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Comcast's New Terms of Service Disclose Traffic Management

Soulskill posted more than 6 years ago | from the thanks-for-the-retroactive-heads-up dept.

The Internet 302

cremou brings us word that Comcast has changed its Terms of Service to include policies on traffic management. This comes after the FCC's recent decision to investigate Comcast's P2P throttling. The language in the updated Terms of Service, according to Ars Technica, mirrors the FCC's 2005 Internet Policy Statement[PDF]. "According to Section III of the revised ToS, Comcast 'uses reasonable network management practices that are consistent with industry standards.' The company points out that it is not alone in the practice, saying that 'all major' ISPs engage in some form of traffic shaping. Comcast does it to keep its subscribers from suffering the heartaches of 'spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service' and to 'deliver the best possible Internet experience to all of its customers.'"

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302 comments

So... (2, Insightful)

Adradis (1160201) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343904)

So... Comcast is saying that 5% of its customers aren't customers at all?

They did say ALL afterall.

Re:So... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343920)

As long as you're only sending email - you'll have a great comcast experience.

Re:So... (1)

twitter (104583) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344092)

As long as you are only sending email, you might as well have dial up. Broadband stagnation, aka censorship, brought to you by Comcast.

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

arth1 (260657) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344282)

As long as you're only sending email - you'll have a great comcast experience.

No, you won't. They block port 25, forcing you to use them for mail relays. This affects those who don't want Comcast to see their mails, and where the recipient can't receive encrypted email but is behind a mail server that supports TLS, so the emails will be sent encrypted over the internet. That won't work -- Comcast forces you to relay through them, and they get to copy and read your outgoing mail (and hand it over to who knows).

Re:So... (2, Informative)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344532)

Uh, doesn't basically every TLS enabled mail server support SSL/TLS on a port other than 25?

Re:So... (1)

ibbie (647332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344574)

As long as you're only sending email - you'll have a great comcast experience.

No, you won't. They block port 25, forcing you to use them for mail relays. This affects those who don't want Comcast to see their mails, and where the recipient can't receive encrypted email but is behind a mail server that supports TLS, so the emails will be sent encrypted over the internet. That won't work -- Comcast forces you to relay through them, and they get to copy and read your outgoing mail (and hand it over to who knows).

Luckily, gmail still uses 587/TLS.

Re:So... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343972)

No, only the 5% that use the network.

Eventually, given enough time, even grandma checking her e-mail once a week will be in the top 5% if they keep getting rid of the top 5%.

Of course, they'll stop once their networks are balanced perfectly between "oversold" and "not too much complaining" on the line graph.

Re:So... (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344042)

So... Comcast is saying that 5% of its customers aren't customers at all?

It sure feels that way doesn't it? I just can't grasp why it's so hard to publish their transfer limits.

Re:So... (5, Interesting)

cloricus (691063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344312)

Now that your ISPs have started going down this route there isn't much you'll be able to do. When this happened in Australia around 2000-01 a single user of one of the ISPs that lead the charge towards download limits and limited speeds started a small site, as the industry fell into worse condition (from the consumers point of view) that site basically turned into the independent industry watchdog. www.whirlpool.net.au became a very important staging ground for consumers to fight back, even if that meant mass organised exodus from misbehaving companies. Hopefully for your internet use sake some thing similar pops up in the US and gets wide attention.

Of course there is at least one up side to this all and that is once you have defined download limits you the consumer are directly paying for x amount of bandwidth. Opponents to net neutrality find their arguments fail completely because people en mass start to understand that it means they'd be paying for the same bandwidth twice. So far in Australia any attempts to start the debate on net neutrality have fallen on deaf ears and even out rage.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344140)

I'm sure glad I'm not one of their customers. If their moves piss off enough of their customers, they'll either (1) start getting crushed with support issues related to customers frustrated with their service, or (2) start losing customers to ISPs who don't screw with their customers connections constantly. I've seen and heard enough negative PR about Comcast that I actively engage in the practice of telling people to avoid their service at all costs.

Re:So... (3, Insightful)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344228)

So does one, so will another. If you think the other cable companies won't follow suit eventually, you're dreaming.

Re:So... (2, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344274)

Right, and when enough people get pissed some new guy comes along with more reasonable service terms, and lots of people switch over to the new company. It's these little things called "competition", "economics", and "technological progress." These same games were played in the 90s over dialup access, albeit in a different form. Didn't work then, won't work now, at least not long term.

Re:So... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344430)

No, someone will have a "better" way of doing it. Just how it was for Dial-Up you got charged for the hour, now that broadband is doing the same thing, there is going to be another better way of connecting (fiber anyone?) that won't suffer from this attack of freedom.

