Another ISP Content Block That Isn't

from the settle-down-people dept

When word got around last week that some BellSouth DSL users couldn’t access MySpace, we noted that the swift online reaction (or overreaction) illustrated that ISPs who did block popular sites wouldn’t be able to get away with it for very long — particularly with the heightened awareness of net neutrality. Apparently Cox didn’t get the memo, as users that install security software from a company called Authentium it provides them haven’t been able to access Craigslist for several months. Since part of the Cox media empire’s business is based on classified ads, some have jumped to the conclusion that Cox must be actively blocking Craigslist, but as Broadband Reports points out, the reason — as in the BellSouth-MySpace case — is more likely error or incompetence than malice. So while crying wolf every time a broadband user can’t reach some site might highlight people’s reactions should ISPs actually begin blocking sites, it really doesn’t help the cause of net neutrality to associate its proponents with knee-jerk, and ultimately baseless, reactions. In any case, the idea of internet providers actually blocking sites completely is pretty slim — they’ll just use traffic shaping or other technologies to throttle them to the point that they’re useless.

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Comments on “Another ISP Content Block That Isn't”

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Yet another Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

But shaping may be a bluff...

Does anyone realize that it will cost the big telcos a wad to implement traffic shaping? I’ve dealt with a big one in the recent past, and had to spoon feed them with QoS requests on an MPLS WAN.

I cannot imagine they have the spare engineers available to actually implement this idea.

Ergo, this is a pure bluff: “I’m going to pay a bunch of money to hurt you if you don’t pay us off!”

This makes no sense.

g says:

Re: But shaping may be a bluff...

The technology for traffic shaping already exists and they already have it. All major network tools for management have features to allow shaping and path priorities based on traffic type.

As for individual sites, they can do that as well. This isnt science fiction, its doable now. They just need to turn it on and start tuning.

DJ Twiztid says:

yay for drama

More technology drama….I thought that stuff was supposed to be on TV like the young and the useless?! I guess. It keeps people entertained to the point where maybe a few care. But then again I’m not into the MySpace fad. I personally could care less about how many people I could cram on my friends list or have people read about my life. That’s what you spend time with your actual friends are for. But that’s me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Apparently Cox didn’t get the memo, as users that install security software from a company called Authentium it provides them haven’t been able to access Craigslist for several months.

In any case, the idea of internet providers actually blocking sites completely is pretty slim — they’ll just use traffic shaping or other technologies to throttle them to the point that they’re useless.

that makes one wonder though…if this has been going on for several months and as you say the idea of internet providers actually blocking sites completely is pretty slim dont you think they would have fixed this issue by now? maybe, released a patch or a workaround or something along those lines, instead of just keeping quiet and not doing anything to resolve the issue. no action on the part of cox for several months does make it seem as if they are doing it on purpose.

Carlo (user link) says:

Re: Re:

As far as I can tell, the problem is caused by the free security software Cox offers its broadband subscribers… so perhaps the overlap between people that install it and people that are aware of/want to use Craigslist isn’t too high, or those that it did affect just uninstalled the software.

I think the point’s still valid, though, since several sites are publishing “COX BLOCKS CRAIGSLIST!!!!” posts with the usual drama.

Yet another Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: re:

If you want a real radical DJ, try Steve Jones.

Streaming for free on from Noon to 2 PST (GMT-8 for the rest of the world), Windows Media or MP3 formats.

He was lead guitar for the Sex Pistols, plays music from his own collection, plays live himself, and has occasion guests that would never grace Howard’s domain, from the Richard Branson to the Suicide Girls.

Be brave and check out some real radio for a change.

PS: I’m just a fan, I’m not getting paid to say this.


BTW, I still think the telcos won’t cover the labor cost to turn on the shaping.

Mike Orr says:

Net Neutrality and QoS - some basics

With out going into the politics of “Net Neutrality”, it is worth noting some basics:

1. Carriers sell me my 3mbps DSL and Sell my target site its 155Mbps (or whatever), so in theory, its all paid. However, in reality the business model assumes I will *on average* use much less than 3Mbps, and in a way the carrier sells the same bandwidth multiple times.

2. To be able to meet an agreed (or acceptable) level

of service, the amount of “overbooking” is limited, and

sensitive to the nature oif the traffic involved. So if I

raise my average consumption and “really” try to use

the 3Mbps I think I paid for all the time, the carrier

has to do less overbooking. In other words, in such a

case, It is more expensive for the carrier to stand up

to the promised service I am getting.

3. So – what to do? Raise consumer price to account for

my higher-than-expected consumption, even tough

it is within my already-promised 3Mbps? hard. So –

4. Caririer wants to raise the price of the target sites

that “cause” this more-than-expected average

5. Also (carrier says), these target sites make lots

of money, and the price per Mbps they pay is the

same as less heavy users – they can afford it, let

them pay.

6. So, in my mind, this is not a sinister lets-block-sites

play (tough it may become so someday). This is more

about trying to charge as much as possible. Since

everyone buys the same thing – Bps – it LOOKS

better to charge more if I claim there are Classes of

bits, each with a different price

So, as the average site becomes more multi-media heavy, and the average consumption rises on this conversation, this directly impacts the carrier’s traffic model, and if forced to live up to some agreed SLA, more Bandwith must be given to me

|333173|3|_||3 says:


I would be surprised if there is no shaping to reduce the priority of data going to 56k user than to Cable/ADSL2+ users, since the speed with which they can download is lower anyway, it would improve matters for higher bandwidth customers without significantly affecting 56kers. Obvoiusly this would only be nessesary at peak times and in certain areas, but it could still be usefull.

Mike Orr says:

Shaping - not necessarily a bluff

Current switch chipsets easily do shaping of Ehthernet traffic, by pport, by flow and so on. This is true even on relatively cheap units.

Main issue of uing it is the logistical cost for configuring the “right’ shaping to apply.

However, using some standard gradess (Say “bronze”, “silver” “gold’ and ‘Platinum’) and applying them per user is relatively easy, so I think ISP’s/Carriers can do this, if allowed.

Mr. Blackwell says:

What can I Do

I hate Cox the most. Cox Blocks all my ports. All 65,500 or so. Hell, they even band me from the site Im 24 years old with no kids, and they are trying to tell me what I can and can’t watch or view. And I pay for this *%&#! Now your gonna tell me I gotta pay more to get it uncensored. What can I do?

P.S.Soon, people will be paying for air to breave. Or Die

CommunistVeganPotUser says:


Yeah, everytime someone can’t do something online, it’s always immediately published AS FACT by every PUBLICATION that we now have EVEN MORE PROOF THAT THE MAN IS KEEPING US DOWN! Yes, just google the phrase, once, “Computer problem.” See, all those listings? Yeah, each one is probably associated with someone complaining about the person providing the goods or service as being responsible. As far as bit-shaping goes, it takes roughly two or three seconds for a person to detect whether an internet connection is suffering bit-shaping or non-net neutrality.

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