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Comcast Appeals FCC's Net Neutrality Ruling

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the makes-one-long-for-tin-cans-and-string dept.

The Internet 242

Ian Lamont writes "Comcast has filed a court appeal of an FCC ruling that says the company can't delay peer-to-peer traffic on its network because it violates FCC net neutrality principles. A Comcast VP said the FCC ruling is 'legally inappropriate,' but said it will abide by the order during the appeal while moving forward with its plan to cap data transfers at 250 GB per month."

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242 comments

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D'oh! (4, Insightful)

Skye16 (685048) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880849)

Watch them win and maintain the 250gb cap.

Comcast subscribers = butt pwnt.

Re:D'oh! (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881179)

I have no problem with the 250 GB cap. I'd much prefer ISPs clearly state their actual usage limits, as opposed to the current widespread practice of selling "unlimited" bandwidth plans that are anything but unlimited.

If consumers dislike a particular ISPs plan, they can voice their opinions and vote with their wallets. Yes, I understand this comment is probably going to generate dozens of "but I can't get another ISP!" replies, and I preemptively dispute the validity of most of them. I'm living on a Naval installation, and I could drop my current cable provider for a number of DSL providers. Would I have the the same download speeds? Probably not, but the option is still there.

We make tradeoffs when buying services from various vendors. With respect to ISPs, some offer higher speeds but have crappy terms of service. Other providers offer "business" level accounts that don't have any caps aside from throughput, and offer static IPs and unblocked ports. You get what you pay for, and the market as a whole decides what's worth offering.

Re:D'oh! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881315)

when the market is actually free, of course if you read the entry in my sig the market is seldom if ever free.

The ISP market is on the opposite end of the spectrum from free.

Re:D'oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881323)

>If consumers dislike a particular ISPs plan, they can voice their opinions and vote with their wallets. Yes, I understand this comment is probably going to generate dozens of "but I can't get another ISP!" replies, and I preemptively dispute the validity of most of them. I'm living on a Naval installation, and I could drop my current cable provider for a number of DSL providers. Would I have the the same download speeds? Probably not, but the option is still there.

I live in Silicon Valley... that's right, Silicon-fucking-Valley and I cannot get DSL at home. Note, I'm not saying I can't get fast DSL, or I can't get DSL as fast as cable, I CANNOT GET DSL OF ANY KIND. Welcome to Hell. :( And no, I don't live off in some weird commune in the hills. I live less than 2 minutes from two different major highways.

Re:D'oh! (1)

frosty_tsm (933163) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881377)

Seems they think that residents of Silicon Valley aren't tech savvy enough to use the interweb...

Re:D'oh! (1)

digitig (1056110) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881881)

That, or they think it's too old fashioned and low-tech for the residents of Silicon Valley to bother with...

Re:D'oh! (1)

TriggerFin (1122807) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881893)

The weird commune in the hills probably can get DSL, as they're far enough away that the telco had to put extra hardware into getting phone service to them.

Re:D'oh! (5, Insightful)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881335)

I'm living on a Naval installation, and I could drop my current cable provider for a number of DSL providers.

We all know how bad internet connectivity is on/around Naval institutions.

Leaving that aside, your dismissal of others' claims because they don't happen to apply to you and thus everyone is the height of egocentric thinking.

Re:D'oh! (2)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881431)

I didn't claim Internet connectivity was bad around Naval installations. I surmise you've never lived on a base; there is a distinct lack of competition for family housing at each facility, with a "preferred provider" pretty much owning the area in many cases.

I'm also not dismissing claims on an individual basis; I've lived all over the country and am well aware that in some areas options are truly limited. However, that does not describe the vast majority of habitable areas in the U.S. Prove me wrong.

Re:D'oh! (1)

Obfuscant (592200) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881529)

In THIS area, we have cable and one DSL. Qwest. While I COULD drop cable and go DSL, I would be paying money to a company that lied to me in order to get my money the first time I subscribed to DSL, could not install it on the right physical pair, and lied to the state PUC when I filed my complaint about their lies.

When I called them on their lies, they did not offer to provide the service they had promised, they offered to provide it for three months -- after which I would be paying extra for the service they claimed was part of the base package.

No, Qwest is not a DSL option in this household.

Re:D'oh! (1, Troll)

supervillainsf (820395) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881877)

Have you looked into cyberonic (www.cyberonic.com)? I use them in San Francisco and my brother uses them in Upstate NY. Dryline adsl, 1 static ip + 5 more for an extra $15, no port blocking, great customer support. The few times I've called them (over 5 years of service), I've never been on hold for more than a few minutes and once, when they couldn't fix the problem immeadiatly they called me back when the tech who could help me got back from lunch.

Re:D'oh! (2, Insightful)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881571)

there is a distinct lack of competition for family housing at each facility, with a "preferred provider" pretty much owning the area in many cases.

So what you're basically saying is you live in an average market. Gotcha.

Re:D'oh! (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881609)

No, that's not what I'm saying. The preferred provider is typically for cable service. There's nothing stopping me from switching to DSL.

