AT&T Broadband Shuts Down Consumer Web Servers
CNET News.com is reporting that AT&T Broadband is filtering incoming Web traffic so that its subscribers who pay only for its consumer-level cable modem service can no longer operate Web Servers. The reason AT&T gave for this action is that it wants to stop the spread of the Code Red viruses. But, it is probably safe to say that many people running Web Servers on their home cable modem were not using Windows and IIS in the first place.
We realize that the Terms of Service on the AT&T Broadband consumer cable modem service does not permit the operation of Web Servers. But, we wonder why CNET did not look at this story more critically? Is it really appropriate to filter all inbound Web traffic, if only one type of Web Server has been targeted by the virus? Isn't it possible that the virus is the justification that AT&T has been waiting for to enforce a policy that they know will be really unpopular?
Of course the simple answer is that those who wish to operate Web Servers should switch to a commerical service offering. We encourage those people who think that to investigate the actual costs, service limitations, contract complexity, and lead time associated with these services. The conclusion we came to when analyzing commercial cable modem services is that they are only desireable where there are few broadband alternatives.