Comcast Traffic Shaping

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.

  1. 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. []

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