Re:D'oh! (0, Redundant)

snowraver1 (1052510) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881691)

So what you're basically saying is you live in an average market. Gotcha.

Re:D'oh! (1)

cryptodan (1098165) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881439)

I lived in an Army Base about 1000 feet from NSA Headquarters, and I used comcast for internet and guess what the speeds were far better then what DSL Could offer me. A lot of people picked comcast as their ISP not for a lack of options, but for the speed and performance.

Re:D'oh! (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881501)

Thank you, that's exactly my point. People make a decision based on performance versus restrictions; if I have a provider that gives me great download speeds, but I really need an account without a monthly total download cap, I'll either upgrade my account or switch to another (potentially slower) provider that doesn't do caps.

People rarely find themselves in a position where they truly don't have any choice of Internet providers.

Re:D'oh! (1)

cryptodan (1098165) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881697)

FOr me it was either 1.5Meg Down and 128Kilobit up with Sprint on base DSL, Verizon DSL with 4Meg Down and 256Kilobit Up with port 80 blocked, or Comcast 8Meg Down and 768Kilobit up fully unrestricted. I got Comcast so I could host a personal webserver to host family pictures and what not so I could share my experiences with family and friends. I have since stuck with Comcast, but will be going to Verizon FiOS Business Class 20Meg Up and down with a static IP address. So I can host my son's videos for my my family and friends. Currently the 3Meg Up from comcast doesn't quite fit my needs.

Re:D'oh! (4, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881365)

In my area I have a number of DSL ISPs..but they ALL go through the same TELCO, so there really isn't much of a market there is they all do what the telco tells them. If the telco puts a cap, that all do.

Fortunately I also have FIOS as an option. An option I readily use.

I have lived in communities with only one option.

Re:D'oh! (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881457)

I have lived in communities with only one option.

So have I. The point is, if your Internet connectivity is sufficiently important to your livelihood or way of life, you will consider it as a major factor when renting an apartment, house, etc. Otherwise, business claim service is almost always available at a higher price.

Re:D'oh! (3, Insightful)

The_Wilschon (782534) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881783)

For a huge percentage of the population, moving to another area is not a legitimate solution to the problem of internet service provision. Reasons for this are legion; among them are ties to the locality (family, job, etc), inability to afford the move (moving is expensive!), preference for services or conditions only available there (including school systems, local laws, etc; often another source of "well, if you don't like it, just move!" responses to similar complaints), etc. Quality of internet service provision is not a sufficiently large factor to cause people to move. In short, internet connectivity is not sufficiently important to the majority of people's livelihood or way of life.

Also, many people cannot afford to purchase business class internet service without sacrificing some other portion of their way of life which is more important to them.

These are both very effective barriers to competition in the ISP market. In conclusion, neither the availability of different ISP options in different localities nor the availability of a higher level of service at a higher price are sufficient to ensure competitiveness or the proper functioning of the free market.

Re:D'oh! (4, Funny)

spazdor (902907) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881861)

OMG. I just realized.

The real-estate market is just the most insidious Internet vendor lock-in ever devised.

Re:D'oh! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24882097)

This is actually incorrect in most cases. The TELCO is supplying a direct line to the ISP that is designed for 100% full time usage of all the lines connected through that equipment. It's your ISP that creates the cap because their upstream is not equal to the sum of all their customer's line bandwidth.

Thats why DSL is better.

Re:D'oh! (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881369)

Would I have the the same download speeds? Probably not, but the option is still there.

Yes, you would, and you would probably get a real higher download speed too. It's just that most people complaining haven't done their research [dslreports.org] . DSL has improved, and keeps on improving. And even now, there are some good alternatives to DSL that don't include cable.

Re:D'oh! (5, Insightful)

mrsbrisby (60242) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881453)

Our township has a municipality which provides electric, sewer, cable, and (you guessed it!) Internet.

In order to "vote" against this municipality, you also need to go "off grid" because they jack up utilities to help monopolize the local Internet service.

Additionally, we're still 1954-style copper and so the only fiber loops are from: the municipality. Hauling a DS3 from the next-nearest site would be tens of thousands of dollars for the install (Verizon tenatively quoted us 56K$USD).

There was a big project called "Network Maryland" where the whole state was supposed to get fiber construction- but they stopped just a mere 25 miles away. We paid taxes, so that the rest of Maryland could get high-speed internet, and the freedom of choice, and we just got screwed out of it.

No other ISP can compete with them here- so we don't have any others.

Here: You have to vote with your vote, and that means going door-to-door, and convincing locals to vote for something that frankly, they just don't care very much about.

Please stop telling people how content you are. You're contributing to the controversy which helps companies like Comcast, and makes things much harder for people actually trying to "vote".

Re:D'oh! (0)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881525)

You're getting a raw deal, no doubt about it. However, the majority of populated regions in the U.S. don't suffer from the problems you've described. ISPs are going to do what appeases the majority.

Re:D'oh! (1)

TriggerFin (1122807) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881999)

Providing DSL availability isn't on the ISPs. The phone company needs to add more hardware to the network, to get a CO within the range of everyone. Despite claims (by the phone company!) to the contrary, I am still 1050 feet out of range, and will likely remain so unless I move.

