Cox Hops On Data Discrimination Bandwagon

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News Posted: Wed, Jan 28 2009 12:33 PM

Oh great, this again? The awful aftertaste from Comcast's data meddling
still hasn't completely vanished, and now we're being hit with yet
another cable company attempting to grab hold of customer Internet

As the battle over net neutrality rages on in
Washington, Cox Communications has opened the flood gates for criticism
by announcing that it will soon be "trying out a new way to keep its
subscribers' Internet traffic from jamming up." Which, after being
stripped of sugarcoating, translates to "giving priority to certain
kinds of Internet traffic." Beginning on February 9th in certain
(unlucky) sections of Kansas and Arkansas, Cox will "give priority to
Internet traffic it judges to be time sensitive, like web pages,
streaming video and online games; file downloads, software updates and
other non-time sensitive data may be slowed if there is congestion on
the local network."

Granted, this doesn't necessarily mean
that your completely legal peer-to-peer (P2P) transfers will be slowed
to a crawl while your neighbor looks up dinner recipes, but if push
comes to shove (and bandwidth becomes an issue), your Internet doings
will be relegated to a lower tier of importance. The issue, obviously,
is that your monthly Internet bill won't fluctuate with the level of
service you're getting, not to mention that it's Cox making the
decision on what's urgent and what can wait.

After the FCC and
hordes of net neutrality proponents had their way with Comcast, said
company decided to abandon its selective throttling and institute a
generic, all-encompassing data management system that didn't
discriminate. Cox spokesman David Grabert noted that his company began
to evaluate its own system after the FCC order came down on Comcast.
Still, he didn't hesitate to add that Cox's "new technique is based on
the time sensitive nature of the Internet traffic itself, and [Cox]
believes it will lead to a smoother Internet experience with fewer
delays." Fewer delays for people using the Internet via Cox's preferred
methods, he means.

As for expansion, Cox
Communications is hoping to deploy the technology to every last one of
its Internet subscribers later in the year if trials prove
successful in Kansas and Arkansas, though it should be mentioned that
business users won't be affected by the filtering. Get ready for the
fireworks, folks -- this one should get a whole lot more interesting
before it comes to a close.

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3vi1 replied on Thu, Jan 29 2009 8:04 AM

Thank goodness SuddenLink bought them out in my area. But come on, you should have known from their name that they would turn out to be a bunch of Richards.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?


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Dave_HH replied on Thu, Jan 29 2009 8:35 AM


Editor In Chief

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