Is Comcast really blocking P2P? EFF + SF Weekly conclude: yeah.

Discuss

55 Responses to “Is Comcast really blocking P2P? EFF + SF Weekly conclude: yeah.”

  1. klyx says:

    @klokwerk You wonder why Comcast does this yet you are asking to give them more money for tiered, exclusive packet service…. Hmmmm….

    Comcast has been shaping my torrent traffic for years. What disturbs me way more is how they are now shaping my newslist and iTunes bandwidth to painful levels. I would be a lot less disturbed if they would just admit it!!

  2. DCer says:

    I want Comcast to do this and let them know I am glad they do this. I do not want some P2P kiddie hogging the bandwidth I want to work from home. I am a customer and I pay for this. You P2P users should ask your parents to switch companies.

  3. Andrew says:

    Zuzu @1:

    1) No, you can’t block this with packet filtering. Lots of people have posted “HOWTOs” purporting to show you how to do just that, but they’re completely ineffective. First, because you can’t tell a spoofed RST from a real one, and second because the monitoring appliance sends an RST to the remote party as well, terminating the connection on their end, and you can’t block that.

    2) I2P is cool, and fostering interest in it is good, but it would completely fall over if a significant number of users hopped on and started torrenting. BitTorrent already does something that ISPs’ asymmetric bandwidth allocation schemes don’t like: it blurs the distinction between servers and “users” by getting everyone invovled in uploading files. Every byte received by someone has to be sent by someone. I2P’s mix-routing only magnifies the effect; now everyone is a router as well, and every packet has to go through several users’ slow uplinks. Every byte received by someone has to be sent by several someones before it reaches its destination, so the average download rate across the network is, at best, a fraction of the average available upstream of all the users. And that’s before you even get into padding or encapsulation overhead.

  4. serotonin says:

    @ #12: I had this happen to a friend with Rogers last year. She was using Limewire and Azureus, and they put her service on hold and notified by phone. They told her if it “happened again” they’d cancel her service.

    Although I personally never use Limewire, I do use Azureus and have never had a problem with getting “caught.” I also use PeerGuardian but I have no idea if it really works or not. Though pre-PeerGuardian I did get a threatening email from Rogers as per NBC for downloading an episode of The Office.

    I’ve been told by a friend who works for a company involved in the throttling, that essentially the situation is ISPs not wanting to upgrade the “pipes” and thus punishing anyone who is making the current situation difficult for them.

    In a way, it’d be like a fast food restaurant only having 2 tills open, but when the line-ups go through the door, the restaurant blames the customers for the delay instead of just upgrading the facilities and hiring more staff.

    It’s just about profit.

  5. jody says:

    Go Comcast! You’re creating a great market for your competitors.

  6. Raj77 says:

    @ Zuzu- that’s just what I was trying to say- I assumed that since DCER didn’t recognise the situation as not being zero-sum, they wouldn’t understand the term!

  7. zuzu says:

    @16 Andrew

    1.) Assuming both peers filtered RST packets, can you elaborate on why the Ignoring the Great Firewall of China method fails in this case?

    2.) So… people already have the problem of asymmetric bandwidth, and I2P exacerbates this. Granted, but also orthogonal to the problem of tiering. However, some ISPs, such as Verizon’s FiOS, started offering symmetric bandwidth (e.g. 15 Mbps up and down) as of October/November last year.

    My point was that if Comcast is throttling your bandwidth down anyway, the reduced rate I2P provides will likely still be wider than Comcast’s QoS’d rate, although it will also be slower than the theoretical ideal rate Comcast claims you’re buying.

  8. Scuba SM says:

    @DCER,

    The “P2P kiddies” you refer to are paying for their bandwidth the same as you are, and they are using what they were quoted under the terms they signed up for when they bought their service. Their company quoted an upload and download bandwidth. If you are not receiving the bandwidth you signed up to receive, I wouldn’t go pointing fingers at other users, I’d point fingers at the provider for not giving you what you paid for. What you’re saying is a bit like blaming the guy in front of you at McDonald’s when they run out of Coke, instead of blaming McDonald’s for not having an adequate supply.

  9. pfh says:

    Just encrypt the damn thing already. Really, it’s shocking we still send packets in the clear. You wouldn’t send a letter in a clear envelope.

