Comcast's New Plan: Send Heavy Users To The Back Of The Line

from the slow-down-there,-speedy dept

Comcast agreed last year to change the way it was dealing with supposedly “heavy” users, after it came out (following many denials from Comcast) that the company was using a rather heavy-handed manner to block certain services from working, without bothering to tell anyone. Now the company has said that it will be implementing a plan whereby heavy bandwidth users will be sent to a sort of “time out” room where all of their traffic will be slowed down for a period of 10 to 20 minutes. Consider it the flipside to Comcast’s Powerboost offering, which was supposedly designed for the exact opposite purpose: to help heavy downloaders get more bandwidth when they needed it. Now, apparently that gets you punished.

Meanwhile, over at the PFF conference, execs from Comcast (and Verizon) were apparently complaining that lobbyists were shaping the net neutrality debate, leaving out the part where it was their own lobbyists who really kicked that process off. Update: Oh, and as was widely expected, despite the FCC voting against Comcast, the company will not be fined or anything.

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Comments on “Comcast's New Plan: Send Heavy Users To The Back Of The Line”

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Hate to standup for Qwest, but... says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Qwest has done a real good job for me, but do note, YMMV. I recommend the un-bundled program.

There are a lot of good collocation companies that offer Qwest DSL. If something goes wrong, it’s easy to troubleshoot: (DSL light off = Qwest Problem. Anything else = call that English-Speaking ISP guy across town.) I knew they put that DSL light on there for some reason.

Anonymous Coward says:

Is it really this fucking complex?!

When bandwidth is scarce, THROTTLE EVERYONE. When bandwidth is not scarce, let everyone go wild. It’s a simple method used in networks everywhere. If only 10% of bandwidth is being used for a few hours, then who cares how much a handful of people are using? But when that bandwidth is consumed by a lot of users during high traffic, just throttle people back a little to keep things flowing.

No reason to single out a particular type of user or to single anyone out for unnecessary traffic shaping outside of high traffic moments.

Benjie says:

All on how it's implemented

I think and ISP should be able to ‘throttle’ a user if their network is getting flooded at peak time. They should also be looking at ways to upgrade their networks also if peak bandwidth is severly cutting into customers ‘rated’ bandwidth. Throttling should be completely fair to everyone, meaning that no one should be getting more bandwidth than another just because they have more streams open.

The only thing worse than getting your bandwidth throttled is being lagged to death in a video game because an ISP can’t handle the load. they should be actively looking/implementing new upgrade paths.

Anonymous Coward says:

They are already doing this to me!

I’m with Comcast and I can download 6Mb/sec all day long from a variety of sites. However, if I fire up a P2P application, within a couple minutes my latency changes from 45ms to 1000ms and EVERYTHING I’m doing, from web surfing to downloading, to playing WoW goes to hell. I kill off the P2P application and within a couple minutes everything is back to normal. Comcast has for all intents and purposes made P2P unusable. Mind you, the P2P application was never consuming more than a trickle of my bandwidth before the latency was introduced. In fact, testing by me has shown that they turn it on at the first site of P2P, regardless of the actual bandwidth being utilized. For me, this doesn’t really matter since I’m not a P2P file sharer. And it does appear that they whitelist some P2P, like Blizzard’s updater, for instance. But if this 1000ms latency injection ever starts just for the hell of it (not just for P2P) then Comcast and I would have to parts ways rapidly.

Relonar says:


although I would like to ditch them right now, it is just not feasible with the standards to the other communications company(singular) in my area. I would have liked to kick them back with the bittorrent dispute, I would have liked to kick them when other were receiving overage warnings on unknown caps. The only thing that has kept me on is the residential cap on upstream rates is about 1Mbit which i use for ‘hosting a private game server’ along side of a vent server every once in a while.
The ‘competitors’ offer substantially less(385kbit upstream dsl) unless I pay for a business connection, which on my budget is out of the question.

so I’m stuck between caps I can’t see, or a bottleneck where I would have to dramatically change my current habits.

Waiting for a DOCSIS 3 upgrade (which will probably be just as oversubscribed so it won’t help at all) or Verizon to move in, until then I have nowhere to go so they can screw me as hard as they like and I can go nowhere…
I just don’t download massive amounts of content right now so i haven’t been able to test these caps (or maybe I have…what is the limit now 4.783 mebabytes?)

Eric says:


I have 16Mbs service with Charter and I love it. Reliable and when I play World of Warcraft I usually have a frame rate over 50 and my latency is usually under 30. I sympathize with you Comcast people. I have heard nothing but nightmare stories about them. I live in a rural area of Washington State and we have Charter, Clearwire and Qwest DSL. But Charter’s service is the fastest and most reliable.

Kent says:

It's Comcraptic!

I used to wonder why comcast wasn’t in my area, but all around my area in every direction, seriously, its like an island of Comcastlessness. It’s this kind of news that explains why Comcast isn’t here, I’m lucky enough to live in an area with a choice of low-priced, high speed cable provider, and we chose not sh**ty file-sharing blocking Comcast.

Anonymous Coward says:

That story was something else?

Does COMCAST own CNET now? I know they own G4 and some other “tech” media properties, but that story was one of the most shameless, one sided propaganda pieces I have ever seen (outside the American Spectator or Washington Times . . . maybe CNET is owned by Mooneys now?).

Heres one part that made me chuckle a little;

“Before the announcement, Comcast had responded to network congestion caused by BitTorrent users. . . “

Well it seems the reporter has concluded that it was in fact Bit Torrent users that were causing all the congestion. Nevermind that there is no actual proof of ANY congestion, much less that the congestion (which hasnt been proven) is caused by users of one specific protocol (which is just rediculous). The article is loaded with that kind of pro-comcast propoganda, frankly its so obvious it reads more like a press release, then a news story. This is certainly one “journalist” that should have no credibility in the tech world.

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