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Report on Web-Surfing Speeds Finds Pervasive Throttling

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the slow-down-cowboy dept.

The Internet 189

Stirling Newberry writes "New York Times has a report on web-surfing speed tests that their reporter ran using Glasnost, a tool that mimics the bittorrent protocol and measures the results. BT in the UK was among the worst. From the article: 'In the United States, throttling was detected in 23 percent of tests on telecom and cable-television broadband networks, less than the global average of 32 percent. The U.S. operators with higher levels of detected throttling included Insight Communications, a cable-television operator in New York, Kentucky, Indiana and Ohio, where throttling was detected in 38 percent of tests; and Clearwire Communications, where throttling was detected in 35 percent of the tests.'"

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Gassy (4, Informative)

EEDAm (808004) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049470)

I think the OP is unlikely to be reporting on the web throttling capabilities of BP (British Petroleum as was) but more BT (British Telecom)?

Re:Gassy (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049526)

Yea, from what I've seen, BP lacks the capability to successfully throttle down the flow of anything.

Re:Gassy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049632)

Remember, the internet is a series of tubes.

Re:Gassy (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050008)

The only thing from BP I'd like to see throttled is their board of directors.

Re:Gassy (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049656)

I have BP Internet. They don't throttle which is nice, but when something breaks, a torrent of bits sprays everywhere. And it takes their support forever to fix it, and then they just walk away, leaving you to deal with the giant mess.

Re:Gassy (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049914)

No, BT stands for bit torrent, silly. They obviously wouldn't discuss British Telecom in the same context -- that would just be confusing.

Depends on the time (4, Informative)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049482)

My ISP clearly states that they throttle P2P and Torrent protocols if necessary. After midnight, there's less people using their connection, hence less throttling.

If necesary means "if we're full". (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049518)

It doesn't mean "if it's daytime".

Re:Depends on the time (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049672)

Same here.

If traffic is too much on servers, not throttling them would degrade other services as well.
I'd hate it if I wanted to check up on, say, Slashdot, but the page was loading at 56k speeds because half the country was watching / torrenting the latest episode of whatever show, as an example.

Throttling is a necessary evil until the ISPs, which are also evil (well, the corrupt ones), get off their ass and actually use our monies to upgrade the lines at a reasonable speed and not slow just because they all agreed it is better for them, when in fact it is actually worse for them because they'd get considerably more money with cheaper lines and more people.
The lower that price goes, the significantly higher the number of people who can afford it, probably even in the powers of N range as it goes up, to a point of course.
Good example is how the movie industry can stay afloat pretty easily with cheap tickets, even though their productions cost several hundred millions in some cases, yet the videogame industry is still in that backwards mentality that higher prices = more profit, companies dying all over the place. You'd think dying once would have got it through to those who took it back up to what it is now, but nope.
Games just keep on getting more expensive because "oh, hey, we need to work more, increase the price and make it even more of a niche market"
Not only would this get rid of a huge reason for most piracy in the games industry, it would allow considerably more people to afford games more often. That would EASILY make up for the lowered price due to the higher numbers of people.
I know I would be buying more games often if they were cheaper, but I only get one maybe every quarter period, if not half. I make less adventures in what I consume because of that, which is bad for the industry as a whole because they also make less adventures in what they create. The creation of XBLA, PSN and Wii ..something-or-other, the Apple game market, even Facebook, has made a huge shift towards cheaper and simpler games that still play good, still work just as good, and can sometimes even last just as long as big budget games. Usually of teams less than 10 people at that.

Anyway...as I was saying before I went off on that tangent.
This whole "cutting losses in short term" mentality is seriously holding back society as a whole, from internet to videogame industry to even government. (except for dat military budget, gotta kill dem terrorists!)
"Gotta spend money to make money" used to be a brilliant term, used by all the hotshots in the industry, now it is just meaningless and laughed at.
It's just insane... really insane.

Re:Depends on the time (0)

DarkOx (621550) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050464)

Cheap tickets! I can hardly think of consumer good that has inflated in price as much as move tickets have over the past decade.

