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Comcast Finally Files Suit Against FCC Over Traffic Shaping 353

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the hoping-for-mutual-destruction dept.
Following up on their threat last year to sue the FCC over sanctions imposed, Comcast has finally filed suit, stating that there are no statutes or regulations that support the FCC's authority to stop traffic shaping procedures. "First, let's recap: After months of proceedings, hearings, and investigations, the FCC concluded on August 1, 2008 that Comcast was discriminating against certain P2P applications using deep packet inspection techniques. These methods thwarted the ability of users to share video and other files via BitTorrent. 'Comcast was delaying subscribers' downloads and blocking their uploads,' declared then FCC Chair Kevin Martin. 'It was doing so 24/7, regardless of the amount of congestion on the network or how small the file might be. Even worse, Comcast was hiding that fact by making [affected] users think there was a problem with their Internet connection or the application.'"
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Comcast Finally Files Suit Against FCC Over Traffic Shaping

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  • Not traffic shaping! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:23PM (#29097083) Homepage Journal

    Following up on their threat last year to sue the FCC over sanctions imposed, Comcast has finally filed suit, stating that there are no statutes or regulations that support the FCC's authority to stop traffic shaping procedures.

    Traffic shaping is writing rules like "give ssh and http packets priority over ftp-data". This is good and something almost all ISP that care about good customer service already do. What Comcast was doing, aka packet forgery, was a deliberate attempt to disrupt certain types of transfer. NO good ISP does this, by definition.

    • by Aldenissin (976329) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:27PM (#29097135)

      ... NO good ISP does this, by definition.

      Well mine does, and it is absolutely COMCASTIC! My turtle is now a much faster... turtle.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Nickodeimus (1263214)
      How do you figure that traffic shaping is good when the ISP has no idea what the traffic is used for? Case in point: I work for an IT shop that supports many physicians offices. one of the primary methods of moving data between offices and hospitals is through EMR applications that USE FTP. Who is the ISP to tell me that my FTP traffic is less important than Disney's HTTP traffic?

      It is not the ISP's place to make these decisions. Period. End of Story.

      Further, if they choose to make these decision
      • Common Carriers (Score:4, Informative)

        by overshoot (39700) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:39PM (#29097283)

        Further, if they choose to make these decisions on "their network" then they should lose common carrier status. And while I admit I am not sure if they have this

        They don't.

      • Case in point: I work for an IT shop that supports many physicians offices. one of the primary methods of moving data between offices and hospitals is through EMR applications that USE FTP. Who is the ISP to tell me that my FTP traffic is less important than Disney's HTTP traffic?

        Yikes, what the fuck hospitals and doctors do you work for?

        Can we say major HIPAA violation? Clear text passwords, no data encryption for EMR?!?

        Jesus. At the shop I work at, SCP, IPSec ONLY, for all of our HIPAA-covered data (EM

        • Yikes, what the fuck hospitals and doctors do you work for? Can we say major HIPAA violation? Clear text passwords, no data encryption for EMR?!?

          In fairness, the data could be pre-encrypted and login could be with a one-time password. Why you'd do want all that and still have to dick around with FTP's nightmarish unwillingness to be easy firewalled instead of just installing an SFTP server is beyond me, but you could do it if you really, really wanted to for some bizarre reason.

        • by Timothy Brownawell (627747) <tbrownaw@prjek.net> on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:00PM (#29097561) Homepage Journal

          Case in point: I work for an IT shop that supports many physicians offices. one of the primary methods of moving data between offices and hospitals is through EMR applications that USE FTP. Who is the ISP to tell me that my FTP traffic is less important than Disney's HTTP traffic?

          Yikes, what the fuck hospitals and doctors do you work for?

          Can we say major HIPAA violation? Clear text passwords, no data encryption for EMR?!?

          Jesus. At the shop I work at, SCP, IPSec ONLY, for all of our HIPAA-covered data (EMR, claim and benefits).

          Meh.

          We use plain FTP for stuff that's legally protected like that, we just make sure that everything on the ftp server is pgp/gpg encrypted.

        • by hesiod (111176)

          Can we say major HIPAA violation?

          Yeah seriously; I saw that and felt a facepalm moment. I work at a tiny hospital (25 beds) and still, anything we send off-premises is encrypted in some way, either by sFTP or VPN (usually the latter).