Re:So... (1)

cloricus (691063) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344366)

Of course this will only effect 5% of all customers and if those customers leave it saves Comcast money and allows them to fill their network with more users who don't download much. Furthermore it tends to keep new customers who would download a lot away from the company...It's effectively win:win for Comcast and there simply isn't anything you can do about it.

Re:So... (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344476)

Those 5% of customers you're talking about probably include more than a few people who are interested in technically novel ways to use the Internet, ways that you, I, or Comcast can't possibly predict right now. What they invent today will have a following tomorrow, and they might just be a tad more influential with persuading other customers to drop Comcast than you might think. This is anything BUT a win-win for Comcast. This kind of crap might fly now, but as tech progresses faster and faster toward a truly peer-to-peer application and data environment, their approach doesn't stand a snowball's chance in hell of succeeding. The Internet is more than HTML documents and email, and they're just going to have to get used to it. Do their antics directly affect me? No, since I'm not a customer of theirs. But I do spend a lot of time discouraging people from buying Comcast's services. I recommend less asinine ISPs instead all the time, and people listen.

Re:So... (1)

webmaster404 (1148909) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344486)

Furthermore it tends to keep new customers who would download a lot away from the company...It's effectively win:win for Comcast and there simply isn't anything you can do about it.


But really, when Comcast is trying to get the best download speeds available, who else would it attract then people who download a lot? When it is more expensive then dial-up and DSL service that takes out most casual customers there and it leaves those who have a need for speed such as people who download a lot. So no, it is eating into Comcast's customer base and makes more people less likely to get Comcast service, not a win:win, its a lose:lose situation.

Re:So... (2, Insightful)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344470)

...start losing customers to ISPs who don't screw with their customers connections constantly.

Name one. No, seriously. Name a broadband ISP in Atlanta that doesn't screw with their customers' connections. I dare you!

Re:So... (1)

quanticle (843097) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344526)

(2) start losing customers to ISPs who don't screw with their customers connections constantly.

Too bad then, that Comcast and form a duopoly in my area. I e-mailed the Qwest representative (they're the local Baby Bell) recently, and they said that they would only promise 2 megabits per second download and 1 megabit per second upload to my house. Comcast, despite all of their despicable practices delivers 5 megabits per second download (though I'm promised 8 megabits per second). Both services are comparable in price. Which choice would you make? Principles, or double bandwidth?

Re:So... (4, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344588)

With a 99% degree of certainty, I'd take Qwest. Here's why:

  1. They're not trying to screw around with established protocols like Comcast.
  2. Related to point 1, they haven't already earned my mistrust.
  3. Since I like to host stuff out of the house, Comcast wouldn't cut it.
  4. What good is higher bandwidth if I can't trust it to work for the things I want?

Traffic shaping is fine, but... (3, Insightful)

Akaihiryuu (786040) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344556)

Comcast's policies on traffic shaping are fine. There's nothing wrong with what they SAY they are doing. There is nothing wrong with prioritizing traffic based on traffic type (as long as it doesn't differentiate by source). Indeed, running a network without this type of traffic shaping would be foolish. However, this is NOT what Comcast is doing to bittorrent connections. They are actively disrupting them by doing a man-in-the-middle attack and impersonating one of the parties in the connection. This is not only immoral, but also probably illegal.

In other news... (5, Funny)

djupedal (584558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343924)

I'm with Comcast and I don't see anXXXXnX XXong wXXX my serXXXe.

Re:In other news... (3, Insightful)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344082)

'all major' ISPs engage in some form of traffic shaping.
Perhaps it's time people stopped using major ISPs.

I have never used a major ISP, and to this day my bandwidth is not shaped (unless I exceed a soft limit of 100 GB of bandwidth per month); something that was introduce long after the major ISPs started to secretly introduced bandwidth shaping. Spam controls and firewalls, etc are most effective on the client side, not the server side. Yes there are arguments for the latter, but the downsides of letting an outside agency control your connection outweigh the upsides of users having control of what type of email they accept, or the trojens they so naively install. As with everything good comes bad; let people learn from their experiences and keep the Nanny out of my bandwidth.

And no please don't ask me what my ISP is; it's small and regional and not much use to most ppl here.

Re:In other news... (5, Informative)

Scutter (18425) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344148)

Perhaps it's time people stopped using major ISPs.

I have never used a major ISP


Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. don't have the luxury of a choice in internet providers. They generally have one or maybe two options (if they're lucky). I have three "options", myself. I can either get Comcast (see story above), Covad DSL (resold by a number of companies, but limited to 512k and never cheaper than $100/month), or SBC DSL at 6Mb.

Re:In other news... (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344522)

Unfortunately, most people in the U.S. don't have the luxury of a choice in internet providers.
Don't you mean broadband internet providers?