Re:Depends on the time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049810)

Fewer people. Continuous quantity -> Less. Discrete quantity -> Fewer.

Re:Depends on the time (1)

JMJimmy (2036122) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050266)

Thank you. +1

On a side note, this report is shit. paraphrasing... Bell Canada throttles 65% of the time... actually they throttle 100% of the time from 4pm to 2am weekdays and during another set time period on weekends. Rogers throttles 100% of the time period (they're facing some consequences for their 'accidental' game throttling)

And 4-5% false positives is a huge error rate and doesn't account for what level the throttling is taking place on (your ISP could be fine and an intermediary is not)

Re:Depends on the time (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050306)

Close. The usual prescriptivist distinction actually has to do with whether the noun is mass or count [wikipedia.org] . This is correlated with distinctions of continuous/discrete, but is not the same. You can see this distinction by talking about summary statistics, for example: "The standard deviation was fewer than 1.4 defects per shipment."

But mostly I just like pointing out that prescriptivist pedants don't actually know anything about language or the usages they criticize, and encourage you to shut up and stop fostering vague fears about grammar in the general population. Many varieties of English license use of "less" with count nouns, and this usage has been attested for centuries. There's no sense in fighting it except to prop up your own ego.

Re:Depends on the time (1)

rot26 (240034) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050652)

So you admit that you're simply propping up your own ego?

BP? they could not throttle the oil let alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049486)

..bit torrents, me thinks you mean BT.

Re:BP? they could not throttle the oil let alone.. (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049634)

..bit torrents, me thinks you mean BT.

Give them time. David will likely see BP take over BT, because too big to fail is always a good thing.

First? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049538)

F........i.........r............s............t...... p......o......s........t

-----
Sent from my BT iPhone

my netflix is more important than your BT (0)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049564)

me streaming cartoons and being able to watch them is more important than someone taking an extra few hours to download their blu ray rips

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (5, Insightful)

Pi1grim (1956208) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049972)

Somehow I doubt that. The point is that people pay for that bandwidth. If your provider fails to provide what people pay for — then he is to blame. Not people using what they bought from him.
Imagine if phone companies handled calls the same way they handle data: first you would pay for "unlimited 24/7 connection" and then you would discover, that you as well as sever hundred clients are all connected to one line. Should you start complaining that your calls are more important then those, of all the others or just make the provider do his job and provide the advertised service?

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (4, Insightful)

samkass (174571) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050032)

What if electricity providers had to guarantee that every house in the country could consume the maximum current draw their connections are rated for at any given moment? I think the industry is young enough that everyone's still figuring out the right model under which to sell and provide service.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050176)

The electricity providers have never had to throttle my connection, or anyone I've ever heard of.... If they did then we would be hearing some pretty large fucking complaints (weather emergencies, knocked over pylons and stolen cable notwithstanding).

I pay to be connected to their supply, and despite the fact that they have never claimed it was unlimited - it has never failed me in that respect.

I pay to be connected to the ISP's on an unlimited supply, a claim they make on every fucking advert and website they have (as does every competitor) - yet they tell me that I have to share and it's only as 'unlimited' as they can manage....

I think the complaints are extremely fucking valid.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050276)

Really? Perhaps you've never heard of the United States? We've had rolling blackouts over here several times. In fact, it looks like many places in the world have had rolling blackouts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_blackout#Texas [wikipedia.org] You do realize that rolling blackouts are, indeed, one method of throttling. As the GP said, electricity providers cannot provide everyone with the full rating on their service entrances today. If everyone tried to reach the peak that their equipment was rated the grid would sag and electric plants would go offline to protect their generators and transmission lines. As someone who lived through rolling blackouts in California just several years ago http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_electricity_crisis [wikipedia.org] , it is hard to believe that nobody you ever heard of has had their electricity throttled.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050540)

Really? Perhaps you've never heard of the United States? We've had rolling blackouts over here several times. In fact, it looks like many places in the world have had rolling blackouts. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolling_blackout#Texas [wikipedia.org] ...

