Comcast is currently in the hot seat with some customers. Causes range from disconnecting users for utilizing too much bandwidth to drastically limiting BitTorrent traffic. What is the answer to the madness?
Customers complain that Comcast advertises “unlimited access” yet they are implementing tactics to control bandwidth. According to Comcast’s web site they offer high speed plans offering 6 Mbps and greater with no mention of total bandwidth or traffic type restrictions.
Comcast has denied throttling bandwidth or in any way shaping the traffic coming through their service. It seems clear from the recent BitTorrent complaints that Comcast is taking steps to control the amount of traffic coming in and the rate of packets being sent based on traffic type. Usenet newsgroup providers have been affected by bandwidth throttling for some time now. In fact newsgroup services like Giganews allow alternate ports and the use of SSL encryption to get around the limitations. Companies like Secure-Tunnel provide SSH encryption for anonymous Internet access.
What does this mean for Comcast customers? As the need for bandwidth increases for streaming video, virtual worlds, file sharing, etc. cable companies are going to continue to fight a losing battle to provide their customers with the bandwidth they so desperately want to meet their online needs. What’s the solutions? One immediate solution would be to outline exactly what the usage terms are for the service. No more wondering if last months usage is going to cause you to get a nasty letter or if the services you use today will no longer function tomorrow.
We strongly support companies like Comcast that are trying to stay up with our growing needs but like any other company in its position we need clear answers.
If anyone from Comcast has comment on this article we would be happy to post it.