Note: We believe bandwidth shaping is a necessary and very valuable tool for both ISPs and the public. We also support open honest discussion about the need for this technology and encourage our customers to open and honest with their customers. We do not like deception in the industry at any level and will continue to expose and write about it when we see it.
Back in 2007, I wrote an article for PC magazine about all the shenanigans that ISPs use to throttle bandwidth. The article set a record for on-line comments for the day, and the editor was happy. At that time, I recall feeling like a lone wolf trying to point out these practices. Finally some redemption came this morning. The FTC is flexing its muscles; they are now taking on AT&T for false claims with respect to unlimited data.
Federal officials on Tuesday sued AT&T, the nation’s second-largest cellular carrier, for allegedly deceiving millions of customers by selling them supposedly “unlimited” data plans that the company later “throttled” by slowing Internet speeds when customers surfed the Web too much.
It seems that you can have an unlimited data plan with AT&T, but if you try to use it all the time, they slow down your speed to the point where the amount of data you get approaches zero. You get unlimited data, as long as you don’t use it – huh? Does that make sense?
Recently, I have been doing some experiments with Comcast and my live dropcam home video feed. It seems that if I try to watch this video feed on my business class Comcast, (it comes down from the dropcam cloud), the video will time out within about minute or so. However, other people watching my feed do not have this problem. So, I am starting to suspect that Comcast is using some form of application shaper to cut off my feed (or slow it down to the point where it does not work). My evidence is only anecdotal. I am supposed to have unlimited 4 megabits up and 16 megabits down with my new business class service, but I am starting to think there may be some serious caveats hidden in this promise.