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FCC To investigate Comcast Bittorrent Meddling 196

Posted by kdawson
from the just-the-bits-please dept.
An anonymous reader writes "FCC Chairman Kevin Martin said Tuesday that the commission will investigate complaints that Comcast actively interferes with Internet traffic as its subscribers try to share files online. A coalition of consumer groups and legal scholars asked the agency in November to stop Comcast from discriminating against certain types of data and to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber. While known for months in tech circles, the issue wasn't given broad attention until an Associated Press report last year, in which reporters tested and verified the data blocking."
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FCC To investigate Comcast Bittorrent Meddling

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  • by Adambomb (118938) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:44PM (#21961820) Journal
    Given the recent stories [slashdot.org] related to chairman Kevin Martin, one has to wonder if this is fitting a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense or just that cable companies havent kept up their "lobbying" efforts or stepped on some toes.

    I sincerely hope its the former, but i'm cynical enough to expect the latter.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Adambomb (118938)
      If someone read the link i posted, Kevin martin is stepping up to the cable companies on more than one front.

      Then again, i did forget this was slashdot. Receiving new data isnt the object of the exercise for some.
    • by DCTooTall (870500) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:34PM (#21962444)
      Honestly I'm kinda wondering about Martin. He'd way too...wishy-washy. I kind of get the feeling that he may be more likely to have a personal issue against the CableCo's, or is trying to cause them more trouble to help the telco's get into the market. Now... the whole bittorrent thing.. Kinda hard to ignore it. It's pretty obvious after the AP story that something is fishy, and if he didn't do something he'd be a lot harder pressed to explain his actions. Besides... it's another reason to go after the Cable companies.. and comcast in general.

      Now.. you may ask why do I think Martin has a thing against the CableCo's in particular while all about helping the Bells? Let's see... he's authorized the AT&T Merger with BellSouth, helping to recreate one of the largest utility monopolies and the largest ISP out there.....Yet then starts trying to force a 70%/70% ruling on the Cable Companies in order to try and gain additional control over the Cable Industry. He then tries to cap the amount of the market which the CableCo can own at 30% (Call me crazy... but I'm pretty sure some of the bells already have that percentage, if not more....).

      There's also the whole factor of Franchise agreements. For YEARS (Decades even), In order for a cable company to come into a town, they had to negotiate with the local government for the Franchise. This Franchise agreement included payments to the local Gov'ment, Community Access channels, and honestly, a little bit of a way for the local community to excert pressure on the cableco to provide decent service thru the renewal process. (although admittedly few Gov'ments truly exercised this ability like they could've). When the Bells started wanting to offer TV service thru FIOS or AT&T's UniverseTV product, they discovered they would be legally required to negotiate with the local communities Franchising groups in order to be able to offer service. They didn't like this Idea....So they had the FCC remove the local community's ability to control who could offer service in their community by allowing the Bell's to instead get a state-wide Franchise. (Time Warner has appearently taken advantage of this ruling in Wisconsin by applying for and getting a state-wide Franchise in that state..).

      Besides removing a large hurdle for the Bell's to now offer Television services at well, it removed the local community's ability to force the providers to offer local access television. (Gov'ment billboards for announcements, classic Public Access TV, etc).

      What I'm also wondering about is how He authorizes a large merger so we basically now have only 3? Large national telcos (Verizon, AT&T, Quest.....with other rural players and 2nd teir players like Embarq). He removes a large barrier for them to enter the TV market.... and after at least one CableCo takes advantage of that removal, He then starts trying to limit the amount of the market which the Cable-Co's can be in.



      Needless to say.... I don't believe Martin is necessarily doing anything out of the goodness of his heart, or because "it's the right thing to do"..... But even if his motives aren't exactly the best, if his agreeing to look into this helps set a legal precedent for Network Neutrality... I'm all for it. (It might be interesting to see however if he either chickens out on being severe in the punishment.... or even kinda let the issue slip to a back-burner to be forgotten about, rather than do something that can bite the Telco's in the butt later.)
      • by Adambomb (118938)
        dig, the bitter side of me can entirely see it being an issue of being outbid by telcoland (whether monitarily or some other form of gain).

