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Study: Cablers Slow File-Sharing

15 May, 2008 By: Chris Tribbey

Cox Communications, the fourth-largest U.S. Internet service provider (ISP), and Comcast Corp., the second-largest, are actively blocking file-sharing efforts by their subscribers, according to research obtained by The Associated Press.

The research, done by a software firm in Germany, found that 62% of Comcast subscribers who participated in the study had their connections blocked when they attempted to use file-sharing services. Fifty-four percent of Cox subscribers encountered the same thing.

Previous allegations that Comcast was blocking its subscribers' Internet usage due to file sharing resulted in an ongoing Federal Communications Commission investigation. Congress also has introduced legislation that would keep ISPs from stopping file sharing.

Both Comcast and Cox have acknowledged that they manage their Internet traffic, and claim that it's in the best interest of all their subscribers.

“To ensure the best possible online experience for our customers, Cox actively manages network traffic through a variety of methods, including traffic prioritization and protocol filtering,” Cox wrote to The Associated Press.

The research obtained by the news organization showed that any time a user downloaded a file using the file-sharing program BitTorrent and then tried to upload and share it, the connection was blocked. Repeated attempts often got the file uploaded, the AP noted.

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