    For P2P it’s even easier, because the server doesn’t need to be unduly overloaded with crypto computation.

    There really is technological fix here.

  10. Pieps says:

    @DCER
    Piggybacking on #45 (apologies if I’m straying from your point here):
    Moreover, you shouldn’t blame individual users for stealing your bandwidth – if Comcast enters into a contract promising a certain amount of bandwidth all the time, it should be able to provide that bandwidth to all of its customers all the time. If you’re troubled by the downloading habits of the kids down the street slowing down your connection, put the screws to Comcast for breach of contract.

    Despite the fact that P2P may be “extremely controversial legally,” it is not inherently illegal. (Technically, peer-to-peer connections are how the internet works. If you go to a web site, you’re engaging in a peer-to-peer connection with a web server somewhere, so questioning the legality of P2P is questioning the legality of the internet itself.) P2P networks don’t infringe on others’ intellectual property rights. People choose to use those networks to infringe on others’ IP rights. Saying P2P is legally controversial is like saying that hammers are legally controversial.

    P2P and distributed filesharing are relatively new ideas, and I expect that the more they prove themselves as efficient, useful technologies, the more “legitimate” uses we’ll see. This reminds me of how pornography drives technology (do a Google search for pornography and new technology for more on this); people seem to love using new ideas and technologies for less-than-saintly purposes.

    Lastly, what’s your problem with kids? Does it bother you that they’re more technologically savvy than you, or is your plastic hip acting up again? Seriously though, why don’t you take your ad-hominem attacks somewhere else?</flame>

  11. Rob says:

    @pfh:

    No, there isn’t a technological fix, or rather, there’s a counter for every technological fix

    Drop packets with too much randomness that aren’t destined for https/ssh. Don’t allow listening on https/ssh on residential. So what do you do to work around it now?

  12. KlokWerk says:

    Actually, Scuba, that’s not a bad analogy.

    When a restaurant says “free refills”, they don’t intend you to bring in an empty 50 gallon tank and wheel out a large supply of their soda. “Free refills” is an offer made in good faith and their infrastructure assumes you won’t completely abuse it.

    Internet service providers do the same thing. You have all the bandwidth that you could reasonably want for a flat rate but if you bring in the proverbial 50 gallon tank and attempt to use ALL of your bandwidth for every minute of every hour of every day, you’re abusing their system and their infrastructure won’t be able to sustain too many people doing that.

    So they put limits on it, just like many restaurants would balk at their own “free refills” policy if you expectantly brought out the 50 gallon drum.

    Or in other words…

    This is why we can’t have nice things.

    Comcast’s only real fault in my eyes is in not being up-front about what they’re doing and not offering an alternative pay package for people who want to run file servers from home.

  13. darue says:

    why is everyone assuming that comcast is the one originating the reset packets? isn’t it possible someone else is monitoring some of the trackers, and thereby know the IPs they want to mess with? a large botnet could contain hosts ‘near’ the target IPs and inject the spoofed reset packets.

    seems like it might still be in the experimental phase. why would someone want to do this..? to try and sell the capability to interested third party acronymrods.

    now the article doesn’t say if this guy running the test is using a tracker or distributed tracking or what. so I’ll have to look into that. my own experience with the comcast is that there was a tough period a couple months ago, but lately I haven’t had trouble seeding.

  14. darue says:

    @rob:

    the response there would probably be steganography. “it’s not a torrent, just thousands and thousands of high-res jpegs of kitty kats!”

  15. biffpow says:

    IANAL, but the article strongly implies that actual proof of selective network tampering exists, which would mean that this can be taken to court, and Comcast (and any other ISP doing the same thing) can be class actioned for breach of contract at the very least.
    Am I wrong or missing some important point? Just surprised that no one else has brought this up in this longish thread so far, as that would seem the most effective way of getting this more media attention and solving the problem.

  16. darue says:

    as for limited resources… their last miles should be provisioned such that all cable modems can run at full speed 24×7 up and down and their backbone and peerage links should be able to support that level of traffic without going past 30% utilization (so there’s some room for surges, management, redundancy, etc.; if it doesn’t – they’ve got inadequate infrastructure. Having strong a strong redundant internet with excess capacity is a National Security Imperative and should be subsidized if necessary. God bless the torrent crowd for bringing this shortcoming to light.