        The details are certainly not proof positive, but they are certainly indicative. Correlation != causation and all, but i hear ya.
      • by alshithead (981606) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @11:13PM (#21964526)
        "Honestly I'm kinda wondering about Martin. He'd way too...wishy-washy. I kind of get the feeling that he may be more likely to have a personal issue against the CableCo's, or is trying to cause them more trouble to help the telco's get into the market. Now... the whole bittorrent thing.. Kinda hard to ignore it. It's pretty obvious after the AP story that something is fishy, and if he didn't do something he'd be a lot harder pressed to explain his actions. Besides... it's another reason to go after the Cable companies.. and comcast in general."

        I think "wishy-washy" is generous. In my opinion he's not "wishy-washy", he's an administration corporate servant. The only reason that he's said he will investigate is that he thinks that will show the public that he is following his job description...minimally. If you think that his investigation will find that Comcast consumers have been denied their rights then think again. The quote I saw in another article today stated quite specifically that he knows and feels that providers have the right to "manage their traffic". I can just about guarantee that the FCC will find that "in the interests of all users, those sharing files (even if legitimate) must have their traffic delayed in order to provide the best service to all users". He won't even think about exploring the fact that providers over-promise services and should instead upgrade their infrastructure to provide those services as promised versus putting the brakes on traffic that might compromise overall end user satisfaction. What a crock.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by _KiTA_ (241027)

      Given the recent stories related to chairman Kevin Martin, one has to wonder if this is fitting a suddenoutbreakofcommonsense or just that cable companies havent kept up their "lobbying" efforts or stepped on some toes.

      I sincerely hope its the former, but i'm cynical enough to expect the latter.


      Myself, given how much the current administration is in the pocket of large businesses, I have to wonder if this is a hearing to consider making said content screwovers mandatory for all ISPs.
      • by Adambomb (118938)
        Dunno about that, the MO itself is nothing new for the FCC. Check out this fellows response [slashdot.org].

        It would seem the screwovers are mainly for the cableco's this round.
      • Name a single administration that *hasn't* been in the pocket of big business. There hasn't been one, at least not in the past 100 years or so.
  • by kurt555gs (309278) <kurt555gs@@@ovi...com> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:45PM (#21961828) Homepage
    I am a Comcast subscriber, and I really resent that they charge me 50+ BUX per month for "unlimited" internet, but when I want to download a linux installation DVD via BitTorrent, I can't.

    I really do not see the Republican controlled FCC doing anything about this, however it is a good start to at least say they are investigating.

    • by hax0r_this (1073148) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:51PM (#21961902)
      I can't believe people around here still believe that they can blame government corruption and stupidity on Republicans. Since the democrats have taken back congress if anything congress has gotten worse on these issues. Where before we would have bills sponsored by a bunch of republicans with maybe a few democrats, and a bunch of democrats opposing it just because they hate republicans, now we have bunches of democrats sponsoring some of the most blatantly stupid and corrupt bills I have ever seen, and bunches of republicans backing them.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Surt (22457)
        Bush picks the people who work at the top of many government organizations, and they pick the people below. It has little to do with congress, and that's why it still gets (appropriately) blamed on Republicans.

        If we have a democratic president, we'll start blaming (and whip out our brooms) him and the democrats if these shenanigans continue.
        • by sumdumass (711423)
          Doesn't congress have to approve of these heads? I mean it seems to be to be a joint effort, the president picks them and congress says if they are fit enough for service.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Jay Clay (971209)
        I'm not sure what's been done about this particular issue, but let's not act as if the Republicans haven't played their part in our current government being stagnant. With a year left to go, the Republicans already have the most filibusters in the history of the US, and they blantantly admit that they're blocking votes on stuff to make the democrats look bad. Here's a quote from Trent Lott (the guy who was all about how unfair it was for the Democrats to not give an "up or down" vote for Gonzales): "The
    • Republican? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Quila (201335) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:55PM (#21961962)
      We could get a Democrat FCC that would demand ISPs block all p2p traffic at the behest of the entertainment industry. While they hedge their bets with some Republican donations, they tend to give about two to three times as much money to Democrats.

      Yes, the biggest government whores for the entertainment industry are generally Democrats, led by Berman and Hollings (the latter thankfully recently retired).
      • While they hedge their bets with some Republican donations, they tend to give about two to three times as much money to Democrats.

        Hah. That has very little to do with principles and more with return-on-investment. Hollywood is in California, a traditionally blue state. There's more to be gained this way.

        Not that it's right.

