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ISPs Throttling BitTorrent Traffic, Study Finds

timothy posted about 2 years ago | from the deep-packet-delivery-service dept.

The Internet 228

hypnosec writes "A new report by an open source internet measurement platform, Measurement Lab, sheds light onto throttling of and restriction on BitTorrent traffic by ISPs (Internet Service Providers) across the globe. The report by Measurement Lab reveals that hundreds of ISPs across the globe are involved in the throttling of peer-to-peer traffic, and specifically BitTorrent traffic. The Glasnost application run by the platform helps in detecting whether ISPs shape traffic. Tests can be carried out to check whether the throttling or blocking is carried out 'on email, HTTP or SSH transfer, Flash video, and P2P apps including BitTorrent, eMule and Gnutella.' Going by country, United States has actually seen a drop in throttling compared to what it was back in 2010. Throttling in the U.S. is worst for Cox at 6 per cent and best for Comcast, Verizon, AT&T and others at around 3 per cent. The United Kingdom is seeing a rise in traffic shaping and BT is the worst at 65 per cent. Virgin Media throttles around 22 per cent of the traffic while the least is O2 at 2 per cent. More figures can be found here."

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228 comments

Happy Thursday from the Golden Girls! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932305)

Thank you for being a friend
Traveled down the road and back again
Your heart is true, you're a pal and a cosmonaut.

And if you threw a party
Invited everyone you knew
You would see the biggest gift would be from me
And the card attached would say, thank you for being a friend.

Or have a crap ISP like Eastlink (2)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | about 2 years ago | (#40932413)

Or have a crap ISP like Eastlink that has always throttled uploading of any kind. When I upload using ftp or ssh I am lucky to get 60kbs sustained. 1.6mbs down. The CRTC needs to gets its ass in gear and get some real competition. Toronto isn't all of Canada.

Good (0, Flamebait)

not already in use (972294) | about 2 years ago | (#40932419)

No seriously, good. Chronic torrenters use a disproportionately high amount of bandwidth compared to other people. Your desire to attain every single movie released in the past 30 years in high def shouldn't affect my typical internet usage that we pay the same amount of money for.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932507)

Have to agree with this, despite being a torrenter.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Ultra64 (318705) | about 2 years ago | (#40932509)

"Chronic torrenters use the bandwidth they purchased. The ISPs greedy oversubscribing of their bandwidth shouldn't affect my typical internet usage that we pay the same amount of money for."

Fixed that for you.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932625)

If you would like to pay for dedicated bandwidth, you can definitely do so, however you are taking advantage of the cost of the pipe being spread among many people with the expectation they won't all max it out at once. Just a hint, your measily 60 bucks a month doesn't come close to covering a dedicated 50 mbps pipe, it doesn't even come close to a dedicated 1.5 mbps pipe.

Just keep sticking it to the man though.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932827)

Then the ISP should not sell it as if it does.

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933197)

They don't, they sell speeds "up to".

Re:Good (5, Insightful)

BronsCon (927697) | about 2 years ago | (#40933525)

Then as long as my torrenting doesn't increase your speeds above the "up to" number you're buying from your ISP, you can STFU, you're getting what you're paying for. If my torrenting ever causes your speeds to exceed your purchased "up to" rate, then you can complain about it.

Wait, what? Why are you defending that practice?

Re:Good (1)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about 2 years ago | (#40933541)

Wording they only recently changed.
Now they'll sell you "up to 20mb!" in an area fed by a single T1.

Re:Good (0)

alen (225700) | about 2 years ago | (#40933579)

ok fine

let the ISP's charge a few hundred a month for people who torrent and p2p all the time. the same people will scream how its unfair, the end of the world and how we need a system where the cost is spread out among all the customers

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#40933231)

If they cant handle it, they should stop selling it. As far as I am concerned, I pay for unlimited bandwidth at 50 down 25 up. If I want to upload all 25 and download all 50 24/7/365, that is what I payed for.

You dont go to an all you can eat buffet and have 1 burger and fries right?? unlimited should be unlimited

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933509)

But isnt it a waste to allocate everyone those speeds when most people only use it for casual internet browsing? or for streaming videos?
Thats like giving everyone their own lane on a freeway, it means you will never get stuck in traffic, but it will cost a lot more and most of the time it will be mostly empty

Re:Good (3, Informative)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40933563)

oh no that would mean they would have to invest in infrastructure

Re:Good (2)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#40933597)

that Is my point, if they dont want me using the service they sold me, they should not sell me that package and do something that does work

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933827)

and so to satisfy this, they would need to invest in much more infastructure.

so assuming they currently have about 20 users sharing a line, that means to give everyone dedicated lines costs to the user would increase by about 20 times.
I think i would much rather leave it how it is than have my internet cost 20x as much

so that leaves throttling. internet usage isnt even, its mainly huge spikes. so to ensure your speeds arent compromised at all, they would have to completely block torrenting, which would piss off a lot of customers who would then leave. It makes more financial sense to have everyone a little bit unhappy so that they stay, than to push a large number of customers away

Re:Good (3, Informative)

ganjadude (952775) | about 2 years ago | (#40933955)

you are only thinking in one term. why does there have to be a one size fits all scheme? time warner already sells 3 or 4 tiers at different speed rates from 5-1 to 75-30. If those people who only want to use email and news readers, they can gladly save money by using a lower tier. if they need to chage people like me a few bucks more to cover them paying less, also a fair trade.

Re:Good (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933743)

Why should "unlimited be unlimited" and does any ISP ever explicitly state it's "unlimited?" Most major carrier and cableco ISPs have bandwidth caps so by definition there's no such thing as unlimited.

