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Comcast Customers Urged To Opt-Out of Settlement

Soulskill posted about 4 years ago | from the come-on-big-money-no-whammy-no-whammy-stop dept.

Networking 128

funchords writes "As a settlement to the class-action lawsuits over Comcast's blocking of users' Internet traffic, Comcast stands to pay 'up to' $16.00 to every subscriber who makes a claim at their settlement website and declares, under penalty of perjury, that their online activity was for a lawful purpose consistent with applicable copyright and other laws. Robb Topolski, the veteran networking engineer who kicked off the case when he discovered the blocking back in 2007, says that the proposed settlement doesn't make sense, especially after the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled this month that the US Federal Communications Commission didn't have the authority to enforce its Net neutrality principles on Comcast. 'You paid about $50 a month for the service, and the amount that Comcast stands to return is up to about 50c per month for each month that it blocked traffic,' he wrote. 'If that tiny amount of money is compensation, then there is no penalty to Comcast for interfering with its customers, for failing to disclose it, for repeatedly lying about it, and for taking so long to stop it.' The Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, in late 2007, each independently confirmed Topolski's reports that Comcast was blocking BitTorrent and some other traffic without telling its customers. Comcast first denied interfering with traffic, then finally said it throttled some applications only during times of peak congestion. However, studies from the Max Planck Institute for Software Systems in Germany eventually proved that Comcast slowed BitTorrent traffic around the clock."

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128 comments

I will punish comcast.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881602)

...by never signing up for their service.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (4, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 4 years ago | (#31881630)

Oh Luxury!! I do not have that option if I want high speed internet.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (2, Insightful)

Abstrackt (609015) | about 4 years ago | (#31881728)

Oh Luxury!! I do not have that option if I want high speed internet.

You can't eat your cake and have it too. Either Comcast pisses you off enough that you don't sign up with them (and yes, you go without high speed net access) or their behavior doesn't bother you enough to prevent you from entering a contract with them. Sometimes standing by what you believe in means doing without something you want.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (3, Insightful)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 4 years ago | (#31881820)

WTF? So basically, you are implying that I move out from where I live? High speed internet is absolute necessity for me for the work I do.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881868)

What if you came home one day and someone had taken a shit in the middle of your living room floor, and there was a note next to it: "Fuck you, courtesy of The Comcast Corporation"

Would you stop buying their product then?

Re:I will punish comcast.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881986)

Your mind is fouled fucker. If they took a dump in your mouth, I'd buy services from them for life.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (3, Insightful)

complacence (214847) | about 4 years ago | (#31882240)

Well, I would probably just file a charge of trespassing, breaking and entering, vandalism or whatever it's called.

Same as in this case, when it should be possible to file a charge of fraud. Or a complaint over truth-in-advertising laws [business.gov] . The self-regulating nature of free markets depends on accurate information propagation. The muddier information gets the greater the power disequilibrium, and the less consumer demands are met.

Yeah, I know, "good luck with that".

Re:I will punish comcast.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31884068)

Doesn't that wooshing noise ever bother you?

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

complacence (214847) | about 4 years ago | (#31884104)

I heard it coming and braced myself against it, for I had something to shout in its general direction.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881926)

WTF? So basically, you are implying that I move out from where I live? High speed internet is absolute necessity for me for the work I do.

You're a porn critic?

Re:I will punish comcast.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882284)

Jupp...your mom ain't too bad, but she could move her hip better...

Re:I will punish comcast.... (2, Funny)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 4 years ago | (#31882070)

Same here. But I use a wireless card instead of paying money to those bastards. Yes, even Sprint is better than Comcast.

Now I have to go brush my teeth for mentioning either of those names.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

trapnest (1608791) | about 4 years ago | (#31882278)

What's wrong with Sprint?

Re:I will punish comcast.... (2, Informative)

StuartHankins (1020819) | about 4 years ago | (#31882940)

Only the reception, pricing, throttling, and the fact their stuff stops working whenever we have a hurricane. $60 a month is a bit strong too especially when I had to purchase the modem. They frequently halt bandwidth flow for minutes at a time (signal strength is good during these times and disconnecting / reconnecting solves the problem temporarily). Unfortunately they're the chosen vendor for now.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

jbezorg (1263978) | about 4 years ago | (#31883104)

Only the reception, pricing, throttling,... They frequently halt bandwidth flow for minutes at a time...