        • by Quila (201335)
          Hollings, their #1 cheerleader until his recent retirement, represented South Carolina.
    • Re:Comcast == evil; (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Adambomb (118938) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:00PM (#21962040) Journal

      I really do not see the Republican controlled FCC doing anything about this, however it is a good start to at least say they are investigating.
      I do have to take exception to that statement, while i agree with this most likely ending with nothing new. Look into FCC policies during american democratic administrations, or hell even hillary clintons current views on the subject.

      Sucks all around.
    • I really do not see the Republican controlled FCC doing anything about this...
      You say that as if you think a Democrat controlled FCC would be any better.
    • by MrKaos (858439)
      I would have thought that they would be promoting bittorrent servers within their own networks as a way to decrease their own network costs. I mean it's not as if people are going to stop down loading things just because they interfere or want to do what the RIAA/MPAA say.

      i.e, people using bittorrent == cash for them (in reduced external network costs) at least thats how I understand it. If the torrents are between two comcast customers then they would be able to charge both customers for the bandwidth wi

  • THANK GOD ... maybe (Score:3, Interesting)

    by milsoRgen (1016505) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:49PM (#21961864) Homepage
    /fingers crossed

    I really hope something comes of this... I think it could go either way really, the FCC could certainly side Comcast on the issue. But even if we could get some more truth in advertising in the business I would be happy. Let people know what services you intend to affect.

    Or my personal favorite, not knowing how much bandwidth you're payments actually cover. About half way through the afternoon I drop to 1/6th to 1/8th my 'normal' bandwidth. Till midnight and BAM full speed again... And believe me it don't take much, one DVD .iso of Ubuntu is enough to choke me all day long.
  • I see all these comments everywhere saying "I'm trying to download a bittorrent from Comcast but I can't"...

    I'm on Comcast, I have a normal residential account afaik, but I can download torrents fine. Pretty speedy too.

    I don't doubt some people are having problems but how is it I'm not?

    • by jordan314 (1052648) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @06:57PM (#21961986)
      Can you seed? Sandvine doesn't limit your downloading, it prevents seeding (though that in turn can slow your downloads down). If you notice all your peers dropping to zero after your download is finished on an otherwise popular torrent, you're being affected.
      • by Misch (158807)
        Over the past week or so, I've noticed that a couple torrents I was seeding have started to send data. And it's not the reset-wait to timeout-send-sandvine spoof-loop that had been going on. It's uploading all the time.

        I'm on Comcast in South NJ.

        Of course, this is just anecdotal evidence.
        • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:29PM (#21963062)
          Are you encrypting your BT traffic? If so then Comcast thinks it is just normal traffic like HTTP/FTP and will let it go.
          • by DCTooTall (870500) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:37PM (#21963160)
            Actually, according the original reports I read, Encrypting the traffic didn't really help. It was something about how the Sandvine system was actually going off the nature and pattern of the traffic, not just the ports or contents of the packets.

            It was because it was going off traffic patterns that people were reporting problems with programs such as lotus notes as well.
        • by trawg (308495)
          Surely its not that hard to get real evidence though - just look in your peer list when downloading and see if there's any comcast users seeding to you! That'd be an interesting experiment on some of the bigger torrents. Of course without a frame of reference in terms of numbers it might not be useful data, but at least you'd be able to see if some/any comcast users were uploading.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by xeoron (639412)
        I am house sitting using a Comcast connection and the only seeding I can do is if it is encrypted. Somewhat related, I have Verizon DSL at home and I have noticed a increased of forged reset packets while on bit-torrent over the last few months; though I think Azureus ignores most of them. I want to know-- why aren't other ISP's getting reports on their similar habits?
    • by piojo (995934)
      I think (no hard evidence) that comcast filters differently in different geographic locations. I have observed this--when I stayed with a friend over the summer, comcast sometimes killed the internet entirely for about an hour, when people in the house were using too much bittorrent. I have not experienced this in my parents' house, where we use comcast. (I hope they pay dearly for this, somehow. They have engendered more ill-will in me than any other company.)
      • See that really sounds more like your friend's router crashed for about an hour. I haven't heard ANYONE say that they kill the connection entirely.
        • by piojo (995934)

          See that really sounds more like your friend's router crashed for about an hour.

          You know, this is embarrassing, but I think you're right, now that I think about it. (I spent most of the summer convinced that Comcast was evil, then I discovered a bad network cable toward the end of the summer. I then conveniently forgot about the network cable and continued to think Comcast was evil.) Man, I need to stop spreading FUD... But I still don't know why this (very physical) problem only seemed to occur when the line was under heavy use.

