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The Internet Media

Comcast Makes Nice with BitTorrent 161

Posted by Zonk
from the friendly-dogs-and-cats dept.
An anonymous reader writes "In a dramatic turn-around of relations, cable provider Comcast and BitTorrent are now working together. The deal comes as BitTorrent tries to put its reputation for illegal filesharing behind it. The companies are in talks to collaborate on ways to run BitTorrent's technology more smoothly on Comcast's broadband network. Comcast is actually entertaining the idea of using BitTorrent to transport video files more effectively over its own network in the future, said Tony Warner, Comcast's chief technology officer. '"We are thrilled with this," Ashwin Navin, cofounder and president of BitTorrent, said of the agreement. BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said. It was important that Comcast agreed to expand Internet capacity, because broadband in the United States is falling behind other areas of the world, Navin said. Referring to the clashes with Comcast, he said: "We are not happy about the companies' being in the limelight."'"
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Comcast Makes Nice with BitTorrent

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  • huh? (Score:5, Funny)

    by 68030 (215387) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:27AM (#22882254) Homepage
    Is it April already?
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eudaemon (320983) *
      Really, submitter posted this story 5 days too early.

      But seriously this just means Comcast is going to work with the bittorrent folks
      to put tighter than ever controls in place. They'll shape traffic to prefer the comcast
      servers and peers to those same peers or any others talking to non-comcast servers.
      They way they can claim to be embracing p2p traffic while actually throttling anything
      they don't like.

      • by grahamsz (150076) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:56AM (#22882664) Homepage Journal
        Isn't that the perfect network model?

        I'm surprised more ISPs (particularly foreign ones where bandwidth is pricey) haven't looked at ways to bias traffic to share internally. I know i talked with some ISP in the UK and tried to convince them to let their cable modems run much faster but to apply the traffic caps at their network boundary. Unfortunately it didn't seem practical to do that on that scale at that time.

        If comcast were to double or triple the upstream available when staying within their network then i'm sure p2p tools would start exploiting it.
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by mrogers (85392)

          I'm surprised more ISPs (particularly foreign ones where bandwidth is pricey) haven't looked at ways to bias traffic to share internally.

          Perhaps part of the reason is that last mile bandwidth is scarcer than backbone bandwidth, so an ISP doesn't save as much by encouraging its customers to share with each other (backbone bandwidth saved, last mile bandwidth remains the same) as it does by discouraging them from sharing at all (backbone and last mile bandwidth saved)?

          • The way I understand it is with cable, the system is heavily biased to download, upload is expensive over the last-mile because of the systems physical constraints; with FiOS and DSL the bias toward download is really artificial and can be changed with a few configuration file changes. If Comcast would pull their heads out from where the sun doesn't shine, they'd mirror everything they could in their own datacenter and run all the web traffic possible through a cacheting proxy and save some transport costs.
        • In Australia at least, with DSL ISPs need to pay Telstra more for a faster connection.
          ADSL2 ISPs do go at full speed but they have good pipes and you also get net at full speed.

          That being said, I sync at 1.5Mbit on a 512k plan.
          Havent figured out what thats about yet. ;)
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by entoke (933113)
        it's just a preemptive strike so it can be duped on april the first..
      • They'll shape traffic to prefer the comcast servers and peers to those same peers or any others talking to non-comcast servers.

        This is actually what you want, to some degree, and it's already been happening for quite some time. For example, Akamai has been placing servers between or within network boundaries in order to bring the content closer to you. It's all to speed things up.
      • by Dan541 (1032000)

        Really, submitter posted this story 5 days too early.

        But seriously this just means Comcast is going to work with the bittorrent folks
        to put tighter than ever controls in place. They'll shape traffic to prefer the comcast
        servers and peers to those same peers or any others talking to non-comcast servers.

        They way they can claim to be embracing p2p traffic while actually throttling anything
        they don't like.

        I wonder if the MPAA will have a server.
        This just makes it easyer to monitor bittorrent users so they can be sued.