Because you left satellite and dial-up off your list of options.
There's also those wireless internet cards you can get from the cell phone companies.

Re:In other news... (1)

Kingrames (858416) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344194)

Agreed. Why, Just yesterday I built my own internet using a bunch of spare twisties in a kitchen drawer.

Why pay some big corporation a fistful of chump change when you can make something yourself and it only costs you years of effort and puts your health at risk?

Re:In other news... (3, Funny)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344286)

I can presume you are American. If so then you need to tell your politicians to re-introduce the law that forced the backbone providers to wholesale bandwidth to anybody who wants to get into the ISP business. Legislation can go a long ways to curbing monopolistic practices.

And btw, you forgot to post anonymously ;)

Re:In other news... (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344434)

The problem with your suggestion is the republican (small r) form of government. Once these guys are elected, they don't have to listen to shit. Actually I guess the real problem is an uninformed populace that allows candidates to get them fired up on hot button issues and win that way. So it's easy for industry to get their puppets elected and easy for the incumbents to stay in office.

Re:In other news... (2, Funny)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344534)

Once these guys are elected, they don't have to listen to shit.
The problem is the wrong people are being nominated as presidential candidates. Has anybody nominated CmdrTaco? I'm sure if we combined our powers we could slashdot him into the White House.

Re:In other news... (1)

The Analog Kid (565327) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344446)

If so then you need to tell your politicians to re-introduce the law that forced the backbone providers to wholesale bandwidth to anybody who wants to get into the ISP business

Why should backbone providers be forced to sell bandwidth at wholesale prices? For the most part, I already think most of them do. (How else do they stay in business, I'm a little ignorant on the issue). The problem is not the availability of bandwidth, the problem is exclusive franchise agreements with towns which lock out competitors. In the US at least most towns have only 1 cable provider, if your lucky you have two, but usually if there is more than one, their coverage is divided.

[No Carrier] (1)

Xenographic (557057) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344378)

Shouldn't that be [No Carrier] at the end? Or was it transcribe over VoIP? :]

Anyhow, even if they call this 'reasonable network management' in order to mirror the language of the FCC policy, that doesn't actually make it 'reasonable' ...

Translations (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343944)

"The company points out that it is not alone in the practice, saying that 'all major' ISPs engage in some form of traffic shaping."

Translation: "They're all doing it too!"

"Comcast does it to keep its subscribers from suffering the heartaches of 'spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service'"

Translation: "if we don't shape your traffic, the boogeyman (or, one of at least 5 possible boogeymen) will get you".

"and to 'deliver the best possible Internet experience to all of its customers.'"

Translation: "It's for your own good. Really. You just don't realize it yet"

Better quality for games/voice? (1, Interesting)

boskone (234014) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343946)

Hi, So I wonder, if they start throttling file sharing, will it improve the experience (reduce network latency) on sensitive apps like gaming and VoIP?

It seems like it hurts more to have your game experience be crushingly laggy versus having your ISO download take 5 extra minutes.

Of course I'm biased, but what's the rush to swap files?

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (5, Informative)

ashridah (72567) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344026)

Sure, that's a good idea, and probably what a lot of ISP's do in practice. prioritise traffic.

It should be noted, however, that this is *not* what comcast is doing.

Comcast are deliberately cutting connections when a user attempts to seed bittorrent. Most users can still download, but they can no longer upload, without encrypting the tracker's traffic and individual connections. (I was able to get mine working again, after a fashion, once i setup a tunnel for the tracker (not all) traffic was able to go through)

This sucks for people trying to distribute stuff, like, say, linux ISO's, or their own music/media, etc.

I now use verizon as a direct result of these pathetic practices.

ash

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (5, Interesting)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344558)

Comcast are deliberately cutting connections when a user attempts to seed bittorrent.


That's not exactly what they're doing, either. They might be able to justify dropping certain connections in favor of the collective good. What they're actually doing is impersonating the system your software is in communication with, and sending a reset.

In any normal sense of the word this is fraud. In any normal sense of the phrase this is not traffic shaping.

I'm not an expert on these matters, but I don't see any reason for an ISP to send fraudulent resets instead of using normal traffic shaping techniques other than an attempt to conceal what they are doing. Detecting this behavior requires simultaneous monitoring of both ends of the communication.

-Peter

PS: I'm posting this on Comcast. I can't understand why they don't offer a service package they feel is fair instead of subverting our agreement.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (3, Interesting)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344040)

Hi, So I wonder, if they start throttling file sharing, will it improve the experience (reduce network latency) on sensitive apps like gaming and VoIP?

All I know is that I'm a Comcast subscriber, and I can't play any games because I get huge lag spikes (and/or dropped packets) every few minutes, depending on the time of day. Specifically, it'll be consistently fine (e.g. 50 ms or so) and then drop every packet it sends in a several-second-long interval.

