Can Your ISP Stop File Swapping?

from the how-quickly-they-forget dept

It’s a bit of bait and switch by the cable companies to get many of their customers from people who are interested in using file sharing applications, only to turn around and tell them they can’t use those apps any more. The reason people sign up for high speed internet access is to actually use that connection, so why is it that ISPs feel the need to suddenly tell people they can’t any more?

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Comments on “Can Your ISP Stop File Swapping?”

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August Jackson (user link) says:

This is just how I felt...

> The reason people sign up for high speed internet access
> is to actually use that connection, so why is it that ISPs
> feel the need to suddenly tell people they can’t any more?

This is exactly how I felt when I was a Comcast cable Internet customer in my last home and they revised their ToS to prohibit customers from using tunneling on their connections (i.e. such technologies upon which my work VPN connection relied). Their argument was that the service was not intended for “professional activities.”


Wraithnix (user link) says:

Re: Comcast wants

That’s because Comcast sells their cable modem service on two levels: “private” (home use) and “commercial”. “Commercial” cable connections cost 5-6 times more than “private” connections, and (usually, depending on the market) don’t come with upload caps. I have to admit, the service is nice, but I really can’t justify paying $250 a month for a cable modem…

Doug says:


Cable Internet systems are highly asymmetrical. They have a monstrous downstream bandwidth, and a tiny upstream bandwidth. In addition, the bandwidth is shared by (typically) a thousand separate subscribers on each segment.

The upstream bandwidth is quite sufficient to deal with the steady stream of HTTP GET/POST requests, DNS requests, etc., and the occasional uploaded file. But if even one person on a segment suddenly decides to start serving up a number of huge files from a responsive server, they can make it very difficult for the other 1000 subscribers on their segment to do much of anything.

For this reason, essentially all cable Internet services explicitly prohibit the operation of any servers by their subscribers. This is nothing new; it’s been that way from the beginning.

If you want to run a server, including a p2p program, you should get DSL instead. The upstream bandwidth of even the smallest DSL line is bigger than the upstream bandwidth of most cable systems, and it’s all yours! Nobody else is using your upstream bandwidth, and when your server is filling up the upstream bandwidth, you aren’t bothering anybody else.

Anonymous Coward says:

No Subject Given

Nah. Truth is the cable companies have only promoted high speed DOWNLOADING and have ALWAYS prohibited customers from operating a sever. Most have since capped upload at 128K to further discourage it.

Unfortunately they grossly underestimated the tenacity of some users who are perfectly willing to que up a download (or upload) then head off to bed, school, work, the bar or whatever. They don’t really care whether they get their filez at 1.5M or 56K, only that they get them. They certainly don’t care how much bandwidth they’re sucking down in the process, especially if they’re not even there while it’s happening.

Of course the cable bozos are so hungry for their $45 a month they’d rather cap everybody at 128K than terminate the abusers on a TOS violation.

And, like it or not, most “sharing” is of copyrighted materials, which is still theft.

Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

Re: No Subject Given

And, like it or not, most “sharing” is of copyrighted materials, which is still theft.

Actually, it’s not. It’s a Copyright Violation, which is illegal, it is a crime, but it’s not theft.

Theft, Piracy and Stealing are all heavy-handed words that are tossed around by the various xxAA groups to make it sound like they are being robbed.

Like I said, sharing copyright materials is wrong, it is illegal, you can be sued for doing so, but it’s not theft.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: No Subject Given

Ah, no. Actually, it’s theft.

You are thinking probably thinking of copyright infringement. That’s an area where the federal courts have exclusive jurisdiction and the penalties are (typically) statutory damages.

Software piracy, is covered under the 1997 Electronic Theft Act, not the DMCA, most certainly does include jail time in the penaly structure.

Bear in mind all that “shared” stuff ain’t just .mp3 files.

Brenden says:

Its My Bandwith I Can Share If I Want To

Why do the cable and phone companies always have to make things more complicated? I currently have a cable modem through Charter. They have three different charge levels for three different bandwidths. That makes sense to me. That’s the way I want it. Just tell me what my bandwidth is and the cost and I’ll use it how I want to. If I’m using more, it is not my fault. That’s the cable company’s job to manage the bandwidth. There should be no problem if I max out 24 hours a day. I paid for it. I echo August’s frustrations. Charter blocks ipsec packets, which are crucial for VPN’s. Why should they care if I work from home? Their equipment should keep me from using more bandwidth then I’m allocated.

Cory says:

No Subject Given

My Road Runner upload is capped at a pathetic 40K. It’s hard to do any work between here and home as a result of it.

And also they are starting a new push in my area (because there is no competition here which they freely admit) that for large downloaders there will be a 15gig per month limit and then for every 5 gigs over that you are charged an additional $12.95 per 5 gigs.

They also use this to push their new “Xtreme” package on you that gives you more bandwidth and a 20 gig per month limit. They call you, send you letters all kinds of stuff to make you feel like you are doing something wrong by using the bandwidth and playing off that notion to get you to upgrade to the more pricey package.

If I could get DSL and cable TV from some other company in my area I would do it in a second. Not to bring Microsoft into this, but if they were a monopoly I surely didnt feel the impact that I feel from the AOL/Time Warner monopoly to the tune of $60 to $80 more per month on my cable bill for less services and features other’s with AOL/TW get just because they live in areas where there is competition.

Heck in 3 years it will be cheaper for me to start my own cable company than continue paying AOL/TW.

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