comcast throttling downloads Comcast is quickly gaining enemies from the BitTorrent crowd by using new technology to throttle torrent downloads.  The Associated Press was able to confirm that they are in fact doing this through tests all over the nation.  In their report they say that this move is “the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider.” Luckily, there are some workarounds available that TorretFreak writes about which we’ll be taking a look at in just a minute.

This isn’t the first time that Comcast was accused of decreasing speeds or even cutting off BitTorrent transfers. They previously denied these accusations back in August, but this time around once the AP investigated, they admitted they were using an application to break every seed connection to “ensure all our customers have the best broadband experience possible.” Comcast’s spokesman Charlie Douglas said, “This means we use the latest technologies to mange our network to provide a quality experience for all Comcast subscribers.” And of course, because it is their network, they can do what they want and what they feel is necessary.

For those you who subscribe to Comcast’s Internet service and use BitTorrent networks, you really have two options: switch to a different ISP, or find a workaround. As mentioned, TorrentFreak has put together a list of what’s working to get around this and what’s not working so that you know what’s worth trying. One such suggestion is to run BitTorrent over encrypted tunnels like SSH or VPN, or even forcing protocol header encryption. They also advise to play around with the different options mentioned because while one solution may work for you, it may not work for someone else. What they say is not working is to “grab a hammer, visit the Comcast office, smash a keyboard and knock over a monitor” as one 75 year old woman recently did in Chicago. :)

There’s some good news and some bad to come from this is. The good is that  Comcast is the only known ISP throttling downloads.  The bad news is that others may follow in Comcast’s steps and try to implement technology to do the same. Fortunately there’s some more good news though, and that is that Comcast is paying big bucks for this technology. Given that they’re the largest Cable TV and Internet provider in the U.S. with 12.4 million subscribers, they’ve got the money to do this. Other companies, well, they just won’t have the money to spend trying to stop subscribers from using Torrent networks. From the sounds of it, instead of trying a workaround, you’re just better off ditching Comcast and moving on to a new provider.

Thanks for the tip Cory!

There Are 9 Comments

  1. The article was in the Chicago Sun-Times but the lady and the incident were in BRISTOW, Va.

  2. It’s actually kind of funny that this is going on because my brother uses Comcast. He has always bragged about his outrageous download speeds that he gets (15Mbps down), but it looks like high speeds come at a price.

  3. The Guru wrote:
    The article was in the Chicago Sun-Times but the lady and the incident were in BRISTOW, Va.

    That’s funny- although most newspapers have around the nation sections.

  4. comcast is not the “only known ISP throttling downloads”… maybe the only one in the US, but rogers cable in canada also throttles bittorrent.

  5. Quoted from the article: “Fortunately there’s some more good news though, and that is that Comcast is paying big bucks for this technology.”

    That’s no good news at all. Think about it for a second: who ends up paying for all that stuff? That’s right: the consumer does. :)

  6. Well then you have EarthLink WiFi which transmits data from my customer in California to our servers in Arizona via Georgia!

  7. bunnyhero wrote:
    comcast is not the “only known ISP throttling downloads”… maybe the only one in the US, but rogers cable in canada also throttles bittorrent.

    I’m sure there are a lot of providers who are actually doing this, but people are only noticing it with the bigger ones right now. I’m sure this has opened a big can of worms though.

  8. Pieter wrote:
    Quoted from the article: “Fortunately there’s some more good news though, and that is that Comcast is paying big bucks for this technology.”

    That’s no good news at all. Think about it for a second: who ends up paying for all that stuff? That’s right: the consumer does. :)

    The good news out of that is that other companies won’t have the money to do what Comcast has done. So for those with a different ISP, there’s less of a chance that they will experience the same issues.

  9. Whoops, foreigner misinterpretation. :)

    I’m still sticking to my point though. After all, why would they use their own money to buy bandwidth throttling technology if they can let their customers pay for it by slightly increasing their prices?

    This makes Comcast look like they’re trying to do something about piracy, but what about all those Linux ISOs? (Yes, I know that this sounds like a lame excuse. I’m one of the few people that actually download these things. :P If anything at all.)

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