Posted by Tom Foremski - June 8, 2006
A response from Cox, and lots of great commentary from SVW readers on the issue of net neutrality and the blocking of Craigslist.org by Cox Interactive. A security suite offered by Cox, and developed for Cox by Authentium, a security software company is the culprit.
Craigslist says it has spent months trying to resolve the issue. It's the type of issue that might become more common if there are no network neutrality laws.
Here are a selection of comments in chronological order :
I live in Santa Barbara, CA. My ISP is Cox. I just tried to access craigslist.org, it did not go through. I tried again with santabarbara.craigslist.org and it went right through. I tried again with plain craigslist.org and it went through fine. Meh...
Lyle, it doesn't matter which end of the pipe the ISP employs measures to quash traffic. My money says Authentium does this because they're getting a little payola backscratch from Cox. Follow the money.
A law about net neutrality shouldn't specify which filters ISPs can use. It would only have to specify the following:
1. A service/access provider is not allowed to be a content provider, both functions must be separated.
2. A service provider must allow unrestricted access to all parts of the internet, filtering may only happen with the following aspects:
- clientside but not with software provided by the ISP
3. Websites/Companies have a right to sue ISPs or for lost business, their damages may be calculated by income generated from users with other ISPs.
This article doesn't touch on the fact that Cox has an even greater horse in the game than newspaper classifieds. They are part owners of Trader publishing, i.e. Auto Trader, Truck Trader, Boat Trader, etc. Probably the biggest publisher of classified ads out there.
It's not just Cox, though. I use COVAD and can't get in. They say it's not them. Craigslist says it's not them. I've tried everything suggested on the various forums to no avail. I've given up and taken to using an anon proxy server when I want to access craigslist from home.
Cox does not block access to any legal website and Craig's List is no exception. The problem lies with how the Security Suite software interprets Craig’s List’s initial packet connections, which results in an extremely slow connection.
Authentium — the company that designed Cox's security software — is aware of the problem and their engineers have modified the firewall driver by creating a beta version that resolves the issue. This version will be part of the next release of Cox High Speed Internet Security Suite and will be available to all Cox High Speed Internet users later this summer.
Cox blocks Skype (dropping 48% of the packets) making it unusable.
I've called them and they've denied it, but when I changed out cable modems, they gave me a different IP for about 10 minutes during which time I was getting 0% packet loss and Skype was working fine. After my regular IP was reassigned back to me, it went back to 48% packet loss again.
When I pointed this out to them, they said Skype was an unreliable and second rate service and I should not expect it work. (Of course Cox sells phone service here and is a direct Skype competitor)
There is absolutely no alternative to Cox in Scottsdale, Arizona. No DSL by any provider. I have been told that Cox does not block Skype on their 'commercial services' which Cox will sell me for a mere $289/month!
John Earnhardt writes:
The rhetoric on this issue has been amazing. What Google, Amazon, Ebay, Yahoo and others are pushing for is actually MORE REGULATION of the Internet.
The internet was founded on light or no regulation and many of these companies wouldn't even exist if more regulations were put on the Internet in its infancy.
Know how many times a service provider has abused its power of access? Exactly once. And the FCC quickly acted. These companies are BILLION dollar companies and want to the government to REGULATE in order to give them an advantage. The service providers are simply saying "let the market decide." Isn't the market a better place for the Internet to flourish than Capitol Hill?
I would commend Cisco's Charlie Giancarlo's op-ed in the Wall Street Journal to everyone - this is where this issue should come out. (IMHO)
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