Will Comcast Destroy The Internet?
from the seems-a-bit...-extreme dept
Salon is taking a fairly in-depth look at the fears some people have about a Comcast-Disney merger. They look at the somewhat questionable Comcast broadband practices, such as not allowing VPN use, their unclear stance on WiFi and their famous fuzzy bandwidth caps and worry that if they also owned Disney, they’d put in place policies that favored Disney content at the expense of everyone else’s content. While I agree that some of Comcast’s policies seem very anti-user, but I still can’t see them getting away with such policies for very long if they really impact usage. The real issue is that there really isn’t much competition in many areas. If DSL coverage gets broader, and newer technologies such as broadband wireless, satellite broadband and even powerline broadband actually do start to catch on, it would be much more difficult for Comcast to get away with these types of activities. So far, they have been able to get away with these things because they don’t really face enough competition – which is worrisome- but there are plenty of companies that are gunning for them. One interesting note in the article, is that they claim the fuzzy bandwidth caps aren’t so much about keeping bandwidth rates low, but about protecting their cable TV business. The suggestion is that they’re trying to stop people from streaming more than an hour/day’s worth of video content. Comcast denies this, and says you could stream video 24 hours a day and not get cut off. That seems difficult to believe based on the stories from people who have been cut off.