        ~Dan

    • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Ossifer (703813) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:39AM (#22882416)
      No, read the article more closely, especially in between the lines -- Comcast will starting screwing with *other* protocols on an even keel with bittorrent.

      Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth...
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Kickersny.com (913902)

        Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth..
        It's funny you should mention that ... [imageshack.us]

        I've been seeing these on /. for the last few days. And yes, I'm on Comcast :)
      • Re:huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by esocid (946821) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @11:00AM (#22882726) Journal
        Mod parent up. It's exactly what Comcast will be doing, slowing all traffic for people who use more bandwidth than they deem acceptable. They're still as seedy as ever. I just hope this doesn't throw the FCC of of their track, if they even intend to do anything about it.
      • Re:huh? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by Jellybob (597204) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @11:11AM (#22882822) Journal
        What I don't get is why they're not just advertising that you do in fact have a bandwidth limit - that way the customer knows what they're *actually* getting, and Comcast can make a few extra dollars selling top-ups to people who hit their bandwidth limit.

        In an ideal world, you could do whatever you want with your connection, but this is the real world, where bandwidth is expensive, and ISPs would rather not be the ones paying to feed your free porn addiction ;)
      • by Sancho (17056)

        Soon you can expect to get false 404's on port 80 if you've used "too much" of your "unlimited" bandwidth...
        No one advertises "unlimited" internet anymore. Now it's "an always-on connection," so that they don't have to deal with people complaining that the data transfer wasn't really unlimited.
  • by Mactrope (1256892) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:27AM (#22882258) Homepage Journal

    This sounds more like, "sorry I got caught" than sorry:

    BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said. ... "We are not happy about the companies' being in the limelight."

    No one caught doing something wrong is happy about the attention but they need to admit what they did was wrong not because a company was involved but because it harmed their customers. The above makes it look like they think they still have the right to block traffic their customers want. Beware of special deals like this.

    • by mrbluze (1034940)

      The above makes it look like they think they still have the right to block traffic their customers want. Beware of special deals like this.

      There is probably more to it. Might be they will target P2P users in a different way, like nabbing music and whatever else sharers. Also there might be a fear that unless a deal is struck with Bit Torrent, the technology will be pushed underground where it will become even more difficult to monitor and control.

      • by Mactrope (1256892) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:55AM (#22882634) Homepage Journal

        All that "more to it" is the problem and Comcast needs to be clear about network freedom. They can rig all sorts of schemes to make BitTorrent a traffic cop or to be some kind of traffic cop but none of that is appropriate. Comcast needs to do it's job, which is delivering bandwith. Everything else is bad for them and leads to real censorship.

        All of this nonsense about "unauthorized reproduction" and single file copies being a criminal offense represent a tremendous and wrong expansion of copyright laws. Copyright disputes should be a civil matter of who deserves money earned from works. Copyright protection of restricted files violates the limited time provision of the Constitutional establishment clause and the whole point of copyright is to insure a rich public domain. Censoring the press (aka the internet) in order to enforce this new and unwholesome copyright idea violates yet another portion of the US Constitution.

        Money that can't be earned in a free society is money that should not be earned. It would be better to live without mass produced entertainment than to live without a free press. Comcast and other ISPs should be at the forefront of the battle to preserve network freedom. As long as they insist on port blocks and traffic shaping, they are an enemy of freedom.

        • by mrbluze (1034940)

          ...the whole point of copyright is to insure a rich public domain.

          The point of copyright is to isure the incomes of copyright holders. Only the public domain wants to be a rich public domain, if you get my drift. To ensure an abundance of beautiful music and software in the public domain it is necessary to remove the industrial process from the artistic process. Artists should be paid for the time they spent creating a work, or paid a one-off for it, just as it always was, and imitating that art should be considered to be nothing more than flattery.