Sucks to live in Texas, this we already know...

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (2)

icebike (68054) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050388)

I pay to be connected to the ISP's on an unlimited supply, a claim they make on every fucking advert and website they have (as does every competitor) - yet they tell me that I have to share and it's only as 'unlimited' as they can manage....

Seriously?
Can you post one single advertisement where they claim you have unlimited data?
Please only post those where you have taken the time to read the fine print you overlooked the first time.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (4, Informative)

sbrown123 (229895) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050218)

Power companies charge by the amount of power used. If they could technically give you 100% of the power you demand they would. And then charge you for it.

ISPs could move to that model too. But they don't want to. They prefer to charge flat rates and then throttle people who use it more.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (5, Insightful)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050368)

The difference is that the electricity companies never CLAIMED to be able to give every household max current draw at any given moment (AFAIK). When I signed up for Comcast I was told "You can have 16 down, 6 up." Whenever I get close to the bandwidth that I was told I could have I get throttled down. Yes, there was the fine print in the contract saying "you can't actually have these speeds 'cause our network can't handle it", but doesn't that imply false advertising?

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050580)

Oh, bullshit. Comcast never claimed to be able to give you anything either. Guaranteed they said 'UP TO 16 down, 6up', and not in fine print either. If you want a connection with guaranteed speeds, buy one. It will cost you probably 10x what you are paying now, but obviously your usage is important enough to warrant that.

Re:my netflix is more important than your BT (1)

alen (225700) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050238)

the phone company has never had the ability to service 100% of their customer base at the same time. it's been proven for decades every time something happens you get an all circuits are busy message if too many people try to call

the advertised bandwidth is not full internet bandwidth but up to your CO. BT you still have their internet gateway while netflix and other big companies use CDN's to stage their data inside the ISP's network so there will always be preference for some data

Web surfing != Bittorrent (4, Insightful)

SSpade (549608) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049592)

Any article that starts off with the problems of a web page not loading, then goes on to explain that it's because ISPs are throttling a different, completely unrelated protocol is either very confused or intentionally deceptive. It's the NYT, so "confused" is a fair bet.

Re:Web surfing != Bittorrent (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049772)

Any article that starts off with the problems of a web page not loading, then goes on to explain that it's because ISPs are throttling a different, completely unrelated protocol is either very confused or intentionally deceptive. It's the NYT, so "confused" is a fair bet.

Slightly OT, but this has got to be the most politically correct invocation of Hanlon's Razor I have ever seen. Well done, Sir.

Re:Web surfing != Bittorrent (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049982)

Let me see if I can go for the politically incorrect version then:

The dumb-fucks at NYT are being fucking retarded. They're too stupid to be maliciously dishonest because the Jew owners are retards.

Re:Web surfing != Bittorrent (1)

DriedClexler (814907) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049950)

Well, it could be that torrenters have started disguising torrent packets as web traffic by sending them through port 80, making ISPs throttle websites as a countermeasure ...

Just kidding, it's probably journalist confusion!

Re:Web surfing != Bittorrent (5, Insightful)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050160)

You are the one who appears to be confused.

Nobody said anything about throttling bittorrent. The ISPs are detecting bittorrent activity and then throttling everything.

Probably... (3, Funny)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049604)

Probably a defect in a Clacks tower along the Grand Trunk.

Damn you, Reacher Gilt!

Re:Probably... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049668)

Probably a defect in a Clacks tower along the Grand Trunk.

Damn you, Reacher Gilt!

Rarely do I wish I had mod points, but you, sir, deserve +1 Internets for this.

Re:Probably... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049704)

Especially since I posted all thee messages to this thread.

He won't be able to download it, though. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050204)

His connection is throttled.

It isn't the Nineties (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049780)

Probably a defect in a Clacks tower along the Grand Trunk.

Probably because it the nineties [wikipedia.org] are over, and there is no more time for Clacks [wikipedia.org] .