          Of course, one problem is the software vendors who don't give a crap about you violating HIPAA and don't try to work with you to stay secure. That's is one nice improvement in the recent HIPAA update, if I have been informed correctly: business associates are extended under the law, so that they have liabili

      • by gad_zuki! (70830) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:41PM (#29097335)

        >It is not the ISP's place to make these decisions. Period. End of Story.

        Actually it is, because it becomes the ISPs problem when my VPN, VOIP, gaming, etc time out because some guy doing bulk transfers is eating into all the bandwidth. Running a network involves priority and shaping. You may not even notice the shaping, because you can handle 150-200ms latencies with FTP, but the services I mentioned above will notice. Frankly, its networking 101.

        >They have just made themselves complicit in committing innumerable crimes ranging from spreading virii to transmitting child porn to terroism.

        I see youre as much as a lawyer as you are a network admin.

        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by erroneus (253617)

          The answer to that problem is not "shaping" (or in this case, literally blocking and interfering with specific packets which is not shaping at all). The answer is building a better network and boosting the capacity. But as I understand it, the cable ISPs have control over the cable modems and can limit the over-all bandwidth being consumed by any one customer. (Yes, I know there are hacks that users can perform to overcome this, but that's beside the point... and the hacks can be detected and the user di

          • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:18PM (#29097777) Homepage Journal

            With the individual user's max bandwidth limited, there should be no need for this shaping, unless, of course, their network simply can't support what they are selling.

            There is no standard-issue ISP or backbone provider in the world that is not oversold. That's how they make money: by estimating the margins they need to maintain. If they oversell too much, their service will suck and customers will flee. If they don't oversell enough, they'll be paying much more per-customer for their capacity than their competitors and won't be able to stay in business.

            For example, suppose an ISP's historic utilization is 10% of their total customers' bandwidth if they were all to start downloading at once. If they buy enough bandwidth to support 5%, then downloads will take forever and everyone will hate it. If they go over 10%, though, they're throwing money down the drain. Suppose they paid for the full 100% of capacity. Customers won't faster speeds than if they bought 11%, because in either case they'd have enough to support actual demand.

            Oblig. car analogy: roads are built for average flow, not maximum possible demand. Otherwise you'd have an 8-lane freeway direct to your cul-de-sac. If your hometown overbuilds roads, then they've wasted tax money that could've been spent on other stuff (or not collected in the first place (that was hard to type with a straight face)).

            So all that is why we have traffic shaping. At 2AM when most people are asleep, you can slurp down all the torrented goodness that you can pull across your router. At 2PM, you can still get good speeds but with increased latency in exchange for better web browsing and quicker instant messaging. Traffic shaping seems like it would be bad, up until you're stuck using a connection that doesn't use it.

            • by erroneus (253617) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:33PM (#29097929) Homepage

              Oh and I forgot to address your car analogy... these are my favorites!

              When demand exceeds capacity, the roads are usually expanded to meet that capacity or additional roads are built to manage the capacity. What Comcast has been doing is not expanding the capacity of the road, but sending vehicles containing specific types of passengers on a detour that ends at the edge of a cliff violently killing them all.

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by riceboy50 (631755)
              This just goes to show that prices should be in terms of usage, like other utilities. That is what ISPs are now. The sooner they begin to be treated as such, the better.
            • by colinnwn (677715) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:57PM (#29098723)

              At 2AM when most people are asleep, you can slurp down all the torrented goodness that you can pull across your router. At 2PM, you can still get good speeds but with increased latency in exchange for better web browsing and quicker instant messaging.

              I think that was the point, Comcast was shaping 24/7 when there was no need to. Also, I have no problem with traffic shaping at the protocol level (Voip over http), but I don't find it acceptable to do it on a service level (Comcast phone at home over Vonage).

              Traffic shaping is usually generically stated as a possibility in your contract (e.g. we may provide increased bandwidth to certain applications for best user experience). Instead they should spell it out (e.g. We will not oversubscribe our network beyond 10%. During times of network congestion greater than 70% of available bandwidth, we will prioritize in the following manner - Voip, http, unknown, email, ftp). Finally I think the providers should have a network status page so you can see the condition of their network and your link, and it shows you vaguely where the congestion is (your segment, their hub).

            • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

              by Vancorps (746090)

              Bandwidth gets cheaper the more you have it. I can tell you that all the business accounts with these same providers have SLA agreements involving bandwidth and uptime which means that can't oversell that much. Then you also have companies like IO Data which don't oversell. They actually buy more bandwidth and more power than required to prevent problems such as these. They make plenty of money too.

