Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Broadband providers to test limits on excessive use by residential customers

Comcast and Time Warner have agreed to test a new strategy to equalize broadband access use by holding up traffic of heaviest Internet users without zeroing in on specific applications or environments, such as P2P computing or BitTorrent. Initially the tests will take place around Chambersburg PA and Warrenton, VA. The companies may also experiment with charging very heavy users more for excess use.

Critics have complained that the companies are penalizing certain customers rather than investing in more infrastructure to meet rising use as service expands and newer neighborhoods, especially in exurbs, are built. In a few cases, customers have been cut off because of really excessive use, which reportedly would have required watching several feature-length movies on line a day.

I have tried watching Netflix online and find that it stalls after a while. So I usually settled for ordering and renting the bricks-and-mortar DVD’s.

The news story appears in print on p B1 (“Business”) of The Washington Post today (June 4), is by Ceclia Kang, and is titled “Heavy Internet users targeted; Providers to test charges, delays.” The link is here.

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