          It's not the US in

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      That line is from Navin. He's the BitTorrent guy, not the Comcast guy.
  • O RLY? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward
    So I can look forward to 0.3KB/s downloads for using "too much" bandwidth? Haven't we been down this road with Comcast before, advertising "unlimited" internet and then sending sh*t-o-grams to people who go above an unwritten limit?
    • Re:O RLY? (Score:5, Funny)

      by HeronBlademaster (1079477) <heron@xnapid.com> on Thursday March 27, 2008 @12:29PM (#22883710) Homepage
      When i was shopping around for internet a few months ago I tried to get a comcast call center employee to explain this "unlimited - no it's not" thing to me. It went like this:

      Me: "Is there a limit on bandwidth usage?"
      CR: "No."
      Me: "So I'll never be cut off no matter how much bandwidth I use?"
      CR: "If you disrupt other customers' service with your usage, you will be cut off."
      Me: "How much bandwidth would I have to use to disrupt other customers' service?"
      CR: "There's no actual limit."
      Me: "But if I'll be cut off for using enough to disrupt other customers, you must know how much it would take to do that."
      CR: "There's no hard limit on bandwidth usage."

      So... there's no such thing as too much... but I'd better not use too much.
      • by Todd Knarr (15451)

        That's probably because the bandwidth usage needed to disrupt things for other users changes depending on network usage. At 2am when nobody's doing much, you may be able to run full-bore without bothering anyone. At 6pm when usage is starting to peak, running at even 50% solidly for an extended time may cause slow-downs for lots of other people.

        I implement variable bandwidth caps myself. Connections get marked based on current bandwidth, and connections that are using lots of bandwidth for extended periods

  • by zappepcs (820751) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:30AM (#22882296) Journal
    My head just asploded!

    Even though I had hoped that bit torrent would become the ISP's friend, I had not expected the devil himself to be one of the first to cozy up... WTF?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by value_added (719364)
      My head just asploded!

      As it should.

      Heavy users (typically the younger crowd who typically don't have landlines) are precisely the demographic that Comcast targets.

      The situation is not unlike the media companies complaining about widespread piracy when the category of people who regularly pirate music and movies are the media company's best customers. You think, for example, someone over 40 buys or watches the same number of movies? Or would even consider buying the same number of new CDs?

      Good to see that
      • by CastrTroy (595695) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @01:14PM (#22884326) Homepage
        The difference is that the record company's favourite customer is the one who buys the most CDs. I ISPs favorite customer is the one who pays for the service, but doesn't use it. Nothing better than a guy paying for a 10 mbit connection, so he can check his email, chat on msn, and read a few news articles everyday. The ISPs don't like people who download 100 GB of stuff every month.
  • ...that the best way to ensure cooperation is via the threat of banishment:
    1.) excommunicate
    2.) ???
    3.) cooperate!
  • This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.
    • by kellyb9 (954229) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:59AM (#22882696)

      This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.
      I like to think of it as Comcast allowing bittorrent traffic, but your analogy works too.
    • by gstoddart (321705)

      This, to me, is like Comcast jacking off into a hat and BitTorrent wearing that hat with the full knowledge of what's just been deposited in that hat.

      What on Earth made this article make you think of that???

      Is wearing spooge-filled hats something which comes up in your life?? That's just such a hugely bizarre analogy I'm stunned by it!

      I mean ... damn dude! You win the prize for oddest analogy I've seen this week.

      Cheers

  • by brunascle (994197) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:31AM (#22882322)
    well now the question is: does this refer to all bittorrent (the protocol) traffic, or just torrents approved by BitTorrent, Inc. (the company)?
    • by morgan_greywolf (835522) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:37AM (#22882392) Homepage Journal
      Right. All you people going "about time" "suddenoutbreakofcommonsense" didn't even read the summary. The deal is with BitTorrent, Inc. and probably has nothing to do with ALL bittorrent traffic, just the stuff Comcast is doing with video.

      BIG HINT: This is probably why they started throttling bittorrent traffic to begin with.