              The reality is that they aren't expanding capacity. I put on a traveling show so I can speak from a little pe

            • their service will suck and customers will flee.

              Not if that's the only choice for broadband. In most places people do not have a choice whom thy get broadband from. They either get it from a monopoly or they don't get broadband.

              If they go over 10%, though, they're throwing money down the drain.

              You're missing a key word here, specifically an adjective. That adjective being "taxpayer", which modifies "money". Taxpayers gave cable and phone companies $200 Billion [newnetworks.com] in subsidies to build out broadband. But a

        • by ichimunki (194887) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:06PM (#29097625)
          Why, if we both pay for the same service level, should your packets get priority just because your protocol wants less latency? That means that you get the service you paid for and I don't. If you want more of the pipe more of the time, then you should pay for the privilege.
          • by pavon (30274) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:23PM (#29097839)

            Why, if we both pay for the same service level, should your packets get priority just because your protocol wants less latency? That means that you get the service you paid for and I don't.

            No it doesn't. If the network isn't saturated then giving his VoIP application higher QoS priority just means that some of your individual packets will be delayed by a few microseconds, but the total throughput will be almost identical. Furthermore, when the network is saturated, it is completely possible to give one application (like bittorrent) a higher throughput priority while another (like VoIP) a higher latency priority. Then his packets will only have a higher priority than yours if he is using less bandwidth than you are anyway.

          • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:26PM (#29097859) Homepage Journal

            Why, if we both pay for the same service level, should your packets get priority just because your protocol wants less latency?

            Because he's using latency-sensitive protocols and you're not. If you used them, the shaping would make your stuff more responsive, too.

            If you want more of the pipe more of the time, then you should pay for the privilege.

            Repeat after me: latency != bandwidth. You're both getting full use of the pipe. The only difference is that protocols that humans use are handled more quickly than protocols that computers use. If you send an IM, do you really want its packet queued up behind an emailed Powerpoint presentation of a dog peeing on something? If the email server takes an extra 1/1500th of a second to receive, no one will notice. If the IM client takes an extra 10 seconds to receive, you'll notice the heck out of it.

        • Ah. So it's OK the my ISP throttle my usage of VPN, VOIP, gaming, etc, just so grandma can keep pumping out her botnet messages?

          The blade cuts both ways.

          Imagine you go to an all-you-can-eat buffet. Suddenly the owner comes out and one by one goes up to random tables and tells them they can only have x more plates before they are cut off.

          Aside from the fact that this was advertised as an all-you-can-eat-buffet, the poor looking family starts making a ruckus: We are poor and my family is starving. If food
        • by Chris Burke (6130) on Monday August 17, 2009 @06:03PM (#29098233) Homepage

          Actually it is, because it becomes the ISPs problem when my VPN, VOIP, gaming, etc time out because some guy doing bulk transfers is eating into all the bandwidth. Running a network involves priority and shaping. You may not even notice the shaping, because you can handle 150-200ms latencies with FTP, but the services I mentioned above will notice. Frankly, its networking 101.

          Okay, does Networking 101 involve knowing the difference between latency-sensitive and bandwidth-sensitive connections, and appropriately prioritizing them based on their actual usage, not a-priori decisions based on packet type?

          E.g. VPN -- it may be latency sensitive and thus deserve priority if you're using the VPN for VNC or similar, or it may be as latency-insensitive and bandwidth-heavy as an ftp transfer, if what you're doing is an ftp transfer over VPN. In which case it causes as many problems for your VOIP users as any other file transfer, and giving it high priority will only make those issues worse.

          VOIP on the other hand should always be low bandwidth (I don't know how low, but your land line works perfectly with a single 64kbs T0 virtual circuit), but latency sensitive, so giving it high priority should mean that its packets get through quickly, but don't actually delay anything else for any significant period of time.

          Whereas streaming video is hypothetically latency sensitive, but very high bandwidth, so the solution there is not to prioritize the packets, but to have the client buffer up some data first, hopefully making it latency insensitive as long as the bandwidth stays fairly steady.

