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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Fuck Comcast

In the Great Comcast-BTN Bruhaha of 2007, I've been "behind" Comcast. This, as I've said before, is not because I'm any great lover of big cable companies but because I think the BTN is using the misery of Big Ten football fans, who can no longer see their teams play, as a negotiating ploy.

However, I recently read a story about Comcast that disgusts me even more than the BTN bs because the implications are so much bigger.

According to the AP story linked here, Comcast actively interferes with the ability of some of its high-speed Internet users to share files online. This runs counter to the tradition of net neutrality, the long standing practice of treating all Internet traffic equally.

Apparently, Comcast is running interference on those who use file-sharing networks in an attempt to keep "file-sharing traffic from swallowing too much bandwidth and affecting the Internet speeds of other subscribers."

While that may sound harmless - and with many file-sharing networks nothing more than a means to swap copyrighted material, it actually is the first step on a slippery slope. First off, it punishes those who use file-sharing networks legally. More importantly, I don't think any of us want Comcast - or any other ISP - deciding what should be given priority on the Internet.

What if I was a Comcast customer - since often folks don't have more than one high-speed choice in an area - who ran a very popular website called...oh, I dunno, something like...FuckComcast.com and they decided to slow it down since the high amount of traffic "adversely affected other Comcast subscribers?" Or what if somebody thought popular sites that use goddamn, fucking profanity or showed semi-naked co-eds should be "slowed" down?

Crazy, you say? As long as somebody is making decisions instead of everybody getting unfiltered, equal access without exception, there is always that possibility.

What Comcast is doing is bullshit and a very clear example of why the principle of net neutrality must be signed into law and not left to big corporations to decide.

Fuck Comcast.

17 comments:

MonkeyWrench32 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MonkeyWrench32 said...

Thank you for finally getting on board.

If you need more material, check this out:

The Consumerist: Comcast

This one is an absolutely must read:

Comcast Customer Uses "Unlimited Service" Excessively, Gets Disconnected For A Year

Not only do we need 100% net neutrality, we need to end cable monopolies.

Yost said...

Been onboard for awhile, MW. Wrote a number of posts about this in the past here. And will continue to do so.

Thanks for the links.

MonkeyWrench32 said...

My mistake. :)

You're welcome.

Katie said...

I have Comcast here in A2, when I moved here this summer, I was told that is the only service available. (Living in an apartment, you have to buy $30,000 in insurance if you have a dish, wtf?) Back home I had Comcast at one point and disliked them so much I finally cancelled and got a dish service. I was never more happy in all my life to be rid of Comcast, so when I moved here I was dismayed that they were my only choice. My dismay grew on install day as they were 12 hours late, (no shit) and didn't bother to offer an apology. In fact they were upset that I still wanted my service installed after having to wait so long. And now of course the BTN and Comcast war that looms. I do see error on both sides of this, but more so Comcast, likely due to my previous hatred of them. They are a monopoly and they think they can give shitty service, because what other choice do you have? I search for anything else that can replace them, If I can ever avoid it, I will not have Comcast, and every check I write to them, pisses me off. Now this......just validates me dislike of them more. I agree Yost. Fuck Comcast.

Bucktown Skins Fan said...

Hammerin Mad Mona Shaw

Don't we all wish we could do this?

Out of Conference said...

Not sure how this is a net neutrality issue. I admit that maybe I should read up on the definition of "net neutrality". Comcast is offering a service, they should be given some leeway in how they manage that service. For the most part, we all have a choice in net providers. Katie - I hear what you're saying, but if you live in A2 and your only option is Comcast, A2 is not as sophisticated of a town as the presence of UofM would lead me to believe. Don't you have land lines for phone service available? Don't they offer DSL? I may be ignorrant on this, maybe Comcast also provides land line phone service (not just VoIP) and you don't have AT&T, Verizon, AllTel, or any of the baby Bells, etc. as an option. Surely there is cellular brandband access. The point is, Comcast would back away from this decision and provide more bandwidth for legal file sharing uses if enough people threatened to switch providers. As far as blocking illegal file sharing- I think the music industry has made it clear- net providers that allow this to continue may be tergeted for lawsuits.
Point is- I don't like it any more than you guys, but a law requiring Comcast to enabel file sharing will only cost consumers more money.

Sundawg said...

I tried Comcast internet service for a couple of months but the internet connection was incredibly spotty; spent most of my time talking to service people in India.

Switched to Bell South and haven't had a problem. Not a big downloader so this may not be everyone's answer, but the connection is steady.

Any chance we can take on Sears for crappy, no-show service?

Out of Conference said...

And just because I posted what I did, doesn't mean I wouldn't want to do what Bucktown Skin Fan's link describes with DirecTV or AT&T sometimes.

Katie said...

OOC, sorry, my only option for telvision is with comcast. I do have other options for internet, however I am a poor graduate student and I did need to consolidate, thus the triple play......price good for a year, which I figured gave me time to find another television service provider and make a switch. AT&T may be coming?? I realize this post was about internet usage, I just jumped on the dislike of comcast. Sorry for the confusion. I have also heard that A2 is looking to make the entire town wireless, however that brings up security issues for me.

I read the links provided in the comments section, and I can tell you that I have had similar experiences with Comcast, they DO have a customer service problem, AND worse....they don't care. Which is another reason that I don't see the BTN situation resolving anytime soon, Comcast doesn't care. Period.

Mikoyan said...