      • As an added bonus, it further makes the issue harder for non-nerds to understand. Obligatory car analogy: You own a highway, and I own a motor vehicle company called "Cars". You deny all access to motor vehicles (due to "congestion"), and when people start complaining that you're denying cars, you let my Cars-brand vehicles on and say "That's not true, we fully allow Cars!" Yikes, even the car analogy was hard to explain. This should get interesting...
        • by Joe Snipe (224958)
          It would have been easier to follow if you had used a different brand name, like say trucks?
      • by Ilgaz (86384) *
        They can give hell to a much more popular client's DHT packets and go fine with Bittorrent Inc. DHT packets which would lead to horrible experience to the "other client" users. Or filter a specific large (and legal) tracker?

        A company who hand picked bittorrent packets and conspired their own customers IP traffic can do anything.

        Bittorrent is a great protocol but Bittorrent Inc. isn't really loved. uTorrent users stay with OUTDATED clients just because they don't trust to Bittorrent.com Inc.

        Anyway, I was dow
    • But how would they discern the difference between anything using the bt protocol and official BT traffic? Is that even possible? You couldn't target the source since the sharers would be the source.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by ashridah (72567)
        My understanding of their BT filtering is that they're sniffing the tracker traffic in order to determine which connections to cut. Since any internal use of BT would be to known trackers that they run themselves, I'd assume that it would be relatively easy to add exclusions to the filters to avoid blocking "legitimate" traffic.

        It should be noted that one can bypass comcasts crappy seeding-only blocks by running tracker traffic through an external proxy. Encryption of the individual p2p connections doesn't
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by }{avoc (90632)

        But how would they discern the difference

        BT Inc. could provide hashes of official torrents to Comcast. If the handshake doesn't send an approved info_hash, Comcast throttles.

  • Money? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by webword (82711) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:35AM (#22882364) Homepage
    I'm looking and looking and looking but I can't find anything where money is changing hands between these companies. Someone has to be making money on this deal but I can't figure it out. Either that, or BitTorrent has a lot of data to make Comcast look really bad. So, they are taking a path that keeps their "evil deeds" hidden. Does anyone have any insight here on the financial deal, if there is one?
  • by glindsey (73730) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:35AM (#22882366)
    BitTorrent the company is not BitTorrent the protocol. Bram Cohen may be working with Comcast to get the "legitimate" BitTorrent 6.0 (with its closed source code and protocol) operating cleanly on their networks, but don't expect that this will magically work for every client and tracker out there. In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they actively collaborate to cripple the original, open protocol.
  • by Volanin (935080) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:36AM (#22882374)
    Interestingly, this news comes almost at the same time Azureus develops a plug-in to detect ISPs that cripple your torrents transfers:
    http://gizmodo.com/372442/bittorrent-plugin-detects-isps-raping-your-torrents [gizmodo.com]

    Of course, a peaceful solution such as this agreement is always preferred, as it enlightens more and more people about the true nature of BitTorrent, and opens up the doors for more and more ISPs to do The Right Thing (tm).
  • first off.. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Sfing_ter (99478) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:38AM (#22882398) Homepage Journal
    First off they were getting BAAAAD publicity, and in this instance bad publicity is bad. When geeks start turning away from you and telling their friends not to use your service it begins to ahem... hurt. But I also think that perhaps the congress critters that are worried we are falling behind infrastructurally, may have hinted at dropping investigations and maybe even a little free gubmint money to help "upgrade" the public infrastructure. Indeed. And the other benefit is that .... AT&T is now the SPY ISP attempting to pick through traffic and block your downloads. We shall see, though, keep an eye on the broadband forums, we shall know soon enough.
  • by miller60 (554835) * on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:38AM (#22882404) Homepage
    The new architecture from the Comcast/BitTorrent effort will be of great interest to content delivery networks (CDNs) who have been sorting out the best way that P2P can be used to assist in delivery of large files. Yesterday a CDN called Velocix announced a hybrid P2P streaming media service [datacenterknowledge.com] combining traditional caching with P2P delivery for live events. Velocix used to be CacheLogic, and worked with BitTorrent to develop the Cache Discovery Protocol, which lets ISPs cache the most popular torrent files, and then seed the files from servers within their network, reducing network traffic.
    • by compro01 (777531)
      Anyone else do a double-take on CDNs thinking "Canadians"? What with CBC starting to send stuff out via bittorrent.

      note : IAC
  • Useless article (Score:4, Insightful)

    by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:41AM (#22882448)
    The article states:

    "The Comcast-BitTorrent dispute has been a cause celebre among Internet advocacy groups and others who called for greater regulation for an open Internet, citing Comcast."

