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Warning: Comcast is Now Throttling Broadband

And so it begins: the Internet is one step closer to a controlled environment thanks to Comcast. Based on information provided by a new FCC notice (PDF), Comcast has already implemented a new traffic throttling system into its broadband service. The new practice replaces the company's stricter traffic block of peer-to-peer uploading. However, Comcast said that there will still be traffic blocks, but only in extreme cases.

According to the document, Comcast's throttling with have two trigger conditions. The first is activated when using more than 70-percent of a subscriber's maximum upstream or upstream bandwidth in a 15 minute span. The second trigger kicks in when the neighborhood Cable Modem Termination System becomes severely congested and evidence indicates that the cause stems from the offending subscriber.

Internet throttling begins when either triggers are tripped, forcing bandwidth traffic to throttle down. The effect endures for at least 15 minutes, or until the average bandwidth utilization rate drops below 50-percent for 15 minutes. Comcast said that certain traffic won't be throttled: low-priority traffic will still zip through uncongested nodes at close-to-normal speeds.

To provide a better understanding, Comcast threw in a bus analogy to explain the two-tier traffic throttling scenario. "If there is no congestion, packets from a user in a BE state should have little trouble getting on the bus when they arrive at the bus stop," the company said. "If, on the other hand, there is congestion in a particular instance, the bus may become filled by packets in a PBE state before any BE packets can get on. In that situation, the BE packets would have to wait for the next bus that is not filled by PBE packets."