I have Comcast and 99% of the time I am happy with them but that 1% of the time sure makes up for it.

I think the music/movie sharing thing is terrible. Both industries want to blame file sharing for their current woes and in the long run are alienating their customer base.

I think Comcast is blocking stuff because they don't want to be sued although I don't see where they can be because they are just providing the service.

I wish I could say F Comcast but they are the only game for me.

Dezzi said...

I went through this mess when we moved apartments in Los Angeles... initially, our service provider for cable was Adelphia... I moved about 5 blocks south, and wound up in Comcast territory...

I guess the cable companies split the different areas of a city and then they are the only person who can provide services there. Even if you have an existing service with another company.

The difference between cable modems and DSL is that if you subscribe to DSL and everyone around you in your neighborhood subscribes too... the network will be slowed. If you have a cable connection, you have a direct line to your home and no sharing.

Unlike what I face now.... I have a near true-monopoly in Swisscom. They are the only provider of phone service in Switzerland. If you're one of the lucky people that live in a region serviced by a company called Cablecom, you can get internet and phone through ISDN. This gives Swisscom some competition. What Swisscom has done with their DSL service is cut connections to people who are drawing high bandwith, like when I stream my slingbox to watch the BTN overseas...

When you call them to see what the problem is with your internet connection, they say that you must purchase an upgrade to the highest level to have uninterrupted service. Such is the life of a monopoly.

Do I agree with the regulation because of file sharing.... yes, if you can pick out illegal file sharing... but that seems quite difficult online.

They should spend thier time in upgrading to allow for the traffic instead of fighting it... wasting time and money on that... when they could have happy customers.

Michigan Girl said...

My experiences with Comcast have been so ridiculously stupid that we use "It's Comcastic" as a polite way of saying "totally fucked up". At one point, we're on the phone with Comcast trying to fix a problem and the rep tells us, "you're not a customer." Excuse me, but I have a bill in my hand with a customer number. And I send you money every month. But I'm not a customer? It's Comcastic!!

I live in the Chicago suburbs, have a dish, and LOVE the BTN. I'm able to cancel my subscriptions to College Game Day and Full Court because now I can watch Michigan without paying extra to ESPN. Plus we bought a SAT-GO (portable dish) and we can watch the BTN while tailgating!!!!

surrounded in columbus said...

yost,
i've been in the btn "camp" pretty much from the start. by signing w/ DISH, BTN has offered most everyone (w/ the exception of people in Katie's circumstance) a choice. if you want to watch btn, you can get a dish.

i realize most folks have hesitated to do that for a bunch of reasons- cable modems/selection/reception/etc., but that is again your choice. you could have had btn- you decided it wasn't worth the trouble.

comcast has banked heavily on that inertia in this pissing match. they've gambled that seeing the michigan-NU game wasn't worth it to you to go to the trouble of changing your email address, etc., and for the most part they've been right. they are a monopoly, screw you.

we were set to purchase a dish w/ the connection to two of the tv's (one of the real advantages of marrying a nut case tosu fan is she wasn't going to miss a game over the cost of adding a dish, god love her) when insight came thru and cut a deal to carry btn in NE Columbus/SE Delaware County. which sort of leads into the whole question of exclusivity.

if you live somewhere that you can't get another cable provider it's because no one else has run wires to your area OR your city has sold exclusive rights to comcast. most municipalities have franchise authority over service providers and make a hefty amount of $$$ by not allowing competition.

in ohio, if you live in an unincorporated area, you often have options on cable, especially if you live in a rural turning suburban area that is growing fast enough to attract competing cable companies but is still in a township that doesn't have the same powers as a city/town. that's the area we live in, and let me tell you- we have some of the best cable service i've ever seen.

parts of our unincorporated township is accessible to WOW and a couple other providers and Insight busts its ass to keep people on their system. whenever we've had service or a new installation (i.e.; after btn became available, we upgraded to their HD package, we requires a box, so that i could get the btn overflow stations). they gave us a 3 hour window when they'd be there, and then the moring of the service, called w/ a 30 minute updated window. arrived on time, cleaned up the mess, and offered some free advice for cnnecting our wireless router to the new cable modem.

to cut an already too long story short- competition is a wonderful thing.

Captainron said...

I believe Dezzi has it backwards -
Cable modems can slow down significantly if many people on that cable modem service access the Internet simultaneously, where as DSL is a dedicated line.

Tab said...

Comcast sucks in more ways than I can count.

Try calling to order ESPN game plan: the Comcast employee's head will explode.

I recently received a bill indicated that I owed 275.00 in "non-returned" property (it was a Comcast mistake). When I called to tell Comcast that it was a Comcast mistake, they told me that they agreed but I'd have to come in to the office to get it fixed. Are you kidding me? I have to come in because your employees are too stupid to figure out how to fix your problem? The problem was resolved, but only after I wasted about three hours of my life dealing with the incompetent turds at Comcast.

Finally, when I initially ordered Comcast, the dumbasses didn't show up on the planned day. Bring on competition!

Oh yeah, one other thing. Any company that it stupid enough to buy naming rights to a stadium deserves to go bankrupt (particularly at Maryland -- perhaps the armpit of America -- although Oklahoma may be the true winner of that contest). Comcast has an AOL future awaiting.

Three words: Comcast fcuking sucks.

Sparky Duck said...

Fuck Comcast is a Philadelphia mantra, no matter how big there freaking corporate building downtown is going to be