Already under fire for its traffic management practices, Comcast is now considering a plan to slow down the connections of users transferring the most data during peak times. The company has just officially said it’s “made no final decisions” about such a practice, but it makes no qualms about the fact that it’s been testing the idea.
So, what is this — some kind of misguided Internet tax system? The more you use, the less you get?
Remember, now, that Comcast first made waves over reports last year claiming it was intentionally slowing BitTorrent transfers to improve its overall network speed. The FCC formally issued its penalty just a day ago, saying that was a violation of communication law and requiring Comcast to disclose detailed information about its other practices. The newly passed regulation makes it illegal for ISPs to “slow any specific applications.”
The user-targeted tactic, then, wouldn’t technically be a violation, since a user isn’t considered an “application.” But give me a break…is it any better? It seems to me to be violating the same principle that led to that law — just doing so in a workaround, loophole-type way.
Comcast says it only seems “fair” to go after the people who are using the most bandwidth. Sure…if by “fair,” you mean “absolutely out of line.” Someone paying for access deserves to get it equally, whether he’s sending five e-mails a day or transferring 20 videos an hour. If Comcast can’t build a network that can handle that, maybe it should just stick to screwing up cable service and let someone else deal with the Internet.