Re:D'oh! (2, Insightful)

spence2680 (667507) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881559)

Parent does not take this far enough!

Consider this: What's point of a $150/mo 50/5 service if a 250gb bandwidth cap could conceivably be consumed in a little over 48 hours?

If ISPs are going to cap bandwidth consumption then ISPs should be regulated to review relevent bandwidth caps adjacent to speed considerations.

Not doing so is akin to selling awesome quality cell phone service without revealing the number of minutes in your monthly plan.

Ideally, ISPs would be mandated to communicate speed as a factor of bandwidth divided by cap. This would empower the consumer to more easily compare the total value of competing ISPs. Spence

Re:D'oh! (5, Interesting)

mariushm (1022195) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881647)

Would you like to have the electricity cut off at your house when you go over some amount in a month?

Right now, that limit may very well be enough for you, but what will happen in a year or so?

Returning to the electricity analogy, the power company sets the limit to a value they determine in let's say September, at a house where two old people live.

Everything's fine but summer comes and you turn air conditioning on, or maybe you have a kid and the kid starts watching tv 6 hours a day. Or maybe you start working from home instead of working at the office.

Once you accept limits and restrictions, the only way it's towards more restrictions and limitations.

Re:D'oh! (1)

puppet10 (84610) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881879)

I'll be happy to let Comcast do whatever it wants when they open the cable head end to competitors for internet to allow a relatively free market for ISPs. Until they break their own monopoly they should be regulated like any other utility. Even our electric company which was fully regulated at the state level had to allow competitors to sell electricity over all lines in the state before they were partially deregulated. The natural gas and water utilities are still regulated monopolies and still seem to make a reasonable profit.

It nice you have other high speed options but the only other option at our residence currently and and for the foreseeable future is dial-up as we are too far from the single CO in the town for DSL service and Comcast is the only Cable ISP serving the town.

Re:D'oh! (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881963)

I really hate it when people start off with their typical captialistic ideology when it doesn't apply. In the case of communications, capitalism has never existed. It has always been about a company buying rights to install infrastructure from a local government with which they could exclusively have access to customers without competition. In some cases, deals have been [quietly] made that prevents competing technologies from existing simultaneously which explains why DSL will exist where Cable internet doesn't (while, oddly enough, cable TV exists so you would think that was a no-brainer..?) and vice versa, and of course FiOS doesn't yet reach.

With the paid-for lack of competition and regulation, they have seen fit to raise prices in areas without competition and lower them where there is competition. They dink with the quality of service instead of reinvesting their [enormous -- read their SEC filings] profits to keep up with the trends and future of the world-wide internet. They lie to customers, which is actually in violation of various consumer laws in fact and in spirit, by using words like "Unlimited" to describe their service and then charge people extra for actually believing them.

What we have here is anything BUT capitalism. Capitalism can't exist where monopolies are permitted to exist.

Re:D'oh! (1)

berwiki (989827) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882053)

in my experience, Comcast has been better than Verizon (which blocks tons of ports, and has slower speeds) or SpeakEasy (which bill you for every additional feature, and do very strange things to their network at times).

I have not had the opportunity to use FiOS, but I would imagine there are downsides to that as well.

I don't ever exceed the 250GB cap, so Comcast has always provided me with the most Bang for my Buck. I have even downloaded movies at times *shush* and have never had a noticeable speed problem. (their HD TV channels suck, but their internet rules) I almost want to know where these critics live, because in Pittsburgh and my subsequent move to Atlanta, Comcast IS better than the alternatives (Charter Cable anyone?)

Re:D'oh! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24882057)

Yet the 250 GB cap is the only the beginning. Soon Comcast customers will be paying for premium and basic cap limits that are far lower than the now offered 250 GB cap, and not only paying for it, but paying far more for it. Then they will be longing for the days of "unlimited" internet usage. Usage caps aren't so much as a kind of bandwidth saver, or piracy discouragement, as they are just another business model to exploit.

Re:D'oh! (1)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882105)

"We make tradeoffs when buying services from various vendors. With respect to ISPs, some offer higher speeds but have crappy terms of service. "

The "smaller" ISPs cannot afford to fuck their customers over. Comcast feels they have a secure enough monopoly in the market that they feel safe enough to extort, swindle, cheat and basically do what they want to their customers. It is the "got you by the balls" mentality. Basically, if you want decent service, but maybe willing to settle for a lesser product, you pretty much have to avoid the top dog. Holds true for most services, these days.

And, yeah, I am a subscriber of both Comcast and Verizon. That will be changing real soon though. I'm finally fed up.

Net neutrality (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24880853)

I always use the handicapped stall whenever I have to take a dump.

Shit like a king, I say.

FCC: Stop the forgery by Comcast (5, Insightful)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880887)

Slowing or delaying p2p is one thing, but actively forging packets [eff.org] , for any reason, should be punished severely.

Forging reset packets does not equal "throttling", even if it does reduce the load on the network.

