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net neutrality

Comcast's P2P Bill of Rights greeted with both skepticism and cynicism

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So much controversy surrounding Comcast’s “proposed” Bill of Rights and Responsibilities regarding P2P use. The Slashdot reaction was typical: I pay for a service and they’d better damn well deliver said service. That’s hard to argue. Another idea I liked: Comcast is only proposing this Bill in order to prevent government regulation from taking effect. Maybe if it minded its Ps and Qs before and not screwing with people’s data it wouldn’t be in this mess.

The Times’ Bits blog got a hold of a Comcast senior vice president who clarified the company’s traffic shaping policy. It won’t discriminate between protocols or anything (it won’t arbitrarily target BitTorrent packets, that is), but rather will focus on people sucking up too much bandwidth. How that’s defined, I don’t know. Seems to me the best long-term solution would be to upgrade network capacity. Costly, I’d imagine.

As an aside, outside of us more savvy Internet users, it’s fairly alarming to find that the average guy (I often use my “tech is stupid let’s watch the Yankees game” friends as a barometer for the average guy) has near zero knowledge about Net Neutrality. You try to explain it to them and they’re like, dude shut up, no one cares. When, of course, they absolutely should care if they value things like Amazon and Google and eBay. Seems to me like a hand-holding “what’s Net Neutrality all about” in something like USA Today is in order.

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