Originally Posted by skriefal
Certainly an ISP can throttle or filter traffic based on type, destination, etc. That doesn't prove that they are doing so in any specific scenario. The Internet is a large place and traffic passes across links operated by multiple parties; performance can be degraded in many ways. It's fashionable to point the finger at the immediate provider (Comcast, Centurylink, ...), based on possibly-justified hatred from prior experiences with those companies. But it's not always their fault.
Bandwidth limits are different. Those are the ISP's "fault".
We are in "violent agreement" on this. I am a network engineer that works on broadband networks as an architect, and targeting individuals was never part of the system design. Until NGN ("next generation networks") there is no way to actually do it. There are just policies on assigning QoS (quality of service) on different types of traffic to make networks function as best they can until congestion kills everything. As you say.
The thing ISP's are guilty of is "overbooking". This means selling 6Mbps to thousands of subscribers when your network can only support hundreds. That's how broadband networks generate 95% profit margins for AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon. They got away with it until people tried to start using 6Mbps for Netflix, etc. This is a "Come to Jesus moment", and the FCC is trying to hide under a rock.
For cable networks that use HFC (hybrid fiber coax); which is almost every MSO cable company in the US, there are are fixed number of "frequency slots" on the cable network. You can use them for broadband service or you can allocate them to a 24/7 channel that two people are watching but the content providers pony up a chunk of change for. It's "double dipping".
Comcast do not have to roll a single truck, hire a single field technician, to double, triple, quadruple their broadband capacity overnight. Just switch over a couple of shopping channels to broadband capacity. Comcast lobbyists are throwing up a huge amount of FUD to the FCC in the Comcast/T-W acquisition about how they are "struggling" to provide future bandwidth, but it's total BS. It won't cost them a dime, in the end.