  17. zuzu says:

    Internet service providers do the same thing. You have all the bandwidth that you could reasonably want for a flat rate but if you bring in the proverbial 50 gallon tank and attempt to use ALL of your bandwidth for every minute of every hour of every day, you’re abusing their system and their infrastructure won’t be able to sustain too many people doing that.

    You’re describing underprovisioning / overbooking. (It’s also called a pyramid or Ponzi scheme.) If it’s unsustainable then it’s a bad business model, but it’s not an excuse for fraud. For me, 15Mbps for $65/month means (15 Megabits / second) * (3600 seconds / hour) * (24 hours / day) * (30 days / month) = 4.635 Exabytes per month of transfer. (Boy I hope I did that math correctly.)

    Of course, the Internet protocol was designed for overprovisioning; underprovisioning is a relic from telephone switching and popularized by AOL’s dot-com period. Maybe telecoms should finally start lighting up all that dark fibre to meet the demand.

  18. themindfantastic says:

    the idea that people shouldn’t abuse the ‘free refills’ is NOT the same thing as this… as more and more data gets shared people are going to have to find more efficient ways to distribute this data, because one provider many consumers literally KILL the providers server. BitTorrent despite the fact it could be used for illegal data is one of the most efficient methods for distributing data, it makes sure that not just the provider is providing the file because as you get it you serve it. When world of warcraft distributes its patches it uses a bittorrent like distribution system, this makes sure that they don’t get hit hard and that everyone can the the data… what you will see more and more is legal distribution of data utilizing this method, because it works, and if ISPs block it, they will block potentially other companies traffic and that will be a legal nightmare.

  19. strathmeyer says:

    Remember to check broadbandreports.com to find your Comcast alternative.

  20. zuzu says:

    Having strong a strong redundant internet with excess capacity is a National Security Imperative and should be subsidized if necessary.

    I’m pretty sure that subsidies were what originally got us into this quagmire of The Telephone Company vs. The Cable Company as our only choices.

    What we really need to do is shut down the FCC and allow private enterprise to freely implement Software Defined Radio (SDR) / cognitive radio / open spectrum.

  21. darue says:

    @zuzu:

    well that’d be nice to have also. but we already have a huge wired network built, let’s require operators to build their nets with the proper capacity, since much of it’s already out there at this point (still dark).
    I’m not really serious about subsidy but if that’s what it takes to get some reasonable standards mandated, so be it. and let’s end the distinction between phone and cable and just regulate “public network operators” under one system that could probably made much less complicated at the same time. wireless systems should build out the next generation of the physical layer once we’ve got a good wired net to fall back on. let’s not be either-or, let’s have both.

  22. Takuan says:

    I must say I’m finding this thread very educational.
    One question though; how does the NSA handle all this volume? I mean, they want to look at everything, all the time but doesn’t sheer volume overwhelm them? Enough to do something about it?

  23. Anaxaforminges says:

    I noticed this last year. My BT downloads for TV shows went down to 80 kBps. I researched on the internet and turned on encryption in Azureus. My downloads now get 700-900 kBps. But uploading and maintaining a good ration is a problem.

    Turn on encryption!

  24. Pteryxx says:

    I recall a previous article about how the US lags behind other wired countries in cheap plentiful bandwidth availability. How do these other countries deal with P2P traffic? Do they have so much bandwidth that P2P users can’t put a dent in it? Or are P2P users so much more of the population in the US?

    If other countries can handle massive P2P traffic, then it only proves that the providers’ effective monopolies in the US are allowing them to get away with a substandard product. Perhaps this failure to upgrade network capacity is what spurred the creation of distributed filesharing in the first place – to make the most efficient use of pathetic architecture.

  25. DCer says:

    What you’re saying is a bit like blaming the guy in front of you at McDonald’s when they run out of Coke, instead of blaming McDonald’s for not having an adequate supply.
    —-

    Indeed, and if someone took all the coke without regard for anyone else because he felt privileged to do so then I’d have every right to complain about him. Are you saying that there is no controversy about people eating unnatural amounts of food from all-you-can-eat restaurants? Do a google search on that if you have doubts. You and I are in agreement on the analogy, I don’t know why you think that it’s Comcast’s responsibility to underwrite P2P which is extremely controversial legally.