          Basically what I'm proposing here is an idea from Operating Systems 101, where they have to solve a very similar problem. Some apps require responsiveness but don't need much cpu, others require lots of CPU time but don't really care how quickly they get scheduled for it as long as on average they get lots of cpu time. Scheduling the low-CPU apps first gives them the responsiveness they need, but by definition doesn't significantly hinder the cpu-intensive ones. But as soon as the app no longer fits that definition and starts eating up too much CPU, it gets bumped down in priority. That's the basic idea of the multi-level feedback queue. The best part is its dynamic and based on real usage -- you can even tell the OS what kind of app you are to get put into your preferred queue right away, but if that turns out to be a lie, you get shifted to the queue you belong in automagically.

          Back when I took Networking 101, they never talked about any 'scheduler' ideas of any sophistication, and the QoS they did discuss was very simple and naive, seemingly from the basis that networking hardware wasn't up to the task. On the other hand they also talked about this kind of deep packet inspection as though it, too, was something that would be possible in the future but not yet.

          So... Now that we can do the packet inspection, can we now associate the packets with a connection, and do prioritization based on actual usage, and actual utilization?

          Which, by the way, is where the bullshit becomes really apparent wrt Comcast and how they actually do their shaping. They kill bittorrent et. al. at all times of day, regardless of actual network utilization at the time. Grandma Lolcat Lover causes more problems watching short videos during 'net prime time than a 20GB bittorrent at 5am. Comcast doesn't distinguish, because for them it's not about actually managing the network.

      • How do you figure that traffic shaping is good when the ISP has no idea what the traffic is used for?

        My goal was to use a simple illustrative example. More sophisticated shaping uses token buckets and other structures that can prioritize interactive traffic over bulk traffic.

        Case in point: I work for an IT shop that supports many physicians offices. one of the primary methods of moving data between offices and hospitals is through EMR applications that USE FTP. Who is the ISP to tell me that my FTP traffic is less important than Disney's HTTP traffic?

        Traffic shaping isn't about importance. It's about responsiveness. Again, the idea is that interactive protocols like SSH, Jabber, etc. send relatively tiny amounts of time-sensitive data. Next up are bulkier protocols like HTTP that are still fairly interactive. Least sensitive are bulk transfers like FTP, P2P, and so on.

        Your tra

        • by nabsltd (1313397)

          Put this in a computer context: would you run Folding@home at the exact same priority as your mouse driver, or do you enjoy having a responsive pointer (while still allowing your heavy background processes to run at full speed)?

          This comes down to "it depends on how much bandwidth/CPU power you have".

          I was doing completely normal computing the other day with no obvious speed issues, when I realized I was still running 4 instances of Prime 95 to stress-test the machine. Then, I fired up a game and couldn't even notice that anything was running in the background. This was on a Core i7 920 with hyperthreading enabled.

          So, Comcast could just increase the bandwidth they have to the rest of the world, and there would be no need for any

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Ignoring the long list of foolishness that is your statement about using FTP to transfer confidential and legally protected patient information, none of that really matters.

        In traffic shaping, you're typically not limiting bandwidth but rather latency. Applications which require low latency (games, ssh, video conferencing, VoIP, etc), can be granted priority ensuring their packets are placed in front of bulk transfer protocols. The bandwidth remains the same but the overall user experience is improved. Only

      • by dgatwood (11270)

        How do you figure that traffic shaping is good when the ISP has no idea what the traffic is used for? Case in point: I work for an IT shop that supports many physicians offices. one of the primary methods of moving data between offices and hospitals is through EMR applications that USE FTP. Who is the ISP to tell me that my FTP traffic is less important than Disney's HTTP traffic?

        HTTP traffic, no. VoIP traffic, maybe---not more important, but more time sensitive. QoS is reasonable for limiting latency fo

  • by CastrTroy (595695) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:26PM (#29097109) Homepage
    Comcast could be free to throttle. Except that the initial cost of building the "Comcast owned" networks was paid for by tax payers. Also, because they acted dubiously, and pretended that it wasn't them that was throttling, but instead some connection problem, or other problem with the application. Throttling is ok, provided you have a choice of choosing another provider (internet providers usually have a monopoly, or at best, duopoly, in most areas) and that they make it completely clear to the customer what they are throttling. Throttling all instances of a specific type of traffic, even when there is no congestion going on, is really not what anybody wants.
    • Comcast is doing this for one reason: so it can continue to vastly oversell it's network. "Unlimited" = "Unlimited because we hope you're all grannies who check their email once in awhile."

    • by dissy (172727) on Monday August 17, 2009 @10:34PM (#29100383)

      Comcast could be free to throttle.

