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The Internet Communications Network Networking

PSA: Comcast Doesn't Really Support Net Neutrality (slate.com) 144

An anonymous reader quotes a report from Slate: Anyone who has ever paid a bill to or waited for customer service from Comcast knows why it is one of America's most detested companies, its recent efforts to improve its image notwithstanding. While Comcast says its customers will "enjoy strong net neutrality protections," it hasn't explicitly said it won't offer paid prioritization, which is how the company would most likely monetize its new ability to legally muck with internet traffic. In other words, Comcast might not choke or slow service to any website, but it could speed access to destinations that pay for the priority service. The company's promises should sound familiar. As Jon Brodkin pointed out in Ars Technica on Monday, back when the FCC was crafting the network neutrality rules in 2014, Comcast said it had no plans to enact paid prioritization, either. "We don't prioritize Internet traffic or have paid fast lanes, and have no plans to do so," a Comcast executive wrote in a blog post that year.

But Comcast's line has changed in an important way. In a comment to the FCC from earlier this year, the company said it is time for the FCC to adopt a "more flexible" approach to paid prioritization, and noted in a blog post at the time that the FCC should consider net neutrality principles that prevent "no anticompetitive paid prioritization." In other words, not necessarily all paid prioritization. The inclusion of "anti-competitive" could signal that the company does in fact hope to offer fast-lane service, but at the same price for all. And it might be a price that say, Fox News and the New York Times can afford, but one that smaller outlets can't. That Comcast's language is changing is one reason to distrust its promises regarding net neutrality, but its track record is an even bigger one. The company has been caught red-handed lying about its traffic discrimination in the past. In 2007, for example, when Comcast was found intermittently blocking users' ability to use BitTorrent, the company made numerous false claims about its network interference before finally admitting its bad behavior and halting the disruptions.

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PSA: Comcast Doesn't Really Support Net Neutrality

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  • So what. I also pay more for a 1 gig connection. Once I bother to get some 10gig cards I'll get 10gig internet

    • Do you think they will be motivated to upgrade their network for those who don't pay extra? Will it bother them that carving a "fast lane" out of their bandwidth will slow everyone else down? Having a fast lane means they get paid more if they throttle your connection and to slow your ping time (to force you to upgrade).
    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      And Google/Netflix/whoever paid their ISP for an insane amount of bandwidth as well. Why should they have to pay Comcast?

    • If you pay for a one gig connection then you should get a one gig connection. How and why are you sharing your one gig connection with Netflix bingers? This isn't about how much an end user is paying for Internet service. As you said, you can already pay more for faster Internet. This is about ISPs offering you a service "Internet connection at X speed" and then not delivering that because they do not deliver the entire Internet at the same speed. The are selling you something more like a cable package, whe

      • The alternative to that is to let the #1s stay #1s leaving #2s further behind. Take Google for example. Net Neutrality increases Google's profits. If a Google competitor wants to purchase premium transmission service to the consumer, then Google is forced to do so too to compete. By having to also purchase premium access Google is worse off than if no one was offered the premium service in the first place -- which is what NN dictates. By eating away Google's profits, lack of NN slows Google down.

        I'd rather

      • by bn-7bc ( 909819 )
        A gig from you to where, the pop/co/ whatever you at connected to,, your isps peering point to the next as on the way to the destination/dource of the data stream or all the way to the cdn/host you requested, and how would the usage of the other networks be compansated? The tow isps on the end gets payed and that is fine, but whst abour as1-n in the middle?
        • by spun ( 1352 )

          Across my ISP's network, obviously they don't control traffic on the wider Internet and have no say in how much bandwidth content providers purchase. But if I buy X speed from them, I expect X speed in and out on a fairly regular basis. A little bit of slow down here and there is okay, I know ISPs sell more bandwidth to endpoints than they have in connections to tier 3 backbone providers.

      • Sounds like you want a business internet connection. Be prepared to pay $2000+/mo for that 1 gig connection.

        • You're getting ripped off big time. Like, by a factor of 10.

          • Really? Business class 1gb internet for $200?

            Where is this at?