    People have been made aware of this technique even if Comcast didn’t announce it. If you have a problem with it, the first step should be finding a new ISP. You have the right to complain about the ISP your parents pay for, but only so much. I had about 50 ISPs to choose from, including dial-up and went with Comcast. You have 50+ ISPs to choose from- pick another one that allows you free rein.

  26. joe says:

    I’m predicting some trackers will reciprocate by blocking Comcast users for not seeding, ever.

  27. gnoodles says:

    Klokwerk @ 22:

    Sorry, it’s your analogy that’s flawed. Free drink refills are clearly limited to REfills. You can’t buy a 22oz. cup, and then fill up a 50 gallon tank. On top of that, there’s an implied (and oftentimes stated) limit of “free refills on this visit only”.

    Comcast’s service, on the other hand, is specifically marketed as “unlimited”. They have stated bandwidth limits, but no stated usage limits. It’s up to Comcast to provide the resources that they advertise, and they have to do it within the framework of their terms of service. If that means that they need bigger pipes, then that’s their problem.

    But this problem is clearly not caused by bandwidth hogs. There are far simpler and more equitable ways to deal with that problem, such as reducing available upload bandwidth for users who have exceeded a specified high level.

    Don’t you find it the least bit odd that no other providers have had to resort to the same draconian measures to deal with “P2P kiddies”? BT is the most network friendly way to share files, so if their goal is stopping bandwidth hogs, they’re not doing a very good job of it.

  28. Dillenger69 says:

    I use encryption built in to micortorrent. I also only accept encrypted connections from others. Comcast doesn’t need to know what my packets are.

    I also cap my upload speed since Comcast has seen fit to make the upload speed an order of magnitude or more slower than download speed. If I don’t, my connection becomes unusable due to BitTorrent hogging the bandwidth.

    Lastly, I use Peer Guardian. This handy program keeps a blacklist synced with a main server out there. It blocks connections from known vigilante groups.

  29. MrSoyBoy says:

    I have Comcast’s top business tier package with the anemic 768k upload speed. I’m a full-time telecommuter, not a P2P kiddie. However, I regularly need to upload large audio and video files legally to clients, so I use Pando, which I believe is is based on Bit Torrent code under the hood. It is being throttled, in my experience. The upload speed starts at 80kbps and almost immediately plunges to 0. 200 MB files can take hours rather than minutes.

    They are not providing what they advertise (and what I’m paying for). Unfortunately, I’m a captive customer–Qwest’s DSL options are even slower. I’m hoping Verizon’s FIOS can break Comcast’s stranglehold and I can get decent service like I had on the East Coast.

  30. nilesgibbs says:

    I’ve been using Comcast for over a year without any seeding problems, except for a disproportionate upload/download speed ratio.

    I use encryption and cap the upload speed for my own browsing convenience though.

  31. Anonymous says:

    There are four mediums to transport data into the network: copper, cable, radio, and fiber. Although there is regulation preventing multiple wiring to homes for obvious reasons (imagine a utility pole falling down, and fifty companies coming out to do repairs, let alone the unsightliness of fifty wires stringing across your yard,) there is also regulation requiring incumbents to lease access to customers lines at competitive/controlled prices.

  32. KinetiQ says:

    It’s pretty funny actually, in my case. I’m an infrequent p2p user, and I use Azureus with Peer Guardian.

    I used to wonder why peer guardian blocked comcast, and why comcast was trying to portscan me, but then that article broke.

    Not long before that AP article came out, I noticed my upload bandwidth increased from what used to be a maximum of ~50 kbps to over 120 kbps.

    It’s times like this, or when I have to explain the concept of codecs to people who don’t understand why their stolen copy of LATEST HORRIBLE STUDIO MOVIE won’t play correctly that I get this guilty feeling of not minding so much – in a way, they’re only preventing people who don’t know much about p2p from using it.

    That’s not really how I feel, hence the guilt. It would be nice if Comcast considered these measures “enough” though and didn’t think of something else to try.

