Monday, October 22, 2007

Comcast blocks internet traffic

It was a rumor a few months back that cable/internet behemoth Comcast was not just capping bandwidth of certain types of internet usage but entirely blocking certain types of traffic in some of its markets. A discussion thread appeared locally which led me to dig deeper.

The AP did a few nationwide tests of BitTorrent software in which they attempted to transfer a relatively small PDF file of the King James Bible. Amazingly, or not, the transfer came to a screeching halt.

While some would argue that Comcast is simply protecting itself by blocking traffic from a Peer to Peer software program that is notorious for facilitating the exchange of music files and movies, it does, like most any software, have an increasingly legitimate use. It's a great too, for distributing independent movie and music releases and propagating legal documents lightning fast -- well at least until Comcast stepped in and blocked all uploads taking place in BotTorrent software.

I have to say that this is troubling.

Alright, calling this development troubling is putting it lightly.

It all boils down to "net neutrality" which is a founding principal of the internet and allows for all traffic to move freely without any preference. Comcast's move in blocking BitTorrent traffic goes solidly against this principal. While their terms of service are pretty full of legalese that pretty much allows them to do whatever they wish, they need to respect the given laws (written or not) of the internet and allow traffic to flow freely. I know that they feel they are just watching out for their own pockets by stifling BitTorrent traffic but the "pay to play" system, if this is allowed to continue unchecked, isn't far away.

Do any readers have Comcast online service? Has anyone personally experienced a blocked BitTorrent transfer with Comcast service or any others as well?


Enemy of the Republic said...

I don't have Comcast. I've never heard one good thing about it.

Aaron said...

I've been having recent problems with Comcast but I haven't been using BitTorrent. :-) Symptoms are the same though... I start using it a lot and suddenly everything cuts out for a few minutes.

I'm getting ready to dump them.

Sornie said...

I use BitTorrent to download missed TV shows (still stuck in the VCR era) but am through a different cable conglomerate. I just find it interesting that they can essentially do whatever the hell they want and get away with it.

Brendan said...

Comcast customers might be interested in the new site Comcast Must Die.

I am fortunate to have a good DSL plan through the phone company. I've never used BitTorrent, so I can't say if they do similar things, but at 6 Mbps, I don't mind doing straight downloads.