back to article Comcast accuses FCC of impotence

Comcast has told the chairman of US Federal Communications Commission that he has no legal right to prevent the company from busting BitTorrents. The FCC is currently investigating claims that the big-name ISP put a choke hold on BitTorrents and other P2P traffic. But clearly, Comcast believes this is an epic waste of time. …


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  1. kain preacher

    Uh oh

    Dont ever tell a government official that they cant do some thing .

  2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Brian Miller

    Comcast throttles other's bandwidth

    The big problem with what Comcast is doing is that they are sending RST packets to computers that are not on their network. Actual traffic regulation would require sending NAK packets, and monitoring the bandwidth. What they are doing is killing the connection entirely by interfering with computers that are not on their network.

    Isn't that some sort of vandalism?

  4. Chad H.

    What kind of Fool...

    Tells Sir Humphrey he cant do something? You want the Beurocrats on your side so they can give you the cushy government contracts (like Haliburton) and leave your mistakes slide.

  5. Mectron

    one word

    ILLEGAL. Comcast have no legal right (in fact no right at all) to CONTROL what or what i cannot do with my internet connection PERIOD.

    if comcast cannot life up to its contract then let sue it until it goes belly up,

    i wonder how much the digital mafia(MPAA/RIAA) have paid comcast to be so anti-consumer?

    List of companies that should not be even allowed to exist:

    Sony (long records of criminal activities)

    macrovision (maker of illegal DRM and (c) protection)

    the big 4 (record labels) (long records of lllegal activities, member of the of dangerous crime syndicate in the world: RIAA)

    RIAA (know criminal cartel)

    MPAA (known criminal cartel)

    and now comcast! (illegally controling user internet connection)

    if the police where doing its job, none of those company will still be in business)

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    in theory

    Hmm in theory couldn't this cause a Dos attack. I mean what if they flooded another ISP router with 50k rst packets a second .

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Flout the FCC

    they must be crazy. I wouldn't have pointed to these non-binding guidelines too forcefully myself as they can change that and make it binding if they wish it's saying "regulate us I dare you" why would they do that. It's like judges the last thing they want to hear is that you don't care what the judge has to say, they can become quite punitive.

  8. Edward Clarke
    Jobs Horns

    Did they just lose their CDA immunity?

    If they're censoring their network by removing Bittorrent, doesn't this make them responsible for all content that does go over the network? SPAM, kiddie porn, all that other naughty stuff can now be blamed on Comcast.

  9. George Madison

    Comcast & dishonesty - what a shock.

    I have to agree with what others have said - bandwidth shaping to control how much bittorrent traffic is going through is one thing; actively interfering with the protocol is QUITE a different thing. The first could get by as "reasonable network management," the latter can NOT.

    I have to say that it looks like Comcast is in collusion with the RIAA/MPAA. I can't believe Comcast (and the Ass.'s) are unaware that many bittorrent tracker sites monitor user upload to download ratios. By blocking their users from uploading, it seems clear that Comcast is hoping to discourage bittorrent users by making it difficult to impossible for them to maintain an acceptable ratio on such sites. Sure, there are open trackers - but torrents are often better seeded and longer lived on the private trackers, for obvious reasons.

  10. Raife Edwards

    So... Comcast has just proven...

    ...that, "Net Neutrality" laws ARE, absolutely, needed..?

    After all, the entire FCC opposition to "Net Neutrality Laws" was that such, non-binding, "FCC Guidelines" would, somehow, protect consumers from exactly these types of unfair practices... Right..?

  11. Tim Coughlin

    Re: Mectron and Edward Clarke

    Mectron, I really wish you didn't put me in the position of defending Comcast and the rest of the known world, but I believe that you are wrong. Comcast has every right to regulate their network. You're paying for access to it. If you look at the AUP for accessing it, you'll notice that you cede a lot of rights to Comcast. Is it fair? No, I don't believe it is. The real issue is that they are the only game in town for many folks. The word monopoly come to mind every time I see my cable bill.

    As far as the various cartels are concerned, time shall tell the true tale of where they are headed. Hopefully, its straight off a cliff...

    Interesting comment on the CDA aspect, Edward. I wonder if anyone else might notice that.

  12. Nexox Enigma

    @Chad H.

    """cushy government contracts (like Haliburton)"""

    Haliburton actually gets most of those contracts because they are one of the few companies in the world that can do what they do, and of those, they are just about the only willing to risk the safety of their employees in a war zone. Those contracts are bid-less because it's fun to throw away money, but because Haliburton is the only company that would bid anyway.

    But yeah it seems like Comcast should be held accountable just for the quantity of blatant lies which they dispense. That and the forging packets.

