FCC boss: Comcast blocking is widespread

InfoWeek reports that, according to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Comcast was not merely blocking BitTorrent traffic during high-traffic times but pretty much all the time. Martin was testifying before Congress today.

InfoWeek reports that, according to FCC Chairman Kevin Martin, Comcast was not merely blocking BitTorrent traffic during high-traffic times but pretty much all the time. Martin was testifying before Congress today.
"Specifically, based on the testimony we have received thus far, some users were not able to upload anything they wanted and were unable to fully use certain file sharing software from peer-to-peer networks," he said.

Comcast apparently used Sandvine technology to block a large part of BitTorrent traffic.

"It does not appear that this technique was used only to occasionally delay traffic at particular nodes suffering from network congestion at that time," he said. "Indeed, based on the testimony we have received thus far, this equipment is typically deployed over a wider geographic or system area and would therefore have impacted numerous nodes within a system simultaneously. Moreover, the equipment apparently used does not appear to have the ability to know when an individual cable segment is congested. It appears that this equipment blocks the uploads of at least a large portion of subscribers in that part of the network, regardless of the actual levels of congestion at that particular time."

And, despite BitTorrent Inc.'s enthusiasm for Comcast's announced protocol-agnostic management system (to be deployed no earlier than the end of the year), "the question is not when they will begin using a new approach but if and when they are committing to stop using the old one," Martin said.