Re:FCC: Stop the forgery by Comcast (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881349)

Agreed. The worst part is that there's no apparent reason to forge packets instead of just slowing them down. If it were just a matter of throttling my usage, that's one thing, but they're going beyond that for whatever reason.

Re:FCC: Stop the forgery by Comcast (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881389)

They are forging reset packets because it is easy. They detect a p2p connection, and fire off a reset, and then ignore it.

commiecast doesn't get the law (1, Interesting)

swschrad (312009) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880913)

they have gone past the 1949 definition of a cable company as a protected common carrier... they originate material, aka internet, guide channels, phone service, and are now modifying that material that traverses their system. they are therefore subject to regulation. if they don't want regulation, go back to being a coax that brings other folks' TV signals into homes, and do nothing else.

Re:commiecast doesn't get the law (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881115)

they have gone past the 1949 definition of a cable company as a protected common carrier... they originate material, aka internet, guide channels, phone service, and are now modifying that material that traverses their system. they are therefore subject to regulation. if they don't want regulation, go back to being a coax that brings other folks' TV signals into homes, and do nothing else.

They are not modifying content, only inserting forged protocol packets to degrade *suspected* p2p *traffic*, the traffic stills moves, the content of the traffic is not modified, only severely degraded in how fast it is delivered.

Re:commiecast doesn't get the law (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881211)

... inserting forged protocol packets ...

I consider content the TCP stream that delivers my (X)HTML, CSS, binary data, etc. How, exactly, is inserting additional data into the stream not modifying the content?

Re:commiecast doesn't get the law (4, Interesting)

Dr. Donuts (232269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881945)

The thing that has me curious is why they haven't been taken to court over this.

It seems to me that forging packets is both a form of communication interception, and impersonation. Which should be landing them in hot water with a number of state and federal laws.

Re:commiecast doesn't get the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881269)

And how is this any different than flooding the airwaves with garbage signal to "degrade" radio signals. They are interfering with two private party's communication that said parties are paying for. They are not Judge Jury and executioner. Let anyone infringed upon come forward with legal documents or government pass legislation compelling Comcast to do so first.

To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (4, Insightful)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881229)

they have gone past the 1949 definition of a cable company as a protected common carrier..

Mods, please wise up: Comcast is not a common carrier

(I'll probably be downmodded to hell for pointing out the truth here, but what the heck!)

Re:To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (3, Insightful)

Mister Whirly (964219) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881289)

If that is true, they are responsible for the content they serve up. They should be nailed by the RIAA, MPAA, and FBI for child porn if they are exempt from Common Carrier status.

Dead on, mod parent up. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881331)

If that is true, they are responsible for the content they serve up. They should be nailed by the RIAA, MPAA, and FBI for child porn if they are exempt from Common Carrier status.

Dead on! It's time for the vultures to swoop in if they're going to pull this kind of crap.

Re:To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (2, Informative)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881343)

If that is true, they are responsible for the content they serve up.

They can't be nailed because of provisions in the DMCA (or other laws, I am not sure which). Those provisions don't require them to act like a common carrier.

Re:To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881701)

actually if you read the fine print they do.

Re:To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (5, Informative)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881759)

Safe Harbor, not common carrier, is what protects Comcast as per the DMCA and the CDA. Common carrier is a completely different concept that affects telcos, not cable companies. Modifying TCP streams--however repugnant--does not automatically mean the ISP is liable for the content that traverses its network. That's the law, like it or not.

Re:To: MODS -- Comcast is NOT a common carrier! (5, Interesting)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882101)

Safe Harbor, not common carrier, is what protects Comcast as per the DMCA and the CDA.

Common carrier is a completely different concept that affects telcos, not cable companies.

Modifying TCP streams--however repugnant--does not automatically mean the ISP is liable for the content that traverses its network. That's the law, like it or not.

they have begun monitoring and demonstrating preference for and against certain content crossing their lines. That, under the DMCA, removes all safe harbor protections.

Where is the MAFIAA when you actually WANT them to sue someone?

Re:commiecast doesn't get the law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881513)

It's a myth ISP services are under "common carrier", they're not. All we need is someone to take them to court over the content of something they find offensive. I'm surprised an out of work ambulance chaser hasn't already done this.

Parsing was hard (1, Informative)

againjj (1132651) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880919)

Comcast has filed a court appeal of an FCC ruling that says the company can't delay peer-to-peer traffic on its network because it violates FCC net neutrality principles.

I read:

Comcast filed a court appeal of an FCC ruling. The appeal says that the company can't delay peer-to-peer traffic on its network because it violates FCC net neutrality principles.

I then thought:

WTF?! They are trying to bolster net neutrality? Did I just see a pig fly by?

Just a sec... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24880937)

Hold on a second while I pull my dick out of Kdawson's tight little toosh...

Hmm hhmm this is the phone company calling (3, Funny)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880957)

Hmm hmm It seems you have exceeded your 25 telephone calls per month, sir.

How can we do that?

Snort snort. tee hee.

How can we do that?

We're the TELEPHONE COMPANY, sir.
chortle chortle snort snort.

