Sunday, March 22, 2009

No Reply

I Submitted: (1/21/09)

Dear "Friend in the Digital Age",

As a long-time subscriber, I want someone at Cox to know that if this causes me problems, I will be switching to Embarq for my high-speed internet access.

Response: (1/31/09)

Lavi—I apologize for taking so long to respond to your inquiry of Wednesday afternoon about the Techdirt story. Here is something to consider about what our congestion management is doing against the background of your morning commute. You’ve probably noticed that big gravel trucks and semis, school busses, passenger cars driven by time pressed business people, lazy-day vacationers behind the wheel of a rental and the various other types of commercial and private vehicles add to freeway congestion especially since they thread their way around each other trying to get ahead. Ever notice how the diamond lane, special truck lanes and passing lanes zip vehicles by more quickly and efficiently because they give structure and order to the usual traffic mess? Well, that’s sort of what we’re experimenting with in two of our Cox systems in Kansas and Arkansas . Las Vegas is not currently involved in this trial.

First, congestion will occasionally occur on any network when many people are using the network at the same time, or they are engaging in activities that use a large amount of bandwidth. Cox’s congestion management plan is designed to ensure that if congestion reaches a certain level, action is taken so that customers continue to have a good experience.

Second, during the occasional times our network is congested, this new technology automatically ensures that all time-sensitive Internet traffic – such as web pages, voice calls, streaming videos and gaming – moves without delay. Less time-sensitive traffic, such as file uploads, peer-to-peer and Usenet newsgroups, may be delayed momentarily – but only when the local network is congested. Our goal is to ensure that customers continue to experience the consistently fast, reliable Internet service they’ve come to expect from Cox. Most likely, Cox customers in the trial areas won’t notice any effect at all, although we hope this trial results in an even smoother Internet experience with fewer delays.

Techdirt says that “Cox gets to describe what gets a priority and what doesn’t seems pretty questionable.” Well, I’ve outlined in my second paragraph what types of data transport will get the occasional priority. As you can see, the overwhelming amount of traffic is going to benefit from our congestion management. They won’t be hurt by it. And by the way, management of occasional congestion is just one aspect of intelligent network management, which allows Cox to provide customers the best possible Internet experience. We also manage our network for the safety and security of our customers, by blocking spam and helping to make our customers less susceptible to viruses and other online hazards.

Remember, Cox Las Vegas is not participating in this trial so I would please ask you to reconsider your decision to switch your broadband service, especially since you won’t be affected. But if you would like to converse more with me about this, please give me an email at and I would be happy to reply.

All best,

Cox Mouthpiece
Cox Communications-Las Vegas
1700 Vegas Drive
Las Vegas, NV 89106

I replied: (2/3/09)

Cox Man,

First off, thank you for your comprehensive reply.

I am quite familiar with most of the issues concerning broadband speeds and traffic "shaping".

There are two big concerns with this particular area:

1)ISPs should not be inspecting people's traffic - period - it is akin to listening in on phone calls.

2)There is grave concern that cable ISPs, who also offer television service, will be tempted to slow down video traffic of competitors in order to "persuade" people to either subscribe to cable TV or the cable service's video offerings. I mean, if I can watch any show I want at any time, at a reasonable quality, via Hulu, why would I pay you $50 a month for 60-some cable channels (of which I probably watch 2 for a total of 5 hours a week)?

Even if I hadn't been daily reading about the outrages perpetrated by the various (government-sanctioned) monopolistic communications incumbents on sites such as Techdirt, I already have 20+ years of personal experience with the abuse, incompetence and malfeasance that the lack of viable competition in the space has led to.

I do not for a moment doubt that Cox would happily degrade the performance of traffic they have arbitrarily deemed "less time-sensitive" in favor of traffic with higher income potential.

1 - ISPs should be dumb pipes
2 - There should be real competition in the market.

(Actually, 1 wouldn't be an issue if 2 ever becomes reality. If most people had a choice of a half-dozen providers, then they could make the decision as to which issues are a priority for them)


Lavi D

I have not heard back...


The_Scum said...

Furst to wonder about your obsessive hatred for the Cocks.

D said...

Second to wonder why it took two weeks for me to see this "update" on Lavi da Vegas.
They're shaping your traffic!

p.s. Lavi hates cox since they stiffed him on his last paycheck by deducting the price of the pair of pliers he reported as 'lost'

The_Scum said...

Needlenose, Klines, Channel-lock, regular?

Inquiring minds need to knoa.

Every now and then when your life gets complicated and the weasels start closing in, the only cure is to load up on heinous chemicals and then drive like a bastard from Hollywood to Las Vegas ... with the music at top volume and at least a pint of ether.

-Hunter S. Thompson

Dedicated to the other side of Las Vegas, namely; the sprawling, mad, incoherent underpinnings of the world's favorite destination.

That, and the occasional ranting about nothing in particular.