Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Comcast Defines Net Neutrality

Light Reading has published an article detailing Comcast's plans for providing net neutrality to its broadband customers. Its approach is based on throttling back the performance of the service to users that habitually use large amounts of bandwidth.

Comcast will continuously monitor aggregate traffic usage data for individual network segments. If overall upstream or downstream usage exceeds a predetermined level on a segment, the software then determines which customers are using a disproportionate share of the bandwidth. If certain subscribers are the source of high volumes of network traffic during those customers temporarily will be assigned a lower priority status.

This approach seems to be a blunt tool. Why penalize customers as the first line of defense. Each application has different response time requirements, why not manage traffic to maintain response times within these limits and go after high volume users only when these techniques cannot cope with the loads.

This is a measure of the confusion around this issue. The FCC has not shown that it understands the issue or that it is capable of doing any more than responding to political heat. Hopefully, it will get sorted out over time.

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