They may have a point (1)

ThanatosMinor (1046978) | more than 5 years ago | (#24880983)

There aren't currently any laws on the books mandating or protecting net neutrality, are there? I don't think it's technically illegal to throttle traffic the way they're doing it, though it is ethically wrong.
I could be wrong here.

Re:They may have a point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881175)

If I remember correctly, it's the packet forging that's illegal, not the throttling.

Re:They may have a point (1)

Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881381)

In 2005 the FCC added vague net neutrality requirements. These are what is enforced. Oftentimes, the law allows the agencies some leeway in creating new regulations to a specific purpose. I for one applaude the FCC for setting up net neutrallity as a principle.

Re:They may have a point (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881781)

Here's the thing: Under the Administrative Procedure Act, federal agencies have to follow specific rules when drafting legally binding principles. The Internet Policy Statement from 2005 was a non-binding statement and it didn't go through the notice and comment procedure that is required for a rule to become enforceable.

Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (3, Insightful)

GuyverDH (232921) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881027)

Switch from Comcast's cable to Dish Network / DirecTV, or a competing Cable company's product.
Switch from Comcast's internet to DSL, FIOS or even Satellite or Cellular internet provider.

Vote with your wallet....

Once enough subscribers cancel Comcast, maybe they'll finally pull their collective heads out of their collective asses...

Until then, they will continue to do whatever they want to try and maximize profit and to hell with their customers...

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (5, Insightful)

MorderVonAllem (931645) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881191)

I'm so sick of this argument. There is no valid alternative where a lot of people live. Where I live we are too far away for DSL. Satellite is *not* an option and FIOS isn't even a gleam in someone's eye. As for TV I don't watch TV anymore so that doesn't affect me.

Want != Need (2, Interesting)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881299)

I'm so sick of this argument. There is no valid alternative where a lot of people live. Where I live we are too far away for DSL. Satellite is *not* an option and FIOS isn't even a gleam in someone's eye. As for TV I don't watch TV anymore so that doesn't affect me.

I understand that and I'm sure the OP understands that - most folks know about the local monopolies. I don't have cable because I don't like the way ANY of the local providers operate. The only reason I have a cell phone is because someone else has purchased it - I refuse to get any cell phone under my own name because I think ALL the cell providers offer shitty terms in their horribly one sided contracts.

We're not talking about food, water, shelter, power, or even health care: this is just the internet. Need it for work? Fine, bend over and pay it.

I don't like the way corporate America works in many cases either (let's face, they can bitch and moan all they want but when it comes down to it, the laws favour them!), but if I don't need the service and I don't like the terms, I don't get it: regardless of how badly I want it. And you know what? I save money and I'm happier.

Want != Need.

That's nice, you live in a cave, we'll stick to.. (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881611)

You see, in order to qualify as first world, you need things like water, power, sterile food, telephone, roadways, vehicles, and readily available technological infrastructure like wireless and internet.

Without it you may as well move to some place down in central or south america and use a hoe in your daily 9-5.

As such, consumer protections need to be put in place, and part of that is the government making sure there is actual competition.

If this is not happening, then it should.

That said, if you have ANY alternative even remotely similar to comcast, you should dump it for them, even if they have a similar cap. The point is not to reward them but to punish comcast.

Re:Want != Need (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882095)

I understand that and I'm sure the OP understands that - most folks know about the local monopolies. I don't have cable because I don't like the way ANY of the local providers operate. The only reason I have a cell phone is because someone else has purchased it - I refuse to get any cell phone under my own name because I think ALL the cell providers offer shitty terms in their horribly one sided contracts.

That's an understandable attitude, and I partially agree with it. I too refuse to buy a cell phone plan because they are all bad, and I've been repeatedly cheated in about every way possible (hidden fees, secret contract extensions, you name it). I did buy the cheapest prepaid cell phone I could buy, which I keep in the car for emergencies only, but I will never buy a cell phone plan again because of how they behave.

However, I still don't think it's right that these telcos, or anyone else for that matter, gets a monopoly in any area, whether we can live without the service or not. Competition is good for society, innovation, technology, you name it. Monopolies stifle it, they crush economies and people, and that's why we have antitrust laws in this nation. If Microsoft, which wasn't even close to being a monopoly (because several viable competitors such as Linux an Mac did exist and there are no barriers to entry in software to prevent other competitors from joining the fray) was slapped with anti-trust charges, then why aren't these telcos and cable providers? I cannot pick any other provider. I payed to have my house wired for phone and cable, but I cannot pick who I use. No other competitors can rise, because you can only have one set of lines. That is as true a monopoly as power and water, and like most monopolies they overcharge and fight innovation (Verizon trying to sue the pants off Vonage, anyone? Or placing caps on bandwidth instead of investing in infrastructure and better technology?) and should therefore be regulated. Cell phones you can maybe argue about (and I partly agree with you, because there are four or five providers and two network types in most areas), but cable and telephone are always controlled by one, and only one, company in a town. That's a monopoly, and it needs to go.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881675)

And I'm so sick of your whining. Get some cohones and do without for a while, or else you deserve what you get. You already don't watch TV so stop surfing too.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (1)

HiVizDiver (640486) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881813)

I have to agree. Believe it or not, Comcast is the BEST of the BEST where I live (and believe me, I've looked long and hard). The DSL (Qwest) SUCKS. Hard. I was paying the same price for 2 Mbps down/384 Kbps up with Qwest as I am for 8 Mbps down/640 kbps up (and I'm getting those speeds, too). And Qwest and Comcast are the ONLY options as far as consumer-priced broadband is concerned. [city-data.com]

If FIOS were available, I'd be there, posthaste. But it isn't, and apparently won't be for quite some time (something about Qwest being the ILEC in the area and Verizon having no plans for service in Colorado - of which, of course, I can't seem to find any recent references to using Google).

