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Comcast Corp has provided U.S. regulators details of how it plans to change the way it manages Web traffic over its high speed Internet network without blocking any applications or content.
Comcast said on Friday that under the plan designed to give all users their "fair share" of bandwidth it would focus on managing the traffic of customers who are using most bandwidth when the network is congested.
It said it will use software on its network to determine if particular subscribers have been the source of high volume of traffic and will temporarily give traffic from those subscribers a lower priority status.
It said that when a subscriber's traffic is assigned a lower priority status its traffic could be delayed if the network is congested but would not be delayed if there is no congestion.
What Comcast is proposing won't impact 99.99% of their online population and I'm a pretty heavy bandwidth user and it won't impact me.
It you're that .01% warez downloader, oh WAH!
[edited by: incrediBILL at 10:22 pm (utc) on Sep. 22, 2008]
But as soon as anyone starts providing HDTV movies for download, things will look very different. You could drop your cable service, and instead download several movies a week--just as much content, of your own choice, for the same money.
Let 10% of the customers start doing that, and Comcast gets hit twice -- once on the networks, and once in the pocketbook. Well, they wouldn't give two gnat's breaths out of a hurricane for bad customer service (that's their business model after all), but they would panic if someone else was providing legal movie downloads: after all, customer choice counts as unfair competition for those moguls.
So if they can set up barriers now, so that their customers wouldn't be able to use any future legal movie-distribution service--then they'd have cable customers locked in. And they'll probably introduce their own movie-downloads service, at more than twice the price, and who cares how bad a download hurts the neighbors' normal internet usage, if it's money in Comcast pockets?
And they'll probably introduce their own movie-downloads service
They recently did. And at bitrates that do in fact put the 250 gig cap within reach. A year from now 250 gigs will look like nothing.
What I don't understand is why they need throttling on top of this.
But as soon as anyone starts providing HDTV movies for download
That ship has sailed...
OK, just so you know what's in the works, here's a glimpse at Comcast's BIG PICTURE which is Project Infinity:
I hate to spoil the surprise for people that don't know but other articles I'm too lazy to look up at the moment discuss Comcast's objective of "Four-Minute HD Movie Download Service" at speed of around 100MB, that they're calling "WideBand" to differentiate from the current slower broadband services, with well over 1,000 titles to choose from.
No clue where these are being tested or when it will roll out wider, if ever, but that was the stated goal which would mean the current caps and throttles may be moot in the near future and simply a stop gap measure to appease existing customers that experience problems with P2P bandwidth hogs.
Needless to say Sony's BluRay may be a blip on the radar and Netflix may be toast on the coast if Comcast gets it up and running. Not to mention all those poor satellite TV companies that simply can't compete with massive high speed VOD.
If you have stock in the above mentioned technologies, sorry, you lose ;)
[edited by: incrediBILL at 2:55 am (utc) on Sep. 23, 2008]
What I don't understand is why they need throttling on top of this.
They don't want to invest (probably waiting out for prices to drop) into their network to provide support even for their pathetic 250 GB cap. Can't believe this 3rd world kind of stuff is happening in USA. :(
There are legitimate uses for bandwidth and people who pay money for it are entitled to use it as they see fit . They are setting precedent - if this is allowed to stand then next traffic tiers will be even worse - 50 GB per month or less.
If Comcast was investing properly to expand their network they would not have to introduce limits as they do now - period. Comcast's actions speak on how well they invest in their infrastructure.
[edited by: lawman at 10:23 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2008]
"Project Infinity" is about offering 1000 HD movies by the end of 2008 - how brilliant this is, this so perfectly "completely refutes" my statement. Well, those HD movies would be just perfect - 5-6 movies streamed (50 GB each) and you run out of your monthly allocation! I bet you will get throttled first though so you won't be able to see them at all.
[edited by: jatar_k at 6:17 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2008]
Is it about investing into DOCSIS 3 to give better capacity to the network?
Docsis 3.0, the channel-bonding tech that makes such speeds possible, will already be available in certain markets by the end of the year.
[edited by: lawman at 10:25 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2008]
average mp3 about 3 minutes long.
if I pay $15/mo for one of those monthly subscription services... to listen to at least 730 hours of music...
~43,800mb or ~42.8 gigs of music downloaded.
Now, assuming I'm picky or have multiple people in my household, maybe I download 3-4 times that much music... 171.2 gigs. Of course that is before World of Warcraft patches, Youtube videos, and other bits and pieces. So pretty difficult to reach today with how most average users happen to use the web, but VOD over the web and other factors getting more popular, it could be reached at some point.
We're not quite at the point of always on, web connected appliances. If we were, we'd surely hit this cap. But that probably is not lifetimes away. So as the earlier poster was alluding... it's concerning if we become more and more connected and the technology/bandwidth caps don't adjust with realistic top end/first adopter use.
