This post was originally written in 2011. I removed this post as I was an employee of Universal Parks & Resorts Creative, a subsidiary of Comcast from March 5, 2018 until November 6, 2020. As a result of moving in 2018 my provider options changed as well as the landscape of bandwidth overall. This issue is still just as important.

November 6, 2020

Over the past few weeks there has been talk about Net Neutrality, including the FCC making rulings. I will be the first to admit that me writing about the issue is a little late, as the decisions have already been made. The decisions are not final and with Joe Lieberman now wanting to be able to turn off the Internet it is time for us to get more involved with the issues.

The item I am concerned about is what happens when Internet access providers start favoring their services over the completion. Now some will say that there is the ability to change the provider of high speed Internet. This issue is not entirely true. Just as one cannot in the United States freely chose which cable television company to use, one cannot freely chose which high speed provider to use. The Internet providers are limited by both technological needs and government mandates. Yes, one can use satellite or wireless or other solutions but it is not always comparing equal delivery of services. Think about the issues AT&T had with traffic saturation and the iPhone.

Currently my options for high-speed Internet access at my home are:

  • Comcast Cable Modem (22Mbps down and 6Mbps up)
  • AT&T DSL (1.5Mbs down/384kbps up)
  • Earthlink or other Dial Up (0.0336Mbs down/33.6kbps up)
  • Hughes Net (2Mbps down300kbps up; capped at 400MB of data a month)
  • FiOs and UVerse are not available

So given these conditions I am pretty sure that all of us would chose Comcast. Also given the pricing structure, Comcast makes the most sense financially. Now Comcast has some programs in place to provide additional services through them for their customer’s use. Comcast offering Mozy is an example of extra services.

From the Comcast press release: “Comcast High-Speed Internet customers automatically receive 2 GB of storage included with their subscription. This amount allows for storage of up to hundreds of photos, music files, or thousands of documents. Comcast also offers a 50 GB storage plan for $4.99 monthly or $49.99 annually, and a 200 GB storage plan for $9.99 monthly or $99.99 annually.” The webpage outlines the basic examples.

I knew that I needed more than 2GB of backup. I wanted offsite storage in addition to backup. The differences can be subtle between storage and backup, but that is another blog post. After looking at the options I decided to use JungleDisk, it is less expensive per month and has other features I want.

One can easily see how JungleDisk is competition to Mozy. They offer similar services and both require high-speed connectivity to work effectively. What happens if Comcast was to decide to put priority on the traffic to Mozy and degrade the traffic to JungleDisk?

The issue of how one selects a service becomes much more complex. If the bandwidth I am using to connect to JungleDisk is throttled back wouldn’t that change my experience and cause me to think about another solution. All of the sudden Mozy would be much more of an option as a result of being much faster for me as a Comcast user. Having a backup take an hour instead of two hours can be a very big deal – especially if one is trying to backup data before leaving on a trip.

Now you might say, under what guise would Comcast throttle traffic like that, “network management”. I easily see a situation where Comcast would decide that backups running at 2AM on everyone’s computer were causing congestion. The first solution any reasonable business is to make sure its customers and partners’ experience is optimized to keep the complaints to a minimum. The majority of the users might be using Mozy since it is included and I would be in the minority using JungleDisk. So the decision made to correct the problem for the majority by providing priority to Mozy would make sense from a customer satisfaction evaluation. I am glossing over the way that this management can be done, it is not just how data is transmitted to my location it is also how the traffic is transmitted across the interconnections of the Internet itself.

Due to the partnership between Mozy and Comcast and possible bandwidth management, Mozy might gain me as a customer while JungleDisk would lose me as a customer. Beyond that I would lose as a consumer as the choice I made would be compromised. I would have to look at the ability to use the service not just the price of the service.

This issue can be applied to many other products, virus protection software, website hosting, picture hosting, voice services. Yes, Vonage and Skype can be blocked and already have been blocked by Internet Service Providers. The same ones that offer phone service. The FCC did require the voice services to be unblocked.

