Comcast is getting some unlikely support as it feels the heat over its alleged sabotage of P2P file-sharing activities. “Hang in there, Comcast,” writes Mark Cuban.
“The last thing I want slowing my internet service down are P2P freeloaders,” says free-thinker Cuban — yes, the media and sports zillionaire who financed Grokster’s defense in a P2P lawsuit — and the guy who founded Broadcast.com, a seminal provider of online multimedia and streaming services.
Jon Hart, a subscriber to Comcast’s Internet Performance Plus package, sued the cabler mid-month, seeking class-action status. His lawsuit says Comcast blocks access to P2P web sites such as BitTorrent.
Hart wants Comcast to stop using applications that he says pull the plug on P2P transactions. He also wants the cabler to stop advertising its premium hookup as a solution for downloading large files. The Associated Press broke the story on Comcast’s actions last spring, based on an Oregon user’s complaints.
“Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any websites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services,” Comcast said in a statement. “We have a responsibility to provide all of our customers with a good Internet experience and we use the latest technologies to manage our network so that they can continue to enjoy these applications.”
That network management means bottlenecks for P2P networks, but the file transfers eventually go through, Comcast says. Numerous reports say Comcast’s technique is to send data packets to the computers involved in the transfer indicating that the other computer has signed off.
“The only person/organization that benefits from P2P usage are those that are trying to distribute content and want to distribute it on someone else’s bandwidth dime,” Cuban writes on his popular (and obviously unedited) blog.
The Dallas Mavericks owner says “Comcast, Time Warner, etc., should charge a premium to those users who want to act as a seed and relay for P2P traffic. … Make (distributors) pay commercial rates. That will stop P2P dead in its tracks.”
In a follow-up blog post, Cuban cited all the hate comments he’s been getting from P2P Nation. “One thing continues to be a certainty in the technology world, NEVER challenge a sacred cow.”
And then in a third post:
So I’ve come up with a better way to get rid of P2P without calling for an outright disabling of the protocol. Maybe ISPs should just treat upstream bandwidth the way cellphone companies treat minutes. Give users an option on how many upstream bits they want to be able to use and during what times of day.
You can track all that activity in Mr. Cuban’s brain by reading the following posts from his blog and their comments:
Meanwhile, assorted protests have been filed with the FCC. Net Neutrality legislation continues to struggle in Congress.