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K Patterson
Columbus, OH

1 edit

Bandwidth/Congestion Mgmnt - Back to basics and the future

I'd like to come back to some of the basic here.

Comcast (and other ISP's) are stuck with the limitations of the NTSC system for television. The channel width was set in 1936, and the break between downstream and upstream was set in 1948. Now that TV is digital (almost) it is sad that we must send analog signals downstream and upstream through analog devices.

Enter the demands for more Internet speed and data transfer volume. Comcast adopts a method of disciplining the worst offenders, and finds themselves in a legal battle with the Florida Attorney General. They agreed on the awful compromise we have now - awful not because a few folks think that it is too restrictive but awful because it is a lousy solution.

Comcast is free to change it. How can anyone doubt that they will? The issue is that increasing the data transfer costs money, lots of it. And as Comcast correctly states, the vast majority of its customers don't need it, nor are they likely to in the future. Comcast, from a competitive standpoint, cannot increase the limits and pass on the very real costs of doing so to the majority of their customers. A consumption-based model is coming. The meter has not been released for two reasons. The first is that it would create a nightmare for Comcast on boards like this, with people perceiving (and perhaps suing) because the limits were not applied consistently across the board. The second is that they are changing their model. That may sound like a simple thing to do but it isn't. They first have to determine the incremental cost of adding bandwidth, not an easy thing to do. Then they have to make their model work in the real world of competition. Finally, perhaps the hardest part, they have to figure out how it relates to the issues of open, unfettered access to all the sources of data, many of which have now and will increasingly in the future be competitive with Comcast's TV offerings.

So stick around. Change is coming.