Feeds

Cable ISP kneecaps heavy users

Who pays for P2P?

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

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? ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Same old iPad? NO. The new 'soft SIMs' are BIG NEWS
AppleSIM 'ware to allow quick switch of carriers
Arab States make play for greater government control of the internet
Nerds told to get lost in last-minute power grab bid at UN meeting
Brits: Google, can you scrape 60k pages from web, pleeease
Hey, c'mon Choc Factory, it's our 'right to be forgotten'
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
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?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.