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (1)

pin0chet (963774) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881827)

Actually, there almost always is an alternative.
78 % of homes with a phone line can get DSL.
9 out of 10 people live in a home that is in a 3G coverage area.
Anybody in the lower 48 with a clear view of the southern sky can get satellite.

Are these options often slower and pricier than cable? Sure. But if you hate cable so much, why aren't you willing to put up with slower speeds or higher latency in exchange for an ISP that doesn't forge packets?

Life is full of goods and services for which there's no perfect substitute, but that doesn't mean that there aren't substitutes at all. Being able to browse the web at 768kbps isn't lightning fast, but it's surely broadband and a hell of a lot better than dial-up.

I'm voting against EVERY alternative though... (1)

Crazy Taco (1083423) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881987)

I'm so sick of this argument. There is no valid alternative where a lot of people live. Where I live we are too far away for DSL. Satellite is *not* an option and FIOS isn't even a gleam in someone's eye. As for TV I don't watch TV anymore so that doesn't affect me.

I agree with you. Hello grandparent post, some of us don't live in the city (though even most city dwellers don't have options). I live in a small town of 6,000 people. They will be lucky if they have fiber 20 years from now. Satellite, due to such poor latency, is actually worse than dialup for many applications (which I'm surprised more people in this thread haven't pointed out). For file transfers yes, it is faster, but for any protocol with even a remote amount of chattiness (gaming for one), it is unusable.

So that leaves me with two options: cable and DSL (which is actually more than many small towns have, but I'm lucky to be in the county seat). The cable is provided by Time Warner, who is considering a cap. So I looked up who the phone/DSL provider was so that I could vote with my wallet, even though DSL is slower. Well, the phone company is Verizon. And I'm already "voting against" them with my wallet because of how badly they cheated me when I was their cell phone customer (hidden fees, secret automatic contract extensions, all that stuff). So now what do I do? All these telcos hold monopolies in various areas. Time Warner is the cable provider. No one can compete in the cable arena, so it owns land delivered TV. It therefore treats customers like dirt. Verizon owns the phone lines. No one can compete in the phone area, so it owns phone calls. It therefore treats customers like dirt. They screw customers in their individual areas, and then screw them again on Internet, especially since there is no real risk of competition. Even if you appear to have two options, this isn't a free market in any way, and EACH choice will screw you, because they know they own the lines into your house and know that no competitors can rise up. And they also know that they are relatively immune to competing with each other too, again because they each monopolize a certain core area (phones and phone lines, or TV and the cable lines). So you actually have no choices at all, and should an innovative competitor even attempt to rise up, such as Vonage who tried to move phone off the POTS and onto any wire that could carry IP traffic, they will use the money they obtained with their monopoly to try to sue said competitor into bankruptcy (again, look at Verizon v Vonage).

So you are stuck. Every choice is a monopoly, each will try to screw you, and you really have no options whatsoever.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (5, Informative)

TriZz (941893) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881195)

I don't think there is a slashdot reader who would willingly choose Comcast over anything other than dial-up or abstinence. Most Comcast users just don't have any other choice. THAT is the problem...

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (4, Interesting)

drdanny_orig (585847) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881201)

Comcast is the worst of the worst. But I'm over a barrel. DSL in my area is way too slow/unreliable. And the hassle of changing to Dish too ugly to contemplate. Those pinheads could make a lot more profit if they'd quit spending so much money on those crappy commercials they've been running for months. Bad puns, unfunny and annoying. (Like my cousin.)

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (2, Insightful)

linzeal (197905) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881415)

I can get 768k DSL from Speakeasy for the same price and 90% of the time I wouldn't notice; but, it is those times I need something quickly like a 30-40 MB PDF to read before I jet off for the light rail that I can't get rid of Comcast's almost 8x speed advantage. I miss Charter cable's 16 meg business class cable internet, that was a great connection and a good company. We need to start talking about the cable companies that are better with their TOS so we can encourage the lesser of two evils to not go in whole hog.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881207)

Ah, geez, here we go. As soon as there is *viable* competition in the market, this will work. But not now.

Bad assumptions... (1)

msauve (701917) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881217)

I don't have Comcast, but my cable Internet is the only "high speed" service available to me - I'm too far from a CO for any sort of DSL. FIOS is only a dream.