I'm sure they'll stop (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049608)

Once these ISPs learn that we're entitled to everything we want, they'll finally have to stop throttling us. Then we can continue to consume content without paying the people who spent their lives creating it.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

djsmiley (752149) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049664)

Ah, you forget not everyone wants payments, and because you use the same tool someone conducting a illegal act does, it should therefore be outlawed?

I torrent masses of linux isos. Much love.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049714)

No one said you weren't entitled to some perfect level of Internet performance on torrents, regardless of anything. Perish the thought!

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049742)

That depends on the contract one has signed.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049808)

That attitude doesn't validate our entitlement.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

fa2k (881632) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050606)

This seems like an elaborate troll, but I'll bite. Your argument is confusing

[...] Then we can continue to consume content without paying the people who [created it]

(emphasis mine) You seem to be arguing that BT or high transfer rates are used mainly for pirating, and throttling only affects self-righteous people who like to get stuff for free,,

No one said you weren't entitled to some perfect level of Internet performance on torrents, regardless of anything. Perish the thought!

Is this supposed to somehow be related to your initial argument? Otherwise, well done, sir, I wasted 5 min trying to parse that argument.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (2, Interesting)

thestudio_bob (894258) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049782)

Once these ISPs learn that we're entitled to everything we want, they'll finally have to stop throttling us. Then we can continue to consume content without paying the people who spent their lives creating it.

Um... how is mimicking the BitTorrent protocol taking money away from people? It's not. You, just like the people who pay you, are so scared of losing control you will go to any means to suppress a technology instead of innovating and coming up with new business models that make it easy for people to consume your product.

Of course, I'm sure it's just cheaper to buy politicians and people like you.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049866)

Hey, I completely get it. You're entitled, entitled, entitled.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (2)

Bucky24 (1943328) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050438)

While I agree with your other post about people feeling entitled to content that they didn't pay for, I think you're going a little overboard here. To use a car analogy, it's like renting a car that is supposed to have a 150 hp engine (that's horsepower, not health/hit points) and then being told if you actually get up to 150 at any time your engine will automatically throttle back down to 50 hp. Yes, it's not your car, you're just paying for the privilege of using it, and the people who you got it from have every right to throttle it down, but in that case they shouldn't advertise a 150 hp engine when they know they'll never let you get that high. I feel entitled to my ISP telling me what speeds I can ACTUALLY get before being throttled down.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

gnasher719 (869701) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050622)

To use a car analogy, it's like renting a car that is supposed to have a 150 hp engine (that's horsepower, not health/hit points) and then being told if you actually get up to 150 at any time your engine will automatically throttle back down to 50 hp.

Your car's engine doesn't actually produce 150 hp most of the time. Not even near 50 hp most of the time. To drive at 70 mph constant speed on a straight road in a resonably efficient car only uses maybe 15 hp. Even when accellerating you don't get anywhere near the 150 hp until the rpm of the engine is excessively high.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050630)

More like, you rent the same car the rental company rented out to 6 other people. You're supposed to get it 24/7 according to the rental agreement, but it's way overbooked. So, you only get to use it a fraction of the time you paid for.

ISPs consistently oversell their bandwidth. It's more profitable than actually upgrading their capacity.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

dyingtolive (1393037) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050650)

I'd like to offer my ISP 70% of their bill one month and then when they come after me, complain about how they're the "entitled" one like it's a bad thing.

I believe your line of thought requires some realignment. If I'm pay for a service, and I get a lesser service, then I am not getting that service. If I am paying for the lesser service, then fucking say so. Don't set my expectations and then fail to deliver.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (4, Insightful)

orichter (60340) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049796)

I've got no problem with them throttling, but throttling and then calling your plan unlimited is False advertising, and should be outlawed. Perhaps we need some new language to describe what they are actually doing, but Unlimited is not it.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049840)

So you want them arrested for disagreeing with you on the meaning of "unlimited"? Or do you just want them fined?

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

RatherBeAnonymous (1812866) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050090)

If something is advertised as "Unlimited" and then a limit is applied, it is, arguably, false advertising. That opens the ISP to civil suits. Class action, anyone?

