Bit By Bit Comcast Chips Away At Net Neutrality

Oct 19, 2007
Nicole A. Ozer

Page Media

ACLU of Northern CA

Today's news story that Comcast is blocking customer use of peer-to-peer program, BitTorrent, provides yet another glimpse into a future without net neutrality.

According to several sources, Comcast disrupts communications between users of the peer to peer file sharing protocol. Comcast's block can be analogized to dropping a telephone call between two people and has been called "the most drastic example yet of data discrimination by a U.S. Internet service provider."

Over the past several months, users began noticing delays and blocks when using BitTorrent. Comcast denied any changes in service. But the Associated Press has now investigated the block.

Today, the AP reported about the block. It attempted to download the King James Bible three separate times. In the first two tries, the download was blocked. The third attempt was successful, but only after a ten minute delay.

Some have suggested that Comcast's conduct may in fact be illegal. Certainly, changing the terms of its service without providing users with notice raises substantial questions regarding the service provider's proper role in shaping internet traffic.