Comcast in Denial

A couple of weeks ago the Associated Press reported that Internet Service Provider Comcast was actively blocking traffic on their networks used for Peer-to-Peer file-sharing. Since August Comcast has denied similar accusations. The AP report seems to be bringing things to a head and forcing an explanation. As a result Comcast is softening its statements. While still denying that they are “blocking” such traffic, they admit that some traffic may be “delayed” in an effort to ensure quality of service for all customers. On the other side of the issue, advocacy groups and users are starting to speak out more loudly against the practice.

The scenario raises interesting issues. One, as Peter Svensson notes in the AP report, if other providers take the same action it could be, “a crippling blow to the BitTorrent, eDonkey and Gnutella file-sharing networks.” Number two is net neutrality. Svensson called the practice, “the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider.” This is exactly what net neutrality advocates have been warning about. It could all easily escalate into something very large involving both media companies and legislation. BitTorrent once used exclusively for illicit purposes, is now being embraced by media companies for legitimate purposes and senators from at least three states have already called for hearing on the issue.

Advocacy Group to FCC: Comcast’s Traffic Blocking Defense Is Bogus: ars technica

Sharing Is Never Easy: New York Times

Senators Want Probe of Comcast’s BitTorrent ‘Discrimination’: CNET News Blog


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