Main | Thursday, August 21, 2008

Slow Connection

As predicted, internet providers are beginning to throttle the speeds of customers who use big amounts of bandwidth in their viewing habits.
While Comcast's new network management scheme—to slow down heavy bandwidth users' entire connectionstarted back in June, we're just getting some of the grislier details. People hitting their pipe hard—whether it's watching a boatload of streaming video or FTP or whatever—will see their top speeds cut for 10 to 20 minutes at a time.

Under the setup, Comcast claims it will figure out "in nearly real time'' who's causing congestion and if "in fact a person is generating enough packets that they're the ones creating that situation, we will manage that consumer for the overall good of all of our consumers,'' says Mitch Bowling, Comcast's senior vice president and general manager of online services.

Gamers will be particularly hard hit by this. Industry watchers speculate about possible lawsuits from customers who've been sold X amount of bandwidth only to have it throttled. Expect to see disclaimers for heavy usage in future ISP agreements. Most countries in the world already have a peak-time monthly usage cap, but Americans have been spared thus far.

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