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Congressman weighs in on Comcast sabotage

updated 01:25 pm EDT, Thu October 25, 2007

Congressman v. Comcast

A member of the US Congress is the latest to express criticism of national cable ISP Comcast. The company was recently caught in a scandal by the Associated Press, who revealed that the company was deliberately sabotaging peer-to-peer transfers, hampering or completely blocking transfers such as BitTorrent sharing. Rep. Rick Boucher (D-VA) complains in an interview that Comcast is ultimately hurting one of the primary purposes of the Internet, which is sharing content between users. Moreover, despite its frequent association with piracy, Boucher notes that file sharing is also common in a "wide variety of perfectly lawful and appropriate applications."

Boucher says he will decline any efforts at legislation, however, that might enforce net neutrality in this regard, preferring instead to put pressure on Comcast to change its market policies. The company should, Boucher suggests, "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less." As this is unlikely to be enough, Boucher is urging the company to eventually increase its capacity to meet demand. "That is what municipal broadband and other telecom companies are doing. Ultimately, the cable companies will have to deploy fiber to the house."

In the meantime, the Congressman says that "Comcast obviously needs to engage in some aspect of network management. The company has limited bandwidth, and there are times when there is more demand for service than the infrastructure can support." Boucher asserts that the company has an obligation to be more "evenhanded," and conversely should not engage in "blanket disqualification" of applications like BitTorrent clients. [via Crave]

by MacNN Staff




  1. Eldernorm

    Joined: Dec 1969


    maybe we do need it

    Maybe we do need "net neutrality" to be a law after all.


  1. nickgold2012

    Joined: Dec 1969


    dumb congressman

    While I agree with some of what he said, they do NOT need fiber to the home, coax is a fat enough pipe for most people's needs. It's the rest of the infrastructure that needs work more than the last few hundred feet or whatnot.

  1. UberFu

    Joined: Dec 1969


    re:dumb congressman

    also - even with Fibre to home - if they do not have that in place from the originating internet source - it does nobody any good except to have a really f****** fast internal network_ Which will slow way down as soon as it hits the connection form the street back to the ISP source_

    The Congressman's suggestion regarding - "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less."

    Comcast already does this to some extent_ They have different bandwidth allocation at different monthly fee rates already_ The thing is that no where in their Terms does it stipulate based on Protocol usage or Port Number usage that they reserve the right to cut bandwidth or whatever_ the only stipulation is - child p*** - soliciting minors and the normal illegal crap_

    I'd be kind of irritated if I was trying to pull down OpenOffice and they dropped me down to a trickle 'cause I was using Torrent software_

    Honestly [and legally] if I am paying for 24 hours per day -- 7 days per week service @ 8Mbps speed - then it does not matter what I do with that_ It is not their concern and if they want to throttle me [which I haven't come across -- I have Comcast service] then they need to pro-rate my service for the allotted "slow" time - otherwise they are stealing from me_

  1. gskibum3

    Joined: Dec 1969



    No wonder their approval rating is so low! Instead of dealing with issues that matter, like identity theft, immigration and such. They want to tell businesses and their customers how to well - do business!

  1. paulc

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not only Comcast!

    TWC's RoadRunner service does the same thing. Even if my torrent download is running 1/4 of the available bandwidth, the web browser acts like it was on a modem... and a 2400 baud modem to boot.

    When I re-jiggered the torrent client to ONLY use encrypted connections, bingo, the browser speed went back (almost) to normal.

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