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."

Kevin started taking PCs apart in the 90s when Quake was on the way and his PC lacked the required components. Since then, he’s loved all things PC-related and cool gadgets ranging from the New Nintendo 3DS to Android tablets. He is currently a contributor at Digital Trends, writing about everything from computers to how-to content on Windows and Macs to reviews of the latest laptops from HP, Dell, Lenovo, and more. 

  • sstym
    So if you enable throttling in your peer-to-peer application to limit the upstream bandwidth to 65%, they won't do anything?

    It's kind of funny to see an ISP implement a measure that is both a PR disaster and completely ineffective.
    It's kind of a bummer to have so little competition in bandwidth providers that you can't make the worst offender pay for that kind of behavior.
  • liquidblue
    This just in: "Comcast and their overpriced and shitty service is now being limited for an all time low!"
  • papalarge123
    this realy is a bad time for the internet, although there is a way around it, drop the usage for ur upstream on the P2P software right down (to 10kb/s), if every body did this then it would slow down the downloading.
    this would then stop any conjestion problems and the ISP's would be none-the-wiser, it just means a download would take 2x longer, but atleast u will get it and without throttling.
  • leetoranges
    Sigh time to lower my upload speeds D: sigh if only internet was like in korea, or Japan, i dont think they have any problems there with throttleing their customers, and i think that over there, they have alot more freedom on the internet rather than us.
  • ominous prime
    (expletive) YOU COMCAST! Now sit back and watch as your subscribers leave.
  • Montezuma
    I am canceling my service with them today. Fuck you Comcast.
  • tester24
    That's why I'm glad I live in NY, they can't limit your bandwidth if they are the only carrier in the area because then it's considered a monopoly.

    Now here's the big question, what do they consider "extreme".
  • doomtomb
    So you pay for X Mbps but if you use up more than 70% for 15 mins you get throttled. What a bunch of bullshit, we shouldn't have to put up with this.
  • papasmurf
    this has been in effect since January, you ought to check your sources and read carefully. While this is not acceptable at all it is not new, the surprising thing is we didn't hear about it until just now. I've filed a complaint with the fcc and I suggest you all do so as well.
  • hillarymakesmecry
    I, for one, am glad I have comcast.

    Bandwidth throttling could be a good thing. If I'm trying to play some online games and the neighbors kid is slowing down my local internet down by up and downloading 1 tb or more a month and preventing me from playing my games on the connection I'm paying for. Then throttle away.

    I probably use 50gb a month.