Now, I don't think this has anything to do with the RST packets. However, it's really pissing me off because I've had two techs out so far (plus one who failed to show up) and it's not fixed yet, so I'm going to use it as fuel for the "let's bitch about Comcast" fire anyway.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (0)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344242)

Why don't you just change providers?

Oh, you don't have a choice of providers? Why don't you start your own? Seems there's a market.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344416)

Why don't you just change providers?

Because my choices are apparently AT&T DSL, Earthlink DSL, or dial-up. And I don't even have a landline!

Why don't you start your own?

So, you're volunteering to put up the startup money? Thanks!

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (1)

psychicsword (1036852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344292)

We had a similar problem it turned out that the line coming in was at too high of a voltage and was causing problems. So I told my parents that if they had FIOS they wouldn't have these problems. This was the last straw and now we have FIOS and it is amazing. With both me and my brother play Halo 3 on 2 separate Xbox 360s we had no lag even with bittorrent working in the background.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344436)

Blah blah blah... FIOS... blah blah blah

FIOS is a God-damned lie! It doesn't exist, at least not here, and I see no indication that it ever will exist. So all you jerks pushing FIOS are wasting your breath.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (2, Funny)

Dever (564514) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344456)

that is sweeeeeeeeeet! do you guys each have your own basement?

last straw indeed! i bet they're pilin' up the frags now!

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344314)

I had this problem a few years ago and it turned out the signal to the modem was too strong. After a series of techs came out and a supervisor and maybe the supervisor again, the next tech put a splitter in before the modem and solved the problem. I don't know if this will work for you but it's a very cheap fix to try.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (4, Informative)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344406)

Here's some facts for you from a comcast insider. well a past comcast insider.

The techs dont know squat. They typically tell you what you want to hear if they can get online, lag is a non issue they will not fix. The Lag at comcast is huge, as well as the Jitter. It's gotten worse over the past 2 years because of the equipment they install. Most people have voip quality issues because of the sniffer they have installed in every 2nd point OTN that all traffic goes through.

Also your modem is set to cache a large chunk fo your traffic before sending. this plays HELL with games and Voip as well.

If you want to do anything but surf the internet and email, Comcast will suck for you. and it's gonna get worse. They want to oversell the connectivity even further. they already are at a 13 to 1 ratio and want to push it to a 15 to 1. Stable is 10 to 1.

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (3, Insightful)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344046)

Are people really worried about 5 extra minutes? Or are people pissed off about packet forgery and actively breaking protocols?

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (3, Interesting)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344252)

Let's turn the parent post into a poll :). I'll vote first:

I'm not even a Comcast customer, and I'm EXTREMELY pissed off at them for actively breaking protocols. They sell Internet access, not "some of the Internet" access. I've had to deal with many, many friends and family member who were pissed off at their service. I get the feeling that they're trying to turn "OMG the pirating downloaders!!!" into some sort of blanket excuse for their technical issues.

New marketing slogan: "Comcast Internet Service: It's Craptastic!"

Re:Better quality for games/voice? (1)

palegray.net (1195047) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344070)

It probably won't improve performance for anything. The issue here isn't the whether Comcast has the available bandwidth, no matter what they might be publically claiming. The issue is their business model with respect to (1) their (mis)understanding of what their customer base wants, and (2) their profit expectations for the level of service provided. As for the ISO taking 5 extra minutes, I can see them easily claiming that lots of completely broken download sessions are simply an effect of customers using "throttled protocols," with their customer service department basically taking a position of "sure, we believe you were downloading legal software, right..."

They're going to need to find a way to deal with the fact that their customers are going to increasingly want access to services that Comcast may find, um... bandwidth intensive. Software delivery and data publication over the net is really in its infancy now... what are they going to do when things really get interesting with peer to peer computing?

I'm on the 'unlimited' world plan. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343948)

I'd say that ALL ISPs do some kind of managment. It's the nature of a physical medium. My dialup ISP regularly kicks me off even though they advertise no limits on how long I can be online.

Re:I'm on the 'unlimited' world plan. (1)

unlametheweak (1102159) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344222)

Getting disconnected from dialup is a fairly common problem (I used to do ISP tech support years ago). It's often just line quality. Though it could be the settings on your computer as well. I don't see dialup as a major bandwidth hog. Modems/per user may be an issue, but I think it is less likely these days that most(?) people would be using broadband connections.

Traffic Shaping (5, Insightful)

greenbird (859670) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343956)

So now forging TCP packets is called traffic shaping and is an industry standard. Yeah right, maybe for the Russian mafia.

Re:Traffic Shaping (5, Informative)

bh_doc (930270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344018)

This is a good point. Packet forging is not traffic shaping, it's active degradation of service: Exactly what they say they are trying to prevent by doing this.