What you're paying for is a very cheap, shared, commodity pipe to your ISP. Beyond that it's a crap shoot. Hopefully they have multiple 10-40gig uplinks to the major carriers, private peering with the largest video web sites (Netflix, Youtube, etc.), and possibly caching to make the "average user" happy that they're "getting what they paid for." Most of the major cable/telco ISPs have this kind of infrastructure to support their broadband users so if you "only" get 5-10 meg downloads sometime instead of 50, that's not a bad deal, really.

If you understood anything at all about the costs and economics associated with bringing 50/25 to your door step for how little you pay for it you'd never again feel the indignant and petulant sense of entitlement you feel now about what you think you "should" be getting from the ISP. As someone who worked for several years in the dialup ISP business I got a major whiff of that entitlement and it's quite unappealing.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933337)

$100/mo does buy the equivalent of 7Mbit dedicated at a colo (100Mbit burstable connection). $60/month should be enough to buy 4.2Mbit (1.36 terabytes/mo). If you're paying more for a wired connection, you're being ripped off.

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40933435)

"Just a hint, your measily 60 bucks a month doesn't come close to covering a dedicated 50 mbps pipe, it doesn't even come close to a dedicated 1.5 mbps pipe."

Nonsense, at least here in the U.S. While it might be catching up (hard to say for sure), compared to most "first tier" countries the U.S. has averaged significantly lower bandwidth at much higher cost. Mainly due to insufficient competition.

Bandwidth for ISPs gets cheaper by they year, as they have continued to steadily raise their monthly rates.

They can afford it.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933559)

Yeah... Why was this modded insightful?

http://gizmodo.com/5929295/googles-crazy-1000mbps-fiber-internet-connection-is-out-today

I guess 60 bucks doesn't come close to 70..

Face it, you overpay for underrated service but have been conned into thinking it's as good as it gets (or even close) because you live in a 'first world country'

Re:Good (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40933595)

Hurricane Electric - $1/Mb advertised rate

GPON(2.5Gb) - Assuming all users on a 32 person node max the connection, about 70Mb/s

At this point the end user has an effective dedicated 70Mb/s(78Mb/s but rounded down for safety margin) to the ISP, the ISP can then purchase 1Mb/s of dedicated bandwidth for $1/month and even cheaper if peering.

For $70/month, the ISP can purchase 70Mb/s. Add the cost of infrastructure(connection fee), $15/month. For $100/month, one could expect 70Mb/s of dedicated bandwidth and a small margin of profit for the ISP. I'm sure there are other costs and the ISP needs enough margin to cover future expansion/etc, but it's not far-fetched to get decent amounts of dedicated bandwidth.

This is not a dedicated connection, but that doesn't remove the fact that there is a 1:1 ratio of max consumption to available bandwidth. I'm sure other bottlenecks will occur.
State non-profit co-op sells 1Gb dedicated fiber connections to Hospitals/Schools/Libraries for $300/month. And yes, they do get 1Gb effective. This is because the state University buys bandwidth in bulk, has massive peering agreements, and re-sells at non-profit rates; and these are the real-world prices to break even on a 1Gb dedicated line.

Before you break into the "laying fiber is expensive", real world recent studies have shown running fiber from the ISP to the house plus datacenter equipment is actually LESS expensive than the fiber receiver installed. Installing the fiber to Gb Ethernet converter at each customer's house makes up 60%-70% of the total costs.

Re:Good (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about 2 years ago | (#40932645)

Nah he's the guy that takes the $300 when the airline tells him they overbooked and would he mind going on standby on another flight over the next couple days. He thinks he's getting a sweet deal, too. That airline is being so nice to him, giving him free stuff and everything...

Re:Good (3, Informative)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40933465)

>>>"Chronic torrenters use the bandwidth they purchased. The ISPs greedy oversubscribing of their bandwidth shouldn't affect my typical internet usage that we pay the same amount of money for."

And yet if they installed a 200GB cap (with an option to buy another 200GB chunk when the first runs-out), then you would bitch about it. Why? Because you want expensive service AND a cheap bill, at the same time. You don't want to actually pay to cover the expense you are incurring. (Like those who complain a 99 cent ebook is too much money so they go swipe the book for free.) (Or demand the power company give-away unlimited electric for $100/month.)

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

bigredradio (631970) | about 2 years ago | (#40932519)

You are probably going to get modded down for this, but I agree with you. I rarely have downloaded torrents, but when I do, I enjoy the speed I get. However, if I did that all day long (as I know some who do), I am sure it would effect my neighbors. Until fibre becomes the standard, there needs to be something in place so that average users are not effected by the bandwidth usage of others.

Re:Good (3, Insightful)

gl4ss (559668) | about 2 years ago | (#40933023)

why would fibre becoming standard change the thing at all? you see the same argument applies when you're on 64kbit connection and so is everyone else. it does so on 1mbit, it does so on 10mbit and will apply on 100mbit too.

"something in place" could only be not overselling your bandwidth. if they don't want to do that they could start advertising and contracting it as being base speed of say 0.5mbit/s and a burst speed of 10mbit/s for max of one hour.

Re:Good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40933523)

"you see the same argument applies when you're on 64kbit connection and so is everyone else."

But that's not so much the case anymore. Larger ISPs, and many of the smaller ones, have moved to tiered pricing plans, depending on the bandwidth they dole out to you.

If they're going to charge for the extra speed, they had better deliver that extra speed, or else it's fraud.

Re:Good (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40933547)

>>>why would fibre becoming standard change the thing at all?

