Kevin Bae

Non-Social in a Socially Networked World

Online Video: Second Class Service

Brian Roberts, chairman and chief executive officer of Comcast Corp. speaks during a news conference on June 11, 2013. Bloomberg News

It’s becoming more and more clear that Internet broadband providers like Comcast, Time Warner, AT&T, and more are cleverly shaping Internet traffic to hide how they throttle online video to home consumers. A great example in the linked article at shows the writer streaming an episode of The Good Wife that is having bandwidth issues while she is simultaneously measuring her download speeds at shows she has download speeds of 28 mbps while her provide showed a paltry 1.9 mbps for streaming The Good Wife. The only way that can happen is if her Internet provider is purposely segregating packets that contain video and slowing their delivery.

All information that flows over the Internet are simply 1’s and 0’s, otherwise known as bits. It doesn’t matter what the bits become when they reach your computer. To have an Internet service provider prioritize some bits over other bits is discrimination and should be illegal. It is also a huge myth that video traffic is any different than someone reading this blog, listening to Spotify, or sending instant messages. All these things are the same bits being sent through wires across the Internet. There is no limit on the supply of these bits. There are only fast speeds and slow speeds at which the bits are delivered.

This news is even worse now that it has come out that Comcast made a deal to buy Time Warner Cable. This would make Comcast the biggest ISP. Cable companies are monopolies. There will be nowhere else to go for your Internet connection.