Blog Post

Comcast Can Now Slow Bandwidth Hogs Across Its Network

Comcast, which got in trouble with the FCC for its P2P-throttling approach to network management, has now completed its plan that deals with bandwidth hogs by slowing all broadband traffic for heavy Internet users during times of network congestion. [digg=]The nation’s largest cable provider (s CMCSA) has posted a chart on its network management page showing that, as of the end of the year, it stopped throttling P2P traffic across its entire service footprint. The most useful thing about the little Google Gadget, though, is that it gives a bit more detail on exactly which markets Comcast serves — data that’s sometimes hard to get from cable providers.

23 Responses to “Comcast Can Now Slow Bandwidth Hogs Across Its Network”

  1. cmikem

    About 16hrs ago I started a file transfer using direct connect to transfer a program from my host server to this computer. I am on Comcast’s 7Mbps cable connection. For the first 8hrs or so, the download speed stayed ~500Kbps, because of the multitude of files being sent “P2P style” from the database folders. Around 9am the speed started going down and it has finally leveled off around 15Kbps. I hate to say this, but I am using a friend’s connection to get these files, my connection at my home is WildBlue and it doesn’t throttle that bad, but it does give the download cap which stinks, and the upload is capped at under 50Kbps. Wish Comcast would just allocate more resources to their servers to increase connections/increase connection bandwidth, ofcourse the only other way is to use business class internet, which is getting cheaper nowadays. I just checked and got a quote for $209/mo for full T1 with free install and free router and only 2yr contract. T-internet does NOT go thru a switch box/ISP router, nor does it get capped/monitored for bandwidth usage. It is a direct connection to the internet “highway”, not a “congested onramp”. T1 gives you constant 1.536Mbps up and down with no throttling whatsoever. Truthfully, this Comcast is almost $150/mo including the $30/mo cable tv, and they throttle it like this, no good.

  2. macromicro

    In 2008 I was getting ~800 kb/s from comcast , and now I am lucky to get 50 kb/s. My ping to games was very smooth. Now my ping is spiking up 20 times more than normal weekly for entire days.

    They say ‘up to’ 6mbit download speed, then they throttle you down to less than 1 mbit all of the time when the file or service is taking up too much bandwidth. I hope someone chews them out.

  3. Doesn’t this violate the net neutrality standards? I thought ISPs were not allowed to limit traffic based upon its content or destination? Granted, most p2p traffic consists of illegal/copywrite material, the fact that SOME p2p traffic IS LEGAL says to me that Comcast is in violation of net neutrality standards. Unless Comcast can sift out the illegal downloads from the legal P2P downloads, this seems in violation of neutrality standards.

  4. SgtSally

    I have Comcast and the throttle really isn’t the issue. Sure, it may take 30 min. rather than 15 to download something. Either way, after you have it, you got it forever. A little adjustment is no problem.

    The REAL issue is their CAP! Since they are promoting more and more videos on their service, it is entirely possible to go over. There is ONE warning then a 1 year ban if you go over. If you watch streaming video via Comcast’s service or another it is entirely possible you will get into trouble and lose your ISP. Many towns, like mine, have no other high speed options.

  5. ahcapella

    My thanks to this website for this article. I don’t usually monitor my download speeds, and was unaware that Comcast was punishing average users this way! I don’t grab many downloads–certainly not huge ones. But I do like to play Second Life from time to time, and I’m sure it’s a bandwidth eater. Would AT&T broadband be faster and fairer? I’d *love* to dump the Comcast demon-monolith, but I don’t want to downgrade to a slower isp either.

  6. SwitchingToFios

    Comcast has throttled me from 780kbps to 70kbps at 5:00am. This is NOT peak download time. My speeds are 10% of normal. I am not even using p2p, never do. As soon as FIOS comes to my area, I’m dumping Comcast. They lie, they are not doing this during peak periods. They do it whenever they want. Suggest everyone switch to alternative services if possible so we can stop being treated like criminals and get the service we are paying for.

  7. Comcast throttles my access down to cheap DSL speed 24/7. It will start out fast for the first few seconds or MBs then go straight down to cheap DSL speed (750kbps) when downloading ANYTHING over some predetermined size. I assume their thinking is that as long as they don’t throttle to below the competition’s cheapest speed, people won’t dump them. Their choking process is extremely predictable and could be charted I’m sure. The only way I’ve found around this is to momentarily pause & continue a download as soon as the speed drops to below 800 or so repeatedly (easy to do & monitor w/Firefox) so the speed shoots back up when it continues. This maintains a higher average speed.

    Comcast claims they only do it for people abusing bandwidth. I don’t watch online movies or consume real time media like that. I’m not some power user. The most I do is to download a few Linux distros to try out every month.

    This is really annoying especially considering how much they tout their speed, which they should disclaim to note that you only get that for a few megabytes then the choke comes on.

    On large files like an ISO, I used to download them faster back when their service was advertised as less than 2MB/s using my old cable modem & router, both sped’d @ 10MB/s, not gigabit gear.

    It’s all smoke & mirrors to let the sheeple think they’ve got broadband.

  8. Agreed…if they’d be more up front about their procedure, I wouldn’t care as much. I mean, I WANT them to crack down on real bandwidth hogs; you know, the guys that sit around with 2-3 computers downloading pirated/cracked videos and music 24 hours a day from newsgroups and the like, but I want a transparent process where I know how they’re calculating the throttling and when its going to happen.

  9. The more I hear about the things Comcast is doing the more irritated I get. Its really funny how Comcast is promoting their online videos like Fancast.
    “We want you to watch more movies online!! however we are going to limit and throttle your bandwidth.”

    Thank you for using Comcast.

  10. Stacey Higginbotham

    primate: the y-axis is the percent of comcast subscribers who are/were being managed in each way. So now 100 percent of them are under the new plan, rather than see their P2P streams throttled.

    This plan is actually not that bad when compared to Comcast’s previous methods — and is in line with other network management efforts at other providers. For links to coverage of the plan and to the Comcast information, check this post out:

  11. digginestdogg

    ATT-Yahoo does it for certain. I see my connection slow after I download an OS or App update–I check to a bandwidth measurement tool to verify. But frankly, I wouldn’t have a problem with it if they just came out and told me what they expect my average bandwidth utilization to be for a given rate and I could then shop around for the best deal. But since the FCC figures its okay to local monopolies to “own” subscribers and milk them all they want and when they want, we don’t have many options. Broadband internet need to either ne nationalized and rates fixed nationwide. Then let them make money on value-added services and give me a choice of many vendors for them.

  12. Possible way to tell if throttled…

    I think my ISP (RCN Chicago, IL USA) has been doing it for years. I have a gauge that would monitor network traffic. I would see after I had high traffic it would slow. It was very noticable on the meter because for 4/5th of every second no traffic would occur. It was like the ISP’s routers only acknowledge I exist 1/5th of every second. I haven’t noticed any real issues… and somewhat feel it is fair. If I’m not busy slowing everyone else down, the network is blazingly fast.

  13. primate

    Any idea on the meaning of the y-axis? Is it (a) percent of total households/subscribers; (b) percent of household traffic; (c) percent of regions?

    thanks for pointing out this link — it is fascinating