AP Finds Comcast Blocks File Sharing

An Associated Press reporter ran a test of two computers connected to the Internet with Comcast cable modems in Philadelphia and San Francisco, in order to see if reports of the cable provider blocking file sharing programs were true.

Using a copy of the King James Bible -- not under copyright and free to share -- and file swapping program BitTorrent, the reporter found the transfer repeatedly blocked.

The test was conducted with three other internet connections, and none showed any interference with the file-sharing act, unless the sending party turned out to be using Comcast equipment. Further tests with the Comcast-connected computers and different but equally common files were also blocked.

Analysis of the transfers revealed that the failures were due to "reset" packets which each carried the return address of the other computer, but were not actually sent by either.

There is equipment designed to decrease bandwidth consumption that would cause this to happen, but Comcast has not confirmed if it is using any such hardware. Of course, Comcast has every right to decide how it manages content being sent across its network, but some users have complained that legitimate transfers are being negatively affected in the process.

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