Saturday, March 8, 2008

March 8, 2008

It's been a crazy couple of months. Between the FCC Hearings into Comcast's fake "Network Management" practices and the 2008 Utah Legislative sessions, it's been a crazy roller coaster ride.

I'm sure by now my Representative is tired of hearing from me along with several other Senators and Representatives. They've been hearing what I've had to say along with other's who are interested in an Internet free of MegaCorp manipulation. If we don't tell our politicians what we want then they will go the wrong way in passing crazy bills.

Take for instance Representative Craig Frank and Senator Stephenson's bills on Utopia. While they successfully left committee, they were killed before going to the State Legislature because people called and wrote complaining. Eventually they listened and simply dropped it. Sure there was the risk they would pop up in another bill somewhere.

Which is why many people were involved in searching for anything that might effect it in some way. Now that it's over, it seems we may have dogged a bullet. Time to make good on it by pushing for Network Neutrality and a fiber infrastructure as the NII promised us in 1994. Speaking of which, I thought you all might find this video of interest.

President Bush I understand has suggested we have a broadband strategy and it's working great. I brought this up on a slashdot discussion and it was amazing the arguments (from both sides) that came up. One guy mentioned "It's a very competitive business, ravenously so". The response from another slashdot poster says it all

Yeah, 2.5 options make for a very competitive market. You (or other monopoly) own my phone lines, while my cable monopoly owns my cable lines. High-latency satellite connections, slow-ass dialup (still over the monopoly's lines, BTW), or "unlimited" (5GB cap) cell data plans are the rest of the .5 options.

I think a lot of businesses would be quite happy to have such an absence of competition in their markets.

Even Brian Roberts (CEO of Comcast) once mentioned in an article that they have no competition and don't consider DSL even close to competition. If anyone finds that article please forward it to me. It was I believe in 2005 or 2006 but I can't find it after massive searching.

So can the consumer use the bandwidth he PURCHASED as he pleases? According to the FCC filing from Comcast, you cannot.

The question that many users are probably asking themselves right now is, "But didn't I pay for a certain level of bandwidth? Can't I use it however and whenever I want?" To which Comcast says, simply, "No, you cannot."

The argument here is that "if the most bandwidth-consumptive users are allowed to place whatever burden they wish on the network, whenever they wish, then bandwidth can become insufficient to enable other users... to access all the content, applications, and services that they want at the level of performance they demand and deserve."

From another conversation on slashdot I found this comment of great interest since this guy is in the business of providing Internet Access.

Since I admin a smallish ISP, I can tell you that it's already the next
killer app. We've been monitoring network demographics with NTOP for quite some time.

This past year, we've seen a 10% increase in subscribers and a 60% increse in traffic. That increase is almost entirely http. P2P protocol usage, on the other hand, plateaued last year. It is becoming more and more insignificant.

You can watch 20 episodes of Lost commercial free in "HD" full screen at I watched the Sarah Conner Chronicles [] (brought to you by Cisco, the irony..) at home last night and monitored my bandwidth consumption, which saturated at around 3Mb. This isn't youtube, the picture is great. It's very impressive, and easy to do. It was a 10 second pluggin install on my Windows machine.

People are rapidly finding this. An informal survey of our CSRs reveals that they are getting increasing volumes of calls where the subject comes up.

Never bet against the Internet, as they say.

And dont forget one of my favorite P2P file sharing sites Apparently they have major concerns with Comcast's monopoly tactics.

In a conference call, Vuze's general counsel Jay Monahan drew the starkest analogy. What Comcast is really doing, he said, wasn't at all comparable to limiting the number of cars that enter a highway. Instead, it was more like a horse race where the cable company owns one of the horses and the racetrack itself. By slowing down the horse of a competitor like Vuze, even for a few seconds, Comcast makes it harder for that horse to compete. "Which horse would you bet on in a race like that?" asked Monahan.

And yes, I've submitted my testimony about Comcast to Vuze to present before the FCC. I have uploaded a copy of it to youtube to make it easier for people to find it.

From the huge deluge of articles people have been emailing me I found this article interesting. Especially the discussion about how Comcast goes about forging packets. Something I learned is VERY easy in my SANS 2007 Security training classes in Las Vegas last year.

Daniel Weitzner, Director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Decentralized Information Group summed up bad traffic management with: “Maybe it’s a bit like the old adage about pornography ‘I know it when I see it’. In this case I know what Comcast is doing is in the camp of unreasonable. These are techniques that hackers would use to deny service to any application on the web, very similar in that regard. It might be interesting to hold a panel of security experts to talk about those kind of mechanisms, I’m certainly not one. But, forging data on the internet is probably outside of the realm of reasonable, and any standards body would deem it to be.”

Representative Mackey is pushing through a bill to preserve the Internet from these silly games. I've written him letters and encourage everyone to pitch in. With the crap going on with screening mail in Washington D.C., he recommends (from his web site) everyone write letters to him at his MedFord address.
5 High Street, Suite 101
Medford, MA 02155

So I'm still alive and kicking and getting down to business :-)

Seems a report came out suggesting increasing our Internet Infrastructure even a little would make a huge impact on the economy. With all this talk over a recession, perhaps we should say it's high time to start building.

A broadband stimulus package would pump nearly as much money into the U.S. economy as an economic stimulus package recently passed by the U.S. Congress, said Brian Mefford, Connected Nation's CEO. A proposal being considered as part of a farm bill before Congress would allow immediate depreciation for investment in broadband infrastructure and "provide a jolt to the nation's economy in the near term," Mefford said.

Finally I leave you with this article talking about the Class Action lawsuit against Comcast. From the article

"This lawsuit demonstrates that consumers are rightfully outraged over Comcast's secretive bait‑and-switch tactics," said Markham C. Erickson, the Executive Director of the Open Internet Coalition. "The company's behavior already has attracted the attention of the FCC and Congress. Now the courts are involved. If Comcast doesn't change its behavior, the word 'Comcastic' is going to become a synonym for fraud."