Wait, how did you find out they did all this? Did they tell you up front? If so, then kudos to you for sticking by your principles.

If not, then it just seems to me like you're shooting yourself in the foot by giving more money to bastards who continue to do what some other bastards got caught doing and were forced to stop.

Other options (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 4 years ago | (#31882112)

Not the greatest speed, but there are options:
HughesNet [hughesnet.com]
WildBlue [wildblue.com]

Re:Other options (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | about 4 years ago | (#31882222)

Hate the speeds, but I really hate the prices more. But I just might do it to get away from Comcast and AT&T. Somehow I feel these people are just as shady though.

Re:Other options (2, Informative)

clang_jangle (975789) | about 4 years ago | (#31882314)

They are. Last time I checked they were capping service at 5GB, so you're better off paying less and using a faster cellular connection (also capped at 5GB though). Hughes and BlueSky are strictly last resort options for those who have no cell, cable, or dsl service.

Re:Other options (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | about 4 years ago | (#31882546)

Thanks, I will keep that in mind. I am due to renew in like June/July and I might just get an addon, hopefully at a discount. The only thing is the girl friend's son has done and got addicted to TF2 (my fault) and not sure cellular would do it.

Re:Other options (1)

mu51c10rd (187182) | about 4 years ago | (#31882880)

Good point. Sprint's new WIMAX (aka 4G) service removes the 5GB cap...have to live in one of the cities with service though.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (5, Insightful)

TaggartAleslayer (840739) | about 4 years ago | (#31881980)

This makes sense when you actually have an open market with competition.

Let's follow your logic, "Well if you don't like it, don't use it". I need high speed internet to work. "Well if you don't like it find a new job." I have the job I have to afford my mortgage. "Well if you don't like it, move."

So I would actually need to abandon my mortgage and find a new career because a cable company has a state approved service monopoly in the area but isn't treated like the public service utility it should be in order to garner those protections. It's a whole lot deeper than "Well if you don't like it, don't use it." in this day and age.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883622)

This makes sense when you actually have an open market with competition.

Let's follow your logic, "Well if you don't like it, don't use it". I need high speed internet to work. "Well if you don't like it find a new job." I have the job I have to afford my mortgage. "Well if you don't like it, move."

So I would actually need to abandon my mortgage and find a new career because a cable company has a state approved service monopoly in the area but isn't treated like the public service utility it should be in order to garner those protections. It's a whole lot deeper than "Well if you don't like it, don't use it." in this day and age.

Wait, I still don't get this. How is it that in the US, THE country of open market trade, freedom and so on doesn't have competition on their internet access?
I mean, if us Europeans can do it, surely you guys can do it too?

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

sjames (1099) | about 4 years ago | (#31882404)

While that would be ideal, unfortunately if we all refuse to do business with any company we find objectionable we would end up living naked in a cave. Too bad that's illegal.

You could buy the property and do that, but then you'd have to deal with the extremely unethical finance industry (the real welfare queens) and somehow get a job to pay for it that doesn't involve doing business with the unethical telecoms industry or the unethical petroleum industry.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (3, Insightful)

boarder8925 (714555) | about 4 years ago | (#31881696)

I will punish comcast by never signing up for their service.

If only that were possible where I live.

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

don_bear_wilkinson (934537) | about 4 years ago | (#31883774)

I will punish comcast by never signing up for their service.

If only that were possible where I live.

It is always possible to no sign up for Comcast. Simply don't do it. Of course, you may be too addicted or otherwise obsessed with LOLCATZ or whatever to *want* to do without what Comcast gives you. :)

Re:I will punish comcast.... (1)

Technician (215283) | about 4 years ago | (#31882146)

I dropped them as soon as DSL moved in. This was followed by Clear moving in. The Comcast claim form does ask if you are a current subscriber. It looks like they are going to see the numbers of ex-Comcast customers in the claims. There is not a box to explain why you are no longer a customer.

When I installed Ubuntu, I attempted to remove the Transmission Bittorrent client, but found that is tied into the system updates so removal was highly discouraged. I used to get my distro updates using Bittorrent, but had to move to mirrors of FTP sites even though that is discouraged due to the cost of hosting FTP for the software upgrades.

I Filled out the online form. We will see what happens. When Bittorrent was broken, I tried to D/L some copyrighted material just to see what it did. It started and quickly ground to a crawl then stopped. The amount uploaded was always less then the ammount downloaded, and downloads never completed.

