Today Comcast today responded to reports by the blog Torrentfreak, which we posted a few days ago. In that article, it was reported that users were experiencing slowdowns and even dropped transfers, and that Comcast was the culprit.
Over the past few days, these claims have been widely circulated
throughout the Web. But when I spoke to Comcast spokesman Charlie
Douglas earlier today, he flat-out denied that the company was
filtering or "shaping" any traffic on its network. He said the company
doesn't actively look at the applications or content that its customers
download over the network. But Comcast does reserve the right to cut
off service to customers who abuse the network by using too much
The issue of shaping traffic or blocking certain applications is a hot one and goes right to the heart of the Net Neutrality debate, which has been raging for more than a year. Broadband providers claim that their networks have finite resources and they must be allowed to identify traffic in some manner to set quality of service parameters to ensure users get certain levels of service. But consumer advocates say that the network ought to be neutral and traffic should flow freely to ensure that all applications are accessible.
So while they deny the reports of throttling bandwidth, they reaffirm the right to cut off service to those using "too much" bandwidth. This is a very old issue, and some users have experienced Comcast's mighty axe, cutting off their accounts. But Comcast has never officially told anyone just what constitutes "too much" in raw numbers, although, as in the article, they do sometimes give examples. Yet some that have been cut off have been pursuing legitimate activities, such as mirroring a Linux distro.
As telecommuting continues to become more popular, will what Comcast considers "too much" be surpassed by more users, who may simply be downloading code from their company's servers? How about it? Have any of our readers been cut off by Comcast, and what was the experience like?