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Comcast to slow speeds for Chambersburg's heaviest Internet users

June 12, 2008|By JENNIFER FITCH

CHAMBERSBURG, PA. -- Chambersburg was one of two communities selected by Comcast to experiment with a new method of controlling network congestion by placing limits on the heaviest Internet users.

Comcast officials argue that slowing the network connection of users hogging bandwidth will benefit the greater majority of their customers.

Users expected to experience delays with their connection primarily will be those who utilize P2P (peer-to-peer) programs like BitTorrent, commonly used to download full-length movies, according to corporate news releases.

Some of their bandwidth will be redistributed among other customers during the testing period under way in Chambersburg and Warrenton, Va. Affected customers were to be sent an e-mail regarding the test late last week.

"These tests are an important step toward our commitment to implement a (different) network management approach by the end of this year and to ensure the best possible customer experience online. We have notified customers in these test markets via e-mail in advance, posting on the Comcast.net home page and in our FAQs for customers," corporate spokesman Charlie Douglas said in a statement.

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Colorado Springs, Colo., is scheduled for testing later this summer, likely followed by full implementation across the entire network of 14.1 million high-speed users by the end of the year.

Previously, Comcast managed its network by temporarily delaying P2P activities. The changeover will be that the delays will affect modems using a lot of bandwidth, regardless of type of activity.

Heavy users should expect regular response times when the network is not experiencing congestion, according to news releases.

Comcast engineers who live and work in the Chambersburg area have been asked to report their experiences to the company.

"We're highly interested in the customer experience, and we want to learn everything we can from these tests," Douglas said.

For more information about Comcast's network management or the test, visit http://help.comcast.net/content/faq/Frequently-Asked-Questions-about-Network-Management#technique.

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