Yeah whatever (4, Interesting)

afidel (530433) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343960)

Comcast does it to keep its subscribers from suffering the heartaches of 'spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service' and to 'deliver the best possible Internet experience to all of its customers.'"

I would call throttling the hell out of my connection to be a degradation of my service so obviously they aren't supplying the best possible experience to ALL of their customer, possibly most but certainly not all.

So what about seeding? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343962)

Comcast does it to keep its subscribers from suffering the heartaches of 'spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service' and to 'deliver the best possible Internet experience to all of its customers.'"
That is, until someone wants to seed a torrent.

Re:So what about seeding? (1)

Fatal67 (244371) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344506)

They cover that in their TOS also where they say customers can not run servers.

Money doesn't talk (-1, Offtopic)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343968)

it swears.
-- Bob Dylan.

These guys are taking their cues from the American Zeitgeist - where the response to accusations of executive-sponsored torture are met with an offensive stance: "Damned right! We'd do it again!" [rawstory.com] Where the response to corporate collusion in illegal invasion of privacy is "retroactive immunity".

Whaddid you expect?

Translation - (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22343970)

"Hey, in light of that whole FCC investigation thing, we just thought we should let you know that we're fucking you out of the service and bandwidth you've been paying for. No hard feelings, just clearing things up. It's alright, you can use your internet just as long as you don't use much of it; You know, like most of what you're entitled to in your service plan. Oh, and in case you were wondering, everybody does this, so that makes it cool, alright? Glad we could get this sorted out."

Re:Translation - (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344348)

it is more like "Hello is anyone going to read me... No? ok good... I am royally fucking with your internet. You are not going to get any kind of service that you expect from an ISP and we will treat you like a criminal." plus what you said

Looks like a shark...smells like a shark (0, Offtopic)

rawbobb (789377) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343978)

FIOS will kill the shark. The shark knows it. Now more than ever, I'm happy I've passed gas sitting in CEO Brian Robert's office chair.

Re:Looks like a shark...smells like a shark (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344074)

I live in the third largest city in the South -- Atlanta -- and I have no option to get FIOS. And that's within the city limits, not even in a suburb! So tell you what: STFU about FIOS, because as far as I'm concerned it's total vaporware.

Re:Looks like a shark...smells like a shark (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344226)

Yeah ... and besides, who's the big FIOS provider? Verizon, of course, and so far as I'm concerned that's no big improvement over Comcast.

Re:Looks like a shark...smells like a shark (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344606)

I agree with you that Verizon is a traditional corporation and by definition scum. (psychotic, everyones is an enemy, etc.)

(and the they are owned mostly by extremely rich old families who have walked on the backs of the poor for centuries)

But I tell ya, I just got FIOS and it's FUCKING DOPE!!

Define traffic shaping (5, Interesting)

sweet_petunias_full_ (1091547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343980)

Does this include dropping packets, dropping connections, or what? Wasn't traffic shaping originally supposed to only *delay* some packets in favor of others?

Looks like they can call something "traffic shaping" and then do whatever they want with the traffic, including not meet any of their other commitments.

This is total B.S. (1)

Fat Wang (1230914) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343986)

I have service with one of Comcast's sister companies and I notice the throttling. They also don't give their customers the speeds advertised. It is B.S. and monopolies like Comcast will continue to thrive and give their customers crap service.

This does not matter to me. (2)

Gray Elf (153941) | more than 6 years ago | (#22343990)

packet shaping is not all that bad. I do not mind if my bandwidth limit is different for web surfing and for streaming media or anything else for that matter. I makes sure that I can connect to the sites that I would like and keeps me from killing all of the network traffic for my local group. I would still like an explanation as to why my Linux torrents are still being reset.

Honestly (1)

Sevenzig (950989) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344012)

I wouldn't mind the P2P throttling so much if Comcast didn't offer such shitty service. Sometimes it seems like my internet is down every other day for an extended period of time. Maybe they should worry about making sure I remain a customer rather than worry about how much I'm downloading.

cough cough bullcoughshit cough (5, Insightful)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344030)

Yes, all the right buzz words to arguably be trying to protect the unwashed masses of people that believe whatever the government, fox news, or their ISP tell them. I'm personally sorry that we didn't listen to Mr Orwell's nightmarish vision of the future. It's upon us now.

By way of interpretation: We're going to blame the 5% percent of our customers who actually use the amount of bandwidth that they purchased. We know that if you had paid us only 50% of what we robb^H^H^H^H charge you, you would be happy with 1.5 Mbs download speed, but it sounds so much better if we promise you 3Mbs even though 90+ percent of you will never use it. This way we look like a super broadband provider to most of you, and to protect that false image, we're going to punish the few people who actually thought they were getting what they paid for.