Because when you have a 1 Gbit/s line you can torrent a movie in just a few seconds. That means the line will be open most of the time & there will be no contention between neighbors. Contrast that with a line that is only 1 Mbit/s and is busy downloading a single movie for hours, and thus not open for other neighbors to surf the web.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933975)

sigh.. it's funny how many people don't understand congestion (probably from a not so subtle effort from ISPs to claim they don't have it whenever they roll out a new technology).. it's all about how oversubscribed the ISPs overall pipe is.. It doesn't matter whether you are on FIOS or on DSL or on Cable.. the bottleneck is just in different points along the ISP's chain depending on the technology.

People need to stop defending the crap we are offered for the price we pay. They need to start upgrading their networks, something they should have been doing all along regardless of whether FIOS was in place or not. If they want to sell "unlimited" (which many do in the US) then they should have kept upgrading their infrastructure appropriately.

Instead, most raised their rates and let their infrastructure stagnate (even while the cost to improve said infrastructure has steadily dropped over time), then cried when normal growth and (both in population, and in usage) has gone up.

It doesn't take a genius to just look the growth of simple desktop applications over time (in terms of size) and the content richness of the web to realize that this was going to be necessary.

But like with many things, greed speaks louder than wisdom.

Re:Good, exactly (1)

scharkalvin (72228) | about 2 years ago | (#40933731)

That's where dowload caps come in. Maybe the ISP's should respeak and say you get x amount of upload and download up to some g amount of gb per some unit of time and after that your bw is reduced for some period of time to give everyone else some of the bw THEY purchased. Which, "hey hey" is what they are actually doing, but don't tell you.

Re:Good (2)

Nugoo (1794744) | about 2 years ago | (#40933941)

Um, didn't US ISP's get billions of dollars in tax breaks to lay down fibre across the country a decade ago? You're getting ripped off with prices, compared to most other first-world countries; you're getting ripped off with service, with unadvertised bandwidth caps and throttled protocols; and you got ripped off by paying taxpayer money for something that was never done. If I lived there, I'd use every bit (pun not intended) of bandwidth I was paying for, all the time, just out of spite. Not that using a service you pay for should be considered a spiteful act.

Re:Good (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40932537)

Mixed on this... On the one had it makes sense to delay a non-interactive protocol and favour an interactive one, like VoIP or web browsing. That way, you have people away (torrenters, ftp, e-mail) waiting a bit longer, while people in front of the keyboard "right now" are prioritized. On the other hand, consistently delivering far less that the speeds sold is a problem. If down reasonably, it would not be a problem. But no ISP so far has been able to resist the temptation to be unreasonable.

Re:Good (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#40932987)

Most of that can be handled by QoS, and usually the customer can decide how they want their traffic prioritized. Plus, if the ISP was prioritizing traffic, it wouldn't cause bit-torrents to come to a crawl. They deliberately throttle down traffic they feel is associated to pirating.

Re:Good (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40933555)

QOS will do that as well if you do not have enough bandwidth to support all your users... Which was my point.

Re:Good (4, Informative)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40933609)

"They deliberately throttle down traffic they feel is associated to pirating."

I think you mean filesharing, not pirating. They are not the same things. Pirating is a crime, filesharing is not. Look it up. Copyright "pirating" has been a specific legal term for close to 100 years. It's amazing how many people have come to misuse it in just the last few. Of course, we have the "content industry" to thank for that propaganda.

In any case, here's the problem: first off, throttling filesharing requires deep packet inspection, which is very undesirable and may be illegal in some circumstances. Second, throttling regardless of what is being sent or received is illegal in the United States. Comcast has already been chastised by the FCC for that. I don't recall exactly, but I think they made a settlement and agreed not to throttle, in order to stay out of litigation (which Comcast would almost certainly have lost).

Re:Good (1)

joelsherrill (132624) | about 2 years ago | (#40933323)

Although not always the case, ssh is usually interactive. Lag in typing or editing across a slowed ssh connection is horrible.

Re:Good (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40933569)

Or some type of remote desktop app... Click... NO NOT THERE, NO!!!!! Crap.

Re:Good (5, Informative)

Krneki (1192201) | about 2 years ago | (#40932601)

I pay 33E for my optical 20/20MB (5ms to my ISP, 24ms to google, 0 jitter or packet loss, static IP free of charge) line and I exchange 800Gb data per month.

In my country (Slovenia) not a single person has ever received a letter of complaint from the ISP (ISPs got several from US, but they trash it instead to harass their users), no one was ever throttled and the line always, without a single exception, delivers the promised speed.

Only people living in rural areas experience internet problems due to old infrastructure, in towns the downtime are limited to a couple of hours a year and it happens only during the night.

P.S: I live in a town of 10.000 people, so size doesn't matter when it come to Internet prices. So if you pay more and get less you only have to blame the greed of your ISP provider.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932849)

I doubt peer-to-peer traffic is a problem on a symmetric connection.

Re:Good (2, Interesting)

kyrio (1091003) | about 2 years ago | (#40932873)

Dear God, the above comment needs to get modded up to the max. It's no different from the morons who go on about population density in Canada being the reason for ancient speeds and horrible prices.

No, you dipshits, if that was the case, some of the provinces east of Ontario wouldn't have 100/100 connections in cities of 1000 people for less than $100/m. If "horrible" population density was really the case, Toronto, which contains 1/6th of the population of Canada in a tiny* city, would have unlimited, unfiltered transfer on gigabit connections to the home for less than $50/m. Yes, I know you can get 100Mbit connections in some parts of the west, and it costs a fortune too.

Re:Good (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40933651)

>>> It's no different from the morons who go on about population density in Canada being the reason for ancient speeds and horrible prices.

