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Study: Major ISPs Slowing Traffic Across the US 181

An anonymous reader writes: A study based on test results from 300,000 internet users "found significant degradations on the networks of the five largest internet service providers" in the United States. This group includes Time Warner Cable, Verizon, and AT&T. "The study, supported by the technologists at Open Technology Institute's M-Lab, examines the comparative speeds of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs), which shoulder some of the data load for popular websites. ... In Atlanta, for example, Comcast provided hourly median download speeds over a CDN called GTT of 21.4 megabits per second at 7pm throughout the month of May. AT&T provided speeds over the same network of of a megabit per second." These findings arrive shortly after the FCC's new net neutrality rules took effect across the U.S.
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Study: Major ISPs Slowing Traffic Across the US

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  • Not first (Score:5, Funny)

    by uvajed_ekil ( 914487 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:26PM (#49973567)
    Would'a been, damn network...
  • by captnjohnny1618 ( 3954863 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:33PM (#49973601)
    I live in LA and subscribe to Time Warner. We pay for up to 40 Mbps in our apartment yet rarely see anything beyond... 21 (with only one device using the connection). Now that seems to make a little per sense...
    • by SeaFox ( 739806 )

      Have you tried downgrading your service to see if it falls lower? Might as well save money and get closer to what you're paying for if your local lines wont support the service T-W is selling you now.

    • by cjb658 ( 1235986 )

      What kind of modem do you have? We had 20Mbps last year and had to upgrade to a new modem to see the faster speeds.

    • Other anecdote:
      I live in VA and subscribe to Verizon FiOS, 50/50. Never see anything below 55/60. Primetime, multiple devices connected.

      So I guess we cancel each other out.
      • The rest of America hates you.

        It's Obama's fault.

      • Also Virginia, I pay $55/mo for 105/10 from Comcast, get 127/12 in reality.
      • by Bengie ( 1121981 )
        You're saying that if you queue up a bunch of torrents and download for 2 hour strait, from 8pm-10pm, you'll never see your one minute average drop below 55Mb/s? I was reading an ISP bandwidth research paper and even FiOS showed on average about a max of 120% of advertised, a min of about 80% of advertised, and an overall average of about 105% of advertised. Yes they deliver their advertised bandwidth on average, but with violent fluctuations. +-20% is quite bad, but still better than what many other incumb
      • I have FiOS in central Maryland. 75/75, tested out to 83/86 last night. I was however getting robotic sound out of my Teamspeak 3 server running on EC3. No one else was having the issue, and this issue is caused by throttling of the connection. It would not surprise me to hear that VZ is intentionally degrading the connections to try and say it is NN's fault and that we should get rid of NN.

  • You cannot throttle me, I have unlimited usage, it's in the contract! Quick, somebody turn them into the FCC for a fine or two.... Oh, you say it's just network congestion? Fat chance that's true, I want my NETFLIX to stream at the full 4K resolution or else.....
    • Perhaps the FCC will fine them 0.3% of their annual profit for lying to customer about unlimited plans for several years!

      • Yea, but what do I care? They won't send a dime of the fine to me....
        • I'm sure AT&T care, or who ever it was that got fined.

          To put it in a car analogy, a 0.3% fine is like driving down the road and hitting a bump 0.3% of the radius of your tire. A bump around 1mm high. That's got to be noticeable...

    • You cannot throttle me, I have unlimited usage, it's in the contract!

      I think people also tend to forget that the providers can cancel the contract if they don't like it and offer you a new one.

      If they are regulated in a way in which they don't see any profit in it anymore, they just stop servicing an area altogether.

    • This is why you want internet to be a government owned and operated service, like the highways. That way if you don't like your service you can at least vote for change, unlike now where your only option more money.
      • Re: (Score:1, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        unlike now where your only option more money.

        Most of us don't even have that option. There isn't a "don't suck, if I give you more money" plan. Money ain't what they're into: they're only into suckin', and nothin' else.

      • The ideal solution would be to have the backbone infrastructure be owned and maintained either by the government, or by a heavily regulated corporate entity kept entirely separate from the companies that provide service over it. Then you let companies compete to provide service over that infrastructure, on a level playing field, instead of letting some of them try to leverage local monopolies in infrastructure into the service field.

        After all, it works pretty well when it comes to roads and highways.
        • by stdarg ( 456557 )

          Why is that the ideal solution? It seems like we're starting to get some traction with plain old competition from Google Fiber, AT&T Gigapower, Time Warner MAXX, Comcast's 2Gbps thing (don't recall the name), etc. We didn't need government owned infrastructure to do that...

          And frankly, if the government owned it I'm not sure these types of upgrades would have been any faster. If the reason it's faster is something like "they can do it via eminent domain and bypassing their own rules and regulations" the

      • This is why you want internet to be a government owned and operated service, like the highways. That way if you don't like your service you can at least vote for change, unlike now where your only option more money.

        Seriously now... That's NOT a viable answer to this problem.. Roads are a unique solution, and in some places the level of service they provide is horrible. (Like LA during "rush hour"). No, I don't want THAT kind of service from my ISP.

        If you want to start talking about doing stuff like we did to get electricity and phones into rural America using private investment though favorable regulations, say give out tax abatements for "last mile" infrastructure owners who allow third party use of their networks a

        • by dave420 ( 699308 )
          You say that, but just look at the state of internet in countries which do have government-mandated access to the last mile infrastructure. They generally have far more competition, lower prices, and better speeds. You already have the LA rush-hour internet, and are arguing against fixing it.
          • I think you need to re-read what I posted. I'm just opposed to government owning and operating infrastructure. It bloats the size of government unnecessarily and opens up avenues for graft and corruption. I am in favor of rules that forbid the owners of the "last mile" infrastructure which government has allowed (like the cable franchise in your local town) from not allowing competitive use. Perhaps going so far as to forbid them from dealing directly with retail customers. So competition yes, government

  • by jonsmirl ( 114798 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:41PM (#49973651) Homepage

    If the last mile ISPs are going to only allow balanced traffic for free (and last mile traffic is clearly not balanced by its nature) then we should fix the problem for them and generate enough upstream traffic to balance the equation. This is simple - answer one idiotic position with another idiotic position. Have Netflix go peer to peer and then manage traffic flow to create balanced traffic at all of the last mile ISPs. It's what they want ---- we should give it to them.