      This is what a lot of people, and comcast, are not seeing.
      No body at all (except comcast) has said they can't throttle!

      Comcast wants to be free to do 'thing A', because there are no laws against doing 'thing A'
      And they are right. And they CAN do 'thing A' and no one said otherwise.

      Problem is, comcast is actually doing 'thing B' which is totally different and unrelated.

      The FCC told them they can't do 'thing B' because it is not legal.
      Comcast replies "But but but, 'thing A' is legal! we should be able to do it!" as if that was relative to anything at all.

      Obviously, 'thing A' is traffic shaping and throttling. 'thing B' is packet forgery and spoofing.

  • by linzeal (197905) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:26PM (#29097113) Homepage Journal

    The only reason Comcast gets my money is because they were granted a monopoly for Cable in my area. IMHO, we really need to start talking about taking away cable and in some places fiber monopolies.

    On another note it would be way cool to be able to have whichever company's box has the broadcast channels on it that you associate with your home town, in my case New York and San Francisco. Do particular broadcast company stations have monopolies as well for geographic areas? I'm pretty damn sick of monopolies, we need to go antitrust hopefully with this administration before its too late.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ari_j (90255)
      I don't think broadcast stations have monopolies, really. Since they have to get their broadcast feeds from the networks, it's hard to imagine the networks granting more than one station franchise (or however it's administered) in a given geographical area. And as long as you have more than one network with a local station, it's not really a monopoly.

      As to cable companies ... sigh. I hate those bastards. Mine spent time and money mailing and broadcasting about how much my bill would go up if they gav
      • by pha7boy (1242512)
        since local stations are owned and operated by large corporations, and since large corporations are governed by media laws, ergo you can't have more then two "ABC" stations in the same market. That would constitute an unfair advantage. It's the reason why broadcast stations have "monopolies" in local markets.
    • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdot@@@hackish...org> on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:38PM (#29097267)

      IMHO, we really need to start talking about taking away cable and in some places fiber monopolies.

      The Economist, a pro-free-market newsmagazine, proposed [economist.com] something like that recently:

      With broadband networks, the role of the state has less to do with limiting handouts than increasing choice. Fibre-optic networks can be run like any other public infrastructure: government, municipalities or utilities lay the cables and let private firms compete to offer services, just as public roadways are used by private logistics firms. In Stockholm, a pioneer of this system, it takes 30 minutes to change your broadband provider.

      Unfortunately, I doubt there are very good prospects for this: the business model of the telecom firms depends inherently on rent-seeking enabled by lack of competition.

    • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:54PM (#29097509) Homepage Journal

      On another note it would be way cool to be able to have whichever company's box has the broadcast channels on it that you associate with your home town, in my case New York and San Francisco. Do particular broadcast company stations have monopolies as well for geographic areas?

      I live equidistant to Omaha, NE and Sioux City, IA. The FCC has declared that my city is part of Sioux City's viewing area. No matter what we tried, the FCC would not allow us to get Omaha channels from Dish Network, even though Omaha is much larger than Sioux City, has more interesting news, and is actually in the same state I live in.

      So, no. What you're asking for is unthinkable to the FCC, and they will talk to you like a kindergartener with air-spread tapeworms if you have the audacity to ask them to let you do it.

  • Dear Comcast, (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:29PM (#29097153)

    Dear Comcast:

    FUCK YOU.

      - a former customer

  • Regional Monopolies are either utilities subject to intense regulation, or are subject to the Sherman Anti-Trust Act.

    Where's your Attorney General now? Seriously....where is he/she??

  • Comcast is currently looking for lots of content to buy. They will then need to be able to cut WAY back on competing companies to force those companies to pay Comcast as well as their ISP. Now, lets see what the dems will do.
  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:30PM (#29097177)
    In a perfect world the FCC will rip Comcast apart. Seriously. When Comcast is looking to buy a content provider like Vivendi or Disney, rather than investing money into infrastructure improvements, then something is entirely, completely off kilter and needs to be corrected. First, while I know that big companies are in business to make money, Comcast should not be in a financial situation to buy a company the size of Disney nor Vivendi. Second, and more importantly, if they are going to operate as a service provider, they should invest profits into ensuring they are able to be the best service provider they can. But, of course, they don't have to because they don't really compete with anyone so they can be a sub-par service provider who over charge for their service and make stupid amounts of money.