    Bunch of ragged cock-ferrets.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    Just another hacker

    Booo hooo. Now I cant get extra money from the music and film industry and my boss not happy with me becuase clients going to other ISP. It looked so good on paper and got a big bonus.

    Booo hooo. I am not a hacker..... I did not do hacker tricks

    L:) = Looser

  14. Anonymous Coward

    Yet another misconception

    Ok I have read these Comcast threads for a long time and everyone seems to miss the salient points about this issue. To wit:

    1) Yes, comcast does in fact have the right to "reasonable traffic management." It is their network, they can do whatever they want with it. They offer a service, you pay for it, you ultimately have to decide if what they give you is worth it or not.

    2) HOWEVER, and this is the important point EVERYONE misses, they do NOT have the right to do that IF they sold you and unlimited service and did not spell out this fact UP FRONT. Changing the TOS after you become a customer is not going to hold up legally. It's called false advertising and/or bait-and-switch, and its flatly illegal in every other business.

    3) ADDITIONALLY, they are not just using "Traffic management" such as, for example, throttling or outright blocking a given port or protocol (they arent, this is just an example of a form of management) but they are FORGING packet information on YOUR CONNECTION to another IP. This is illegal six ways to sunday: wiretapping, DCMA, and all the laws on unlawful interception and falsifying identity of the sender. If it were JUST port or traffic blocking or slowing down, that would just be a contractual thing (TOS) that they are breaking. This forging business is flatly illegal and hardly a "neurtral" activity.

    4) Comast LIES to its customers, this is not even open for debate. Anyone who has been a Comcast customer and has had to deal with them on the phone knows this. They cannot be trusted.

    5) Comcast OVERSELLS their capacity. This gets back to the "unlimited" idea. Everyone seems to miss this point as well. If you sell an unlimited service, you should not them limit the capacity or speed of someone who uses it. Ok, so 5% of the users use their connection to the fullest. THATS WHAT YOU SOLD THEM. Too bad, either change the TOS and packages, or upgrade your lousy network. Blaming your customers who use what you sold them and then punishing EVERYONE using the service is not only short-sighted, illegal and wrong, its commercial suicide. Again, no one is saying that they arent allowed to manage their network however they see fit. The point is, they cant do that while selling you a service on one side ("UNLIMITED 8mbps - 20x faster than DSL!") and then turning around and contradicting that when people actually use what you promised them. You cant have it both ways.

    6) The whole near-monopoly issue is an entire rant in and of itself, but the main thing about that is, since they have little or no competition in most places, and the regulatory powers endorse this, they have little incentive to change anything. Sadly, this means that unless the FCC opens up more markets for competitors, those places where Comcast is the only viable option are stuck.

    Thank you. You may now tear apart my arguments and show me where I am wrong on every count as per the Internets requirement of Perpetual Contrariness. :)

    PS - Using AC because it failed to create an account for some reason. Call me TT.

  15. Tom Turck

    >>Network Management?? >>its Comcastic!

    Maybe Comcast should focus on managing all the SPAM and DDOS attacks generated by its networks, instead of focusing on alternative multi-media delivery systems that compete with "On Demand." Probably the next step is when they start to mess with Vonage and other consumer VoIP applications.

    If ISP's are allowed to block ports and shape traffic at will, where will it end? Just last night a guildy told us his ISP arbitrarily decided to block the World of Warcraft he is scrambling to get another broadband ISP.

    Since Comcast started doing its "Network Management" it seems I get dc'd a lot more than ever before, in contrast my Cable TV and Cable telephones are all online, all the time....

  16. Fred Goldstein

    Rule of law vs. rule of men

    Comcast is entirely correct on the legalities here. The Administrative Procedures Act dictates how the FCC makes rules. The FCC most specifically does NOT regulate the behavior of ISPs; that's "Title 1 information service" and is unregulated. If they wanted to change that, they'd have to go through a rulemaking proceeding.

    BTW, how many of you really want ISP behavior strictly regulated via rules that take years to promulgate or modify? Do you think that maybe spammers would be happy if countermeasures had to be approved via the APA? How would you craft a rule to allow defense against ISPs who allow "pink contracts"? Right now it's okay to just block them, period. Which is a good incentive to not allow pink contracts.

    Trying to make people feel good without any substance to it, the FCC put out a namby-pamby statement, but it's not a rule. So it's not enforceable, even if Comcast did violate it, which btw I frankly doubt. Now under an absolute monarchy, the king says something, and it has the weight of law, so OFF WITH HIS HEAD! But the FCC is stil theoretically subject to the APA, even though King George and Regent Dick feel free to behead political opponents and otherwise act outside of the law. So they can't just fine Comcast for violating nothing.

    The real problem is that the FCC lifted common carrier obligations from the phone companies, so they no longer have to allow independent ISPs on their DSL. Thus no competition. That's the problem, not any one ISP's behavior.