    Speaking of which, has there been an ISP yet to offer a lower price for unlimited bandwidth through port 80 only? I’d find that funny.

  33. rsk says:

    One of the ironies of this is that the same technology that’s being using to do this could
    also be used — with lower cost and complexity — to detect and squelch the output from the millions of spam-spewing zombies (hijacked systems, almost always running some version of Windows) on Comcast’s network.

    (To a first approximation, this amounts to: identify hosts that have transitioned from making just a few outbound connections to other hosts on port 25 to making huge numbers of connections and either (a) block them (b) throttle the connection rate (c) contact the former owner of the host (d) some combination.)

    Perhaps if Comcast did this, it wouldn’t find itself frequently competing for the #1 spot on various lists of the world’s spam-spewing networks (where, by the way, another often-seen contender is Verizon). But apparently Comcast would rather spend its resources trying to placate The Cartel than spend them trying to be a responsible network operator.

  34. Scuba SM says:

    @DCER

    In regards to you latest post:

    While my previous example of of a fast food restaurant is fairly good for the general concept, it doesn’t hold up in a 1 to 1 comparison. The main reason is that there is a contract that promises a certain rate, so much data per second. In our current marketplace, there are very few things that are sold to us that follow a similiar pricing scheme, and so it is hard for me to come up with a perfect example, so bear with me on this one.

    Suppose you bought a car, and the car company promised you 300 horsepower (Which is a rate, energy per second.)Now, you’d expect to be able to drive the car however you’d like. Suppose you were into racing, and went to a drag strip, and used the full capacity of the engine, squeezing every last drop of that 300 horsepower out of the engine. Now, suppose you were in the middle of the race, and all of the sudden, your engine dropped to idle. You can’t figure out why, so you leave the track, and limp back home. The next day, you call up the car company, and ask them what’s going on, and they say “Well, you were using all 300 horsepower too frequently. So, we just made you stop.” “Wait,” you say, “You promised me 300 horsepower. I want to use it.” “Oh, we’re sorry sir, but you’ve used 300 horsepower too much. We just can’t let you continue.”

    That is what’s going on here. Customers (including yourself, I presume) were promised a rate. Some people want to use all of what they paid for, all the time, others just like to know that power is there when they need it. However, Comcast isn’t living up to their end of the bargain. In fact, they’re not just falling short, they are actively trying to prevent people from using what they paid for. That is what people, including myself, have an issue with.

  35. Takuan says:

    Network, Bandwidth, Data Storage and Other Limitations

    Comcast may provide versions of the Service with different speeds and bandwidth usage limitations, among other characteristics, subject to applicable Service plans. You shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or degrade any other user’s use of the Service, nor represent (in the sole judgment of Comcast) an overly large burden on the network. In addition, you shall ensure that your use of the Service does not restrict, inhibit, interfere with, disrupt, degrade, or impede Comcast’s ability to deliver and provide the Service and monitor the Service, backbone, network nodes, and/or other network services.

  36. Raj77 says:

    Precisely. The Coke analogy is mightily flawed in that it is a finite resource- what is happening is that this “McDonald’s” are trying to serve all of the Coke (for the analogy, there is infinite Coke) through a single 5mm pipe, while still promising free refills to everyone. A thirsty person arrives. and “McDonald’s” blames him rather than their pipe.

  37. dronf says:

    I’ve had comcast service in san francisco for about 3 years now, and haven’t yet noticed any problems with my p2p traffic.

    With utorrent i DL a well seeded torrent at between 700 and 1000 KBps, and usually cap my upload at 40KBps(my latency goes to hell with anything higher than that).

    I’m actually being spoiled by this speed…i’m afraid they will kick in throttling before long and it will be back down to dsl speeds.

  38. zuzu says:

    While I applaud the EFF’s efforts to support the development of a tiering/spoofing/QoS/DPI bandwidth auditor so that end-users have an instrument to detect when their ISP is meddling with their packets — especially in addition to the Web100 initiative, I think there are two technologies already existing people can use to circumvent this behavior by Comcast / Sandvine.

    1.) I think it’s possible to setup your firewall to ignore these kinds of RST commands — which is also how the Great Firewall of China primarily works and is punched through.

