Comcast users who have recently reported that their download speeds have dropped and/or their inability to seed has started making waves, after all, Comcast is a major player in the broadband arena.
It is no surprise then, that Comcast is now officially doing something about piracy: they’re throttling BitTorrent activity on their own network.
“ISPs have been throttling BitTorrent traffic for almost two years now. Most ISPs simply limit the available bandwidth for BitTorrent traffic, but Comcast takes it one step further, and prevents their customers from seeding. And Comcast is not alone in this, Canadian ISPs Cogeco and Rogers use similar methods on a smaller scale.
Unfortunately, these more aggressive throttling methods can’t be circumvented by simply enabling encryption in your BitTorrent client. It is reported that Comcast is using an application from Sandvine to throttle BitTorrent traffic. Sandvine breaks every (seed) connection with new peers after a few seconds if it’s not a Comcast user. This makes it virtually impossible to seed a file, especially in small swarms without any Comcast users. Some users report that they can still connect to a few peers, but most of the Comcast customers see a significant drop in their upload speed.”
What will this mean to games, such as World of Warcraft, and other forms of entertainment that presently rely on BitTorrent for distribution? What will this mean for Comcast and their investors? Will their user base simply take this without any serious complaints, or will they call and quit. Could information on quitters be subpoenaed by prosecutors in anti-piracy cases, perhaps as a starting point on who they should try to get more information on?
These are all valid questions, but we just don’t have any definitive answers at this point in time. As always, we’d appreciate your views and opinions on the subject.