to Comcast, Extreme 50 customers will be able to download a high-definition movie in about 16 minutes. Initial availability is limited to subscribers in parts of New England, Philadelphia, and New Jersey, with a planned expansion to more than 10 million homes and business by the end of the year.
Would you be willing to pay $140 per month for 50Mpbs/10Mbps? Hit the jump and let us know.
In a seemingly never ending battle with the FCC, Comcast is back on the offensive. The cable giant is looking to overturn the ruling reached on August 1st which found them in violation of the FCC’s network neutrality principles. Comcast was mandated to immediately cease any packet shaping initiatives and to publically disclose the full extent of its traffic blocking policies. Experts close to the case have chimed in on the issue and it would appear as though news of the appeal wasn’t all that surprising. Comcast has become famous in legal circles for appealing any decision it doesn’t agree with, and this case is no exception. Comcast firmly believes that packet shaping of peer-to-peer traffic is a legitimate and reasonable means of managing network traffic and intends to defend that contention to the bitter end. Despite the impending appeal, Comcast has agreed to abide by the FCC mandates until a new verdict is reached. Comcast’s packet shaping activities have been in the spotlight since late 2007 when the Associated Press revealed proof that Comcast was blocking P2P traffic during peak hours. The FCC case was seen as a test run help to determine if it could enforce its network neutrality principles. I’m sure most Maximum PC readers are rooting for the FCC, but since so little precedent in a case like this; the outcome of an appeal could still go either way.
Comcast made it official today by announcing it will introduce bandwidth caps to all residential customers starting on October 1, 2008. The ISP describes the 250GB per month cap as "an extremely large amount of data," noting that a large majority of customers will never cross it. Or will they?
Comcast says that the 250GB cap is enough to send about 50 million emails, download 62,500 songs, download 125 standard-definition movies, or upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos. Put into that kind of perspective, 250GB seems plenty for all but the most bandwidth hungry users, who tend to be up to no good anyway. The ISP also notes that the bandwidth cap represents the same policy that has already been in place, except with more explicit numbers outlining what is and isn't allowed.
"As part of our preexisting policy, we will continue to contact the top users of hour high-speed internet service and ask them to curb their usage," the company told ArsTechnica. "If a customer uses more than 250GB and is one of the top users of our service, he or she may be contacted by Comcast to notify them of excessive use."
Previous speculation of Comcast's impending bandwidth cap pointed towards a $15 fee for every 10GB customers go over the limit, but a cursory glance at the company's FAQ page doesn't appear to make mention of overage penalties.
What are your thoughts on Comcast's decision to cap bandwidth?
Comcast is not about to stop in its attempts to manage heavy users on its network after the hand slap from the Federal Communications Commission that found that Comcast had improperly blocked peer-to-peer programs.
Bloomburg reports that Comcast now has plans to slow Internet service to the heaviest users during periods of congestion. The internet speeds for targeted customers will be reduced for periods lasting from 10 minutes to 20 minutes, to keep the service running smoothly for other users.
How much of a slow down? Mitch Bowling, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of online services said it would back down to “a really good DSL experience''.
Internet Service Providers need a way to control bandwidth hogs during peak times in order to keep things profitable. The only other way is to add additional bandwidth that they would never even touch the rest of the time, which comes off their bottom line. Comcast’s first mistake was being sneaky about it and not disclosing the practice to consumers.
I actually like their latest idea, but from the sounds of this, they are about to repeat their second mistake; not defining what constitutes a heavy user and what exactly is this penalty phase with the bandwidth cap? The generalities just make users uneasy. Those same uneasy users will backlash if they unknowingly get caught up in Comcast’s heavy user slowdown, with what they see as reasonable usage. That reasonable usage is completely subjective, unless Comcast chooses to define it.
What do you think? Is Comcast’s latest plan an improvement?