The Associated Presses investigative work on Comcast’s alleged network traffic shaping (or possible outright blocking) has been getting a lot of coverage today, and rightfully so1. This seems to be the first major instance of a major ISP getting their hands caught in the cookie jar when it comes to abandoning network neutrality, or at least that the mainstream press has picked up on.
As Comcast customers, I can say that we have not yet been blocked from downloading (or sharing during download) torrent files. Last night, I was able to download the Ubuntu 7.10 .iso in roughly fifteen minutes (yes, that’s around 700 kB/s average speed). However, Angela and I both noted that e‑mail and web became extremely sluggish during and for some time afterward (even after quitting Azuerus). While downloading, I was also able to speak via VOIP (Vonage) to my mom for around twelve minutes, without any degradation of call quality.
So, as you can imagine, we’re typically thrilled with the speed of our internet connection. It is honestly a great value at around $50 per month. However, if we began to detect that Comcast was blocking undesirable traffic (such as BitTorrent or VOIP calls), you better believe we’d switch in a heartbeat. Even if it meant drastically slower speed; because slower is better than none at all.
- There seems to be some confusion in the reports as to whether downloading via BitTorrent is an issue or not. Ars specifically mentioned it was in the AP tests and Engadget specifically says it wasn’t. [↩]