It makes no sense to compare apples to oranges (a northern continent-spanning country versus a little teeny-tiny Slovenia in the heart of civilization). When you compare the WHOLE of the European Union versus the whole of the Canadian Confederation, you will see that Canada is only 2 Mbit/s slower (average speed). You will also find Canada is faster than Mexico, Brazil, China, India, and the Russian Federation.

You will also discover that Canada's eastern provinces like Ontario are faster (on average) than many European states. For example: Faster than Spain. And France.

Re:Good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40933705)

"It's no different from the morons who go on about population density in Canada being the reason for ancient speeds and horrible prices."

They're not morons. They are at least partly correct.

The majority of the cost of the infrastructure isn't the backbone (which runs from city to city), but the hubs and the infamous "last mile". And your bandwidth depends on the quality of the infrastructure.

That last mile is far more expensive in sparsely populated, rural areas. THAT is why population density matters. It doesn't matter so much anymore how remote the city is, as long as it's a city.

Throughout the U.S., there are strong correlations between bandwidth, price, and population density. That correlation would be even stronger if the ISPs' pricing structure did not tend to spread the cost between regions.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932741)

Chronic torrenters use a disproportionately high amount of bandwidth compared to other people.

Do you think so? How about those bastards who are running youtube in order to listen to music? Or where the Spotifier is always on? I download the movie once, and I upload it for a while. Downloading stuff in general makes a better use of the bandwidth than any streaming service, where if you would like to show a clip to your friends, you have to download it again because your flash/browser/drm-service dumps the downloaded files.

ISP's can start selling a different infrastructures for VoiP and Web browsing, and a different one for heavy data-exchange where the delay is not critical. But otherwise, this is not what I bought for my money, so ISPs should be honest and state this shit straight in their contract. Saying things like: "The bandwidth can be different" is too general: State your fucking intentions!

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933275)

He was obviously talking about people who download more than they can possibly watch, which is something some people do.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932841)

Actually they don't, its the streamers that use most of the bandwidth. Torrents are a very small fraction in comparison.

Just because you like to buy something and not utilize it to its full capability doesn't mean the rest of the world should. Tell your ISP to upgrade their network instead of punishing their paying customers.

Re:Good (1)

na1led (1030470) | about 2 years ago | (#40932909)

Maybe they should limit how much TV you watch too! If I pay for a 10MB connection, I expect to get those speeds, unless they disclaim to me that they will throttle traffic on my connection. Problem I have with these ISPs, is when you call them, and ask them if they throttle BT, they say no. A blatant LIE!

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | about 2 years ago | (#40932997)

High bandwidth users encourage infrastructure investment which gets you the speeds you have today. You could have made the same argument about MP3s back in the 56K days, and if it prevailed then we'd all still be on dialup speeds.

We should all pay the same for the same access to the network, and we should all use as much of it as we need. If the network isn't sufficient for that, we should all invest in a faster network.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933025)

You're the one who whines at the football team at a buffet for eating all "your" food rather than at the manager, aren't you?

Hint: you will be forever sad because you are tageting the wrong people.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933103)

Are you saying that torrenters aren't entitled to the bandwidth they've paid for? The ISP sold them the plan, they have every right to use every bit they were sold. If it is affecting you it is the ISP that has failed to provide you with the service you paid for.

Re:Good (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40933357)

>>>Your desire to attain every single movie released in the past 30 years in high def shouldn't affect my typical internet usage that we pay the same amount of money for.

Well this was why I support usage-based billing. Say $30 for the first 200GB and then $10 for each additional 200GB bracket. Make them pay for their high use of the lines. (Just as people who use more water or electricity or natural gas pay more.)

BTW verizon has never throttled my torrent download. Of course I'm only using 700kbit/s so maybe that's why.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933371)

Why can't they throttle based on usage instead? Not all torrenters are the top offenders. Also, doesn't this go against net neutrality laws?

Re:Good (4, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | about 2 years ago | (#40933405)

Come on. These ISP are throttling (buying technologies to limit bandwidth in both directions) rather than spending to increase their bandwidth (building out their infrastructure). If the did that they'd be satisfying customers and not restricting everyone. People that torrent and use a lot of bandwidth are doing so because that's what they bought, and they deserve to be able to use it. Because these ISPs sold you a bill of goods that stated your bandwidth is X amount and then set it up to share in your neighborhood, then turned around and started throttling you, doesn't make the torrenter the bad guy.

What does it take to get you guys to understand: They sold you bandwidth, then limited you by sharing that same connection with those in your neighborhood, when you started using it by downloading via torrents they began throttling you because others in your neighborhood couldn't use the bandwidth they sold them, then they capped your usage. Seriously, that's a massive bait and switch. These guys should be held legally liable.

Comcast should not be throttling anything. That was part of their agreement to buy NBC Universal.

It is not the torrenters, it is the ISPs not advancing their technologies and building it out, rather they want to soak up the big bucks by ever increasing the cost of the services that they hobbled (as per above). Look at what Google did: $70.00 (+ $300 connection fee) and you get a gigabit upload and download without caps. Given time we should see more of Google's offerings in other cities. Comcast, et al, you are on notice. And let's not forget what almost every other country in the world has done by offering massive increases in bandwidth and no caps.

Re:Good (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933677)

Look at what Google did: $70.00 (+ $300 connection fee) and you get a gigabit upload and download without caps

At what contention ratio? Are those speeds guaranteed?

Also, all types of "server" are banned from their network as it may impinge on the "experience" of other users. Doesn't sound like they have built adequate capacity, does it?

Re:Good (1)

HermMunster (972336) | about 2 years ago | (#40933855)

Of course, they are guaranteed. Google has been able to accomplish this because they have used new technologies that have brought down the cost of implementation significantly. The US's established ISPs have not even begun to re-invest. They want to suck the bucks out of everyone for as long as they can.