If you have kids at home, Comcast protecting you against RIAA lawsuits can be a good thing.

Incomplete files will never have a matching checksum of a real copyrighted file.

Never understood class action lawsuits (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881606)

Never understood class action lawsuits. I would rather that if The Big Copr is found guilty, the punitive changes should be at leat 25% of their last year's profit or more.

Re:Never understood class action lawsuits (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881838)

Never understood class action lawsuits.

You don't understand written English, either, if your post is any indication.

Re:Never understood class action lawsuits (3, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31881862)

Looks like English to me, although I'm not sure who this Never chap is, nor why we should care that he, she, or it understood class action lawsuits.

Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#31881608)

I haven't read any of the relevant articles, but the summary doesn't say anyone is urging anyone to opt-out of the settlement. Better headlines, please?

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (3, Informative)

E IS mC(Square) (721736) | about 4 years ago | (#31881638)

Or better summaries. From the blog link:

Dear Fellow ‘Netizens, I’m writing to urge Comcast subscribers to opt-out of the proposed P2P Congestion Settlement between Comcast Corporation and its customers (http://p2pcongestionsettlement.com/). There are huge problems with the deal, but it only takes you a minute to reject it.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | about 4 years ago | (#31881830)

How can I reject it and it only take a minute? Is their a link? I would gladly forsake $16 to make a statement. Sure, a few thousand people will only save Comcast some cash and likely do nothing, but seeing as how I am seriously considering getting rid of Comcast, and doing without (Fuck AT&T - Your world, delivered... to the NSA - I will miss you Slashdot) I will do the thing I think is right and let my voice be heard.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883204)

Is their a link?

No, it's the third person plural possessive pronoun. Thanks for asking!

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (4, Informative)

l3prador (700532) | about 4 years ago | (#31881642)

Robb Topolski is urging people to opt-out in the InfoWorld summary.

"If people reject the settlement, they are freed from the restrictions of this settlement and can sue independently or join any other action," Topolski said in an email. "If enough people reject the settlement, it sends a strong message that the class of people that this settlement was intended to represent are dissatisfied."

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | about 4 years ago | (#31883322)

Could have included that in the /. summary. *nodnod* Would have made the headline more on-target.

Either way, I'm not affected.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

milkmage (795746) | about 4 years ago | (#31881708)

it's pretty much implied. if you settle for 16 bucks, you can't sue them again. you settled.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

shentino (1139071) | about 4 years ago | (#31881736)

Hopefully Comcast isn't given a blank cheque to keep screwing with torrent connections.

I would presume that normally, any further tampering post settlement would represent a new claim of action that you could sue for.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (3, Insightful)

milkmage (795746) | about 4 years ago | (#31881906)

but $16/per isn't exactly a hefty penalty.. so if that's "all they had to pay" vs building out their infrastructure.. they will continue to take the lawsuits. $16 settlement is comcast taking their subscribers out to lunch. once. ...look at it this way. how many people have to die/get injured before an auto manufacturer issues a recall? it's cheaper for them to pay settlement(s) than recall X number of cars. they won't fix the problem until the cost of the lawsuits exceeds the cost of a recall.

they should have been forced to refund all the subscription fees they collected while they were throttling.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (2, Informative)

Aldenissin (976329) | about 4 years ago | (#31882172)

they should have been forced to refund all the subscription fees they collected while they were throttling.

That will never happen. But it damn well should.

Re:Being Urged To Opt-Out? (1)

Surt (22457) | about 4 years ago | (#31882214)

You can't sue them again for specific misdeeds. Since this is still on-going, you can sue them again as soon as the fcc's regulatory power over net neutrality is affirmed by congress.

When you factor in the legal fees... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881632)

The punishment is at least 2-3x what users are potentially getting.

Re:When you factor in the legal fees... (1)

zippthorne (748122) | about 4 years ago | (#31881676)

thrice a pittance is still a pittance.

And when you factor in the legal fees, it becomes clear that class action lawsuits are not really ever beneficial to the class.

Re:When you factor in the legal fees... (2, Interesting)

Aldenissin (976329) | about 4 years ago | (#31881844)

That is why damages should be separate from legal fees. This would give incentive to settle early if you know you are going to settle. Since a corporation is a legal entity and if you sue me you can get damages plus legal fees, why do corporations get a free pass?

