Washington Post: Comcast Defends Role As Internet Traffic Cop. Comcast said yesterday that it purposely slows down some traffic on its network, including some music and movie downloads, an admission that sparked more controversy in the debate over how much control network operators should have over the Internet.
The admission, after lying to the public about the practice, is useful in that it frames a debate we need to have right away. If the phone-cable duopoly can get away with this — deciding what bits get delivered, at what speed and in what order — they will have control of the Internet in ways that will make current “media consolidation” seem tame.
Meanwhile, rather than investing in new infrastructure to make these control-freak practices moot, Comcast is paying shareholders a new dividend and buying back $7 billion of its stock. This speaks volumes about a company that enjoys its oligopolist status and sees no serious need to invest for the future.