            • If you think that "business class" is some sort of value-add, I think I know why you're getting ripped off. Internet service should always be reliable regardless of where it's going.

              Also, Phoenix.

              It's not exactly 200, it would have been more correct to say an order of magnitude. It's less than 400 though.

              • You seem to think that your opinion on how things 'should' be matters to anyone else.

                Maybe I should have clarified and said Dedicated Internet Access (which is what OP will need if they want 1gb all the time regardless of other users).

                DIA/Business class internet offerings from major providers have much better SLAs, better/actual bandwidth guarantees, ability to run BGP and advertise allocated netblocks, etc.

        • by spun ( 1352 )

          I'm a network administrator for the State of New Mexico and have been since the days of leased T1 lines. I know more about business class connections than you seem to.

          • Yeah, it really shows. Please tell us more how residential and business internet connections are not subject to different SLAs, oversubscription to the core, etc.

    • you pay for a connection... period. That's the definition of ISP model revenue stream.
      Killing Net Neutrality will allow the communications cabal (AT&T/Comcast/Verizon) to say-"Oh! You want netflix, now you have to buy an -entertainment bundle- to visit that site". Or the "sports bundle" if you want to watch ESPN stream. They really want to turn the internet into "packages" like they've done with cable TV. The difference here is that ESPN & HBO on the cable side license their content and charge s
  • Comcast doesn't operate in my neck of the woods, but for a good 20 years I've heard nothing but bad things about them. From poor service, to poor customer service, to sleazy business practices, I haven't once heard a good thing about them (except for stock sites, but those don't count).
    • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
      Where I am located, my choice is Comcast or Frontier. Frontier wants 70% of the cost, for 20% of the speed of Comcast..... and it isn't like they're any better.
      • I get to pick between Comcast and Xfinity. Lucky me.
        • by Xenx ( 2211586 )
          I can only say that in two years, I've had very few issues with my internet service from Comcast. All of which were upstream issues, or quickly restored. I've yet to need to call them.
  • by Kozar_The_Malignant ( 738483 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @07:30PM (#55640699)
    My experience with Comcast included the following:
    • They delivered slower service thanI paid for unless I repeatedly called to complain
    • Their service model appeared to be based on hatred of their customers.
    • Connectivity was unreliable.

    So yes, they are lying. What did you expect?

    • My experience with Comcast included the following:

      • Their service model appeared to be based on hatred of their customers.
      • Connectivity was unreliable.

      I had 8 techs come out sequentially on one call, each exclaiming 'what the hell was going on here?!?' before completely changing the entire direction/type of repair. Each said it was fixed but someone else would be out to finish up. They took 6 months and for 2.5yr now there are still temporary metal covers on several holes in the street outside they made.

    • My Comcast service was far below what I was paying for. They sent a tech out several times, who after checking the line asserted there was no problem and left. Eventually I found the problem myself, the modem had been reprovisioned to a lower bandwidth cap. I called tech support and tried to explain this, of course they had precisely zero clue what I was talking about and wanted to keep forcing me through all the stupid reboots and Windows troubleshooting. Eventually I demanded to be put through to tier 2 s
  • Choking network traffic means some traffic being favored, faster over the others.

    Offering a priority lane means some traffic being favored, faster over the others.

    What's the difference? It sounds the same to me, and I find that disturbing.

    It sounds like Comcast is saying they will throttle traffic but they will give it a positive name so that it doesn't sound bad.

    I suppose that is the difference. One sounds bad. One sounds good. But they amount to the same thing being done.

    What happens if they slow done eve

    • The typical way to do all of that is through QoS settings.

      A "fast lane" and "slow lane" does not mean data flows at different rates through the routers or the network. It means that when many streams of data are coming through and the router must decide which one is processed first, it will give priority to one over the other. QoS settings also go under the name "traffic shaping",

      The difference is subtle, but enough that marketers, PR folk, and political statements leverage it.

      Thus they can say that the

  • No shit (Score:3, Insightful)

    by JustAnotherOldGuy ( 4145623 ) on Tuesday November 28, 2017 @08:05PM (#55640873)

    "Comcast Doesn't Really Support Net Neutrality"

    No shit...what was your first clue, Captain Obvious?

