Comcast is left juggling a potential public relations disaster in the wake of a report last week by Associated Press, which states that the company blocks some of its Internet traffic.
It is a topic that TechRepublic members will not find surprising, as we reported on it months ago. We have also covered another Comcast antic — the abrupt termination of Internet users on unsubstantiated allegations of "heavy" Internet usage.
What is new this time around is that in the midst of its bungled attempt to disclaim liability, Comcast is admitting that its customers do not, in fact, have unimpeded Internet access.
"Comcast does not block access to any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services like BitTorrent," read a written 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."
Elaborating, a Comcast Internet executive admitted that the "data management technologies" can "occasionally — but not always — delay some peer-to-peer file transfers that eat into Internet speeds for other users on the network."
If anything, this has rekindled the debate on net neutrality and the question of whether a provider should allow arbitrary content to pass through its network. The legality of vendors managing their own network is not in doubt, although critics argue that commercial interests should not be allowed to interfere with free speech.
To read more:
- Comcast says it slows, not blocks, Net traffic (PC World Blogs)
- Comcast's less-than-free flow (Los Angeles Times)
- Comcast chided for managing BitTorrent network traffic (InformationWeek)
- Comcast caught blocking BitTorrent traffic (VNUnet)
Bearing in mind that Comcast is an entity geared towards making a profit, what would you have have done if you were running Comcast?
Paul Mah is a writer and blogger who lives in Singapore, where he has worked for a number of years in various capacities within the IT industry. Paul enjoys tinkering with tech gadgets, smartphones, and networking devices.