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Monday, July 28, 2008


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thanks for the links, got enough chtsarmis stuff to last me a life time, but still download more,sunny today but a bit cold,dog walks and finished x stitch deer, turned him into a card,will take photo tomorrow of card, happy sunday everyone love christine in italy xx

Robb Topolski

Hello again, replying separately since I do want to keep the deception issue that uniquely belongs to Comcast separate from the network management challenge of today's Cable Internet deployment.

Let me start by admitting that I could not sit in your chair tomorrow and run your business, and that I know that it is a business. I respect that there is no free lunch (despite efforts by some to try and lump me in with the illegal file-sharing crowd).

That said, when Cable chose to get into the Internet business it signed on for a few responsibilities. Furthermore, in the eyes of some consumers, Cable inherited a few more responsibilities in being a provider with little or no competition. Finally, users have responsibilities too, but it's the ISPs job to put teeth into that fact.

WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY - part 1 - Cable and Telcos are now the face of the Internet in the United States - they have a duty to model good Internet behavior.

One of those responsibilities is to the adherence to Internet Standards and the stewardship of Internet governance. This means allowing technical staff to participate in that open and democratic process, listening to them when they object to management's plans, and openly offering data to researchers that desparately need it to help shape our future.

It also means embracing the end-to-end processing model and the traditionally neutral way that the Internet is supposed to treat the traffic. And should an ISP decide to take extraordinary measures, like blocking a port at an access router, then tradition has it that the ISP has the burden to explain exactly what they are doing and why and making sure that its deviation from Standards the bare minimum of impacts on users' desired communications. This is exactly what happened earlier this decade, and ISPs endured a minimum of grumbling because they handled it so well.

Comcast got in trouble because it chose a method that broke many of the Internet's Standards and conventions, much more than was necessary to solve its specific problem, and kept it a secret. Of course they found no support among experts in the Internet community when it started proclaiming how "reasonable" they were being.

WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY - part 2 - Absent Competition, We Look to You to Voluntarily Keep the United States Leading the World -- Don't Build It, and They Won't Come

But another responsibility Telco and Cable ISPs have is to maintain a natural rate of growth of Internet Access Speeds and available bandwidth for consumption. With the typical Cable Internet connection in 2001 being 3 Mbps/128 Kbps and technological growth observations like Moore's Law, Butters' law of Photonics, Cisco's annual assessment -- these speeds ought to double every two years. They did in the previous decade, and in the decade before that. If normal technological growth rates applied, based on the 2001 numbers 2008 projected speeds for Cable should be 27-32 Mbps down and uplink 1.2-1.3 Mbps.

Cable and Telco ISPs seems to be forgetting that it's supposed to be better than dial-up. With a dial-up connection, users can download 17 GB and upload 15 GB worth of data -- and today we have Cable companies (Frontier) capping users at 5 GB or (Time Warner) 20 GB? These consumption amounts have to grow proportionately as well, or else innovation is going to be affected.

There are some really hype-filled numbers about where we stand in the broadband world right now, but no matter what version is offered, the point remains the same -- it really is our future and the ISPs have the power to either throttle it down or throttle it up.


I lament the passing of the abuse desk in some ISPs, which used to be staffed with top-notch technical people capable of picking up a phone and reading the riot act to someone who was spewing crap throughout the network. That role has been filled today by DPI boxes that look for problems and then quietly closing ports on users modems instead of giving them a sorely needed education. It is a choice of which expense ISPs would rather bear, but it had consequences.

ISPs do need to educate the users -- on the differences between Cable and DSL and the strengths and weaknesses of each, the responsibility to behave with netiquette both on their local node and the world-wide net, and the austere consequences of failing to do so. Otherwise they purpetuate the myth that they're all the same and that anything goes.

Thanks again for the respectful conversation and the platform.

Robb Topolski

Hi Michael,

I hope your vacation is going well!

You have (probably by accident) mischaracterized the lawsuit. Given the flurry of charges and counter-charges in the FCC case, and the lack of a real press cycle about the lawsuit, and my involvement in both cases, nobody can blame you for not understanding that the suit is decidedly different.

Whether you admire the Network Neutrality principles, or curse them, there has been no support on any side of this argument for the fact that Comcast kept Sandvine's behavior a secret from its customers.

Generally speaking, the lawsuit deals with the fact that customers were harmed when Comcast secretly installed Sandvine's anti-P2P file-sharing technology. Because of the effects of Sandvine, Customers thought they were buying X and received something that turned out to be less and different.

Take it from the customer's perspective: it's a bit like learning that you've purchased watered-down gasoline or discovering that your butcher had his thumb on the scale when he weighed your steaks.

Robb Topolski


I seen this one on BBR.
From "Time Warner Cable Using Fine Print To Foist Caps On Customers"

"Bandwidth usage is going up. That is a reality. Another harsh reality is that bandwidth costs are going down. The cost for wholesale bandwidth access is significantly cheaper than it used to be. So logically, these companies should be able to offer more bandwidth for the same prices. The biggest issue is in cables last mile delivery. Shared nodes offer congestion issues that impact whole neighborhoods. Instead of fixing that issue, they are trying to milk the old system by limiting what people can use. Even worse, they are advertising faster access to be able to use "cutting edge technology", but seeking to place these inadequate caps. This will do little but make them more money."

I think that sums up the reality of the day.

David Crowell

If upstream bandwidth is the real issue, what about having metered upstream, and unlimited downstream? Then you can forget about crazy "management" techniques.

If you're worried about a user getting an huge bill for upstream usage because little Johnny runs bittorrent, you could simply throttle upstream to 50kbs after XX gigabytes are uploaded.

I don't run P2P apps, but I still need the fast upload speed to make it easier to upload files to my server. Not much bandwidth is used, just a short burst. I do really use my download bandwidth. I download movies and music from iTunes. I play streaming video and audio.

I hate government intervention. I don't think laws are the best way to bring about net neutrality. However, I do think there are better ways an ISP can manage traffic than the shaping used by Comcast, and experimented with by Insight.

If Insight could show a commitment to network neutrality *by treating all traffic equally*, it would be a great PR move, and still allow you to manage your network, possibly in a more fair manner.

Davis Freeberg

What I don't understand is why Verizon and AT&T don't seem to be concerned about this issue when it comes to their fiber products, but cable is freaking out over P2P. If the P2P darknets seek out the fastest uploading speed, wouldn't they be hitting those fiber connections first?

You write a lot about trying to create a fair experience for everyone, but if the telephone companies can build a better mousetrap then I don't see why the cable companies shouldn't be able to match them. For all of the rhetoric, the bottom line still comes down to cable not wanting to spend the money to make the upgrades that they should have made a decade ago.

If the market was open, I could care less about how cable manages their network, but when companies like Insight receive special local contracts to prevent someone from the outside from coming in and offering consumers what they want, then why shouldn't there be restrictions on how you "manage" your network?

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