Here's my question (4, Interesting)

RingDev (879105) | about 4 years ago | (#31881692)

I get that the courts ruled that the FCC can't mandate how ISP route their traffic. They can't enforce net neutrality.

But, in this case we had the ISP injecting packets to cause end user software to abort a communication. Last I checked, man in the middle attacks that interfere with network communications was worthy of felony hacking charges. So what is Comcast geting off so easy?

-Rick

Re:Here's my question (4, Insightful)

girlintraining (1395911) | about 4 years ago | (#31881720)

So what is Comcast geting off so easy?

Laws are webs that catch little bugs and let the big ones slip through.

Re:Here's my question (4, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | about 4 years ago | (#31881750)

That is the point. If you accept the settlement, and the $16, you let them off the hook. If you do not, you can go after them for more. The hope is that a lot of people will reject it, allowing another class action to go through.

Re:Here's my question (4, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 4 years ago | (#31881874)

Is it just me, or is the whole class-action system designed to give corporations a chance to buy legal immunity? It seems pretty trivial to do something illegal, have a sock puppet sue you, have it designated a class action, settle for a pittance, and then remove the legal right to sue from anyone who doesn't remember to opt out in time.

Re:Here's my question (4, Funny)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | about 4 years ago | (#31881912)

I am patenting this business practice right away. Anyone who uses it without my permission will get sued.

Re:Here's my question (1)

pdabbadabba (720526) | about 4 years ago | (#31882224)

This is why it's actually pretty hard to put together a class action. For a class like this there is a lot of judicial management. It has to be found that the class representative has a claim that is, just that, representative of the class as a whole so they will be a reasonable proxy for the vigor with which individuals would prosecute the suit. (As well as a number of other requirements, such as experienced counsel, etc.).

The real point of the class action system is to create an incentive for small claims to be brought that would not otherwise be brought at all. I don't happen to think that $16 is actually such a bad deal (because the actual damages were what, exactly?) but even if you postulate that the real damages were $500, who is going to bring that suit individually? What lawyer is going to represent them on the promise of being paid 1/3*$500? It seems to me that is letting the corporations off the hook.

This is why, contrary to what you suppose, defendants almost always fight class certification vigorously: because they know that if the plaintiffs can't put a class together, they'll be off the hook.

Re:Here's my question (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 4 years ago | (#31882356)

It seems pretty trivial to do something illegal, have a sock puppet sue you, have it designated a class action, settle for a pittance, and then remove the legal right to sue from anyone who doesn't remember to opt out in time.

Using a "sock puppet" is against the law, and the court has to approve any settlement in a class action.

Re:Here's my question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882522)

It is designed to pad the pockets of trial lawyers. Look at the amount the lawyers for this case 'earned', then look at the $16 the customers are supposed to get.

Re:Here's my question (5, Insightful)

careysub (976506) | about 4 years ago | (#31882298)

That is the point. If you accept the settlement, and the $16, you let them off the hook...

That is the way it is in America today. Corporate malfeasance against the individual: penalty is paying A SINGLE PENNY on the dollar. Corporations claiming malfeasance by the individual (Capitol/RIAA vs Thomas) penalty is ONE HUNDRED DOLLARS on the penny!

Re:Here's my question (1)

Mistlefoot (636417) | about 4 years ago | (#31882760)

The only problem with this logic and this going after more will require demonstrating real damages.

And I certainly not trying to troll here, but as someone who has dealt with the courts before theoretical losses don't have much bearing. To sue for damages you normally need to provide receipts or a paper trail.

The problem with this and torrents would be:
1). showing the torrents that you had issues downloading (I'm guessing many won't be appearing in court with lists of pirated files
2). claiming that waiting for 12 hours instead of 2 for that file to come in had a measurable cost

The $16 per customer will act as a deterrent far more than passing up the offer in hopes.......

Re:Here's my question (1)

Jenming (37265) | about 4 years ago | (#31881760)

Because the number of people who can stand up and say 'I only used bittorrent for legal purposes' is almost 0. Without that the user is in violation of their terms of service and Comcast is just trying to limit the damage. While the few people (1 guy?) who did use bittorrent without ever violating his terms of service gets screwed the rest of the people (pirates, arrr) make this case pretty murky.

Re:Here's my question (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881880)

What? Huh?

Nice generalization, but you forgot that a majority of World of Warcraft's content is distributed via BitTorrent. That's hardly an illegitimate use of P2P.