    2.) Setup and operate your own I2P node / proxy so that all of your traffic is encrypted and onion routed. (Unlike TOR, which is otherwise great, I2P has the bandwidth to handle heavy downloads and torrents. Azureus even has a plugin to make using it super easy.)

  39. deliciouscheeseburger says:

    I’ve experienced this blocking firsthand – none of my P2P controllers function now (Poisoned, BitTorrent, etc.), and I just thought it was the software. I’ve had Comcast for over 2 years, and all the P2P controllers worked fine up until late last summer. But since around September, they just sit idle.

  40. gobo says:

    I use Comcast out of need — they’re the only service provider in my area, at present — but they’re clearly monitoring my traffic.

    If I run Bittorrent, the client dies and my ISP goes down.

    If I VPN into a server, my ISP goes down immediately.

    If I FTP a large file… ISP goes down.

    In all of these cases, a call to Comcast results in someone saying, “let me put you on hold, sir… [removes P2P flag from my name].. there, you’re all set to go.”

  41. Coaster says:

    I have also had trouble with BitTorrent sites while being forced to use Comcast. They do make it look very much like it is the Torrent site with the problem. Big Brother is a little too involved for my liking – I will be so glad when I can switch providers!

  42. ana ma roopa says:

    government instigated

  43. TheFirstMan says:

    We need a nonprofit ISP. I’d pay a premium.

    I’ve also been running Wireshark (along with a few other applications) and I agree with this conclusion.

    I’m a client of Comcast.

    The holders of so called IP should wise up. There’s an immense amount of content still under copyright law in the US. So much that they’d be making a bit of money simply charging a small amount for access. Perhaps one could pay a dollar a month for access to everything before 1930ish. That alone would gain a small amount of capital. It might not be lucrative, but it would be something.

    Plus: it would increase the amount of recordings present of works still under copyright. An increase of recordings increases the chances that it will be preserved. “Battleship Potemkin” is free, and considered a great work of art. Copying is not inhibited.

    A ton of other works, due to the inordinately long terms of US copyright law, are not.

    My line is drawn at the point at which conservation and propagation overwhelms the need for capital gain on the part of the copyright owners, IMHO.

    Comparing the loss that copyright might incur by ignoring older works still under copyright with the gains by which these owners might benefit from relatively low-cost distribution might convince people to forgo monetary compensation for societal appreciation or potential longevity.

    Just a perspective….

  44. BCJ says:

    Well, it makes me all the happier that I donated money to the EFF today, and that I don’t live in the US right now.

  45. KlokWerk says:

    I have Comcast here. My download speed for torrents is ridiculously high but my uploads are clearly being blocked. I can *get* all the torrents I want but I can’t *share* them. Every upload connection seems to break before it accomplishes anything.

    I’d love to hear what prompted them to do it. Were bittorrent uploads really taking up that much bandwidth or was this a pre-emptive strike?

    They should just offer a “premium server” package for more money that frees up your upload bandwidth and removes these blocks. I would seriously consider buying into something like that just to run game or VOIP servers on my home computer. Currently I have to buy a separate service from another company if I want to do any kind of internet server because Comcast’s upload restrictions prevent me from doing it at home and as far as I know they don’t even offer a package for it. All of their upgraded internet packages are just more and more download speed but still a really narrow pipe for uploads.

  46. rrsafety says:

    I used to use ABC as my torrent client and Comcast could block my seeding. But I switched to uTorrent and adjusted my preferences and options to allow me to seed unobstructed by Comcast’s deviousness…

  47. illuminator says:

    @rsk

    I worked for a small ISP in the past that did just that. If we detected an enormous amount of SMTP traffic the account was temporarily disabled and the customer was notified by phone. Granted, this was a dialup provider with a much smaller customer base than Comcast’s.

  48. TheFirstMan says:

    RRSAFETY, is this recent? In my experience, it takes CC a little bit to catch on. Keep looking at he performance, it might drop…

    I wonder if this means that the filtering is being done more upstream than regional hubs?

  49. zuzu says:

    Indeed, and if someone took all the coke without regard for anyone else because he felt privileged to do so then I’d have every right to complain about him. Are you saying that there is no controversy about people eating unnatural amounts of food from all-you-can-eat restaurants? … I don’t know why you think that it’s Comcast’s responsibility to underwrite P2P which is extremely controversial legally.

