Posted July 28, 2008 9:28 am by with 8 comments

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While we go about our daily mission of trying to make sense out of internet marketing–and make a few bucks while we are at it–there are some things happening in the background that we should keep an eye on. Recently, there have been discussions in high places about online privacy and there continues to be legal wrangling over who truly controls access to the internet.

Here’s one for the “taken for granted” section of our internet existence. As internet marketers it goes without saying that we want (and actually need) unfettered access to the internet by everyone. When I say unfettered I don’t mean free because we know that most free models don’t work over the long term (regardless of the product or service). What it means is simply that if we are legally gaining access to the internet then there should be no one or no thing that restricts us in any way. That is crucial to getting our messages across to everyone else who has that same freedom.

Enter Comcast. You see, they decided that they should slow some of their customers’ internet traffic because they used too much bandwidth. Poor “wittle” Comcast (No mention was given that their delivery of bandwidth is shared and not dedicated which is why this problem exists in the first place.) How dare someone actually use all the bandwidth they are paying for! In today’s Wall Street Journal, an article states that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will:

“….rule that the cable giant violated federal policy by deliberately preventing some customers from sharing videos online via file-sharing services like BitTorrent, agency officials have said. The company has acknowledged it slowed some traffic, but it was necessary to prevent a few heavy users from overburdening its network.”

Oh brother, just a few short years ago we were reading about a glut of bandwidth. This just sounds like an ISP trying to keep from expanding its network to save on costs and wring the last dollar from its customers while not expanding to meet growing bandwidth needs. Once again their shared delivery technique of bandwidth is the real problem here but I digress.

The net / net of this is as follows. Internet providers like Comcast are one of the most important (if not the most important) link in the internet food chain that we all live in. If they decide to limit supply and then hold internet users hostage with internet metering techniques etc, it could hamper the ability to reach all those folks that need the stuff we have. Not important you say? Imagine grocery stores that decide that they don’t need to provide a variety of food options anymore because it is too expensive to serve the few clients that actually buy more than bread and milk. So instead of having unfettered access to the variety we enjoy we are forced to take what is offered.

Comcast, and I am sure many other of their industry peers, have no problem, however, with their take on the situation. Comcast said simply “that it didn’t violate federal rules and that the FCC doesn’t have the authority to enforce a set of “net neutrality” principles it passed in 2005.”

Take that all of you who want to actually use the internet as intended! Comcast is going to just take their network and go home because the rules don’t apply to them. I guess, being at the top of the internet food chain means you are above the law and do whatever you please even if it violates the “access to all” mentality of us internet types. They can even determine whether a principle is real or not! Must be nice to be a King of the Internet, huh?

As internet marketers we should be very aware and more than a little concerned about the restriction of bandwidth usage in the future especially of all the hype around video delivery is going to make the jump to reality. The real losers are those of us trying to “give the people what they want.”

  • I totally agree that the internet can’t be controlled by the big sharks. However, having said that, there will always be smaller internet providers who will take advantage of this and use it as their marketing advantage.

    Similar problems happened in the UK last year, when recording and film industries where putting pressure on ISPs to restrict P2P and bit torrent users.

    It ended up being over ruled of course, some of the big boys such as Virgin Broadband have agreed to this. in the other many not so small provider have categorically refused this.

    Still, the problem being that many people don’t shop around and wouldn’t probably be aware of such restrictions.


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  • Comcast sucks a… our HOA went with Comcast, and the service is horrible and the speeds are snail like…

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  • Great article, keep us posted.

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  • don stephens

    My download speed with comcast drops every night around 9pm. see foryourself.

    :::.. Download Stats ..:::
    Download Connection is:: 1699 Kbps about 1.7 Mbps (tested with 1536 kB)
    Download Speed is:: 207 kB/s
    Tested From:: (Main)
    Test Time:: 2008/08/12 – 7:40pm
    Bottom Line:: 30X faster than 56K 1MB Download in 4.95 sec
    Tested from a 1536 kB file and took 7.406 seconds to complete
    Download Diagnosis:: May need help : running at only 27.28 % of your hosts average (
    D-Validation Link::
    User Agent:: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 7.0; Windows NT 5.1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; .NET CLR 2.0.50727) [!]