The rest of the world offers significantly higher speeds than the US and you don't hear their customer base complaining that their services are being hobbled. And stop muddying the waters with superfluous word use. The only thing limiting their offering is everyone else. And when Google expands that'll become less and less an issue.

Re:Good (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | about 2 years ago | (#40933797)

Mod up.

"That was part of their agreement to buy NBC Universal."

That's right. I knew it was an agreement with the FCC, but my memory was not complete. I was thinking that the FCC was threatening litigation. Instead, they wanted to prevent Comcast from discriminating based on where the content was coming from... as they are now doing with their game content.

Re:Good (1)

dywolf (2673597) | about 2 years ago | (#40933617)

Who the hell put this to interesting? This is trolling and flamebait at best

Re:Good (1)

Bengie (1121981) | about 2 years ago | (#40933925)

P2P is dwarfed by Netflix alone

Verizon FiOS (3, Informative)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40932459)

Verizon FiOS isn't doing it...yet. I don't D/L all that often, but I did a few days ago and was not throttled. I can get up to 5.1MB down, but I usually get only 2-3MB on torrents anyway. I have not noticed a change.

Re:Verizon FiOS (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 2 years ago | (#40932599)

Ideally, they only shape when congested... Really... I am serious... Stop laughing!

Re:Verizon FiOS (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40932749)

You are thinking of Verizon Wireless and their Unlimited data subscribers.

Re:Verizon FiOS (2)

kelemvor4 (1980226) | about 2 years ago | (#40933445)

Verizon FiOS isn't doing it...yet. I don't D/L all that often, but I did a few days ago and was not throttled. I can get up to 5.1MB down, but I usually get only 2-3MB on torrents anyway. I have not noticed a change.

I pulled down nearly 2TB last month to test my new upgrade to "quantum" 150/75. I didn't see any performance less than 160/78 during any of that testing. I sure feel bad for those Brits stuck with BT or Virgin. I'd be furious if I was not getting the service I was paying for.

Re:Verizon FiOS (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40933849)

I should be going to that speed soon. I am currently on 35/35 and even with that speed a DVD quality movie only takes about 10min. They are making us Texas customers wait for the good stuff. They have been out in this area for 4yrs now and are building out like crazy all over the place. I hope that speed comes soon. :D

Re:Verizon FiOS (1)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40933951)

Just to add...
I do have to agree with getting what you pay for OR at least getting advertised speeds. I test the speed about once, maybe twice a week and I usually get over the 35/35 at 42/38.

When I was at Suddenlink(CABLE) in Tyler or Time Warner(CABLE) here in Dallas, they were slower and even less reliable. time Warner went out about every night for 3 hrs and the 15/2 was more like 12/768k off peak. Suddenlink never went down, but the 10/1 they had was 9/512k off peak

on my cheap (19€/mo) German 16/1 no throttlin (1)

acidfast7 (551610) | about 2 years ago | (#40932643)

Alice/O2 ... I pay for the cheap 16Mb/1Mb package (19€/mo with telephone) and I routinely average 1.5-1.8MB/s with uTottent, which seems quite good to me.

I will use what I buy (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932673)

If I buy a hamburger and fries with a coke at BK, the chuckle-heads behind the counter don't come out and take back ten fries and half the burger.
If I buy a tank of gas the pump guy doesn't follow me around with a hose and siphon back a couple gallons
When I use water the city doesn't ask me to pay for 5 hundred gallons and then say I can only use 4 hundred gallons because 5 hundred would just be too much
When I buy cable TV no one stops me from watching TV 24/7 because I might use too much.
On my land-line I can make non-stop phone calls to Guam and ask the operator there to connect me to Paris and from there to my next-door neighbor and no one complains that I am tying up a line.
If I buy anything else in the entire world no one says boo if I use it all up or even how I use it as long as I don't ACTIVELY stop other people from using it.

God damn it, if you sell me something and I use it, don't come back and say i can't use it because you didn't plan ahead. Get some more bandwidth or cut my rates.

This is BS! These idiots are just shills for the RIAA and co. No other business in the world works like this.

Re:I will use what I buy (2, Interesting)

CheshireDragon (1183095) | about 2 years ago | (#40932837)

Insurance companies?
I pay outrageous premiums then someone backs into my bumper and causes a small dent. I want this dent fixed so I call my insurance to file a claim and they pull a bitch fit because they have to pay 300$(US) for the dent. Then they demand I pay the 500$ deductible and my rates go up. SO, instead I say 'fuck off' to the insurance company and then pay the 300$ myself to get the dent fixed.




Shall I start in on the medical insurance?




How about the pharmaceutical companies?




How about the food industry?




Are you sure ISP are the only ones like this?

Re:I will use what I buy (3, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 2 years ago | (#40933681)

How about the food industry?

The average profit margin for most businesses in the US is around 5.5%. The average profit margin for a grocery store is about 0.8%. They also don't charge you taxes, and due to the small margins, most of the people who pick the food and package it are illegal immigrants working for less than minimum wage. It's back breaking work, you're in the sun all day, and your skin is regularly cut up from constantly reaching into bushes, etc., to rip the food from the plant, who has had thousands of years to develop defense strategies to keep animals from doing just that.

As to medical insurance and pharmaceutical companies, you can thank your government for that -- they handed them a monopoly on a silver platter and give them large private police forces to travel worldwide attacking and imprisoning whomever threatens the profit margin. ISPs also have a government-mandated monopoly, thanks to exclusive contracts negotiated with municipalities that guarantee they're the only provider in an area. In other parts of the world, pills you pay hundreds of dollars for cost pennies, and internet flows freely from giant pipes, fed to you all day long by beautiful women.