    I fail to see how greater regulation would ever be the solution. It was regulation that made Comcast's monopoly possible in the first place, allowing them to pull idiotic stunts like traffic filtering. No company in a competitive environment could ever get away with that, because users would simply switch to another provider. Greater regulation is definitely not the answer. Instead, the government should be keeping its claws out of the economy in the first place.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Toasty16 (586358)
      Greater regulation protecting the idea of net neutrality (that is, an open network without higher status for certain packets over others and without intentional blocking/delay of certain packets) could be part of the solution, in the same way that the dismantling of the Hollywood studio system in the 1960s paved the way for the cinematic creative explosion of the 1970s and ultimately the current blockbuster/tent pole business model.

      The Hollywood studios howled that their business was being destroyed by g
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        "The Hollywood studios howled that their business was being destroyed by government interference, but without it we would never have a system that gave the directors more power over their films and Jaws, the first blockbuster, wouldn't have been released - the rest is history. Regulation can open up markets and increase creativity and profits, if it's done correctly."

        This is laughable. A director signs a contract with a studio, which agrees to exchange their property (money) for the director's talent. If
    • by Angostura (703910)
      Where market competition is insufficient to ensure consumers are properly served, regulation comes in. For example, here in the UK, the privatization of the UK telecoms infrastructure created BT as a virtual monopoly. The Office of Telecommunicatons (Oftel) was formed at the same time to keep BT under the same kind of pressure that a properly working market should have provided and to also help ensure that BT could not use its monopoly to snuff out nascent competitors.

      It was an imperfect system, but probabl
      • Obviously the state-run monopoly should have been ended ASAP as it was immoral. However, equally immoral was the state handing over the monopoly to a single company, essentially saying "here, all of this property is rightfully yours". It should have been sold off, possibly in several chunks, with the proceeds of the sale compensating victims.
    • It was regulation that made Comcast's monopoly possible in the first place

      Huh? Where have you been for the last 20 years? Which regulations are responsible for Comcast's monopoly? The '98 telecom deregulation act? Oh, wait...

      • Take a situation where a monopoly on a service exists, and ask yourself "why can't someone just start up a company to provide this service?" or, "why can't a company that provides this service in another region also provide this service here?"

        The only thing that can stop them is force, and currently only the government has it in its head that it can violate peoples' rights through force and not expect any repercussions. As you try to answer the above questions, you will uncover the laws and regulations p
  • Internet management should be "fair, agnostic and disclosed,"
    Come again? (That's what she said) But seriously, what is agnostic about internet management, the fact that emotions and politics shouldn't play a part in it, or that people just can't sense it?
  • by Toasty16 (586358) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:51AM (#22882578) Homepage
    This is just Comcast PR spin doctor damage control, since most people won't differentiate between Bittorrent, Inc and the bittorrent protocol. Comcast is just saying that they will stop inhibiting Bittorent, Inc's traffic without mentioning other bittorent programs/services like Azureus, utorrent, etc... Or possibly Comcast will give Bittorent, Inc. preferential treatment as compared to other bittorrent programs/services - so long, net neutrality!

    The real issue is Comcast underinvesting in its infrastructure to the point where nodes meant to serve 400 residential customers are serving up to 700 (as confirmed to me by a tech who came in for a service call). In fact, Comcast actually INCREASED it's dividend to shareholders this year, meaning that instead of investing its increased profits into its own network for the benefit of its customers, it paid out to investors since the stock price is stagnant and it hopes they will plow that dividend back into Comcast shares.

