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Comcast May Be Watching You So You Get What You Pay For

One of the hottest comment threads over the weekend seems to be the allegation of Comcast using Sandvine technology to packet sniff and traffic watch for BitTorrent seeds and streams.

My gut instinct says there is a lot to this story.

Here's why (IMHO).

DOCIS 3.0 will be rolled out sometime in the next 18 months by the MSOs. Their goal with 3.0 is to begin offering faster speeds. Those speeds (up to 150 megs I hear) will allow the MSOs to offer more enhanced services and as such really begin to offer tiered pricing. All of this is in response to FIOS and UVERSE from Verizon and AT&T.

The tiered services will at first look similar to the difference between the current consumer offerings vs. the business offerings from them today. Really most of the difference is in response time for service outages, higher upload speed caps, and because you're paying as much as between twice to six times as much for the service, less concern about how much traffic, or the type of traffic you may be running (i.e. server, MS-Exchange, FTP, etc.)

To be able to offer the tiered pricing services just like they have to monitor who's hijacking cable from the pole, or stealing Premium services like HBO or Pay Per View with decoder boxes, the MSOs need to be able to monitor IP traffic the same way. And I don't see anything wrong with it, especially if you're one of the many people who has nothing to hide.

I'm also the kind of person who agrees with my friend Esme Vos on wanting better speeds and higher levels of transport and with less packet loss and less jitter. If making sure my neighbor isn't gumming up the works with something they're not supposed to be doing for the price they are paying means those of us who can pay do get to do just that, all the better.

This is too easy a story to tell....oh..I think I just told it.


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