Your government is the sole party to blame for this state of affairs.

Re:I will use what I buy (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933367)

Actually electricity works like this and, to an extent, so does water. Although to be fair neither is sold as "unlimited" like bandwidth apparently is. With electricity, you have a certain rating that your "service entrance" says you can draw. If everyone draws that at once you get a brownout or blackout. Hmm, they over sold their capacity - just like the ISPs did. It just turns out that they typically don't oversell it by quite as much. Now, I live in California and today at work I got a note from my employer (major company, 100,000 people) that we need to do our best to avoid rolling blackouts today an we should turn off half of our lights, unused equipment, etc. Not to save money - but to prevent the power company from having to have blackouts. So I think we can say for sure that they did oversell their capacity there. Water is really the same way. Have everyone in the neighborhood open their faucet and hoses at the same time. See what happens to water pressure and see if you can take a shower upstairs. The odds are good that you can't. Again - you have a certain capacity (pressure range and flow rate) that you were sold and it can't be achieved if everyone tries at once. ISPs are just more obvious because they oversell by one or two orders of magnitude more than these other services do.

Re:I will use what I buy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933375)

Your argument is flawed.
You pay for X gallons of gas.
You pay for X gallons of water used monthly.
You purchased 1 burger, 1 container of fries, and 1 coke.
Your operator assisted phone call is charged by the minute.

To make your comparison parallel, you would have to buy XXX GB of data, and be denied access to some portion of it. Otherwise you would have to compare speed:
1. How long did it take to fill your gas tank?
2. How long did it take to run the X gallons of water through your tap?
3. How long did it take the chuckle-head behind the counter to fill your order?

There is a difference between paying for a service, and buying a good. You can download as much content as you want over your broadband connection. There are no guarantees on speed unless you have a business-class account.

Re:I will use what I buy (1)

HermMunster (972336) | about 2 years ago | (#40933927)

His arguments are fine. He's spot on. Throttling and capping is bait and switch, almost fraudulent. Hell, they even lie to the consumer when they buy the service indicating a bandwidth without telling the customer to divide by 8 (as in megabits vs megabytes).

Re:I will use what I buy (1)

cpu6502 (1960974) | about 2 years ago | (#40933793)

>>>When I buy cable TV no one stops me from watching TV 24/7 because I might use too much.

There is a limit to how many channels the cable company can squeeze through the line, so it is self-limiting. How many times have you turned-on the TV and discovered nothing to watch? That's because there's no more room to add an exra channel that you might enjoy (like Space or Horror Channel). It's congestion.

As for phone calls, they only use 4 kbit/s when digitized so that's why there's no restriction. There's plenty of bandwidth to carry them. Heck you could carry 13 cellphone calls over an old dialup modem!

Re:I will use what I buy (1)

arth1 (260657) | about 2 years ago | (#40933913)

If I buy a hamburger and fries with a coke at BK, the chuckle-heads behind the counter don't come out and take back ten fries and half the burger.

No, but in the US and some other countries, McDonalds does sell you a "quarter-pounder" where the small print says that this is uncooked weight, and the local food regulations allow them to add as much water as they like to their ground meat before cooking it.

What is needed is similar regulation as for the car industry. Where they earlier could say "up to 30 mpg" they now have to be at least slightly more honest, and tell you the typical rate. It should be similar for internet.
Or, even better, not allow "up to" speeds unless they're preceded by a just as prominently displayed "from" speed. FROM 0 bps UP TO 15 Mbps doesn't sound as attractive, now does it?

As for internet access, it shouldn't be called that unless you actually get unfettered internet access. Port blocking, throttling, enforced NAT -- none of this is what we think of as internet. If they sold "Columbia LocalNet including limited access to a remote internet gateway", at least they wouldn't be deliberately deceptive.

Countermeasures (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932699)

I've always wondered what it would be like to fight back against some of these throttling mechanisms. Since they rely on breaking tcp/ip (Actually forging packets between you and a third party) I think it would be fair game to poke back at some of these systems.

Since these are "carrier grade" monitoring and throttling solutions sold by "enterprise" software developers, we can safely assume that they're crap. I'm sure the developers think they're secure, since they're "invisible" passive monitoring/insertion systems. Why is this important? I bet you could crash any and all of pretty easily. I bet it will be as easy as generating some "interesting" traffic, then inserting lots of invalid/random garbage in fields/payloads that the throttling system might inspect.

This simple "technique" has been known to crash IDS/passive monitoring systems pretty much since they've been around. For whatever reason, nobody thinks that passive monitoring systems can be the targets of attack simply because they're "invisible" and don't respond to direct requests on the network being monitored.

If not outright crashing, you could attempt to bog down said throttling systems. It might not be hard to create a torrent client that generates a lot of noisy garbage that would cause an asymmetric load on said throttling system.

Re:Countermeasures (0)

kyrio (1091003) | about 2 years ago | (#40932935)

Why are you wondering about it; why not do it? If you don't have the skill to do it, find someone who does. Stop wondering and start doing.

Re:Countermeasures (3, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40933005)

yes and when the isp drops you (especially in small us cities where there might be just the one) you can route all your internets through the post system.

Re:Countermeasures (1)

zlives (2009072) | about 2 years ago | (#40933027)

and that is if you have post privileges after dhs gets done with you regarding the "hacking/causing damge"

Re:Countermeasures (1)

lister king of smeg (2481612) | about 2 years ago | (#40933761)

What would be there reason for dropping you? They were the ones who's software was snooping, and there software had bugs in it. Your packets are not meant for them anyway. And why are they inspection you packets anyway.