    Without investing in its infrastructure Comcast will continue to use underhanded tactics to scrimp and save bandwidth costs on a seriously overburdened network, to the detriment of its millions of customers. Complain loudly enough to Comcast and threaten to switch providers unless their service improves - ultimately that's the only way to make it change course to a customer-centric business model, which ultimately is the only way for it to stay in business.
    • by glindsey (73730)

      Complain loudly enough to Comcast and threaten to switch providers unless their service improves
      I'd love to, if there were an alternative where I live. There isn't, and they know it.

      (And to forestall the question, dial-up and satellite Internet are not alternatives -- the former due to throughput, the latter due to latency.)
  • by Bovius (1243040) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @10:57AM (#22882674)
    This sounds like the plot of a B-rated sci-fi horror flick. Two organizations have a difference of interests, become aggressive and then hostile, conflict escalates, and then, all of a sudden: everybody's happy! Of course we'll help you out! We'd be delighted! Think of all the ways we could help each other! And then the one PI starts poking his nose where everyone's so happy and he finds out it's stage one of the evil plan of a mind-controlling space bug from Venus, building it's legion of manslaves.
    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Think of it as the two main characters in a romantic comedy-drama. They hate each other so much that they lean in too close while shouting, then they start making out, possibly while still whispering hateful things.
    • by rhizome (115711)
      You forgot the part about the FCC investigation.
  • I'm not sure I see what comcast is gaining from this ... except PR.

    Unless bittorrent has sold out, the way kazaa and napster have... *sigh*
    • You, like many others, are making the mistake of confusing BitTorrent, the protocol, with BitTorrent, Inc.

      Comcast is making some sort of deal with the company, hoping people will assume they're playing nice with the protocol. And yes, the company can sell out -- but the protocol can't. Nothing BitTorrent, Inc. can do will make a dent in The Pirate Bay, other than Comcast being nice to BT Inc's torrents, and still throttling TPB torrents.
  • I like-a to say (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sxeraverx (962068) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @11:03AM (#22882750)
    In the words of Strongbad, "I like-a to say, 'Holy Crap!'"

    This certainly is unexpected.

    First off, Comcast is going to stop blocking or filtering or slowing down bittorrent traffic. That's bittorrent the protocol, not BitTorrent the company. From TFA, "We are working hard on a different approach that is protocol-agnostic during peak periods." Protocol. Not just torrents sanctioned by BitTorrent, Inc., but any torrents whatsoever.

    Second, what seems to be even better, is that Comcast is going to be increasing throughput to its customers. "Internet Capacity" as stated in the summary doesn't really make sense, unless it's referring to an IPv4-IPv6 changeover (-1: Pedantic), but if that means what I think it was supposed to mean, then it's great. However, is it an increase in last-mile throughput, or overall throughput? Or both? Because overall throughput would simply mean that if your neighbors are torrenting, your connection isn't slowed down, whereas last-mile throughput would only increase your peak speed when no one else is downloading anything. It seems like last-mile throughput is generally already maxed out with today's (yesterday's?) technology, namely, cable, at around 6Mbps, and the bottleneck is in the shared line.

    What I'm saying is that both should be improved. The shared line should be made so that everyone could attain peak throughput at all times, and the peak throughput should be about 10x-20x what it is now. That's right. The bottleneck should be in our own Cat5 cables or 802.11g networks, not imposed on us by our ISPs.

    Of course, ISPs won't willingly provide this (it costs precious $$$s), but for what we're paying ($50 a month, or $100 with TV, which amounts to $1,200 a year) it kinda seems like we deserve it. Telecom companies are required to put most of their profits back into their networks, but I don't think ISPs like Comcast, which operate over cable, are. Maybe they should be. Seems like it might help.

    Of course, most of that was just my incoherent rambling about one aspect of the state of technology in the US (don't get me started), so if you were expecting that to be meaningful, well, just forget what you read.
    • Full disclosure of bandwidth limits.

      That is: Either give your users truly unlimited service, or cap that at some value, in units we understand.