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050208)

Good idea. They'll learn, once and for all, that you're entitled to "unlimited" performance on every packet. What else could "unlimited" possibly mean? Obviously, it means you get what you want.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

dada21 (163177) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050430)

They never said:

1. Unlimited speeds
2. Unlimited data

The term "unlimited" is from the AOL-centric dial-up days where you had a limited amount of connection hours.

Unlimited still means *unlimited connection time*.

It's been discussed before. Read your TOS and the fine print on advertising.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (5, Insightful)

pla (258480) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049846)

Once these ISPs learn that we're entitled to everything we want, they'll finally have to stop throttling us.

7/10. Try "Once these ISPs learn that we're entitled to" the goddamned level of service we signed up and paid for.

Matters of legality belong in the courts, not the infrastructure.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (2)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049876)

And perhaps the content creators will realize that they are not special little snowflakes and not every idea that comes out of their heads is genius. Maybe if they start charging reasonable prices for their wares and if the governments of the world pare back copyright to a reasonable level, people will actually have respect for them again.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049930)

Who cares about "content creators"? You're entitled. What does that have to do with them?

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050062)

If you want to talk about entitlement, you have to include the creator class. Nobody has a feeling of something for nothing more than they. Most see copyright as a lottery ticket, or as a reason to work hard for one album and live off of that for the rest of their unproductive lives. They steal from the public domain (Disney, etc.) and never give back. And people like you act surprised when the common person has zero respect for copyright anymore. I'm 30, my grandchildren will doubtfully see the Beatles in the public domain.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050116)

Are you saying you're entitled because creators are bad? Because I think most people consider themselves entitled without regard to anyone else being good, bad, or indifferent.

But hey, whatever gets you the things you're entitled to, that's what matters.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050458)

Sure, and creators are entitled because teh pirates are bad. But hey, as long as they get what they're entitled to that's what matters.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050638)

But this is about packet throttling. We're entitled to un-throttled packets.

Content creators are just bystanders. Content creators can't be given credit for why we're entitled to un-throttled packets.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050042)

And perhaps the content creators will realize that they are not special little snowflakes and not every idea that comes out of their heads is genius. Maybe if they start charging reasonable prices for their wares and if the governments of the world pare back copyright to a reasonable level, people will actually have respect for them again.

This claim comes up a lot on Slashdot, but I disagree. The cat is out of the bag, young people are already used to getting films and music for free. The industry could lower prices, but actually completing a financial transaction for content is more work than just going to YouTube and typing in the name of the song you want to hear for free. The physical artifact (CD, DVD) is increasingly considered a luxury, which people will pay for if they wish but avoid otherwise, so lowering prices isn't going to solve anything.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

Mordok-DestroyerOfWo (1000167) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050448)

I've always considered the last 80 years or so to be a bit of a golden age for the content creators. Technology has caught up to culture in that we can now share it effectively over any distance. It is possible to monetize is, perhaps not at the level that they're used to but still at a profit. Look at what iTunes and Netflix have done. Netflix put a pretty serious damper on casual piracy because it was easy and cheap. If the **AA want to continue hamstringing new innovators they will eventually see their distribution models go up in smoke as people start caring less and less about bought and paid for laws. Cooperate and/or innovate, don't treat your customers like criminals, and tighten your belts a little. Simple advice, I doubt anybody will pay it any heed.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049942)

hey i have insight cable they also throttle my online gaming and i have to pay extra for a package to just do that. so before you open your mouth and spout propaganda try and remember this "the customer is always right"

Troll? People really do think they're entitled (-1, Troll)

Kohath (38547) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050286)

Why is this being modded "Troll"? I'm not trolling. People really do think they're entitled. It couldn't be more obvious.

Throttling bittorrent is an outrage against our entitlement.

Re:I'm sure they'll stop (1)

AlamedaStone (114462) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050316)

Once these ISPs learn that we're entitled to everything we want, they'll finally have to stop throttling us. Then we can continue to consume content without paying the people who spent their lives creating it.

I agree. The entitlement of the unwashed masses doesn't override my entitlement to send my grandchildren to college for a job I did once.