    • by AmiMoJo ( 196126 )

      Windows 10 includes technology to distribute updates P2P. It seems to be the way things are moving, not least because of the actions of ISPs.

      Often my ISP is so broken I can't stream Netflix, so I just switch to torrents instead. Probably makes the situation worse for them, but since they told me they won't even look at upgrading their equipment for another six months and I can't switch to another supplier (only cable works for me, my phone line won't take ADSL) it's their own fault.

    • by swb ( 14022 )

      Realtime streaming is a bandwidth pig, but if you had something with 128 GB of storage you could download content in the background at a much lower bandwidth rate. 128kbps, 12 hours a day for a week would give you 300 gigs of offline content.

      Netflix could do this with your "My List" of titles and possibly interweave this with some predicted preference stuff and maybe catch a percentage of things you might watch while just browsing (er, vainly searching for something interesting).

      At this point you could pos

      • by stdarg ( 456557 )

        That's a great idea, and I'd add a p2p element so the aggregate bandwidth going through interconnections is also reduced. (Simpler than hoping for widespread multicast support.)

        If I could donate 5mbps outgoing to Netflix to act as a seed node for others in my area for a reduction in my bill, I'd do that.

        • by swb ( 14022 )

          The p2p element seems reasonable but I suspect would be kind of thorny. Most people's broadband connections are asymmetric, with upload speeds only a fraction of download, so you'd have to limit total upload bandwidth to something small enough that it wouldn't prove obnoxious, either to performance or that would cause users to hit caps, especially the kind they didn't know they had.

          And then there's the question of figuring out who has the content on my download list -- even though the streaming catalog is

    • by ndavis ( 1499237 )

      I'm doing my part as I just purchased a 4K video camera and upload all of the footage to YouTube and backup my photos to multiple sites.

      Yes I'm helping!!!! Although I don't torrent but uploading a lot by seeding would also help balance it out right???

  • Assholes (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:42PM (#49973657) Journal

    Since they can't get their way to squeeze more profit from their customers, they'll punish them instead.


    • by Anonymous Coward

      Since they can't get their way to squeeze more profit from their customers, they'll punish them instead.


      What kind of grudge do you have against assholes which leads you to demean them by comparing them to these thieves???

    • Re:Assholes (Score:5, Interesting)

      by MrKaos ( 858439 ) on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:57PM (#49973747) Journal


      Incidentally, the ISP I worked for once specifically gamed the speed testing software with special rules in the network infrastructure for that type of traffic so it would always be prioritized.


  • In time, there might be viable alternatives to the big ISPs, but for now, there's a huge disparity [] between the price/speed of the US vs other modern countries. Things only need to get bad enough for people to notice, then we'll either regulate it or somebody will find a more competitive option.
    • There used to be alternatives to the big ISPs, but they've all been anti-competed out of business. And the US doesn't break up monopolies anymore, so not much chance of the situation improving.
    • by stdarg ( 456557 )

      Wow I'm surprised we're ranked that highly. I didn't expect that we'd be above France and Germany.

      But anyway, with all the gigabit projects going on now it seems like the "more competitive option" has come. Basically it took one company to not play along (Google), then another company to get scared and react (AT&T), and now everybody's jumping in.

  • What is the cause? (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Is it:
    A. Actively punishing users?
    B. The natural side-effect of the legal inability to shut out extreme bandwidth usages?
    C. A coincidence?
    D. A failure in the process of making changes required by the FCC?
    E. Something else?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 23, 2015 @07:56PM (#49973741)

    Why the fuck can't slashdot fix the category/comments icons from covering the article title?

  • Looks like they are artifically throttling back traffic a) to charge the end users more later on to turn it back up again and b) to bypass net neutrality rules and divert the extra bandwidth to the media corporations.
  • Our internet speeds are hopelessly degraded until the government data collection has been halted. The ISPs are unable to provide appropriate quality of service while they are expected to mirror all data that travels through their pipes. This has been a problem for over a decade now, I doubt it'll come to an end any time soon.
    • Bullshit. Mirroring is not the issue. Government data collection, though a problem in its own right, is not the issue. The problem is with the corporations controlling the network space throttling bandwidth to screw over customers. A simple solution would be taking the "free enterprise" out of long-haul communication infrastructure. A government monopoly couldn't do much worse than these deceitful assholes. Or, of course, regulating the shit out of them until they straighten up. But I'm sure I'm just gettin

  • at least where I live. I'm paying for up to 60 Mbps and when I test it the speed always falls between 50 and 65 (variations seem due to peak hours). Though I still wish I could pay less for 15 Mbps since I really don't need 60.
    • Charter isn't all good here. I only get a maximum of 1/3 of what I pay for. Still, it's better by far than the alternatives around here.
  • However, it will not matter. Google has invested into SpaceX internet sats, so, Google is likely going to drive these companies into the ground within 4 years.
  • This is why, as President of my condo-complex HOA Board (c.a. 100 units), I made sure that Verizon fiber was wired to every unit, just like Time Warner Cable had been years prior.

    The result was real market competition. I switched. My bandwidth increased by about 15x (symmetric), with a reduction in price over the service TWC had formerly been (intermittently) providing.

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