      See, Comcast did ban people at one point for using "too much" bandwidth. They eventually did clarify what "too much" was -- it was a certain number of songs, photos, videos, or emails (different numbers for each). In other words, it was in units of "whatever the fuck we feel like."
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by c_forq (924234)
      Remember the protocol is now closed source. It is very possible they will allow Bittorrent Inc.'s protocol, leaving the other clients having to reverse engineer/hack if they want their clients to work.
  • Rumor has it, Comca$t is also talking to someone somewhere about lowering prices. They're going to work together on it. It's just around the corner. God bless the Com.

  • by nweaver (113078) on Thursday March 27, 2008 @11:45AM (#22883190) Homepage
    Notice the fine print: They aren't saying they are ending interference with P2P, they are saying they will stop treating BitTorrent differently then other heavy transfers.

    Which is a Good Thing, IMO, and I'm happy to have been proven wrong (I thought the P2P vs ISP war was going to heat up further.)

    However, a guess: it may be a consequence of improved traffic shaping: they are already starting to prioritize short connections ("Speed boost", which is being very heavily advertised in this area).

    You don't NEED to do RST injections if you can take the 1% heavy-users and traffic shape them down to a reasonable level when there's congestion. RST injection is very crude traffic management compared to the alternatives.

    It also allows the ISP to deal with the cost externalities indirectly, because now the 90% don't complain as much about bad performance when they want to surf the net.

    Finally, there is NOTHING in this that says they have to treat BitTorrent UPLOADS as special, just "not different from youtube".

    Comcast has repeatedly claimed that they are only killing "leeches/seeds", flows which upload vastly more than they download. If Comcast instead just shapes all large uploads, this will have effectively the same effect, without the visible political repercussions.

    Likewise, if ALL ISPs agressively shape uploads, this kills the P2P business model nearly as sure as anything else.

    Also, the lack of topological awareness does hurt BitTorrent, as well as the lack of cacheability. If the ISP is able to say that
    a) BitTorrent-type protocols can stay in my local loop and
    b) These flows are ones I CAN cache without being sued

    BitTorrent type flows become far less objectionable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Andy Dodd (701)
      Some of the wording scares me, because, to be honest, treating all protocols equally during peak periods could do really bad things to protocols that are latency/throughput critical such as VoIP, gaming, and videoconferencing.

      BT is bulk traffic, so it's really not a big deal if it has a lower priority than other packets, AS LONG AS no extra throttling is done. That is to say - If BT runs fast during offpeak periods when no one is using the network, but slows down significantly during peak times of the day
  • Its kinda obvious, and other posters have stated it, but its important enough to state again.

    BitTorrent the company is NOT BitTorrent the protocol.

    This is much like the MS Gambit of saying that that as there are other OSes then they do not have a monopoly. It is like the **AA saying that their own pet DRMware internet services exist so they cannot be against music on the internet. It is like drugs companies saying that even though the patents have expired they still have the copyright on the name and
  • First off. Wait till there is action on this. I still saw a 30% reset rate as of this morning seeding a torrent.

    The phrase is : I'll believe it when I see it.

    So I would not believe even for an instant this is anything other than trying to get people off their backs a little as anyone who found out about it has been majorly pissed off. Really, this is comcast, they have a reputation of doing shady and stupid things. Would anyone logically expect them to just turn a new leaf anytime before they have competiti
  • Does this mean my Google Maps will start working again [slashdot.org]?
  • If you can't support it don't sell it!
    http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=497516&cid=22848256 [slashdot.org]

    I wouldn't be surprised if Bit Torrent and there partners threatened ComCast, maybe with a boycott or civil action.

    I now predict that Bit Torrent or it descendant will obsolete BlueRay and Cable for recorded video content distribution, Even 1080i HD

    Now not to tangent too much:

    In the short term BlueRay will clearly kill off DVD, DVD-R, and HD-DVD had already just died.

    I just talked yesterday with the only BlueRay
  • >> Ashwin Navin, cofounder and president of BitTorrent, said of the agreement. BitTorrent traffic will be treated the same as that from YouTube Inc., Google Inc. or other Internet companies, he said.

    Translation: Comcast will soon introduce bandwidth-limiting on port 80 too.
  • Of course Comcast can play nice now. Now that TorrentSpy has died and The Pirate Bay is in court once again.

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