To paint with a very wide and absurd brushstroke, it would be akin to the electric company also selling light bulbs. Of course their light bulbs work better for most users. They did not allow for people to tailor their light bulb choices as the power was optimized to work with the electric company’s bulb vendor. So to get effective lighting, the user is relegated to purchasing what the electric company is selling even if it isn’t the best solution for them.

Let me know if you want me to talk about Comcast now having NBC/Universal content. I am sorry why is Netflix or ABC or Fox or Hulu or …. streaming so slowly?

So when people talk about Net Neutrality, it is not just something for the technophiles. It can impact anyone who uses the Internet.

On Sunday, May 7, 2017 John Oliver told his audience about Net Neutrality. During his 20 minute segment he indicated that will redirect people to the FCC page to leave comments. You can viewthe video clip, approximately 20 minutes long and definitely R rated and NSFW, at Continue reading “FCC Declares DDoS, I declare Shenanigans”

A version of this post was orignally published on

Once again, the Federal Communications Commission is changing the way that Internet traffic will be handled within the United States. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai at the Newseum in Washington, D.C. on April 26, 2017, gave a speech entitled, “The Future of Internet Freedom.” During this speech (transcripts) Chairman Paj put forth the idea that Internet Broadband communication should not be covered under Title II. This statement means that the broadband or Internet Service Providers can treat different data, differently.

Currently, under Title II many of the services we use as part of the AV Industry are covered and protected as it prevents service providers from throttling the speed of connections for most traffic. Virtual Private Networks (VPN) and other services are not part of this protection. What this means is that your local Internet provider must deliver all the network traffic with limited traffic shaping or control, it is called the common carrier principle, and it is what applies to the phone system. That principle is what allows one to dial from an AT&T connection to a Sprint connection.
Through the suggested repeal of Title II for Internet traffic, that is no longer the case. The service provider can change the rates of data and which data gets through based on almost any criteria they chose.
Now comes the question that everyone is thinking, “Sure Bradford, you and Josh talk quite often about Net Neutrality and Privacy quite a bit. How does this impact me? Why do I care?”

 am glad you asked. Allow me to provide a simple real world example. Comcast offers packages of bundling certain applications and services with their high-speed Internet connectivity. For example, if you look at the Comcast Business Internet pages you will see packages for some services that they offer. I am going to use the backup services in this model as it is something I have done already for myself. On the product page, they talk about “Cloud Based Solutions℠ – Online Backup and Storage.” The services that they offer packages with for Online Backup are Carbonite and Mozy; I can not find Comcast’s storage solutions. There is a difference between backup and storage. Backup indicates that the data on a device will be regularly copied to a separate location. If the original is deleted, it will also be removed from the archive or backup after a period of time. Online storage means the storing of data whether deleted from the original or not. A user may remove it manually, but it will not be purged automatically if the original is removed.

For that reason, as well as others such as data durability, I decided not to use either of these services; I use JungleDisk. I have a single account and application that supports both data backup and data storage. I place files that I need easy access to on the JungleDisk Storage; I configured JungleDisk Backup software to backup my computer once a day.

Here is where Net Neutrality comes into play. Under the Title II ruling that Internet connectivity is a utility, most Internet traffic is processed equally. However with the repeal of the Title II that would change. It would mean that Comcast would have the ability to throttle or slow my communication with JungleDisk, reducing my success with the service. At the same time, they could prioritize traffic to their partners at Mozy and Carbonite. I am not indicating that they have or that they would, I am saying that they can. It would basically force me to use one of Comcast’s partners’ service instead of the one that I chose if I want an efficient process.

Without the protection of Title II, it would fall to me to prove that my traffic is impacted. One would also have to document that it violates the agreed upon terms of service from the Internet provider. After those two hurdles, it would be up to the Federal Trade Commission to investigate if the issue is an unfair trade practice.

All of these items are retroactive, except for Title II engagement. Under Title II it is proactively  indicated that the favoring of traffic has a much more stringent set of guidelines and is designed to prevent the problem from happening in the first place.