Send a Message! (1)

twiddler69 (2504140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049734)

Anyone using ComCast for their ISP, look for an alternative because it's guaranteed they throttle your bandwidth! Send them a message and maybe they will stop this Internet Control!

Go back to dial-up? (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049834)

For people living in Comcast territory and outside the service area of FTTH, or for people living in Comcast territory who have give up a land line in favor of a cell phone with an unmetered voice plan, what's the alternative to Comcast other than dial-up?

Re:Go back to dial-up? (1)

twiddler69 (2504140) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049870)

If there is no alternative then their isn't much you can do, but if DSL is available in your area I would make the switch!

Re:Send a Message! (2)

unimacs (597299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049884)

Problem is that locally at least they have horribly inconsistent download speeds and that some throttling is probably necessary. I don't know what their user agreements are like. I don't have a problem with throttling in principle as long as the provider is very clear about the circumstances that will trigger it. There needs to be truth in labeling.

Re:Send a Message! (1)

rrossman2 (844318) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049956)

Mine here hasn't been throttled, and I have comcast at two different locations on two different segments of their networks (in two different towns about 35 minutes apart by car)

Re:Send a Message! (1)

ryocoon (2466182) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050314)

Yeah, when I have the option to use Comcast as opposed to _EVEN WORSE_ options of MediaCom, then I'll maybe think about it. Right now, I wish I had Comcast's crappy levels of service and ridiculous capping schemes because they are nothing on the shit MediaCom pulls.

Why is this not considered theft? (2)

sgt scrub (869860) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049790)

If they throttle you so your bandwidth does not exceed the agreed upon bandwidth speeds then it should be no big deal. If they shape you below your agreed upon speeds because "it is busy time on their network" it is theft.

Re:Why is this not considered theft? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049828)

well if they're throttling your bittorrent, it probably falls under anti-theft.

Re:Why is this not considered theft? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050096)

Linux distros distribute over BitTorrent, along with some legal movie services, and some game updates. If I'm not mistaken, WoW distributes their large patches with BT.

It is probably fair to say the majority of BT traffic is used for piracy, but not all is. And either way, a common carrier is supposed to treat all traffic as equal. Admitting to policing the data on their network is actually bad, because it then opens them up to liability for anything illegal they don't police.

That low eh? (4, Interesting)

itchythebear (2198688) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049798)

I'm not surprised at all that ISPs are throttling internet speeds. If a cable company throttles netflix and youtube data then that increases the probability that people will get frustrated and just watch cable tv (especially the advertisements). If Verizon deprioritizes VOIP traffic to reduce call quality then that increases the probability people just go back to using P.O.T.S [wikipedia.org] (which they conveniently sell). Maybe my tin foil hat is a little to tight today, but I think the only real way to prevent this kind of stuff form happening is a decentralized internet.

Re:That low eh? (2)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049856)

Maybe my tin foil hat is a little to tight today, but I think the only real way to prevent this kind of stuff form happening is a decentralized internet.

The way to prevent businesses from doing things you don't like is to stop being their customers.

Re:That low eh? (4, Insightful)

RazorSharp (1418697) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050082)

That might work in a big city where multiple options exist, but rural customers don't have that luxury. Often there is only one option available, or very few; usually the cable company and the phone company - neither of which will be reasonable on price unless you bundle with their other services (that you often don't need/want).

So basically, the options for "stop being their customers" include:

1. Don't use the internet at home. That just isn't feasible for most, or they wouldn't be shopping for an ISP in the first place.

2. Move. Again, just not feasible for most, especially considering the state of the housing market and the fact that most people who live in rural areas don't want to live in a city.

Not to mention the fact boycotting a cable/telephone monopoly isn't going to hurt their business in the least bit. And this isn't exclusive to the countryside - suburban areas are also often limited by monopolies on telecommunication services.

Re:That low eh? (1)

loimprevisto (910035) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050402)

To be fair, in most places there are options for satellite. Many rural locations also have small-business ISPs that can set up a LOS shot. Not always economical, but definite alternatives to the nationwide ISPs.

