As a brief history, Comcast (one of the biggest ISPs in the Northern US) has for a while now used traffic shaping to try and curb the use of Peer-to-Peer file sharing programs like BitTorrent. Some of you may have heard that many corporations and universities are using this same concept to try and reduce the amount of bandwidth being used to download and upload files.
Obviously their aim is to curb piracy and whatnot, but the effect is that ti infringes on the legitimate use of the internet for people to disseminate their own product. The FCC, run by a Democrat at the moment, has decided that this practice is absolutely unacceptable. Their belief is that it is unfair that people pay for high speed service and then are limited based on arbitrary decisions by the ISP.
The company claims that this is a vital task, because
But David L. Cohen, an executive vice president of Comcast, told the commissioners that the growing popularity of peer-to-peer applications was straining the network. “Independent research has shown that it takes as few as 15 active BitTorrent users uploading content in a particular geographic area to create congestion sufficient to degrade the experience of the hundreds of other users in that area,” he said. “Bandwidth-intensive activities not only degrade other less-intense uses, but also significantly interfere with thousands of Internet companies’ businesses.”
However, some online content providers argue that this isn’t true. In fact, they even argue that this is a detriment to competition, because it prevents them from competing with Comcast’s own online video and audio content.
Hopefully what this means is that other companies and organizations will soon have to stop doing this traffic shaping business and will allow users to gain access to the true speed of their connections. This will allow independent artists of all kinds to share their product without restrictions.