          • by pthor1231 (885423)
            It's probably because of the number of active connections. Some routers / modems just can't handle large numbers of connections, or huge bursts of data. I've had internet cut out on me when downloading a torrent at 100kb/s, purely because I had TONS of connections that were all going slowly, and the router just freaked out.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      It's starting to look to me like QoS from Comcast is luck of the draw.

      They don't really give a shit at all. They barely (or don't) maintian their infrastructure, and they don't pay attention to (or don't care) about over-population of certain areas. If you're lucky, you're living somewhere where comcast put in a big enough pipe, and recently enough that it hasn't degraded yet. If you're not, your QoS sucks.

      That's just they way it's been looking to me, I could be wrong.
      • by Enry (630)
        I've had Comcast for just shy of 10 years (back when they were MediaOne). I'm about 10 miles outside Boston, and based on the geography of my area, most of my neighbors have internet service from Comcast, so the area is pretty highly subscribed.

        Way back when it was MediaOne and then AT&T Broadband, the service was terrible. It was bad enough that the routers had to be frequently rebooted, but the routing was frequently screwed up. Screwed up enough that I had to e-mail them a traceroute of two router
      • by Thing 1 (178996)

        It's starting to look to me like QoS from Comcast is luck of the draw.

        They don't really give a shit at all.

        Agreed. I own an RCA DCW615 cable modem, and have run into the issue where I can no longer control it[1], because Comcast has sent some specific data down the wire to change its function from "Residential Gateway" mode to "Cable Modem" mode. I don't know a whole lot about this, but you can see from this post [speedguide.net] that several others have run into the issue.

        I called them last week to ask about this

    • by rrohbeck (944847)
      I'm pretty sure they overcommitted their backbone bandwidth in some areas and can't handle more than some percentage of the total bandwidth they sold. Since BT causes the most traffic that's what they're throttling if necessary.
      • by DCTooTall (870500)
        Honestly... My guess would be a combination of RIAA/MPAA pressure, Bandwith Management....and whether or not the cablemodem network in the area has been "prepped" for Sandvine, or if they are still trying to work on "fixing" or consolidating it from a previous company into the "comcast fold". LOL... gotta make sure something works before you break it. lol
    • by DCTooTall (870500) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:47PM (#21962626)
      Because of the Traditional Franchise Nature of the cable industry, as well as all the aquisitions and mergers over the years, Most cable companies... and ESPECCIALLY the actual network, are not necessarily one big common shared network. Basically you could have your National Corporate level, Your Division, and then a local region and even the individual systems within that region. All could have their own policies and guidelines....or way of doing things. While some people in Comcast Territory could be in an area they've deployed sandvine, Other Comcast covered areas may not have deployed it, or just implemented it yet. Keep in mind that putting something like Sandvine on the network isn't necessarily as easy as plugging it in, and making it work.... especcially if you are in an area which was covered by another area as recently as a year or 2 ago.

      For instance.... I know Adelphia was split between Time Warner and Comcast a few years ago. Adelphia may have had 1 way which they designed their cable network and backend systems. The aquiring company may have another. Making ANY changes is a slow and drawn out process because you have to be VERY careful to avoid any negative customer impact. (IOW's... you can't just unplug a system from one network and instantly plug it into another. You could risk customer outages.. breaking networks because a router is on the wrong VLAN or ip collisioning with another item on the new network.). i'd honestly thing that throwing something like Sandvine would be more of a clean-up/tweaking of the network kind of job, after you've got everything working and talking on a common network. Not something you'd just throw in there off the bat, and then try to get everything up to the standards everything else is on.
  • /applaud


    $195,000 per affected subscriber? Wow! Comcast won't be able to afford that 160mbps network upgrade if that occurs.

    This should be an interesting story to watch unfold. Let's see how Comcast denies and hides it. Too bad this isn't a class action suit that would return some of that money to the victims... I mean customers. Maybe a class action suit will follow if or when the FCC finds Comcast guilty.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:00PM (#21962028)
    It's just about ANY peer to peer type data.

    including random drops of google gtalk voice communications.

    random drops of game connections.

    and maybe more. those are just two i've noticed a problem with on comcast. and those two happen ALOT more often if any bit torrent downloader is running. even the damm wow updater.

    its just wrong when its bit torrent. but it wont hurt anything. bit torrent keeps plugging away. but when it happens to the other apps... it's fucking annoying AND wrong.
    • by Skapare (16644) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:17PM (#21962238) Homepage