This case isn't murky at all. Opting out of a pathetic settlement is a collective statement that Comcast's legitimate, paying customers won't let them get away with fucking them over without some kind of due process. It also sends a message to other ISPs that they can't get away with this behavior without someone noticing.

Re:Here's my question (3, Interesting)

Idiomatick (976696) | about 4 years ago | (#31882394)

I'm a pot dealer that just got stabbed by a client. It goes to court. The courts decide that the client owes me for the cost of stitches. So long as I swear under punishment of pergery that I have never used illegal drugs.

Clearly there are two fucked up issues here. How come he only has to pay me for stitches when the fucker just stabbed me? And secondly, what the fuck does it matter whether or not I've smoked drugs? The fucker stabbed me!

You don't get off because you committed a crime against a criminal.

Re:Here's my question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882500)

punishment of pergery .

Yes, I am being pedantic, but you sound like an idiot. Learn the language.

Re:Here's my question (1)

Qzukk (229616) | about 4 years ago | (#31882854)

Because the number of people who can stand up and say 'I only used bittorrent for legal purposes' is almost 0

Possibly so, but I bet the people who had their Lotus Notes [arstechnica.com] messages blocked certainly have legs to stand on.

Re:Here's my question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881840)

I get that the courts ruled that the FCC can't mandate how ISP route their traffic. They can't enforce net neutrality.

But, in this case we had the ISP injecting packets to cause end user software to abort a communication. Last I checked, man in the middle attacks that interfere with network communications was worthy of felony hacking charges. So what is Comcast geting off so easy?

-Rick

Dir sir, here is an audio explanation [above-thefold.com] .

Re:Here's my question (2, Interesting)

Angeliqe (1390757) | about 4 years ago | (#31882066)

Yes, they are a corporation, but there's more to it than that. If you accept this settlement, Comcast is NOT admitting guilt. They are still innocent in the eyes of the law. They are offering you a bribe to drop the suit. You can legally do this in any civil case when you are suing for damages. If the parties settle their differences out of court, the court really cannot say that Comcast did not pay enough if no one objects. The real winners in all this is the lawyers. $3 million to them. IANAL

Re:Here's my question (1)

jonwil (467024) | about 4 years ago | (#31882090)

What Comcast was doing would be similar to the phone company deciding they didnt like the phone call you were making and cutting off both parties in such a way as to make each party think the other party had hung up the call.

Re:Here's my question (1)

Sir_Lewk (967686) | about 4 years ago | (#31882446)

Except phone companies are common carriers, and ISPs like comcast are not (unfortunetly).

Here's my question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882374)

Why does your subject say as much as "?" would? This would have been infinitely better: "Man-in-the-middle attacks, not filtering"

That was not the ruling (2, Informative)

Degro (989442) | about 4 years ago | (#31882912)

Wrong. That wasn't the ruling. That was the sensationalist headline put out by all the news outlets to get ad viewers. Read the commission statement regarding that case: http://www.fcc.gov/ogc/ [fcc.gov] The court merely invalidated one of the enforcement methods the FCC was using.

Lawyer + lead plaintiff pay amounts (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31881776)

Lawyer gets 3 million (20%), while you get 0.000001% (16 bucks out of 16 million)
Lead plaintiff gets $2500

As usual, everyone but the lawyers lose.

Comcast offers some crazy high speed plans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882250)

But if they begin throttling bittorrent again, why would I pay them $100 a month for a 50 megabit connection?

Seems to me it's in their best interests not to slow down bittorrent.

Before I knew they were throttling bittorrent, I just assumed that bittorrent was incapable of maxing out my connection. So I saw no need to upgrade to faster service.

And now that I have the faster service and I know better, if Comcast throttles me back, they can kiss $75 a month extra goodbye from me because bittorrent is why I need that bandwidth in the first place.

Serious question (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | about 4 years ago | (#31882422)

So the settlement doesn't make Comcast pay out enough money, so everybody should opt out, so Comcast gets to pay nothing?

Re:Serious question (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882484)

That is until a better lawyer with a better case gets everyone who opted out into their class-action suit a better judgment/settlement.

Re:Serious question (2, Informative)

Renraku (518261) | about 4 years ago | (#31882716)

The reasoning is that if you take this payout, you're basically telling the legal system that this payout has righted the wrongs that Comcast made, and that you have no further claim to the wrongs. Same reason insurance companies will offer some seemingly high but lowball amount settlement really quick hoping you'll accept so that youcan't go after them when it turns out you can no longer lift anything over ten pounds. They turn a $100k settlement into a $5k settlement and gain protection from the court.