BT is crap (3, Insightful)

CadentOrange (2429626) | about 2 years ago | (#40932779)

When I was with them 2+ years ago, not only did they shape BitTorrent downloads they also shaped HTTP and streaming video downloads. I require bit torrent when downloading WoW client updates (don't use it for anything else as I don't have the time. See WoW ...). I noticed things speeded up when I disabled the Blizzard Downloader's P2P functionality. I've also noticed them throttling Steam downloads from about 5 - 9 pm, and they throttle video services that compete with their BT Vision package.

Avoid them like the plague.

Re:BT is crap (1)

Jamu (852752) | about 2 years ago | (#40933169)

I'm with BT. AFAIK they only throttle BitTorrent. I've not noticed Steam being throttled. It's impossible to avoid using BT where I am. Even if I pick a different ISP, I'd still be using their infrastructure.

Re:BT is crap (1)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about 2 years ago | (#40933769)

It's impossible to avoid using BT where I am. Even if I pick a different ISP, I'd still be using their infrastructure.

Protocol throttling such as you mention is imposed by BT Retail, not Wholesale. So if you moved to another ISP you would be subject to that ISP's policy, not BT Retail's.

Wholesale just provide connectivity; they do nothing but deliver the stream to the ISP through L2TP.

I suggest you try ID Net; they provide BT Wholesale-based ADSL with no throttling or blocking. I used them a few years ago on a BT-only exchange and they were fine.

Re:BT is crap (1)

asquithea (630068) | about 2 years ago | (#40933215)

BT Infinity (FTTC, uncapped) doesn't seem to suffer from throttling at any time - I get the full 40 Mbps.

However, I often need to switch ports after a download has started to realize full speed. I don't know if this is a quirk of my BitTorrent client, or whether there is actually throttling that's broken by the port switch. Worth trying if you're having trouble, though.

Usenet is so much better anyways. (1, Interesting)

AlphaWolf_HK (692722) | about 2 years ago | (#40932927)

Some of you may have used usenet back in the day when there was a lot of work involving downloading a ton of RARs, PARs, and then going through the process of PARing, and unRARing. However newer software greatly simplifies this process. It even goes so far as to calculate how many PARs you actually need before even downloading them.

Look up the following apps (they run on all three major OSes):

Sickbeard, Couchpotato, Headphones, and SABNZBd.

Beats cable, beats netflix, and beats hulu. Not by a little, but by a LOT. I only pay $11 a month for access to astraweb. If you want to get NZB's for free, use nzb.su or binsearch.info. Those will work fine for the vast majority of your needs. Later on though got a 8 week subscription to newzbin2.es because it has a more comprehensive library. After that ran out, I just paid a one time $10 fee to nzbmatrix.com and haven't looked back.

Forget giganews btw. Not only are they ridiculously expensive, but they are missing a bunch of stuff due to DMCA takedowns. If astraweb ever got hit (doubtful,) here are plenty of other services to subscribe to.

Most services, including astraweb, support SSL connections and will provide you so much bandwidth that you'll fill up your pipe. I always fill up my 30mbit pipe right out the gate, unlike torrents where I rarely do, because I have to wait for seeders and meanwhile I have to also have to use heavy upstream traffic.

And no I do not work for astraweb. They are popular though because their service is fast, cheap, and unlimited.

Re:Usenet is so much better anyways. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933019)

Dude, you just broke the first rule of USENET.

Re:Usenet is so much better anyways. (2)

Lincolnshire Poacher (1205798) | about 2 years ago | (#40933915)

Some of you may have used usenet back in the day when there was a lot of work involving downloading a ton of RARs, PARs, and then going through the process of PARing, and unRARing.

Excuse me: some of us actually used USENET back in the day before binary groups were invented!

Actually I still follow a handful of text-only groups and the quarily of discussion is improving again as web fora draw-away the trolls and twits.

Post your results in EU (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40932961)

And let's collectively punish the fraudulent ISPs who lie and abuse us.

http://respectmynet.eu/ [respectmynet.eu]

I throttle my own uploads anyhow (2, Interesting)

Megane (129182) | about 2 years ago | (#40932995)

I limit my total upstream because performance really sucks if you use up more than about 85% or so of your upload speed. The reason is that ACKs will start to get dropped (unless you have a router with a good QoS algorithm). I set my limit to 20KB/sec (I have 6Mb down/~600Kb up, so that's about 33%), and just let it sit longer until I hit my ratio.

I wonder how many people think they're being throttled when actually they don't limit their upload speed and are completely fucking up their connection with lost ACKs and retransmits.

Re:I throttle my own uploads anyhow (1)

jones_supa (887896) | about 2 years ago | (#40933561)

Can the QoS feature actually be useful in basic DSL routers? I have sometimes played with it, but didn't get any perceivable results. I have typically used the bandwidth-limiting trick mentioned.

yeah i dont get as many uploads as i used to (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933119)

my ratio has been dropping on a lot of private trackers because even though my total speed is fast as hell i dont seem to be getting as many incoming connections (and yes my firewall/port-forwarding is configured correctly) so i do think there is some kind of blocking.

Car analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933167)

Traffic shaping is a good thing, everyone wants the fastest connection while not wanting to share said connection with anyone else. It's simply not feasible. Pulling a car analogy would be that there were no speed limits, everyone driving as fast as they desired, not caring about the roads or the traffic.

Those arguing against traffic shaping usually pull the same line: -We must get what we pay for.

