updated 01:00 pm EDT, Thu May 15, 2008
Cox also blocking torrents
Comcast is not the only company guilty of sabotaging BitTorrent traffic, the Associated Press reports. While that company has taken the brunt of criticism for potentially violating the FCC's net neutrality policy, the AP says it has obtained the results of a worldwide study of 8,175 Internet users, which found that only three companies were all but certainly blocking connections: Comcast, Singapore's StarHub, and Cox Communications. In the case of the last, 82 out of 151 subscribers had their transfers blocked.
The Cox interference is said to manifest after a user has downloaded a file through a BitTorrent client; rather than restrict downloads directly, it prevents a person from seeding, which in turn reduces the number of people from whom others can receive the file. This is not necessarily permanent however, as BitTorrent clients may eventually find their way around the blockage.
Cox's subscriber agreement states that the company engages in "protocol filtering," prioritizing some forms of Internet traffic over others, but representatives now say this does not amount to discrimination against particular services.
Several other American ISPs are suspected of interfering with BitTorrent transfers, but the study's author notes that there is no way of proving their cases conclusively.