      I've seen occaisional SSH connections drop since I started on Comcast. That never happened on dial-up. What it appears to me that they are doing is just taking a small sampling of packets ... such as maybe 1 in 10000. Then it adds the connetion tuple (host:port of each end) to a big hash table without concern of replacements. If the connection was already in the table and is seen again, it forges the RST packet. It won't happen on web connections hardly ever. On connections that last a long time AND have a lot of traffic, it gradually kills them off. It could work with quite few resources that way. For example, a PC could never handle the load of the flow through a backbone router. But if it merely got a small fraction sampling, it would gradually drop most long lived busy connections. Use IPsec to avoid it or make connections automatically restart (like BT already does).

      • I don't see this. I do see Bittorrent throttling. I keep SSH and VPN connections open to a work facility for hours or days on end, with VNC sessions running constantly. These rarely drop (less often than when I'm in the office going over the corporate LAN/WAN. This is Comcast in the Seattle/Bellevue area.
      • And therein lies the rub with this; IMO, Comcast (or any ISP) would be within their rights to throttle bandwidth, number of concurrent TCP connections, etc. to their users. I've not seen anything in their advertising or service description indicating that these things were unlimited. (Their use of the term "unlimited" has pretty much ceased with regard to their broadband service, and even when they did use it it was just a holdover from dialup days when people paid by the minute anyway.)

        What Comcast is doin
    • and maybe more. those are just two i've noticed a problem with on comcast. and those two happen ALOT more often if any bit torrent downloader is running. even the damm wow updater.
      The WoW updater (Blizzard Downloader [wikipedia.org]) IS Bit Torrent.
    • by bjorniac (836863)
      "random drops of game connections."

      Could you elaborate on that? I've been having issues with TF2 recently and wonder if it's related - random 10-15 seconds "timeouts" in which everything seizes up and won't move...
    • It seems to me that Comcast is choking my Usenet connection, but I haven't heard anybody else comment on this.
  • by DamnStupidElf (649844) <Fingolfin@linuxmail.org> on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:04PM (#21962082)
    While not network neutrality per se, protocol neutrality is just as important. Traffic shaping is fine so long as it's applied to all traffic and documented in the service agreement. Comcast is proof that corporations can get away with treating Internet customers however they want when they've been granted a monopoly, which makes it the government's business to regulate them if they're going to hand out the monopolies in the first place.
  • This is pure eyewash. Kevin Martin's track record indicates that he never met a corporation he didn't like or a consumer who, in his judgement, didn't deserve to be shafted.
  • While known for months in tech circles, the issue wasn't given broad attention until an Associated Press report last year,

    Can't slip anything by those techies...

  • by Froster (985053) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @07:38PM (#21962516)

    Rogers Cable has been doing this here for sometime. After people found that encrypted proxies could get around their blocking, they began to block all VPNs. Since that time, their policy has essentially been that only HTTP traffic is guaranteed to be highspeed. Ever since they decided to be a phone company with IP phones over cable, the quality of their internet service has suffered badly.

    If Canada had the power to fine Rogers in amounts like Comcast is being threatened with, that would be a mighty big stick in the hands of the gov't and consumers. Unfortunately, we don't have anything like this as AFAIK so bandwidth throttling is practiced by most of the big ISPs

    • by webmaster404 (1148909) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:45PM (#21963250)
      No you don't. The FCC has really done nothing other to get us into this mess. First they protected monopolies to "help innovation", these government protected monopolies such as Comcast began to charge outrageous amounts for cable/internet. Whenever a local ISP/Cable company started up they were either absorbed into a huge corporation, charge nearly the same rates for sub-par service or quickly went bankrupt. It is only in the last 3-4 years that independent ISPs/cable companies have begun to pop up and even then they are usually nothing more then an arm of a super-corporation. When the government is involved, individuals always, always, always lose. Perhaps it is different in Canada but here in the US, the only thing government does when it comes to technology is maybe reversing their previous mistakes.
    • Rogers Cable has been doing this here for sometime.

