The Federal Communications Commission is now going to reign in on Comcast’s controversial practice of hampering peer-to-peer internet traffic. Out of the five FCC commissioners, three have voted, thus far, on whether Comcast is liable for punishment for filtering internet traffic. And all of them want the cable company to be punished, but the punitive order will officially be executed once the remaining members have voted – a mere formality. The FCC doesn’t intend to fine Comcast but merely wants it to abstain from internet traffic filtering altogether.
Comcast has been in the eye of the “network neutrality” storm since August, 2007, when TorrentFreak revealed that the leading cable company was filtering internet traffic. It is rumored that the company utilizes Sandvine hardware for warding off P2P traffic but Comcast has not even acknowledged that it indulges in such practices. Comcast is currently busy defending itself in a class-action suit which alleges that the company’s actual services betray its promises, for it restricts internet access despite promising unshackled service.
This being such a contentious issue, that has invited intense reactions from all corners, you all are expected to set the comments section afire.
It sounds like Comcast is about to get it’s hand slapped for blocking P2P file sharing on it’s network. That is good news, as it will send a message about screwing with folks internet access. The funny part is where the message is coming from.
The head of the Federal Communications Commission, Kevin Martin said he will recommend that the Comcast be punished for violating agency principles that guarantee customers open access to the Internet. "The commission has adopted a set of principles that protects consumers access to the Internet," Martin told The Associated Press. "We found that Comcast's actions in this instance violated our principles."
This is the same Kevin Martin that wants a free but filtered national broadband that we covered previously. Don’t mess with people’s file sharing, but it is a good idea to filter access to information. (we really want our pr0n). Ah, the duplicity of politicians, even appointed ones. It’s kind of like the obnoxious Uncle from when you were a kid. He’d point at your shoes so he could whack you upside the head while you were looking at your feet.
More on Martin's order for Comcast after the jump.
Could Twitter help you get your cable fixed? Boston.com reports that C.C. Chapman, who noticed a blemish in his high-definition TV’s reception during the NBA playoffs he posted a gripe on his Twitter account about Comcast. Within minutes a Twitter user named ComcastCares responded and within 24 hours a technician was at his house to fix the problem.
I’ve been complaining about my Comcast service for months, that On Demand comes and goes, that the cable box sometimes runs slower than my old Windows 98 box and all I get for help is requests to reboot the cable box to fix the problem (maybe they do have Windows 98 running the cable box). Who knew all I had to do was post on Twitter to get their attention!
A report by network equipment manufacturer Sandvine has once again saddled P2P traffic with the blame for hogging most of the precious North American bandwidth. The report pegs P2P traffic’s share of internet bandwidth at 44% - up 3% from the preceding year.
The scales are heavily lopsided as web traffic comes a distant second with 27.3% followed by streaming media with 14.8% of internet bandwidth.
VoIP is expected to grow steadily over the coming few years but it currently consumes the least internet bandwidth, a paltry .2%. Although there has been no consistency in reports detailing bandwidth usage, P2P traffic is logically most bandwidth-intensive.
Complaints over bandwidth limits and Bittorrent filtering have made it so Comcast can't catch a break in the press, so you'd think the cable giant would be eager to stop shooting itself in the foot. Instead, Comcast is once again making headlines, this time over a PowerPoint presentation created by an account executive and being passed around inside one of its call centers. Read on to see what has customers both laughing and crying at the same time.
Tom, Will, Dave, and Andy bring you a bonus round of podcasting excellence. In this encore edition of the podcast, we discuss Comcast's latest traffic-shaping shenanigans, take a trip to the Lab, and answer your tech questions.