WASHINGTON--Federal regulators may be probing Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent filesharing traffic, but can they actually take action, if they choose, against the company or any other broadband provider on Net neutrality grounds?
The answer may not be simple. And if the FCC and other regulators are really powerless--in other words, if they need Congress to enact new laws--it means that any threats to take action against Comcast, based on alleged violations of the law today, are merely empty ones.
That's the issue that former staffers and officials from the Federal Communications Commission and Federal Trade Commission took up … Read more
Cox is the latest Internet service provider to have been found blocking peer-to-peer traffic on its network.
The Max Planck Institute for Software Systems released a survey Thursday showing that 54 percent of Cox subscribers reported having their connections blocked when they tried to share files over the Internet. Comcast has been castigated for a similar practice, but apparently it wasn't the only company engaging in such action, according to the Associated Press.
AT&T on Friday denied using forged reset packets to interfere with network connections of Vuze file-sharing platform users, as Comcast has been accused of doing with BitTorrent traffic.
The statement came in response to a report released earlier this week (PDF) by Vuze, which offers a BitTorrent-based client primarily used for distributing video. The start-up has asked the Federal Communications Commission to impose regulations prohibiting broadband operators from blocking or degrading peer-to-peer traffic.
Vuze's report claimed to document the median reset rates experienced by more than 1,200 "autonomous system numbers," which are unique identifiers … Read more
WASHINGTON--Net neutrality has returned to Capitol Hill.
The saga of Comcast's throttling of BitTorrent file-sharing traffic--and intense interest from the Federal Communications Commission, including a hearing at Stanford University last week--has appended the topic onto at least some politicians' to-do list.
At a Senate Commerce Committee hearing entitled "The Future of the Internet" on Tuesday, Democratic politicians argued for passage of a law designed to prohibit broadband operators from creating a "fast lane" for certain Internet content and applications. Their stance drew familiar criticism from the cable industry, their Republican counterparts, and FCC Chairman … Read more
BitTorrent is an advanced peer-to-peer sharing technology that runs using a client system. To share and transfer files, users must be running a BitTorrent software client on their computer. Some Web browsers such as Opera have built-in BitTorrent clients as part of its technology. BitTorrent works by splitting up files into tiny bits of data that can be shared in any order. Users work together to make the file available on demand. Even if just one person has an entire file initially, eventually after sharing it with others, the speed for downloading increases.
To share and download files using BitTorrent, … Read more
First, it was a very public detente with BitTorrent.
Then, on Tuesday, Comcast continued its make-nice-with-P2P campaign by announcing a new collaboration with P2P software maker Pando Networks. Specifically, they're leading the development of a "P2P Bill of Rights and Responsibilities," driven by input from "industry experts, other ISPs and P2P companies, content providers and others."
"By having this framework in place, we will help P2P companies, ISPs and content owners find common ground to support consumers who want to use P2P applications to deliver legal content," Comcast Chief Technology Officer Tony Werner … Read more
In this week's EIC Squared podcast, ZDNet's Larry Dignan and I discuss current events--Comcast and BitTorrent teaming up, Oracle's latest earnings, recent moves at Facebook, and Adobe Systems' introduction of Photoshop for the cloud.
For reference, here are links to some of the coverage:
HOLLYWOOD, Calif.--The Motion Picture Association of America is calling on broadband providers to pull the plug on copyright-infringing users.
Jim Williams, the MPAA's chief technology officer and senior vice president, said on Thursday that it's in the best interests of Internet providers to sift through data traveling across their networks and interrupt transmissions that violate copyright law.
"Much of the Internet is being clogged up with stolen goods," Williams said at a technology policy conference here. "Basically you have a bunch of free riders who are hogging the bandwidth (and taking) it away from … Read more
Update 7:57 AM PDT: Comcast and BitTorrent have made it official, announcing that they are working together "and with the broader Internet and ISP community" to address issues of rich media and network management. One specific result of the talks: Comcast says that, by the end of 2008, it will have adopted a "capacity management technique that is protocol agnostic."
Are Comcast and BitTorrent secretly an old married couple, prone to bickering over their peccadilloes and never quite comfortable together in public, but still joined tightly by an abiding sense of union and shared purpose?… Read more