Correcting the Record on Comcast

Cynthia Brumfield tries to set the record straight on the wild claims about Comcast, noting some back-pedalling by the AP reporter who carried the net neutrality water on this story:

Svensson’s follow-up article, however, retreats from the notion that Comcast “blocks” P2P uploading. Instead, Comcast “delays” P2P uploads, Svensson now writes, a nuance that the Comcast executives believe is critical. During heavy congestion, Comcast slows down P2P uploads by postponing the transaction. The system will, however, repeatedly keep trying to complete the upload until it has been completed.

Svensson does back-pedal a bit in his latest story, but not enough:

On Tuesday, Mitch Bowling, senior vice president of Comcast Online Services, added a nuance to that statement, saying that while Comcast may block initial connection attempts between two computers, it eventually lets the traffic through if the computers keep trying.

“During periods of heavy peer-to-peer congestion, which can degrade the experience for all customers, we use several network management technologies that, when necessary, enable us to delay — not block — some peer-to-peer traffic. However, the peer-to-peer transaction will eventually be completed as requested,” Bowling said.

The explanation is not inconsistent with the AP’s tests. In one case, a BitTorrent file transfer was squelched, apparently by messages generated by Comcast, only to start 10 minutes later. Other tests were called off after around 5 minutes, while the transfers were still stifled.

He doesn’t quote anybody who thinks Comcast’s actions are legit, only the snake-oil peddlers and alarmists who insist that Comcast engages in identity theft in order to prevent dorm-room innovators from cutting into Comcast’s cable TV revenues. (Frankly, I think they’re more worried about DirecTV’s 70 HD channels.)

What happened to good old-fashioned All-American balance in journalism? The one editorial I’ve seen on this story, in the LA Times, was nothing more than a plagiarized EFF press release, and surely they can do better than that.

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