Cox to Throttle P2P, Not Bad for Gamers and Streamers

By  |  Wednesday, January 28, 2009 at 12:58 pm

coxFrom the “bad precedent that works in my favor” department comes word that Cox will try delaying peer-to-peer file sharing during heavy congestion periods.

And that’s not all. The delays will also affect bulk file transfers, like FTP and network storage, software updates and Usenet. Cox will start with a test run in Kansas and Arkansas, expanding later in the year if the Internet service provider so desires.

The upside? Any delays at P2P’s expense will aide “time-sensitive” traffic, such as online gaming, streaming movies, VOIP and plain old Web browsing. As a gamer, movie watcher and avid Web surfer, I’m okay with more bandwidth coming my way during the evening rush. And let’s face it, while P2P has its share of legitimate uses, like transferring Linux ISO files, the seedy side is big enough to justify slower downloads.

That’s not to say there are no red flags going up here. I generally support Net Neutrality, and Cox’s experiments seem to go against that. And if this trend of prioritizing by “time-sensitivity” continues, it could come back to haunt gamers in the long run in the form of slower downloads for new content, even if playing online is still unhindered. Perhaps the same could be true for video on demand.

In any case, Ars Technica doesn’t see this new policy flying with the FCC, considering how the commission has opposed Comcast’s throttling of peer-to-peer uses. Cox’s move is even more prone to criticism, Ars argues, because it singles out specific uses instead of monitoring overall bandwidth.

Interestingly enough, Cox wants to hear from customers on the matter. The company is taking e-mails at coxmessage@cox.com.

 
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