RCN, like Comcast, in bandwidth throttling controversy

While Comcast has been getting most of the attention and court time over its practice of throttling high-speed data bandwidth for over-aggressive peer-to-peer and machine-to-machine data traffic, competitive provider RCN has been accused of doing something similar. Only the RCN case was much quieter than the Comcast one, which embroiled federal courts and the FCC and picked at the whole net neutrality scab.

RCN subscribers have been alerted that a 2008 class action suit accusing the company of "delaying or blocking" various activities like BitTorrent will reach final court settlement June 4. The suit had charged that RCN violated the Consumer Fraud and Abuse Act by promising "fast and untapped" broadband Internet when it was actually throttling traffic. As part of the settlement in U.S. District Court in Lower Manhattan, RCN agreed not to engage in "certain kinds of network management for 18 months."

The possibility of what could happen when that 18 month grace period ends has New York attorney Mark Lyon steamed enough to object to the current settlement and intervene with the court. Among other things, Lyon told Ars Technica, he wants compensation for those affected by the throttling; a permanent ban on P2P and non-P2P blocking; and reasonable compensation for class counsel.

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