Earlier this month, Comcast — the nation’s largest cable broadband company — was caught doing what any good Internet Service Provider (ISP) should do, i.e., manage its network to ensure that the online activities of the few don’t interfere with the online activities of the many,The problem with Comcast stifling BitTorrent by faking reset packets from a participant is not that Comcast is trying to manage its network: it’s that Comcast used a technique that if it came from anyone other than an ISP would be considered malicious denial of service, that Comcast still hasn’t admitted doing it, and that Comcast bypassed numerous other methods of legitimate network management, such as those used by PlusNet. Comcast could even use the Australian model and sell access plans that state usage limits and throttle or charge or both for usage above those limits. What Comcast is doing it seems to me is much closer to the false advertising of unlimited access that got Verizon slapped down for wrongful account termination.
Fair vs. Foul in Net Neutrality Debate, By Pete Abel, The Moderate Voice, 24 November 2007
The biggest problem with what Comcast (and Cox, and AT&T, and Verizon) are doing is that their typical customer has at most one or two choices, which in practice means that if your local cable company and your local telephone company choose to stifle, throttle, block, or terminate, you have no recourse, because there’s nowhere to go. Competition would fix that.
Abel tries to back up his peculiar interpretation of network management with revisionist history: Continue reading