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?
Hide this

Thank you for reading this Techdirt post. With so many things competing for everyone’s attention these days, we really appreciate you giving us your time. We work hard every day to put quality content out there for our community.

Techdirt is one of the few remaining truly independent media outlets. We do not have a giant corporation behind us, and we rely heavily on our community to support us, in an age when advertisers are increasingly uninterested in sponsoring small, independent sites — especially a site like ours that is unwilling to pull punches in its reporting and analysis.

While other websites have resorted to paywalls, registration requirements, and increasingly annoying/intrusive advertising, we have always kept Techdirt open and available to anyone. But in order to continue doing so, we need your support. We offer a variety of ways for our readers to support us, from direct donations to special subscriptions and cool merchandise — and every little bit helps. Thank you.

–The Techdirt Team


Reader Comments

Subscribe: RSS

View by: Time | Thread


  • identicon
    August Jackson, 13 May 2003 @ 11:51am

    This is just how I felt...

    > The reason people sign up for high speed internet access< BR>> 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."

    Hosers.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Wraithnix, 14 May 2003 @ 8:45am

      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...

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Doug, 13 May 2003 @ 1:05pm

    Cable

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2003 @ 1:17pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Oliver Wendell Jones, 13 May 2003 @ 2:41pm

      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.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 13 May 2003 @ 3:14pm

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brenden, 13 May 2003 @ 2:12pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Dr_Stein, 13 May 2003 @ 2:37pm

      Re: Its My Bandwith I Can Share If I Want To

      Must depend on where you are. Our company has field sales reps all over the country, some using Charter, and they have never reported any such issue. VPN works fine.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Michael, 1 Nov 2003 @ 1:05pm

      Re: Its My Bandwith I Can Share If I Want To

      I am a tech with charter and I can assure you we do not block ipsec packets nor other forms of communication regarding a vpn connection. We do however block certain ports that could cause a timeout when trying to make a socket connection on a vpn connection.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cory, 13 May 2003 @ 2:18pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Close

Add A Reply

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here



Subscribe to the Techdirt Daily newsletter




Comment Options:

  • Use markdown. Use plain text.
  • Make this the First Word or Last Word. No thanks. (get credits or sign in to see balance)    
  • Remember name/email/url (set a cookie)

Follow Techdirt
Special Affiliate Offer

Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Recent Stories

This site, like most other sites on the web, uses cookies. For more information, see our privacy policy. Got it
Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.