Learning from the car analogy we see that the way ISPs market their product is wrong. Instead of Mbps we need another rating which can more easily be interpreted. Why not Mbph.. h as in hour, we don't see road speed limits measured in seconds either.
Downloading a movie, takes for the average internet connection about an hour. Loading an html page takes mere seconds. Persistent connections should simply not get the same speed limit as non-persistent ones. Car analogy: trucks and cars.

It's not necessarily bad - but it probably is (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933181)

There are bottlenecks, and P2P is a rather new traffic pattern that internet infrastrucure isn't engineered to handle.

It's perfectly reasonable that they'd add a "cost" factor to P2P traffic leaving their network, thus favouring P2P exchange within their own, supposedly fast, routing network. Since P2P protocols like BitTorrent don't really care or optimize for different topologies, they can force such optimization by properly throttling.

I doubt, however, they "throttle the right way".

Some comments (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933245)

The study seems very well done. In the paper linked from the site, they say that they try the exact same traffic volume in upload and download, but with and without BitTorrent protocol headers.

I suspect that a lot of the symptoms of too small capacity could be alleviated by reducing buffer bloat instead of installing expensive deep packet inspection devices. The problem is that if a connection/router gets to the point where it starts randomly dropping packets, then you lose (...and the torrenters win, because they have many TCP connections and get an "unfair" advantage, because the OS just backs off on one connection, not all of them). It's really better to put some intelligence *before* the congestion, installing devices that do some buffering and gives each *customer* equal priority, not just dropping packets randomly. Doing this after the point of congestion is more difficult, because you have to anticipate the behaviour of your customer's OS, and make sure that the link in question never saturates. Even then, it shouldn't be necessary to discriminate based on content, though, that seems like a massive cop-out to me.

File under "No shit Sherlock" (5, Insightful)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 2 years ago | (#40933253)

Name another industry in which you pay for an advertised service and then get far far less.

Would you buy a computer that claims 8GB of ram but you could only utilize 3?
Would you buy a camera that claimed it could take 1000 pictures but only could store 100 maximum?
Would you buy a car that advertised 200 HP but could only output 50 HP?
Would you buy a 3 bedroom house that only has 1.5 bedrooms?
Would you buy a food product with printed 350g on the container but the contents only weigh 180g?
Would you pay for a meal if it claimed it would come with sides that you never received?
Would you buy a gallon of gas if you only got a pint?
Would you buy a 24 pack of beer if you only got 16?

So in what FREAKIN reality is it acceptable for ISP's to charge you for an advertised speed and then offer you something far less then that on average.

Re:File under "No shit Sherlock" (1)

garyoa1 (2067072) | about 2 years ago | (#40933659)

Well, none of them advertise their speeds. They all say "up to". Now if we could get them to advertise "at least" instead that would be a whole different ball park.

Re:File under "No shit Sherlock" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933713)

You must never shop at Best Buy, because some people will certainly by a 32-bit Windows system with 8GB ram.

Re:File under "No shit Sherlock" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933923)

Yes. This happens all the time.

Would you buy a computer that claims 8GB of ram but you could only utilize 3? Yes, you only get 7.whatever GB of "usable RAM"
Would you buy a camera that claimed it could take 1000 pictures but only could store 100 maximum? Yup, when you have pictures of any decent resolution you get far less than advertised.
Would you buy a car that advertised 200 HP but could only output 50 HP? Close: How often do you get the mileage listed on the sticker.
Would you buy a 3 bedroom house that only has 1.5 bedrooms? Who advertises a house based on bedrooms... a house has "rooms" (including the kitchen? wtf?)
Would you pay for a meal if it claimed it would come with sides that you never received? Have you seen food advertising lately? You never get what it looks like.

You have three specific examples that I can't invalidate immediately... Im sure someone else can.

Holy hell.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#40933319)

The US actually comes out near the top in this one...

Conflict of interest (1)

cockpitcomp (1575439) | about 2 years ago | (#40933455)

If you want to watch movies, you buy the cable companies movies, because they will use their monopoly on broadband to quash other services. Have issues with the cable company? The only option is to out-bribe them.

Interesting: Teksavvy Bad Throttler in Canada (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | about 2 years ago | (#40933747)

It looks like highly geek touted Teksavvy is one of the worst for throttling in Canada. (disclosure: I use Teksavvy but I don't use bit torrent much if at all, so cannot provide my own observations).

What is VERY interesting is late last year Bell Canada told the CRTC regulator that they would stop throttling. [www.cbc.ca] And here they are, the worst offender according to the data provided on this new list. I'm not surprised that they seem to be a bunch of lying scumbags. In discussions with the federal regulator and in the publicity wars, they pretty much lead the charge over the years for throttling and bandwidth caps. I wonder if this can be used to file a complaint against them.

In Canada, Ontario at least, most geeks having been trumpeting how good Teksavvy is because they have higher or no bandwidth caps. They are no cheaper and can be more expensive if on a dry loop. And according to these numbers, they look to be as bad or worse on throttling than the often maligned (in my opinion with merit) Telus, and Rogers. The only one that is worse is Bell who, and I'll make no bones about it, is in my opinion a pretty disreputable company and one of the worst abusers of their position in the marketplace..

It is amazing that Telus and Rogers are among the least offenders here. But I wonder how much a ruling earlier this year telling Rogers to stop throttling [www.cbc.ca] has to do with it. I may be mistaken but I don't believe Bell received the same warning. Probably because they had already at this point, lied to the regulators saying they would stop voluntarily (which apparently they haven't).

I have been considering going back to Rogers but past experience makes me gun shy. Present experience with cost/benefit with Teksavvy is making me think hard about it though.

Where do the numbers in the summary come from? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | about 2 years ago | (#40933907)

The linked table indicates that in the USA only Clearwire (a wireless provider) does any measurable throttling at all.

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