It's not that we, Comcast, think our customers are fucking idiots, it's just that we know the damned good money we paid our congressional lobbyists is going to go a lot further than the whiney complaints of less than 5% of our consumer base.

So, we at Comcast want to assure you we are protecting you from the people who want to rob you of bandwidth so they can have the actual bandwidth that they paid for. By protecting you from these greedy bastards you can rest assured that we are doing all we can to keep your cash falling into our pockets every month. Thank you for being a Comcast customer.

Re:cough cough bullcoughshit cough (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344146)

I also don't know exactly who's ass that 5% number was pulled from. I personally know a lot of people that got broadband simply because they wanted to download stuff they couldn't with dial-up. I suspect that Comcast's real problem is that there are far more than five percent of their user base that want to pull down forty or fifty gigabytes a month, and that's entirely Comcast's fault for not anticipating the market and reacting accordingly.

Re:cough cough bullcoughshit cough (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344250)

Yes, 5% is most likely based on customer churn related to bandwidth issues. They are reasonable to assume that this is the number of people that will actually complain about bandwidth limitations, forged packets, and traffic shaping that fosters a network usage favorable to Comcast.

Re:cough cough bullcoughshit cough (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344338)

at first I was going to say that 1984 was a bit much for this situation, but damn if you didn't nail it with the newspeak

network congestion (1)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344052)

Ahh yes, how dare those other greedy customers try to use the entire amount of bandwidth they paid for!!! Don't they realize that the only way we can all pretend to have high speed connections is if Comcast is able to sign us all up under the banner of "high speed" without expanding their infrastructure accordingly?!?!

Mail Server (1)

NickisGod.com (453769) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344058)

At least Comcast let's me run a mail server and smarthost through their's.

Bellsouth/AT&T simply blocks 25. I hate that.

Not that I like defending an evil corporation.

Re:Mail Server (2, Informative)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344244)

On the other hand, running a mail server is against your terms of service, so Comcast isn't being that generous ... they can kill you off any time they want. They're just choosing not to for the moment. Me, I stopped using Comcast's SMTP and POP3 servers years ago. Even if they did block Port 25 I'd never notice it (maybe they have, for all I know.)

Re:Mail Server (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344294)

According to my Comcast connection they already have cut it off, both inbound and outbound.
I wish that I was as lucky as GP and still had it open through Comcast's firewall of RST's.

Re:Mail Server (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344384)

You can still run a server though: us an alternate port SMTP service. Yes, I have to pay a few bucks a year but it's worth it to be independent of Comcast's mail system. For inbound mail, my Web host allows me to set up my own MX records, and forwards incoming mail to any port that I want.

Re:Mail Server (1)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344450)

If I was using a separate webhost that would be a good solution, although I just do some personal hosting of minor things that I occasionally need paying for a host is unpractical for what I would get out of it.
I will take a look at some mail forwarding options. I wish DNS entries supported ports for the MX records.

Comcast access stinks (to be blunt) (3, Interesting)

RT Alec (608475) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344080)

Remember office environments a few years ago... with a T1 (ideally) or xDSL (better than ISDN)?

And you would track down the one or two users that consumed the entire pipe 24/7? And no matter where, there was always one or two of 'em?

...and maybe you were one of 'em ;)

Comcast oversold their capacity. They did not count on the number of subscribers who would exceed their ill-prepared estimates. Now they want to deny service to those subscribers... induce them to find another provider. They can do what they want, you can always choose to not do business with them.

Take their bait. Comcast is at best a reasonable solution to light users (or maybe people who swallow the entire Comcast pill-- VIOP + web hosting + email hosting, etc?). Get Fios if you can, or even a fast DSL. It is "better" access.

Re:Comcast access stinks (to be blunt) (1)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344496)

Get Fios if you can, or even a fast DSL.

And if FIOS isn't available, and you don't have a landline? What then?

Time to grow up (-1, Troll)

Wister285 (185087) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344144)

A lot of people may not like this, but I think it's time for people to get real. When you do massive amounts of downloading, you do affect other people's service. Additionally, my experience has shown me that a very significant number of people download illegally. Sure, there are good uses for things like BitTorrent if you need ISOs or other stuff, but the way people pirate stuff wit reckless abandon is just ridiculous. You don't have a right to steal copyrighted materials! Period! To think that you do is just childish. If you get caught, own up to it.

Re:Time to grow up (2)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344264)

And what does this have to do with bandwidth? you pay comcast for the bandwidth not the content. It is not their business what your traffic is. They just use that as an excuse. Let the RIAA run after the 'pirates'

Re:Time to grow up (3, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344340)

A couple of things that may have escaped your attention:

One, it's not the ISPs business to determine what is or is not acceptable traffic. That's a moral/legal judgment that they have no authority to make, are not equipped to make, and could not under any conditions be trusted to make. I don't pay them to monitor my communications and tell me what is right and what is wrong. Let the copyright holder go after me if he or she really believes that I've infringed upon any of their legal rights.

