Peer Review: Comcast teams with BitTorrent, critics skeptical

This week Comcast, everyone's favorite neighborhood Internet service provider, announced that it would work with peer-to-peer download service BitTorrent to try to speed up network download speeds during peak hours. More importantly, Comcast said that it would stop slowing down or blocking uploads on BitTorrent by the end of this year. The company will continue to slow down access for users who "hog bandwidth," but it will not do it based on the user's activities or websites of choice. Not surprisingly, the critics had plenty to say about Comcast's decision this week. While some praise it as a step in the right direction, others say that they smell a convenient PR move and an attempt to avoid FCC control. We here at DVICE are strongly in favor of Net Neutrality; read what others wrote this week on the issue after the jump.

Comcast: Still crippling data speeds
"Comcast is all for net neutrality! Not quite. You might actually even be worse off. "Protocol agnostic" sounds a lot like net neutrality, treating all data equally, be it P2P or FTP. Except in this case, it means slowing all packets equally when traffic reaches an unacceptable volume." , Gizmodo

Lets give Comcast some legitimate competition from cell networks
"I keep thinking of what cellular networks are getting themselves into with these newfangled high-speed networks. Google offers no genuine results for "WiMax Bittorrent"," a phrase I'd like to see more of." , Wired

If BitTorrent is optimized, what about our more beloved P2Ps?
"The BitTorrent client isn't exactly the P2P prom queen — Azureus has held that distinction for some time. The nut? You still won't get unlimited bandwidth at the promised speeds that you paid for, and will be forced to use inferior software for the privilege of downloading the new season of Battlestar Galactica. Comcastic!" Valleywag

This is good for the future of entertainment on the Web
"This détente almost certainly portends broader cross-industry collaboration to insure that the Internet can become what it was not originally designed to be — a way to distribute and consume media. Internet experts are impressed." , Fortune

FCC: You said you'd stop… so why didn't you?
"It appears this practice will continue throughout the country until the end of the year and in some markets, even longer. While it may take time to implement its preferred new traffic management technique, it is not at all obvious why Comcast couldn’t stop its current practice of arbitrarily blocking its broadband customers from using certain applications. Comcast should provide its broadband customers as well as the Commission with a commitment of a date certain by when it will stop this practice." , Offical Statement (download)

Comcast is just trying to avoid tough questions
"The press release basically says nothing and gives me a headache. How about using plain English, saying, "Sorry folks, we traffic managed and were heavy-handed about it, but we have learned our lesson and will be transparent in the future"? And it still fails to answer the question of why Comcast meddled with the traffic to begin with…This release is simply a reaction to what amounts to the company getting its hand caught in the proverbial cookie jar." , GigaOm

This controversy has helped make P2Ps legitimate
"Ironically, I think Comcast may have done more than any PR campaign could have done to revamp P2P's brand— from a weapon used by bandwidth-hogging online pirates, into a tool that all law-abiding consumers should be free to benefit from., BusinessWeek

We're just not impressed
"This is one of those vague non-deals that make the execs involved look good in press." , paidContent.org

"I think Comcast saw the fcc wagons circling and had to relent on the bittorrent showdown. But the company is still going to be slowing traffic in other "standard" yet unnamed ways." , DVICE's resident network neutrality expert


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