Access networks and services will be a recurring theme in the Digital Home. Broadband delivered by cable, DSL, fiber, and wireless technologies is prevalent in the wired home and will grow in importance as more video moves onto the broadband link. But not all service providers are willing to play fair as subscribers find ways to consume more and more bits. As many of you have surely read, Comcast has been in the news for throttling the connections of its subscribers that were using the BitTorrent peer-to-peer, files-sharing application. Presumably, Comcast thought that they could get by with not delivering unlimited data to customer that were paying for unlimited data just because BitTorrent has a bad reputation for illegal sharing of some file types such as digital music.
The folks over at Good Morning Silicon Valley provided an excellent update on the situation last week in You abuse the throttle, you should expect a ticket. I was extremely happy to learn that FCC Chairman Kevin Martin is recommending punishment for Comcast. My only gripe is that he won't recommend financial punishment.
I have no problem with any business setting a business model. If Comcast wants to limit the data a customer can download, that's fine with me " but only if the service is sold with those limits clearly defined. But Comcast and other broadband provides should tread carefull is they want to succeed. Customers will have more not fewer broadband choices going forward. WiMax will be an option for some. The telcos are pushing fiber.
Service providers will play tricks throttling unlimited use at their own risk. I certainly don't endorse illegal fire sharing. But Comcast has no legitimate reason to use such file sharing to justify their actions. The service providers should not be monitors of subscriber data usage.