Re:That low eh? (1)

watermark (913726) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050124)

Eventually, someday, there will be legislation to prevent this. I'd have to imagine that any decentralized, mesh network is going to be much slower than any throttle these ISPs put on the traffic.

So what? (0)

bonch (38532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049836)

So what? ISPs are allowed to regulate the traffic of their networks. Why is this a story?

Re:So what? (0)

Bing Tsher E (943915) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049986)

It's a free speech issue because people are not being allowed to shuttle around the same prerecorded comtent to and fro to each other that none of them produced. Though I suppose by some definitions the fact that the program material was ripped and re-encoded makes it original content. The noise and artifacts are protected free expression I guess.

Re:So what? (0)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050066)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_carrier [wikipedia.org]

They're supposed to treat all traffic as equal, and yet they don't. ISPs have been caught lying to the government and to consumers about specifically throttling traffic from BitTorrent, Netflix and online games.

Re:So what? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050148)

Comcast is a "common carrier"? Random XYZ ISP os a "common carrier"? Really?

Before you parrot something, get a clue about the subject.

Re:So what? (4, Interesting)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050236)

I have a web server hosted in location X. My ISP is company Y. I transport data to people hitting the site all using different ISPs. That data is carried by several different companies. They are very much covered under the definition of common carriers.

Telephone companies were considered common carriers. ISPs have fought back against being branded common carriers, but they aren't any different in principle to phone companies. The FCC hasn't gone out of their way to rule definitively on the matter, only vaguely determining that telecommunication companies can be considered common carriers.

The net neutrality debate could be made considerably simpler if the FCC would outright call all American ISPs common carriers.

Re:So what? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050568)

ISPs have fought back against being branded common carriers, but they aren't any different in principle to phone companies.

Maybe not "in principle", but in fact of law, yes, cable and ISP are not "common carriers". And that's what counts.

Re:So what? (1)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050648)

I don't believe any court has ruled on the matter. And as the law is written, they would be easily covered by the definition.

Please show me where the FCC or any major court has ruled definitively that they are not.

I can attest to this. (3, Informative)

mcalchera (1518515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38049902)

I'm an Insight Communications subscriber in central Kentucky. I noticed a month or so ago that during a period of higher-than-average internet usage, my connection speed was being slowed. I pay for 20Mbits. At the worst, with a wired connection I was only getting around 1.5Mbits. This was after moving ~10GB in ten days or so. Hardly excessive usage by most standards.

Re:I can attest to this. (1)

Machtyn (759119) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050152)

I'm also an Insight Comms customer in Louisville. I was going to come on in defense of them. But as I think about it, with their recently being acquired by a bigger provider and I having noticed suspect reduction of quality on line (for my 10Mib/s subscription)... I'll have to look into this a little more. However, what other choice do I have? Bellsouth/AT&T? DSL maxes at 6Mib/s and most people don't even get that.

Do remember that you pay for service "up to" 20Mib/s.

Re:I can attest to this. (1)

mcalchera (1518515) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050472)

I understand, but why do I pay an extra premium for "up to" 20Mbits, when I'm getting a (very small) fraction of the 10Mbit service? And you're right, choices are very little in Lexington as well. In Louisville I've heard UVerse is a decent service but that's pure word-of-mouth, I have no experience with it myself.

Get rid of the FCC (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38049994)

And all laws preventing anybody from setting up an ISP of any kind. Then you will see thousands of competitors pop up that will pressure on the current firms in place into being more honest.

That they're selling spectrum is retarded. It takes billions for anybody to get in the way it is now. The current system is closed to anybody that doesn't play ball with the FCC. Let's have a free market.

Dear Anonymous Idiot, (0)

bussdriver (620565) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050576)

I would love to setup an ISP; however, ignoring all the regulations I find that I still have a massive logistics problem and do not have sufficient funds to run the cables to the high paying customers.