Same thing Comcast is doing here. They should be on the hook a lot MORE for being little fucking script kiddies to drive their costs down.

Re:Serious question (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883148)

Yes - that way, all the opt-out people can bring a new lawsuit against Comcrap.

Am I the only one here... (1, Offtopic)

pongo000 (97357) | about 4 years ago | (#31882492)

...who believes that bandwidth leeches (yes, you know who you are) should be capped? There are always those that push the envelope in any situation. Bandwidth leeches belong to that group. I would bet (totally anecdotal here) that the number of bandwidth leeches that are in the top 5% of bandwidth usage comprise only a few percentage points of Comcast subscribers. Why is it a loss to those of us who play nice with others when the few greedy subscribers are throttled?

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

NCatron (103418) | about 4 years ago | (#31882524)

This article has nothing to do with leeches, it's about willful tampering with a particular protocol for their entire user population, leech or otherwise.

And yes, you are the only one. I guess it's OK if you get to decide who is a "leech" and screw the other guy.

Re:Am I the only one here... (4, Insightful)

DragonTHC (208439) | about 4 years ago | (#31882532)

I'm a bandwidth leech.

I get games from steam. I watch netflix movies. I use xbox live. I watch hulu. I surf the web and use other various high bandwidth applications.

Those are all high bandwidth services which saturate my Internet connection.

I usually am online at least 12 hours a day.

I pay for Internet access, I pay for those services. I don't see the problem.

The problem comcast sees is that I download several GB per day and my content doesn't come from them. I use the access I pay for.

I prefer my content come from elsewhere. Comcast's conflict of interest isn't being taken seriously.

Why should I be throttled for legally consuming content?

Re:Am I the only one here... (2, Insightful)

Kijori (897770) | about 4 years ago | (#31883074)

>

Why should I be throttled for legally consuming content?

Because there's a limited amount of bandwidth and you aren't the only one that wants to use it. Ignoring the particular facts of this case - Comcast's underhanded methods and deception - would it really be unfair to say, for example, that those people that use the most bandwidth have their speed capped when other people want to use that bandwidth? Let's briefly look at the alternatives:

- The bandwidth is divided equally between all subscribers at all times, meaning that if Lucy Lightuser and Henry Heavyuser are online at the same time Lucy gets the same amount of bandwidth as Henry. This seems fair if you analyze it only over the times when both of them are trying to use the internet, but it doesn't take into account the fact that one Henry can disrupt the internet use for a lot of Lucys; if Henry spends all day downloading media, for example, then every Lucy that goes online will have her download speed reduced because Henry is always using as much as possible. This means that the ISP has to provide extra headroom to allow for Henry, headroom that the large number of Lucys are effectively subsidizing.

- The other alternative would be for the ISP to provide enough total bandwidth for every subscriber to use their maximum allowance all at once. This is fair - Lucy is no longer paying for Henry's use; she can even get a special light-user package if she wants - and it's actually already available. The downside is the price; because a guarantee of constant top speed means no (or little) over-selling is possible, a guaranteed 2MB connection starts at about $350/month.

So if "naive-sharing" is unfair and speed guarantees are prohibitively expensive, what can we do?

A rule that would seem fair to me would be that when a number of people are competing for the same bandwidth, the amount that each of them gets should be inversely proportional to the amount of data they have already transferred that day/week; i.e. if you use your internet twice as much as me then when we are both trying to use the internet, and there is not enough bandwidth to serve both of us fully, I would have access to 2/3 of the contended bandwidth while you would be restricted to 1/3. In this case the heavy users and light users both get a fair deal: the heavy user gets greater total transfer, while the light users get faster connections when they use them. No one subsidizes anyone else.

In order to encourage heavy users to download things when it causes less congestion you could also discount off-peak usage, so that, for example, every 2MB transferred on a home connection before 6PM would count as 1MB for the purposes of bandwidth apportionment.

A system like that would allow a heavy user like yourself to download as much as you want, on the condition that if someone who only rarely uses the internet wants to download something they get priority.

in other countries (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 4 years ago | (#31883472)

they have much more bandwidth at much lower prices

oh no, but they're SOCIALIST countries!

you know, that evil scary word that blocks out all common sense because we worship the free market fairy

the free market fairy solves all problems and is always superior to public solutions, always. look how far ahead our bandwidths are than evil socialist countries, dealing as we do with loving corporations like comcast that always have our needs at heart </sarcasm>

Re:in other countries (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883610)

Wake me up when most European countries don't fit within the surface area of a single US state.