      This may be a stupid question or at a least a little late - but didn't a read here on /. many times that ISP's are immune to the likes of the **AA suties because of the common carrier status they enjoy, but they could *ONLY* enjoy that as long as they didn't interfere with the traffic. As soon as the ISP(s) started monkeying with the traffic, they could be held responsible for the "pirating" since they are now controlling the connections?
  • I hope they do. It is about time the courts started fining corporations properly, at rates that are actually preventative.
    • You seem optimistic. I doubt that anyone affected will even see a penny of it. Much less an apology from Comcast. No, the fines will go to who knows what in the government, probably something that will limit our freedoms even more than this (like a new DRM scheme that even though it is trivial to break thanks to the DMCA we can't)
    • by spir0 (319821)
      "your" 195 grand will go to the FCC's coffers.

      the only way you'll see any money is if *you* sue them or if this becomes a class action suit.
    • WRONG !
      The courts and comcast will fight a long battle, and ultimately comcast will "settle" the issue with FCC by "agreeing" to not throttle P2P for another 2 years and a public apology. That will be all.

      All this talk of 195K is for m0rons like you and me.

      Corporates are of an higher caste.
      Oh BTW, comcast will deduct all lawyer fees from its tax bundle thus reducing its tax to the State further.
      And the FCC would pay our tax money to lawyers to fight a losing battle.

      I say dissolve FCC and let the market open
  • by christurkel (520220) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @08:48PM (#21963276) Homepage Journal
    I believe Time Warner does this as well. Before they purchased Adelphia, I could use BitTorrent just fine. A month after their take over, it started. HTTP and FTP downloads were fine, bittorrent downloads would start fast and within several seconds slow down to less than dial up speed.
    • TW in Ohio has actually been relatively good to me. My linux-distro-of-the-month bittorrenting has been going strong. I just finished downloading eeeXubuntu 7.10R3, no problems what so ever.
  • I will be moving within the next month, and one of my considerations when looking at new homes is whether or not I'll be able to ditch Comcast. Has anybody here had good/bad experiences with Verizon's FIOS service?

    I'm looking forward to the opportunity of voting with my dollar. Fuck you, Comcast.
  • I'm not seeing any torrent problems. there was a blip when this all flared up for a few days seemed like I couldn't seed, but I'm able to seed and receive now. In fact, reception speed seems higher than ever. Would like to see if this is still happening or was an isolated regional issue, or what the heck? am I being given the rope to hang myself? What's going on?
  • by Foamy (29271) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:03PM (#21964014)
    I'd like to introduce you to a person I think you will be fond "of".

    Please meet Mr. "Unintended Consequences".
  • Cost (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Scutter (18425) on Tuesday January 08, 2008 @10:27PM (#21964206) Journal
    to fine Comcast $195,000 for every affected subscriber

    *sigh* Well, I guess I can expect my cable fees to go up again. I wonder if this will be called a "Federal cost recovery fee" as a line item on my bill.
  • here in New Zealand, our main ISP/telco states in their t&c's that they will throttle p2p traffic.

    it'll be interesting to watch the outcome to see what precedent will be set that we can exploit here.

    I always thought that something like rapidshare or megashares would take off for distributing large content like demo games and linux ISOs, but the reality is that there are so many file sharing sites out there that the only way one will become a "standard" is if it is free, and currently all http file shari
  • So homeland security MUST hate Comcast, they can't easily spy on file-sharing if everyone encrypts.

    I would guess THAT must be the real pressure to end this.
  • by DeanFox (729620) * <spam,myname&gmail,com> on Wednesday January 09, 2008 @07:27AM (#21966718)

    Awhile back a big brewhaha went down with my local cable company and they scheduled a hearing with the government oversight committee. A FCC type local commission that governed the cable company monopoly.

    I tuned in 10 minutes late but watched the hearing. for 40 minutes I watched 5 cable company executives on the bench defend their actions against accusations from the committee.

    What I messed in the first 10 minutes were the introductions. I was wrong. The accuations were coming from the consumers. The five on the bench were the commission. There are certain epiphanies in life that just stick.

    I have zero faith this FCC "investigation" will result in anything but new laws that forbid the consumer from exposing proprietary company practices with stiff fines and jail sentances for bloggers, etc. who expose company secrets. Maybe a new law making packet sniffing illegal. They'll figure something out.

    -[d]-
  • C'mon you nerds. Why are you still using BitTorrent?

    I pay about £0.15 per gigabte for my downloads, to an American company, who is obviously making a profit because they've been in business for years.

    A whole album costs £0.02 to download. It takes a minute or two. Always at the same speed. No uploading apart from, I guess, acknowledging packet receipts. It takes me longer to extract the RARs sometimes...

    I'd tell you how, but you're all supposed to be nerds and the first rule of U***** is y

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