John Paczkowski

Recent Posts by John Paczkowski

Old Comcast Traffic-Shaping Technique Actually "New" Traffic-Shaping Technique

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Comcast is apparently too busy drafting its “P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities” to bother attending the daylong hearing into its dubious “network management” practices. An odd decision for a company so intent on “clarifying” the practices ISPs should use to manage P2P applications running on their networks. But according to a company spokesperson, Comcast (CMCSA) “felt the issues specific to us were well covered at the first hearing, and the focus of this event should be broader than any individual company’s issues.”

Broader issues? Like reasonable network-management practices? The responsibility to deliver traffic fairly? Service disclosures? The sort of issues that might figure prominently in a “P2P Bill of Rights?”

Guess not.

Anyway, Comcast has already scrapped its policy of deliberately slowing some traffic flowing over BitTorrent and other P2P networks, so there’s really no need for Federal Communications Commission Chairman Kevin Martin to bust its chops anymore. As Mitch Bowling, Comcast’s senior vice president and general manger of its Internet service, told the New York Times, Comcast’s new policy is to slow traffic based on usage pattern, not application. “[Our new technique] will be based purely on individual consumption by consumers,” Bowling said. “Anything in addition to that is outside the scope of what our network management goal is.”

So the company plans to throttle traffic to the customers that use the most bandwidth. Hmmm. I wonder who those might be? The folks who use the Internet for email and Web browsing or those who use it for downloading digital media?


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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work