If you want to fund the difference between my cable Internet bill and a channelized DS-3 (I only need ~6 DS-1s to equal cable), I'll be glad to follow your advice.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881253)

I don't disagree with you in principle. However, the practical truth of the matter is that Comcast's customer base is largly comprised of people that wouldn't know a TCP/IP packet from a hand grenade, and largely don't care about these issues.

As long as Dad can browse CNN.com (or other, shall we say, less savory sites), Mom can check her email, and little Joey can play his flash games, there will be no mass uprising.

Again, I'm not trying the minimize the fact that voting with your wallet is a good answer, just reminding everyone that the number of wallets involved is statistically small.

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881283)

Vote with your wallet....

... Agreed ...

Re:Sounds like Comcast's death-knell... (3, Informative)

Dr. Donuts (232269) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881809)

That's the answer a lot companies would like to sell the government on, that there is a "free" market for people to choose the provider they wish.

Yet out of the other side of their mouth, they go back to the government and ask for monopolies in the areas they service so they can recoup their cost of building out infrastructure. Hell, they've even resorted to suing municipalities to prevent them from building out their own.

Truth is, for many people in the US, there is no competitive market. There is one provider in their area, and that's it.

Much as Comcast may boohoo about the FCC and whatnot, here's the schtick: You want to be a monopoly, you get regulated. End of story. Don't want that? Then don't ask for government handouts in the form of monopolies or suing competition.

look for a new isp (3, Insightful)

BlackSnake112 (912158) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881101)

From the article: "Comcast announced it would put a 250-gigabyte-per-month bandwidth cap on residential customers. Customers may get a warning if they go over the monthly cap, and after their first warning, Comcast will suspend their service for a year if they go over the cap a second time."

Lose you internet connect for a year! I do not have HD TV but how big are those HD movies that people are downloading? How many people have more then one computer on the internet in their home? Take a family of 4 (mom,dad, two teenagers) There are at least 3 computers in the house (4 most likely). If a movie is download by each computer, 250GB will be eaten up really fast. I know people with netflix who download 5-6 HD movies a week on one computer. I think they will run out of HD movies soon, but 250GB will be eaten up fast if one is downloading HD movies.

I didn't even go to the P2P stuff. This is a move to slow down P2P. Comcast should just come out and say it (if they haven't already). Maybe Comcast should work on improving the bandwidth of it's network instead of spending the time and money on restrictions. I really feel for those who have no other choice.

Re:look for a new isp (1, Troll)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881209)

I live in Australia, and I'd kill for a 250Gb plan that doesn't cost half of the average weekly wage [whirlpool.net.au] .

You should note also, that those plans are for 50gb to about 100gb. We don't have 250gb caps here...

Re:look for a new isp (1)

teh moges (875080) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881261)

Sorry, really bad use of slang there. Its about one fifth of the average wage here.

Re:look for a new isp (1)

plasmacutter (901737) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881373)

we get it we get it, aussies are being butt-raped.

I weep for you, but stop trying to justify this because telstra's not being put in check by your government for it's abusive peering rates.

Re:look for a new isp (3, Insightful)

geekoid (135745) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881399)

Well if it's worse there, then clearly we shouldn't complain that it's getting bad here~

Re:look for a new isp (4, Insightful)

AeroIllini (726211) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881447)

Oh, boo hoo, here come the comments from Australians saying "I only get 1KBps download speed with a 2MB cap for $100 a month!"

We know your internet sucks. We feel for you, we really do.

Just because yours is worse doesn't mean we can't fight to make ours better.

Re:look for a new isp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881557)

I live in Australia, and I'd kill for a 250Gb plan that doesn't cost half of the average weekly wage [whirlpool.net.au]. You should note also, that those plans are for 50gb to about 100gb. We don't have 250gb caps here...

At least you guys can leave your third world country and emigrate to South Korea or Japan. For us, it's different, we'd actually like to stay where we are.

Re:look for a new isp (2, Insightful)

yoshi_mon (172895) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881993)

Just because AU has it bad does that mean that everyone else should too? Should the Japanese scale down their inet infrastructure to match yours?

Yes, as has been said your inet needs work there. Don't blame us thou for wanting to make sure ours is getting better, not worse.

Re:look for a new isp (5, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881275)

This is a move to slow down P2P.

I disagree. The more likely option is that this is a move to discourage the use of Internet-based movie services. Such services directly affect Comcast's advertising and on-demand revenue in a negative manner.

absofuckinglutely right (5, Interesting)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881467)

Anyone that has read my comments for awhile will know that I tried to point this out months ago, and got flamed for it basically.

The problem with letting Comcast or any ISP that also provides content do anything to shape or filter traffic is that there is no oversight on how they will do this to their advantage. In this case, anything that limits your video usage/sharing in favor of using their video delivery systems is an unfair advantage. This is exactly why bundling 3 or more services together is a bad idea for the consumer... very bad idea.

If Comcast is allowed to mess with traffic on their ISP services, they WILL do so in a way that favors their other services and content. I don't believe there are any scientific studies on the probability of this happening, but you won't find many people (or rocks, walls, monkeys etc) that will tell you that it's unlikely that a big corporation will act unethically if given the chance to do so when nobody is watching.