Of course Comcast is making limited investment into DOCSIS 3 installs - they are not however investing into upgrading full network as demand requires - otherwise they would not be applying those ridiculous limits - what's good in 100 Mbits connection if you can only use 250 GB per month of less than 10 GB per day which would only let you watch 20 mins of HD movie?
Comcast is making limited investment into DOCSIS 3 installs
Comcast always does limited installs and testing before they roll it out wide as I've lived through several of their network upgrades, been here at ground zero. As a matter of fact I've worked with a few telcos in my day and they did it the same exact way, you do a few installs in a few markets, test it, run customer trials, perfect it, then roll it wide when you get the kinks out.
Comcast made initially limited ON DEMAND tests when they started that process as well, then rolled it out wide to everyone when it was ready to go.
Comcast also made initially limited upgrades to get the high speeds we have now, then rolled it out wide over time which took a couple of years to fully upgrade the SF Bay Area.
There is no magic wand they're going to wave and upgrade a nationwide network, it will simply take time.
what's good in 100 Mbits connection if you can only use 250 GB per month
Basing assumptions on the future network capabilities based on the current network limitations is just pure speculation, we'll need to wait and see.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 11:16 pm (utc) on Sep. 23, 2008]
we'll need to wait and see
The matter of fact is that Comcast is now offically limiting traffic to 250 GB per month and OP idicates that they will also use throttling - that is NOT a sign of a network that has got capacity to handle traffic because if they did have it then they would not use those limits.
Comcast (as any monopoly) would try to avoid investing money if they can get away with it - most certainly they will be making upgrades FIRST in the areas where they actually have competition - they know perfectly well that in other areas people can't leave them because they have a monopoly on broadband in those areas.
It is this attitude that makes me condemn their actions - you might defend them as much as you want, but the reality is that if they did have network capacity they would not be implementing those limits.
I am NOT using Comcast - my network access is NOT limited but I certainly root for people who are getting limited right now because I know if one ISP gets away with this stuff then others might follow. Everyone should decide for themselves which side they take.
At the rate which internet connection speeds (and bandwidth use) have been increasing over the last few years a 250 gig cap makes a very strong statement.
Especially when it comes immediately before the explosion of HD content on the net, which Comcast is clearly aware of as they're attempting to compete in that market.
And we're just talking about ultra compressed pseudo HD that is currently being marketed as "HD" on the net. Another bitrate increase will follow shortly after to something closer to true HD.
The Comcast cable guy is at my house RIGHT NOW and the DOCSIS upgrade in our neighborhood is underway, may actually be done but they don't have all the software ready to go yet.
We just got a big software upgrade downloaded into our DVR the other night, the COMCAST messages in the cable box have a list of other things about to happen in the next few days.
At the moment we're getting some new equipment because some of our cable gear (we have a lot) appears to be old enough that all the new features probably won't work well, if at all, with the old gear.
So Comcast is actively upgrading the network, this thing is in full swing.
I'm ready for 4 minute movie downloads that appear to be happening any minute now.
[edited by: incrediBILL at 10:02 pm (utc) on Sep. 24, 2008]
Supposedly it's initially 20% of Comcast being upgraded to DOCSIS this year.
South Florida is part of the update:
Comcast/South Florida is also making modifications to its network to prepare for the roll out DOCSIS 3.0 in 2009. DOCSIS 3.0 is a revolutionary new broadband system allowing for up to 100 Mbps (megabits per second) download speeds. Today, Comcast offers the fastest download speeds in the South Florida market at 8 Mbps (with PowerBoost™, download speeds can reach 20 Mbps).
There's data on several other areas also being upgraded as well.
Looks like some of us we're on the fast track ;)
For example according to this NYT article I posted in a previous thread the bandwidth cap is not applied to Comcasts own VOIP service.
Critics have charged that Internet providers are trying to protect their cable TV and telephone businesses by stifling Internet access. Comcast says Fancast, its online video Web site, will count against the 250 gigabyte limit, but its digital voice service will not.
Any third party VOIP services are at a disadvantage especially if they are providing video. If they are going to be offering HD on demand with no limit its basically an end around to stifle competition which the consumer is not going to be able to access because of the caps.
Is this going to be for the internet or the comcast services
Best I can tell it's both, the 100mb bandwidth will be for internet.
What the cable guy told us, and I've read online as well, initially we'll get the most benefit from the download channels, internet and cable TV, they'll be smok'n fast but the upload channels will be upgraded later. Makes sense considering most big consumer transfers are download only.
However, I'll restate what I said before, until they get the network completely upgraded we'll never know what their new network policy will really be and you can't make those assumptions now, it's way too early.
I've never lost regular telephone service except during an earthquake but I've often lost cable service (internet, TV, etc.) so people relying on cable for telephone or any critical services are rolling the dice, it's crazy IMO.