Two, owning up to copyright infringement may or may not be the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, but it's the exact wrong thing to do if you don't want to end up penniless. Keep firmly in mind that the media companies (not all, just the majors that are funding the likes of the RIAA) have no interest whatsoever in redress of grievance. They have no concern with such niceties as "right" and "wrong", as most of us understand the terms. They want deterrence. That means they need to destroy as many people as they can before they're stopped, because that's what they've determined is their best course of action.

Go check out this blog [blogspot.com] if you want to learn more about what's really going on, and why the infringers are not the real evil here.

Re:Time to grow up (1)

feuerfalke (1034288) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344396)

This has nothing to do with BitTorrent or illegal file sharing. It has everything to do with people's right to do what they want with the bandwidth that they paid for. Comcast has oversold itself and now it's panicking when people actually use the bandwidth they supposedly bought since this "degrades" the service for other people - ultimately, this is Comcast's fault though, because Comcast divvied up a pipe among too many users, to put it simply. If they provided sufficient infrastructure so that each use could theoretically use the bandwidth they paid for then this wouldn't be an issue - there would be room for everyone on the tube, so to speak. By "traffic shaping" Comcast is limiting people's ability to use bandwidth that they paid for as they please.

BitTorrent traffic doesn't mysteriously take up more bandwidth per bit than any other form of traffic - it costs as much bandwidth as anything else, though people may send or receive more BitTorrent traffic than other forms of traffic. The same bandwidth limit should apply to it however. BitTorrent is not illegal and it's ridiculous for you to assume that just because someone is torrenting that they are downloading copyrighted material. It is certainly not a basis to shape BT traffic, or any other form of traffic for that matter.

Comcast says Internet is not for Pr0n (5, Interesting)

JensenDied (1009293) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344174)

Snip..
I. Prohibited Uses and Activities What uses and activities does Comcast prohibit? [...]

Conduct and information restrictions

  • undertake or accomplish any unlawful purpose. This includes, but is not limited to, posting, storing, transmitting or disseminating information, data or material which is libelous, obscene, unlawful, threatening or defamatory, or which infringes the intellectual property rights of any person or entity, or which in any way constitutes or encourages conduct that would constitute a criminal offense, or otherwise violate any local, state, federal, or non-U.S. law, order, or regulation;
  • post, store, send, transmit, or disseminate any information or material which a reasonable person could deem to be indecent, pornographic, harassing, threatening, hateful, or intimidating;

.. Snip

Re:Comcast says Internet is not for Pr0n (1)

dosius (230542) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344400)

"Fuck"

If I were a Comcrap user, I would just have violated their TOS.

-uso.

Re:Comcast says Internet is not for Pr0n (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344468)

As would I. "No porn guys! It's wrong, and illegal, and against our rules!" What can I say? I'm sure glad I don't use Comcast!

Comcast forgets that customers never forget (5, Insightful)

stmfreak (230369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344190)

I have hated comcast for their customer service and service quality since I first subscribed to cable back in the very early 90s. Thank the gods for DirecTV introducing competition to this market of city and county sponsored monopolies.

Unfortunately, I recently moved back under comcast's umbrella and had no other options for internet within my budget. And now I'm suffering latencies as high as three seconds whenever I download a torrent. As soon as I stop torrent downloads, my latency returns to 25ms.

This is not traffic shaping. This is crap.

Shaping involves prioritizing and queing packets so that every process gets fed, regardless of what's running. You can also force downloads like BT, FTP, and even HTTP to take the slow path, moving icmp and ssh to the front of the line. This is quite easy with tc and other professional tools.

However, what comcastic seems to be doing is more akin to load leveling back in the days of mainframes. In those situations, you find that a user is hogging the resource and you would load level ALL of that users processes, regardless of function. As a result, if I'm downloading a torrent, my ssh sessions take 30 seconds to establish and keystroke confirmation lags three seconds behind my typing. Since I type about 60 words per minute, that's about three words or more behind my fingers. Wow.

Nice way to show your colors comcast. Once again, you are guaranteeing that:

1. as soon as I can, I'm dumping you.
2. I'm already telling EVERYONE to avoid you
3. I will go out of my way to starve you of customers
4. I will seek out and endorse your competitors

Good luck. May you soon die a well deserved and early death.

Re:Comcast forgets that customers never forget (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344254)

I whole-heartedly agree with you.

Comcast is unlikely to get shut out though any time soon.

