Comcast_Is_Starting_The_Tiered_Internet_Whether_We_Like_It_or_Not

Corey Edwards tensai at zmonkey.org
Thu Aug 23 13:32:50 MDT 2007


On Thu, 2007-08-23 at 09:17 -0600, Von Fugal wrote:
> * Corey Edwards [Tue, 21 Aug 2007 at 11:47 -0600]
> > The p2p limit is artificial, but would the service be limited for
> > everyone if that limit isn't in place? If not, then Comcast is blocking
> > a useful service for no good reason. But if it is, then I can understand
> > their point of view. While it sucks to be that one guy, it doesn't
> > really make sense to let everybody else's service degrade.
> 
> Your missing the point, as are a lot of people here. I think that
> blocking torrent/p2p IS wrong. Why?! Because Comcast _is_ providing the
> customer a service, and that service is _internet_. Not just http, not
> just whatever Comcast deems is most profitable to them.

Please don't misconstrue my responses as a defense of Comcast. I have no
idea why they are blocking bittorrent, but based on previous actions I
have seen them take, I have no reason to believe it's in anybody's
interest than their own.

But not all ISPs are like that. My point is that saying "ISPs should
never block anything" or "don't do anything to my Internet
connection" (not necessarily what you're saying, but just an example),
it irritates me. There *are* times when it is responsible for an ISP to
block or filter traffic. I have cited two in other emails specific
examples and I won't bore you by repeating them.

I fear that in our zeal to enforce reason upon some misbehaving ISPs
(mainly the large ones) that we'll throw the baby out with the
bathwater. I've experienced the hell that is telephone regulations and I
promise that it's not something you would wish upon anybody. Let's not
jump to that solution prematurely by legislating equality on the
Internet.

> If the bandwidth thing is really a
> problem then they need to deal with it as a bandwidth thing. If 100
> customers purchase "unlimited" access from comcast, and they all use an
> "unlimited" amount, and comcast simply can't handle that, then that's
> totally wrong. Comcast should be able to back up what they sell. They
> could figure out what it is they could realistically provide, offer just
> that, and let people go into it knowing what they will get. This is
> totally feasible. Say Comcast says they can offer speeds up to X and
> that the usage cap is Y, so you can get download speeds of X as long as
> you don't exceed Y/day or Y/month.

I agree with you that any known limits or caps should be expressed to
the customer. Comcast's engineers seem to have been bitten in the butt
by its marketing department. I can sympathize with them because building
out infrastructure can be painful and expensive, so simply adding more
bandwidth isn't always an option.

By expressing the limits upfront, I think customers would be more
understanding of the tradeoffs. If ISPs guaranteed full speeds to all of
their customers, all the time, Internet access would be outrageously
expensive. ISPs should better explain to their customers that by pooling
bandwidth and sharing (remember Kindergarten?), they all share in the
savings.

Corey





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