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Tuesday, February 26, 2008

MIT Panel Trashes Comcast's Network Management

CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--Comcast has confessed to slowing down certain peer-to-peer file-sharing traffic, but is it being clear enough about what it's doing?
That's perhaps the key question that emerged by the end of a lengthy public forum convened by the Federal Communications Commission on Monday here at Harvard Law School.
While none of the FCC commissioners was willing to solidify an answer to that just yet, two MIT computer scientists on an afternoon panel accused the cable company of behaving badly on multiple levels.

As most readers of this blog know by now, I am in full support of net neutrality. While one has to understand the concept of the need to "manage" network traffic, it is incredibly naive to think even for a second that how to do this should be left to the sole discretion of the ISP's. The internet has flourished thus far as a communication medium that is unfettered by government interference. The ISP's were exstatic that they now had a whole new revenue stream to tap into and they gladly made the investment necessary to profit greatly from it.
With the advent of VOIP, video, bit torrent etc..., the internet has outgrown it's infancy stage and has reached the point of being a young adolesent. The ISP's should have seen this coming when the net was in its toddler stage, but they chose to favor immediate profits over long term viability. They've now come to a point where the existing infrastructure can't keep up with the demand needed for today's services. The ISP's seem to want to punish the consumer for their bad business choices. This stone age mentality seems to mirror the strategy of one of my other "favorite" subjects, the RIAA. Businesses that are unwilling to change, because they refuse to make necessary investments, should not be coddled by the government or further supported by the public.

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