Net neutrality is one of those topics that should never have existed, but of course it inevitably erupts every so often, so here we go…
Not so long ago Robert Graham published his anti-net-neutrality arguments which are (no surprise) not much different from what I wrote when I still cared about this argument (here, here, here and here). While I agree with his overall perspective, I completely disagree with his view of Comcast’s initial response to network congestion.
A brief recap of the facts (as I remember them):
- Bittorent users totally congested Comcast’s cable network(s);
- Comcast responded by inspecting user traffic (bad) and sending spoofed TCP RST messages (really bad) to make Bittorent unusable;
- Not surprisingly, they didn’t want to admit they were doing it till they were caught red-handed.
After all the brouhaha that fueled the whole Net Neutrality argument (thank you, Comcast) and FCC getting involved, Comcast finally implemented what they should have done in the first place: throttling all traffic of high-volume users during network congestion periods and making their behavior public and well document (it’s described in RFC 6057).
As for the other grudge Robert has with Comcast (data caps): as I wrote in 2010, there are two ways to deal with users generating significantly more traffic than the average.
- You can identify and throttle/police them (what a user-friendly ISP would do);
- You can try to squeeze more money out of them (what most other ISPs are doing).