They just have too much infrastructure and too many subscribers.

so if we actively seek to harm their business, can we be sued?

On a grass roots level, I think it would be difficult at best.

Fun with TOS! (4, Funny)

Seakip18 (1106315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344224)

post, store, send, transmit, or disseminate any information or material which a reasonable person could deem to be indecent, pornographic, harassing, threatening, hateful, or intimidating;
Man. Does that mean comcast is going to start going after trolls for us? Additionally, I don't want to know how they'll determine what porno is to "reasonable person"

initiate, perpetuate, or in any way participate in any pyramid or other illegal scheme;
be aware all you would-be ponzi-scheme runners in Eve or WoW.

impersonate any person or entity, engage in sender address falsification, forge anyone else's digital or manual signature, or perform any other similar fraudulent activity (for example, "phishing"
There goes my not-very-famous George Dubya Impersonations.

use or distribute tools or devices designed or used for compromising security, such as password guessing programs, decoders, password gatherers, unauthorized keystroke loggers, analyzers, cracking tools, packet sniffers, encryption circumvention devices, or Trojan Horse programs. Unauthorized port scanning is strictly prohibited;
No Nmapping your own computer or another to make it secure!!!!

copy, distribute, or sublicense any software provided in connection with the Service by Comcast or any third party, except that you may make one copy of each software program for back-up purposes only;
They don't care if it IS free. Only one for you!

use or run dedicated, stand-alone equipment or servers from the Premises that provide network content or any other services to anyone outside of your Premises local area network ("Premises LAN"), also commonly referred to as public services or servers. Examples of prohibited equipment and servers include, but are not limited to, e-mail, Web hosting, file sharing, and proxy services and servers;
Call me a stickler but isn't a ROUTER considered a stand-alone piece of equipment that allows outside access?

# restrict, inhibit, or otherwise interfere with the ability of any other person, regardless of intent, purpose or knowledge, to use or enjoy the Service, including, without limitation, posting or transmitting any information or software which contains a worm, virus, or other harmful feature, or generating levels of traffic sufficient to impede others' ability to use, send, or retrieve information;
# restrict, inhibit, interfere with, or otherwise disrupt or cause a performance degradation, regardless of intent, purpose or knowledge, to the Service or any Comcast (or Comcast supplier) host, server, backbone network, node or service, or otherwise cause a performance degradation to any Comcast (or Comcast supplier) facilities used to deliver the Service;
So, if I generate any traffic that might lower the download speed of another, I'm in violation or if I run into a telecommunication pole, I'm in violation?

This and even more fun @ http://www6.comcast.net/terms/use/ [comcast.net],the linked article

Admission to Slander (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344236)

They are putting words into their competition's mouths by stating that they shape traffic as well. That can be pretty much slammed as libel and slander in a court of law.

Comcast has been overreaching and overselling their trunk for a long time now. And they figure that they can wring a few cents more out of their bulging tracks by screwing with packets. I say BUNK!

No Real Choices (3, Informative)

phreakincool (975248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344256)

The sad truth is, in most cases, Comcast can do whatever they want and the customers are just stuck with their complaints. The reason is that there aren't any real choices. In my area, for broadband alternatives there is WOWWAY Broadband cable and AT&T DSL. I've used WOW's product, it was cheaper but the cable tv quality lacked and broadband speeds were not on par with what I was used to getting from Comcast. Everyone knows that DSL is not even in the same league as broadband cable, so AT&T is out of the question. What is needed is real competition. I, for one, am waiting for Verizon FIOS to be deployed. That's when I'll switch.

oh well that makes it okay then (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344308)

It's all fine then, since after all I have the option of simply terminating my internet service with Comcast if I don't like the new Terms of Service, which have been posted conveniently to Slashdot for my perusal.

So I'll just have to go with my other option, AT & fucking T DSL, and I'm sure their much more civilised terms, eh?  You think that's what they've got, some decent terms of service?  Do you? 

Re:oh well that makes it okay then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344362)

1984 called, and they want their fixed width font back.

Re:oh well that makes it okay then (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344408)

Whats wrong with TeleType?

Hmm (1)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 6 years ago | (#22344316)

Let me see. How can I respond to Comcast's statements in a manner commensurate with their honour, forthrightness and basic corporate decency? Ah, I think I have it: When is somebody going to take these scummy, deceptive shitsacks to court? I think that captured it properly.

Rights and irresponsabilities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344570)

Eighty one comments all pretty much toeing the party line. Now who here is going to complete this sentence? "Hi I'm a comcast subscriber and my responsabilities to other comcast subscribers, not only on my node but the rest of the network is..."

Re:Rights and irresponsabilities. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22344590)

nil. I paid for a service, I expect the service to function to the T under my original contract and not to have it change without my notice and acceptance.
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