    With luck, the FCC will get pissed and make an example of Comcast. I know it won't happen, but I can hope.
    • This, This, This! Support your local municipal broadband provider!
    • by pha7boy (1242512)
      it is not the job of the government to tell a company how to invest it's profit. Unless you re-write the laws to make cable a "utility" you can't govern the way they provide service. The most government can do (and should do) is prevent a company from having a local monopoly. Have Comcast compete with Cox and Verizon and see how fast this type of bullshit goes away.
      • by TheReaperD (937405) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:05PM (#29097623)

        'Unless you re-write the laws to make cable a "utility" you can't govern the way they provide service.'

        Actually, I believe the time has come to re-categorize internet providers as utilities. Most ISPs operate as either a monopoly or duopoly, have municipal districts and are considered to be an essential service for both business and home. All of these are common traits for a utility. It's time to start treating them as such.

        • Actually, I believe the time has come to re-categorize internet providers as utilities. Most ISPs operate as either a monopoly or duopoly, have municipal districts and are considered to be an essential service for both business and home. All of these are common traits for a utility. It's time to start treating them as such.

          Indeed. Internet service used to be a luxury, just like the telephone was when it first came out. Now, it is as much of a utility as phone service, perhaps even more of a utility since

    • Replying to my own post to correct something - Viacom, not Vivendi. Mixed up my big "V" content providers... Point remains the same though.
  • by C_Kode (102755)

    Go FCC, snuff out Comcast.

  • Comcast's case must not be so great if it has taken them this long to file it. One would think that their case will also be much weaker under the current administration than the last one. What Comcast seems to fail to realize is that they are an effective monopoly in much of the area that they serve and monopolists aren't allowed to just go out and do as they please.
  • Bad Plan (Score:5, Interesting)

    by overshoot (39700) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:49PM (#29097429)

    Comcast has finally filed suit [CC], stating that there are no statutes or regulations that support the FCC's authority to stop traffic shaping procedures.

    Consider that the only thing keeping hordes of State regulators from insisting on much stricter requirements (and even open access to that "last mile") is Federal preemption. If the FCC doesn't have the authority to do it, the States do.

    Biting the hand that shields you. Smooth move, Comcast!

  • The FCC doesn't regulate the internet... not yet anyway. However, the problem described does seem to illustrate some very deceptive business practices on Comcast's part. So perhaps the FTC or the Justice Department are more appropriate government entities to address the problem.

  • by desertfoxmb (1122201) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:54PM (#29097487)
    The proper response to this news is not to push for regulation. It's Comcast's network they can do what they like with the data so long as what they are doing is part of the customer agreement the user signed up for. The proper response to this news is to push for anti-trust prosecution against Comcast, Time Warner, et al who are running monopolies in their markets and force competition. Whether that is in the form of forcing them to allow unrestricted usage of their network (for a fee of course) by competitors a la the power grid or some other form. It is not data shaping that is really the issue. It is lack of competitive choice for customers.
    • by whoever57 (658626)

      The proper response to this news is not to push for regulation. It's Comcast's network they can do what they like with the data so long as what they are doing is part of the customer agreement the user signed up for.

      That would be true if there were genuine competition, but there isn't.

  • !packet shaping (Score:5, Informative)

    by pak9rabid (1011935) on Monday August 17, 2009 @04:54PM (#29097491)
    That's all fine and dandy, except what Comcast was doing wasn't packet shaping. What they were doing was actively manipulating traffic (inserting reset flags onto P2P packets to disrupt connectivity). That's a big no-no that they should suffer for dearly.
  • I feel as though many home broadband connections and business connections are really at the mercy of these shenanigans because there are no SLAs or anything like that, everything is "best effort" delivery. The ISP is promising to try to bring you network connectivity, but they are not promising much beyond that.

    I've also been a little afraid of where net neutrality could go. I agree with it 100% in principal, but if congress says that the ISPs cannot essentially shape or prioritize traffic without the app

  • by zmollusc (763634) on Monday August 17, 2009 @05:57PM (#29098179)

    It seems to me that if the ISP has the right to shape traffic/ force resets etc, the customer should have the right to shape payments.
    If I sign up for 'up to' 10 Mb broadband, I should be paying 'up to' £Amount per month with the actual amount paid decided by me based on my own criteria, just like the amount of bytes i get is decided by the ISP based on their criteria.
    Let the ISP ring MY 'customer support' (during hours I decide to provide it) to cry about how I have shaped their monetary stream down by 90% from what they signed up for.

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