  • Spacex and 1-web will have the start of their Network up by end of next year. Both will have ~25 Ms latency and will be charging ~50/ month for 1 g isp. This is going to cut into Comcast, att, centrury link, etc in a big way and will only cut more as we all remember them in the future.
  • - The Sun to Rise in the East.

    - Bears Found to Defecate in the Woods.

    - Pope Makes Surprise Announcement "I am a practicing Catholic."

  • The big players Amazon Prime, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and such streaming media companies think killing net neutrality will benefit them. They think they have the money and the clout to pay for their streams to be prioritized, exempted from data caps etc, and it will put a serious barrier to entry to new competitors. That is the reason they are only half hearted in supporting net neutrality.

    Once the dust settles, and the ISPs have the keys to the kingdom, then they will see what bad bargain they have wrou

  • Comcast might not choke or slow service to any website, but it could speed access to destinations that pay for the priority service.

    Unless they're running their network through the TARDIS, bandwidth is finite, so prioritizing some traffic de-prioritizes (or slows) other traffic. Can't really have it both ways at the same time.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Unless they're running their network through the TARDIS, bandwidth is finite, so prioritizing some traffic de-prioritizes (or slows) other traffic. Can't really have it both ways at the same time.

      Same applies for electricity: wires will only carry a certain amount of current. I would still not want the electricity company to turn off my lights whenever my neighbor wants to cook. If there isn't enough capacity, Comcast needs to extend the networks to deal with the capacities they sell to end users rather than "prioritize traffic". But with net neutrality gone, they have much more to profit from by making people pay for bandwidth musical chairs instead of investing into broadband.

      • It might be better to think of it as being more like a pipe than a wire: Not only is there a limited amount that can go through, some things can really clog up the line.

        What I actually would like here is if I could pick how my bandwidth got prioritized--I want to be able to happily stream something to watch after I've started a massive update downloading. If I'm on a small pipe, that's not something I get now; the thing that started first comes through first unless the program I'm using lets me manually ca

  • If you have made it down this far, you will have endured endless shills spouting the same easily debunked talking points, well done.
    It strikes me as odd that Comcast would even bother sending its paid trolls to Slashdot, but apparently they do.
  • I wonder if ISPs could do something positive with paid prioritization. For example, mom has a 5Mb/sec connection for email and Facebook, but now she wants HD Netflix. Instead of having to upgrade to a higher tier of internet speed, she can keep her 5Mb because Netflix has paid the ISP for a 'speed boost' up to 25Mb/sec, for all customers no matter how slow their connection. That is, Netflix data comes in at 25Mb but everything else comes in at 5Mb. Could be useful for 4k/8k/VR streaming, where people wouldn

    • I wonder if ISPs could do something positive with paid prioritization.

      Here's what it does: allows them to monetize an existing resource without any additional investment. The Holy Grail for all corporations.

  • netflix mainly has pushed the want to hugely increase bandwidth across the whole net. the relaxation of the net is subsidizing their commercial enterprise, in impact. this is now not precisely truthfulBeginner Bodyweight Workout Program [worldwidelifestyles.com]
  • "Paid prioritization" is already the reality. Bigger companies have more servers, bigger pipes, and CDNs. My brand new cat video site can't afford all those things. Netflix, and presumably others, already had a deal with Comcast to co-locate servers in Comcast data centers. It is effectively the same thing. There are certainly other things to worry about when it comes to the neutrality question, but this isn't one of them.
  • How is anyone HERE not in favor of net neutrality? What the actual?

    Seriously, it should be a trollfarm test - do you post in favor on eliminating net neutrality? If yes, you are Comcast/Russian paid troll and I claim my $5!

  • Slow all the network connections down to the point of causing the most customers problems with their service. Then offer the fast lane at a much increased price just so you can get your work done. Once enough people pay the extortion, and performance improves for the remainder, lower the bandwidth a little more, to acquire the next batch of upgrades. This method is completely consistent with their public statements to the FCC, and completely consistent with how they appear to run their networks already.

    .

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