Techdirt and Ars Technica both reported this morning about a new plan unleashed on us poor Cox customers by the corporate talking heads: bandwidth throttling! And not even the innocuous “only when you’re using a lot” style of throttling, like Comcast uses (and got burned for), but the Jack-the-Ripper-style “whenever we feel like and only on certain kinds of traffic we don’t like” kind. The traffic they’ve moved to the “lower-priority” queue (read: throttled) so far includes:
- File Access – Specifically FTP – this one makes no sense at all.
- Network Storage – Bulk transfers of any kind – even less sense, if that’s possible.
- P2P – Bittorrent, Limewire, and friends – because efficient distribution takes second seat to political correctness.
- Software Updates – Windows Update and friends – you didn’t need that security patch any time soon, did you?
- Usenet – Cox has hated on newsgroups for years. Big suprise here.
Cox was first to implement the three-strikes policy in regards to file sharing accusations, as well as lying about their reasons for doing so, and recieved what I found to be surprisingly minor backlash for it. Perhaps that lackluster response is what is prompting Cox to think they can get away with this relatively unscathed. Thankfully, in the meantime, Google has officially released its Measurement Lab, which aims to offer end users a good way to test their broadband connections and see what they’re really getting. This will offer customers a valuable tool, and give people like me who work in tech support a massive headache when everyone finds out their ISPs are shafting them.
Cox claims to be “your friend in the digital age.” With friends like these, who needs enemies?