    Who is to decide what volume is a “natural amount”??? (I think the consumers should.) This is not a zero-sum game, whether we’re talking about cans of soda or bandwidth. The simple solution is to grow the pie to meet market demand. However, as Serotonin said:

    I’ve been told by a friend who works for a company involved in the throttling, that essentially the situation is ISPs not wanting to upgrade the “pipes” and thus punishing anyone who is making the current situation difficult for them.

    This is the heart of the problem and the fundamental question we need to grill the telecoms on. Why are they steadfastly refusing to grow the infrastructure capacity?

    Partially there seems to be the myth believed by telecom CEOs of an “exabyte flood” that consumers will consume ever increasing demand for bandwidth — well duh! The alternative to endless growth advocated by telecoms would be Brezhnev stagnation! Normally competition would extinguish such arrogance, but telecoms have a comfy regulatory capture with the FCC and municipality right-of-way easements creating an enormous barrier to free entry by competitors — the fallout of the previous government subsidies to Ma Bell.

    If you have a problem with it, the first step should be finding a new ISP. You have the right to complain about the ISP your parents pay for, but only so much. I had about 50 ISPs to choose from, including dial-up and went with Comcast. You have 50+ ISPs to choose from- pick another one that allows you free rein.

    This is pure fantasy. There are ostensibly only two competitors: The Telephone Company (i.e. Verizon) or The Cable Company (i.e. Comcast/RoadRunner). No one else is permitted by law to run a cable from their office into your home (i.e. right-of-way aka telephone poles). (Ok, in theory the Electric Company could get in the game, but IIRC the local power stations muck up any data carried on the power lines. The technology for that has never panned out.)

    In terms of realpolitik, as much as I strongly favor free market solutions, in absence of repealing the subsidies and regulations favoring entrenched providers, I might not mind local municipalities voting to float bonds for local fibre loops such as UTOPIA, assuming that a local community can democratically decide that this is a desirable use of property taxes and can vigilantly monitor against graft.

  50. rrsafety says:

    This was about 8 weeks ago. So far they have not caught up. I was in a sports torrent group and they were very strict about maintaining a 1 to 1 ratio. All of sudden I couldn’t seed once I had downloaded the entire file. The moderators of the site pointed me to uTorrent and told me how to configure it and it worked like a charm. I hope it lasts…

  51. agraham999 says:

    I recently moved to Portland…buying a new house. I had Comcast come in and install their internet and cable. I’ve got the internet and cable on separate lines.

    When I first started using the internet here I was amazed that my download speed was almost double that of my signal in San Francisco.

    However I’ve noticed since I started buying iTunes shows and torrenting files here…my connection has dropped in speed significantly.

    I’ve gone from torrenting at 50-150Kbps to 10 or less…and the other night my iTunes purchase took an hour to download what normally would take just a few minutes.

    I know they are throttling my connection…so as soon as FiOS is here…a four year Comcast customer is leaving. I’m not even going to go into all the other crap they have put me through with billing errors and whatnot.

  52. Man On Pink Corner says:

    My guess is that all the corporate poltroonery we’ve seen from Comcast and AT&T lately is actually just a smoke screen intended to force Google to overbid for the 700-MHz spectrum. They realize that Google’s eventually going to own the proverbial “last mile,” one way or the other, and they want it to hurt.

    Gotta love the smell of bubbling tar in the morning. Smells like… evolution.

  53. Hagrid says:

    I left Comcast last month over this very issue.

  54. Biznez says:

    Rogers Canada is doing something similar. I had P2P open for a day when I got an automated call saying that I had an IRC bot virus. It also said that if my network wasn’t secure in 24 hours my modem would be shut down. I shut down my P2P after that and there wasn’t any follow up call and I still have my connection. Hmmm? I have seen other posts where a similar thing had happened, but they asked the person to shut and remove Limewire.

    ….

  55. cherishhellfire says:

    The Gnutella network has been screwed since about November. At first I thought it was something I was doing, but then I started changing IP addresses, and using different machines, but all with the same results. None. Always this little experiment was run with Comcast. The only time I was marginally successful was while I was using AT&T.

    Conclusion: I need a boat.

Leave a Reply