Re:Am I the only one here... (3, Informative)

wvmarle (1070040) | about 4 years ago | (#31883484)

No matter how you argue it, the problem still lies with the ISP. They sell an internet connection with "unlimited data" and start complaining when you actually use it - even worse, they start secretly throttling the connection.

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

Kijori (897770) | about 4 years ago | (#31883650)

Absolutely true - although a little out of date. At least over here I would be surprised if there are any ISPs that haven't been writing throttling and transfer caps into the contracts and adverts for at least a year now.

The problem of some people using all the resources available isn't new; it's as old as the world. If ISPs want to offer (and people want to buy) cheap, over-sold connections then they will have to protect those connections from being used to capacity by a few heavy users. If people absolutely must have that guaranteed speed then they can get it; if they want a fast connection for little money then they will have to put up with some restriction. Although the ISPs in this case have been incredibly dishonest the problem wouldn't be any different if they hadn't.

Re:Am I the only one here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883582)

then they should NOT sell the service as unlimited and DEFINITELY SHOULD NOT oversubscribe the service. It is utterly ridiculous to sell me a service and expect me NOT to utilize it 100%.

Re:Am I the only one here... (2, Insightful)

Dr Herbert West (1357769) | about 4 years ago | (#31883668)

All your points are totally valid and seem to be well thought out. The issue for "leeches" like DragonTHC (and myself-- I do my fair share of Netflix, XBox live, and web dev work at all hours of the day and -- suprise -- I don't even HAVE a torrent client installed on my gear) is that what Comcast is selling takes none of that into account.

Anyone here could have predicted that the asymmetrical use of internet by many customers with different needs would result in less than optimal service for everyone-- and the solution to mysteriously throttle usage and inject "man-in-the-middle" attacks to disconnect the "bad" customers is a bad call on Comcast's part.

Tiered pricing? I would pay for that. Being treated like a criminal for eating all I can eat at the ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET is a breach of contract.

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

Kijori (897770) | about 4 years ago | (#31883794)

All your points are totally valid and seem to be well thought out. The issue for "leeches" like DragonTHC (and myself-- I do my fair share of Netflix, XBox live, and web dev work at all hours of the day and -- suprise -- I don't even HAVE a torrent client installed on my gear) is that what Comcast is selling takes none of that into account.

Anyone here could have predicted that the asymmetrical use of internet by many customers with different needs would result in less than optimal service for everyone-- and the solution to mysteriously throttle usage and inject "man-in-the-middle" attacks to disconnect the "bad" customers is a bad call on Comcast's part.

Tiered pricing? I would pay for that. Being treated like a criminal for eating all I can eat at the ALL YOU CAN EAT BUFFET is a breach of contract.

Thanks for the compliment, and I can't say I disagree on the fact that Comcast in this case has behaved disgracefully.

A tiered pricing structure where you could pay to be given higher priority would seem like it would make things fairer, since it would mean that heavy users were paying for the privilege. But traffic shaping is, to some extent, still going to be necessary, since the use of some heavy-users would still be more than enough to interfere with other peoples' internet connections. My worry is that it would really just function like an extra charge: if you don't pay for the highest priority broadband package then your connection won't be usable when Henry Heavyuser starts up his download manager. This all starts to sound like a bit of a protection racket...

Of course, it doesn't have to work like that. Rather than guaranteeing you higher priority the premium package could discount your transfer to a certain extent, so that (for example) Polly Premiumuser counted all her traffic at half rate for the purposes of priority assignment. This would give her a greater share of bandwidth than non-premium heavy users when there was contention, but would still allow light users to get higher priority than her if she was using a disproportionate amount of the bandwidth.

Re:Am I the only one here... (2, Interesting)

Billly Gates (198444) | about 4 years ago | (#31884192)

"Because there's a limited amount of bandwidth and you aren't the only one that wants to use it"

No there is not! That is a lie. Korea and Europe do not have the same problems. The issue is these greedy monopolistic ISPs are keeping 10 year old routers and refusing to upgrade in order to boast their shareholder price for Goldman Sachs and others on wall street.

I read on slashdot that 90% of all fiber is dark on purpose in order to limit availability and raise prices.

