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Comcast 'Delaying' Not 'Blocking' Traffic
PR department reaches out to reporters for damage control...
by Karl Bode 09:09AM Tuesday Oct 23 2007 Tipped by espaeth See Profile
Comcast has been reaching out to a number of outlets (us included) to clarify their position on traffic shaping after the Associated Press put their treatment of BitTorrent traffic under the national spotlight. The company, which has engaged in various levels of semantics to dodge accusations that they're violating the principles of network neutrality, usually won't go on the record to discuss the practice.

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The company held a conference call today with reporters to address the AP's report, insisting to us that they're "delaying," not blocking, BitTorrent traffic (see NYTimes, Reuters, Technology Liberation Front). So is using hardware to send forged TCP packets with the RST (reset) flag set blocking or delaying? Does it matter?

In the past, we've stated that the problem isn't so much the caps and traffic shaping Comcast uses (they're not alone), but the way in which they never really come completely clean about what they're doing. After Comcast first denies to them that they monitor traffic at all, the NYTimes seems to agree:
quote:
The company is clearly trying to have it both ways. It claims it is a neutral Internet service provider that treats all packets equally, not blocking or “shaping” its Internet traffic. Meanwhile, it also positions itself as the champion of average Internet users whose speeds are being slowed by file-sharing.
It seems like the secrecy with which Comcast treats its caps and traffic shaping practices (which really do impact a small portion of customers) only acts to bring greater attention to the fact they exist. Mom always told me honesty was the best policy, and it seems to me that whether this impacts a small or large number of customers -- consumers should have all possible information before making a broadband purchasing decision.


101 comments .. click to read

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swhx7
Premium
join:2006-07-23
Elbonia

2 recommendations

reply to Rick

Re: I'm sorry but....

said by Rick:

A company does not have to tell all about how they police their network from abuse. But yet, you somehow feel that "honesty" is the best policy in this case because "mom said so".

No, it's not because "mom said so", it's because internet is an increasingly important part of modern life and we need it to work right and not be deliberately sabotaged by the people we depend upon to provide access.

said by Rick:

Well, I doubt that Mom encourages her little darlings to steal and trade copyrighted material.
And folks, raise your hands if you REALLY believe that that isn't what 99.9999% of bit torrent is really all about.

It is none of the ISP's business what's in the traffic. Its only legitimate job is to deliver all of it as well as possible.

said by Rick:

... massive amounts of bandwidth that cause the rest of us problems. ...Network neutrality is not the issue here. The issue is flagrant abuse of isp's networks. ... Network neutrality does not have to say Comcast or any isp has to give someone 400 gigs a month of access for 42.95/month.
That is unreasonable..and damaging to the rest of us ...

Yet another failure to understand the issue. Network neutrality is not an issue of bandwidth or traffic amounts. No one objects to limits on bandwidth or traffic amounts. ISPs are entitled to limit bandwidth and traffic amounts by requiring customers to pay for better grades of service if they want to use more. This has nothing to do with network neutrality. It is deliberately confused with it as a pretext and smokescreen for for anti-neutrality policies.

Network neutrality means freedom from traffic discrimination. It means the ISP's role is only to deliver packets, not to favor some destinations or protocols over others. Discrimination is what Comcast is doing, and it has nothing to do with amounts of traffic, and it should be outlawed.

said by Rick:

I really think that BBR should get on the side of what's right here..and stop presenting comcast and others in the negative light you are.

BBR is doing what's right by presenting the news that readers care about. You perceive it as bias because it's not partial to Comcast, and your favorable attitude to Comcast is based on a misunderstanding of the issue as I have explained above.


Rick
Premium,MVM
join:2001-02-06
Waterbury, CT

5 recommendations

BBR's persistence in presenting this issue in a negative light is disturbing.

A company does not have to tell all about how they police their network from abuse. But yet, you somehow feel that "honesty" is the best policy in this case because "mom said so".

Well, I doubt that Mom encourages her little darlings to steal and trade copyrighted material.
And folks, raise your hands if you REALLY believe that that isn't what 99.9999% of bit torrent is really all about.

BBR says this.
"So is using hardware to send forged TCP packets with the RST (reset) flag set blocking or delaying? Does it matter? "

Of course it matters. There is a world of difference between blocking someone from doing something..and shaping and managing the way it impacts your company and customers.
I mean if that's not the case, why have lines at movie theaters? Everyone should just be able to jump over the counter and print out their own tickets and let it be a free for all.

The vast majority of people using these bit torrent services are not only breaking the law, but they're also the ones consuming the massive amounts of bandwidth that cause the rest of us problems. But it's important to remember that even given this..comcast is not cutting them off. Not blocking their access. They're managing it to keep the service viable and a good one for the rest of us.

Again, it's rather disturbing to see BBR continually present this issue as Comcast doing something wrong..in favor of the very small percentage of people who abuse this and other networks.

Network neutrality is not the issue here. The issue is flagrant abuse of isp's networks. And their right to control it.

Network neutrality does not have to say Comcast or any isp has to give someone 400 gigs a month of access for 42.95/month.
That is unreasonable..and damaging to the rest of us who want to use the service either modestly or, even heavily for that matter.

That kind of flow of data surpasses anything and everything reasonable. And it's coming from the bit torrent users.
If these people don't want these issues..they should divide up their services among ISP's..or buy their own T1 or more lines to the internet.

That is not what a residential service should be all about.

In closing, I'll say that I really think that BBR should get on the side of what's right here..and stop presenting comcast and others in the negative light you are.

You risk becoming much less as a website I think..something along the lines of a renegade website here to promote pirate bay or something.

I've always viewed BBR as being mainstream..but on the cutting edge of technology. Not out to rip companies for protecting and preserving the rights of we users.

Comcast is not wrong with what they're doing.

Not at all.
--
The Coyote captured the RR! Roadrunner Rick is now Comcastic!