According to Network World, Comcastâ€™s new internet traffic management plan will target customers who consume â€śdisproportionateâ€ť amounts of bandwidth, instead of individual peer-to-peer protocols such as BitTorrent and eDonkey.
According to CNET News, the Federal Communications Commission has been investigating since February 2008 the practice of ISPs stalling uploads to P2P protocol clients. ISPs do this by sending TCP RST packets to users uploading a large file through a P2P protocol causing an error message to appear and requesting reestablishment of the internet connection. The FCC has not yet determined whether this practice constitutes â€śreasonableâ€ť network management. P2P traffic throttling, according to one study by the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems, is prevalent among cable company ISPs like Comcast and Cox.
After a barrage of criticism from consumers, advocacy groups, and the FCC, Comcast announced that it will start targeting individuals who consume large amounts of bandwidth by â€śde-prioritizing their data usageâ€ť in order to free up bandwidth for others on the network. Comcast said it will slow heavy-bandwidth consumer traffic in order to make the network faster for others during times of network congestion. Comcast stated that it will test-run this new traffic management method this summer in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania, Warrenton, Virginia, and Colorado Springs, Colorado, with the goal of rolling out the new management practice nationwide by the end of the year.
According to Digital Media Daily Wire, Comcast announced the new network management plan shortly after it was served with three class action lawsuits, filed in California, Illinois and New Jersey. The lawsuits claim that Comcast misled consumers when it promised to offer â€śunfettered access to all the content, services, and applications that the Internet has to offer.â€ť The complaint also states that â€śComcastâ€™s clandestine techniques are similar to those used by totalitarian governments to censor the use of the Internet.â€ť For a copy of the complaint click here.