    BTW, I use Comcast service, and have seeded Torrents without problem. It takes effort to trigger their system. End users (Comcast customers) aren't harmed by it. The "victims" are companies like Vuze who want to build a content distribution network out of subscriber PCs and ISP bandwidth. That's an inefficient way to do it, but the inefficient cost is on somebody else's bill.

  17. Gritzwally Philbin


    I've been on Comcast for *years* and just this past October, finally got a new computer capable of running torrents.

    So far, I've seen NOTHING that indicates my service is limited. No problems seeding ANY file. I'm getting scary fast downloads and uploads on the few items I'm going after.

    Now mind you, I stick to after midnight, since the stuff I want is usually available then (it's from Europe and I'm in New England), and I do throttle the torrent speed through the daytime/evening hours to a paltry 10k up and down - but that's as it's miserable getting my e-mail or surfing the 'net when I've got 500K downloading and 400K going up.

    No problems at all with Comcast. In fact they've been a damn sight better than MediaOne or ATT Broadband Internet EVER was.

    Also, it *could* be the fact that there's a fresh spankin' new Verizon FIOS line that's about hmmm.., let's see maybe 25 feet from the house?

    And given that the cable teevee service I have is ONLY the (unadvertised) $14.65/monthly Basic Broadcast Tier - (who needs teevee at alll with torrents or sites like hulu available?) it would NOT hurt our viewing habits at all if I kicked the cable in the head and got FIOS.

    It may very well be a matter of *where* you live WRT Comcast limiting service. If they can get away with it and not fear losing customers, they will.


  18. Chris C

    Comcast sucks

    As a Comcast customer for more than ten years (starting back when they were MediaOne using the Excite@Home high-speed internet, through AT&T Broadband, and finally ending with Comcast), I can categorically say that Comcast sucks. Back i 2001, I moved into an apartment and my internet connection would drop every few minutes. I called up support dozens of times. They all said the same thing -- unplug the modem, wait a minute, and plug it back in. It works? Then you're all set. Yeah, for another few minutes. I had over six service calls. One tech measured the signal coming directly from the tap (before it even hit my wall outlet), and he said it was a bad signal. Then, in the very next sentence, he blamed my internal wiring (yes, right after saying it was bad at the tap). Finally, one of the techs used his own equipment to test the equipment on the poles, and he found it was a faulty piece of equipment further down the line. This was ongoing for close to a year. What kind of credit did I get? A whole one month. Comcast refuses to give credits of more than one month no matter how much downtime you have.

    So yeah, Comcast sucks. The only problem is the Verizon blows. As much as I hate Comcast, I'm forced to choose the lesser of two evils.

  19. b shubin

    Also reported: pot calls kettle black

    in other surprising news, extensive research has concluded that foxes will eat hens, if allowed to guard the henhouse (voluntary self-regulation does not work, because greed is not self-regulating); and in a related story, regulators easily accessible to, and readily influenced by lobbyists, were found to be ineffective (FCC, i'm looking at you; also EPA, FDA, DOJ, DOD, etc.).

    coming up next: water is wet, and digestive waste is malodorous! we'll be right back after a message from our "sponsor", who in no way influences our content <wink> <wink> <nudge> <nudge>...

  20. Morely Dotes

    Ex-customer here

    'If you're a Comcast customer, we would like to know if your experience has proven that the ISP marketplace maximizes consumer welfare. After all, in many areas of the US, the marketplace amounts to no more than one or two options. Keep in mind, however, that if you contradict Comcast, you will be contradicting the "facts."'

    I am an ex-Comcast customer. Their policies minimized my "consumer welfare" and maximized frustrations. The tipping point came when a local-to-me distribution switch failed, and Comcast told me it would be 2 weeks before it was fixed, leaving me without any Internet connectivity whatsoever - and, no, they would not be crediting me for the two weeks without service.

    Changing ISPs maximized my "consumer welfare." I would advise any Comcast customers who have an alternate broadband ISP available to make use of their ability to change, and dump Comcast.

  21. StillNoCouch

    I am a ComCastic Survivor

    I was happy as a clam with my TimeWeiner ISP in Minneapolis, MN (yes, USA) until some behind the sceens silliness went on and I was politely told that I the Metro Minneapolis/St.Paul area was now ComCastic (as of three days before the notification).

    Since then, service as slowed to a crawl ... It takes 3 minutes on Cable Broadband to open YeahRight's home page and almost as long for a simple Google front-page.

    I don't do lots of surfing or downloading and patently NO file sharing.

    Anyone know where I can get a decent Sat-Dish ? Frankly, this tin-foil hat's starting to have an adverse reaction.

  22. Ed


    Read the TOS that you agreed to when you signed up for Comcast. What they're doing is well within their legal rights.

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