If I pay $60 a month for x amount of bits to download a second then why can't I get the service I pay for. It doesn't matter if their business model is on averages. I refuse to sign any contract with capped downloads. Its a shame because I hate cable with a passion and prefer DSL but in rural Alaska I had to agree to caps. My wife plays wow and uses vent so she would exceed the cap in a matter of days.

World of warcraft has constant disconnects from players with Comcast. Gee I wonder why? We are thinking of being a DSL only guild and this is rediculous. 3 players from comcast get disconnected and cause wiped in every and I mean every battle with a raid boss.

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

r_jensen11 (598210) | about 4 years ago | (#31883210)

What is it that you do for a living where you're doing all of those things for 12 hours a day? Even before I finished school, I never averaged those hours of internet usage. After finishing school and working full-time, those numbers become even more impossible.

Re:Am I the only one here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883462)

Some people work for a year and then take a few years off. If you already own a house and you can make 80,000+ in a year, then you can live quite comfortably for three years after that without work.

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

Tiro (19535) | about 4 years ago | (#31883900)

Under net neutrality it shouldn't really matter whether your content consumption is "legal" or not.

Re:Am I the only one here... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31882798)

Because you're an asshole and you deserve it?

Re:Am I the only one here... (1)

luther349 (645380) | about 4 years ago | (#31882878)

that's the problem with comcast and other isps not all but some. they promise this insanely fast speed but in realty do not have the bandwidth to do so if more then a few people are using it as they advertised. even Chris prillo uses a dsl line for his 24 hr live stream due to the fact comcast would have a hart attack with him using that kind of bandwidth all the time. point is hear if they cant delver what they promise then there false advertising. look how long they hid there 250gb monthly cap. many hate telcos aka dsl but at least they deliver what they say and have no caps or block anything. in the end it has nothing to do with the fcc they just tried to force comcast to deliver what they said they can. unfortunately it takes people wallets to make comcast change there ways. like people did to time Warner when they tried to pull the same thing and everyone in the test area either complained in mass or dumped them.

Re:Am I the only one here... (2, Insightful)

thetartanavenger (1052920) | about 4 years ago | (#31884202)

You are not the only one, I am a bandwidth leech and I agree that there should be limitations on my usage. What I disagree with though is that I am limited without being informed that it will happen. I also disagree with being lied to about it, and I also disagree with communications protocols being abused to limit me.

If they want to limit me, they need to make me aware that I will be limited for certain usages. They need to be precise and stick to their word about how and when, so that I as a consumer can choose which package will suit me and my usage needs. They need to stop selling "unlimited" packages, and then claiming I am overusing it. They need to limit my usage through the usage of correct protocol, and they need to be honest about it.

We are not greedy, we are simply using what we have paid for, and what we have been promised.

How to Exclude Yourself (1)

StinkiePhish (891084) | about 4 years ago | (#31882894)

From the settlement website: How do I exclude myself from the Settlement Class? If you do not wish to be a Settlement Class Member, you may exclude yourself by writing to the Claims Administrator. You must provide your full name and address, state that you want to opt out of the Settlement, and deliver your request by mail, hand, or overnight delivery service to the P2P Congestion Settlement Claims Administrator, c/o Rust Consulting, P.O. Box 9454, Minneapolis, MN 55440-9454. Your request must be postmarked no later than May 13, 2010. http://p2pcongestionsettlement.com/SettlementNotice.htm [p2pcongest...lement.com]

How about: they prevented my research (1)

mediis (952323) | about 4 years ago | (#31882996)

I could tell you they blocked Legit p2p traffic 24/7 because I was trying to download vmware player iso's just to see what they were talking about. I wanted to see if they were a good solution what I did. I guess preventing someone from working isn't that important.

Here in lies the problem.... (2, Interesting)

RLU486983 (1792220) | about 4 years ago | (#31883662)

By allowing ISP's to offer "Unlimited Internet Access" and then failing to hold them to that; verbatim from the very beginning, is what set the pace for them to dictate exactly how they want to define that phrase.

unlimited –adjective
1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.

Obviously, they've been allowed the use of an alternate-reality dictionary that has not been made available to the general public.

World of Warcraft Patching (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 4 years ago | (#31883732)

This also affects any of the millions of World of Warcraft players that also use Comcast. I'm pretty sure World of Warcraft uses the BitTorrent protocol for patching.

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