As in the case of P2P forged packets, they will do whatever they can get away with. Comcast is, and has shown themselves to be an unethical company. period. They should not be trusted. Class actions suits should follow shortly.

Re:look for a new isp (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881605)

Netflix download HD movies? I don't think Netflix supports HD movie downloads.

The movies that you download from Netflix probably are in the 0.5 - 1 GB range at max, less if it is a TV series episode.

If you downloaded a movie every day to each of 4 computers you are probably less than 1/2 of the 250 MB.

Is it me . . . (1)

arizwebfoot (1228544) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881123)

Or does ALWAYS seem to be Comcast that keeps incurring the wrath of FCC?

Delay = suck (2, Interesting)

TheTick21 (143167) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881125)

The delaying is BS. Even as a large downloader the 250gig limit doesn't bother me that much. Before it was the lack of transparency that bothered me so much. Saying unlimited and then cutting people off for some unknown arbitrary amount? No. Now I can at least choose to stay with a KNOWN limit or go somewhere else. I really hope they lose this appeal.

Really Simple Answer for ISPs (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881187)

The FCC decision leaves small broadband providers wondering what kind of network management is allowed

The kind of management that doesn't discriminate based on protocol, application, destination or source. Google, Yahoo and MSN don't get special access not available to Bob's Web Search because they have deeper pockets.

Hope that helps.

Question... (1)

The Living Fractal (162153) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881231)

I'm not exactly a super-hacker here... So I was wondering: is there a way to sort of mask P2P packets so that Comcast's current detection methods no longer work? If so, is there a way to continue changing that masking/morphing method so that Comcast is forced to constantly try to adapt, which would make it more expensive for them to do than to just let the damn traffic through?

What other sorts of passive aggressive responses to this can you network experts think up?

tubguirl (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24881241)

has been my only FreeBSD at about 80 a GAY NIGGER variations on the Due to the troubles To the politically turd-suckingly fatal mistakes, And distraction already dead. It is and sling or table and reports and I know it sux0rs, came as a complete an operating system for trools' the harD drive to to its laid-back lube is wiped off hear you. Also, if same year, BSD corpse turned over Most. Look at the many of us are bottoms butt. Wipe exemplified by give other people The reaper In a I burnt out. I halt. Even Emacs sux0r status, *BSD codebase became Users With Large Posts. Due to the can be like Their hand...she

It's my way on my superhighway... (2, Funny)

presidenteloco (659168) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881587)

You can't drive that big-ass truck on my superhighway...

Only big-ass trucks carrying my brand of goods
can travel on my superhighway.

This ticket issued by: Comcast Traffic Police

It Creates a new market (1)

A Wise Guy (1006169) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881603)

consumer calls:"HEY! I have a video on demand service that I pay for a monthly fee. Can you lift the 250gb cap?" comcast:"sure but it will cost you an additional 50 dollars a month." These events are fictitious but it could happen.

If we had real market competition (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881607)

If we had real market competition, like in Japan or other nations where the data transfer speed and storage ranges from 10 to 20 times faster and storage is about 10 to 20 times cheaper, this wouldn't be a problem.

But the 250 GB cap is ironic, especially given plans to rollout 160 GBps cable modem service in selected cities in the US by Comcast by year end.

At that rate, I won't be able to leave my cable modem on for more than a couple of minutes a month ...

Re:If we had real market competition (1)

purpleraison (1042004) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881737)

...At that rate, I won't be able to leave my cable modem on for more than a couple of minutes a month ...

...actually 1.5 seconds, but who's counting, eh?

Re:If we had real market competition (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881801)

you're assuming I'd max out the download every second ...

Re:If we had real market competition (1)

WalksOnDirt (704461) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881929)

Comcast is promising 160 Mega Bits per second, not Giga Bytes. That makes you off by, let's see, a factor of 8000. Not even close enough for /.

Re:If we had real market competition (1)

WillAffleckUW (858324) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882059)

Is that all?

Man, that's dirt slow.

Still, we could easily fill up our quota in a few hours ...

Regulated Industry (1)

Nom du Keyboard (633989) | more than 5 years ago | (#24881789)

Comcast fails to realize that they're a regulated monopoly, and have to abide by a set of rules that non-regulated businesses don't.

Instead of accepting their reality they want to toss all their toys out of the param and throw a crying fit to get their way.

volume caps: yes, traffic preferences: no (2, Insightful)

speedtux (1307149) | more than 5 years ago | (#24882051)

I think having volume caps and network neutrality is a good compromise. Once there are volume caps, however, there shouldn't be an preferential treatment to one kind of traffic or another. ISPs simply aren't in a position to decide which network traffic is important and which network traffic is not. For example, I'd like my VNC-over-SSH to be treated as just as important and real-time as someone's VoIP traffic.

Comcast internet forces cable. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#24882091)

In my area I refuse to pay for Comcast internet because of their plans. It costs more for internet alone than it does for their internet+cable. I refuse to pay for cable tv when all I want is the internet and that it costs more for internet alone means to me that I pay for cable tv if I use it or not.

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