I also am short of telephone poles, since no regulations are there to allow me to use the existing ones. I looked at wireless but tests indicate there is too much noise from competing services running into the bandwidth I wanted to use, along with the differing pockets of open bandwidth between locations there is also a risk that somebody will jam up my signals after I installed my network. At least I'm free to attempt anything I want, being that there are no more regulations... Maybe I'll just pull down power to run my computer to lower my power bill... I don't think my neighbors should watch TV anyhow...

Advertised service (5, Insightful)

Enderandrew (866215) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050038)

Telcos like to cry about heavy users, but at the same time they brag about the capabilities of their service. Just don't try to use the service as they've advertised it.

Verizon, AT&T and T-Mobile all advertise that you can watch streaming video over their data networks, but then cap data and cry foul because people want to stream video. AT&T ran an ad campaign about the original iPad launch and how you could watch video over their network on the iPad, and then two weeks after the iPad launch they ended unlimited data because they didn't realize people would stream video over the network.

ISPs brag how fast their network is, and talk about downloading large files, streaming video and playing games. But God forbid you want to do any of those things with the service you're paying for.

These companies are subsidized by my tax dollars to build infrastructure. They charge more for less service than their counterparts around the globe. They advertise a service and then complain when people buy and want to use the service.

And while people would scream foul if Google got into the ISP business (despite allowing a Comcast/NBC/Universal merger) frankly I would welcome some competition.

My experience has been strange (2)

_0xd0ad (1974778) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050224)

Sometimes, firing up a bittorrent client and downloading something will rapidly cause my internet to slow to a crawl... I'm talking pings of 2500+ to google.com.

However, capping the upload speed to something ridiculously low (10-30 k/sec) seems to fix the problem.

It makes me wonder if the upstream pipe is just saturated with all the connections made in the P2P network.

Furthermore, it doesn't always happen. Sometimes it does just fine with higher upload speeds, so it must have something to do with time of day and/or network conditions.

Re:My experience has been strange (1)

Nyder (754090) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050594)

Sometimes, firing up a bittorrent client and downloading something will rapidly cause my internet to slow to a crawl... I'm talking pings of 2500+ to google.com.

However, capping the upload speed to something ridiculously low (10-30 k/sec) seems to fix the problem.

It makes me wonder if the upstream pipe is just saturated with all the connections made in the P2P network.

Furthermore, it doesn't always happen. Sometimes it does just fine with higher upload speeds, so it must have something to do with time of day and/or network conditions.

Well, if you had bothered to google how bit torrent works, or proper settings, you'd find that they suggest capping your upload speed to half your upload speed.

For example, i have DSL, with like a crappy 70k upstream. I run my bittorrent at 35k UPstream cap. And as long as I'm not getting greedy and trying to download a bunch of shit at once, my connection if fine.

If i'm playing EQ2, i cap my download at 350k, and i can play eq2, download stuff with utorrrent, no problem.

Most bit torrent programs suck right out of the box and don't perform well unless you change settings, which most users are way to stupid to understand.

Resolving Host (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050340)

That's my favorite. What throttling? You're pings to IP addresses looks fine.

I don't mind throttling. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38050350)

As long as they don't block or terminate connections, I am fine with them throttling a non-realtime protocol like BT.

Selective Throttling (2)

mk1004 (2488060) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050508)

As has been pointed out here, none of the power companies, telcos, and ISPs could provide 100% of all customer's maximum usage at the same time. Throttling isn't in and of itself bad. The issue is if an ISP throttles, say, my Netflix download not because of congestion, but because Netflix competes with their services.

Is it neutral? (2)

PPH (736903) | more than 2 years ago | (#38050592)

If the broadband operators throttle during heavy traffic times to manage their network, that's one thing. But if they throttle BitTorrent while their 'partner' web sites or streaming video services are still running full speed, I'd be concerned. Very concerned. The former is just a means of keeping a rickety network from collapsing. Yeah, its false advertising if they promised you certain up/download speeds (but only at odd times when no one else is on line). But if its a means of driving business to their preferred services (or crippling all the others that won't kick back part of their revenue), its time for the antitrust people to step in.

Anyone know of a test suite that looks at simultaneous BitTorrent/commercial site download speeds?

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