US cable giant to throttle P2P
No, not that one
Cox Communications - America's third-largest cableco - is on the verge of testing new network technology that will fast-track certain "time-sensitive" internet traffic during periods of congestion.
This also means that "less time-sensitive traffic" will be slow-tracked.
As it announced late last night with a post to its website, Cox plans to test this new technology next month on broadband customers in Kansas and Arkansas.
"During the occasional times the network is congested, this new technology automatically ensures that all time-sensitive Internet traffic – such as web pages, voice calls, streaming videos and gaming – moves without delay. Less time-sensitive traffic, such as file uploads, peer-to-peer and Usenet newsgroups, may be delayed momentarily – but only when the local network is congested," the post reads.
"Our goal is to ensure that customers continue to experience the consistently fast, reliable Internet service they’ve come to expect from Cox."
The company should be commended for at least alerting the world to its new plan. In addition to announcing February tests via the web, Cox says it will notify affected customers via email and snail mail.
But the particulars of the plan are unclear. And naturally, the net neuts want some answers. "My initial thoughts are caution and skepticism based on past history with cable companies in this respect," Ben Scott, policy director of net watchdog Free Press told The Reg. "But I'd like to withhold judgment until I know a little bit more, find out what they have in mind beyond the generalities, beyond what they have on their website."
When we contacted Cox, it would not provide addition detail. "At this point, we’re not talking about the details of the technology being used, as this trial is based on policies that are designed to create a more customer-friendly user experience, rather than a particular equipment platform," a company spokesman told us.
It's unclear how the cableco will measure congestion, and it's unclear how it will identify traffic for fast-tracking. "Are they looking inside the packet to see what kind of content it is? Or are application providers pre-applying to get on a list? Are you looking at the header? Is it a precise methodology?" Scott asks.
Next page: The Comcast Analogy
OMG You yanks have it tough
"Because if you're throttled down from 20MB to 512KB "
OMFG. Here in sunny Australia we consider 512Kbps to be "fast broadband" and when the throttling starts we are dropped to 64Kbps.
Oh how I would love to be "throttled" down to 512
Just let the user set his priorities
Have the router able to configure several priorities(according to user will, of course) and, when the pipes get clogged, send a signal to not send more than x packets per second until a cancel singal or new limit is sent. Only in extreme cases would the upsteam routers need to do any manhandling of the packets.
All Voips are not equal?
I can see that COX "appears" to be making an honest attempt at managing their overall bandwidth to improve the overall customer experience.
Here is where the MAJOR problem comes in.... COX also sells VOIP service over these same lines and in some regions that have total control of. In some areas the local government has given them a total monopoly. What will stop them from treating 3rd party SIP/Voip providers as P2P traffic, or worse, and making their VoIP phone service faster?
This would allow them to control the market place or shelves so to speak, and make their product appear to be better than the competition when it actually isn't.
Without FCC or some other independant body investigating and checking up on this there is really nothing to stop them from practicing very anti-competitive, (and un-fair) behaviour.