Feeds

Cable ISP kneecaps heavy users

Who pays for P2P?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Business security measures using SSL

The largest US broadband ISP ComCast is introducing its customers to the idea of "you get what you pay for" and is meeting a fierce backlash.

Cable provider Comcast, which acquired the AT&T@Home network, is experimenting with capping users bandwidth, suspending users who exceed what Comcast deems acceptable usage. But what is acceptable?

Unlike British cable provider NTL, which pegs users to a maximum of 1GB of downloads per day, Comcast simply isn't saying how much users are entitled to use. The written policy is vague, referring to " an unusually large burden on the network"; a spokesperson cited at CNET said that the top one per cent of downloaders would be penalized. This affects around 240,000 users, but which 240,000?

"It's like a Cop giving you a ticket for speeding, so you say to the cop 'what speed was I doing' - the Cop says "sorry I don't know" , so you say 'what is the speed limit?' and the cop says "sorry I don't know, but you're still busted!" notes a stateside reader.

ISPs blame badly-designed P2P software for soaking up the bandwidth. Systems such as Gnutella were designed to avoid single points of failure, rather than for efficiency. So ISPs now find themselves in the same position as the retail banks, which have been trying to reduce the number of unprofitable customers for many years. (In the UK banks employ fruit codes too distinguish "cherries" from the "lemons, which is more imaginative than the classifications used in the US).

Comcast's less than transparent policy disturbs the assumption that flat-rate, predictable pricing means users need not worry about bandwidth costs. These are very real, but with the media firm (which recently sold the QVC shopping channel) sitting on a cash pile of $8 billion, pleading hardship isn't going to be well received by blackballed users.

Whatever happened to the bandwidth glut? ®

Security and trust: The backbone of doing business over the internet

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
ISPs' post-net-neutrality world is built on 'bribes' says Tim Berners-Lee
Father of the worldwide web is extremely peeved over pay-per-packet-type plans
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Drag queens: Oh, don't be so bitchy, Facebook! Let us use our stage names
Handbags at dawn over free content ad network's ID policy
prev story

Whitepapers

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops
Balancing user privacy and privileged access, in accordance with compliance frameworks and legislation. Evaluating any potential remote control choice.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.