Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Comcast Says FCC Powerless to Stop P2P Blocking

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the impotence-is-a-troubling-issue dept.

The Internet 377

Nanoboy writes "Even if the FCC finds that Comcast has violated its Internet Policy Statement, it's utterly powerless to do anything about it, according to a recent filing by the cable giant. Comcast argues that Congress has not given the FCC the authority to act, that the Internet Policy Statement doesn't give it the right to deal with the issue, and that any FCC action would violate the Administrative Procedures Act of 1946. '"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Comcast VP David L. Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11. "Bearing these facts in mind should obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority."'"

cancel ×

377 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Comcast (3, Insightful)

Ancient123 (724901) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796576)

Damn corporations always find a lookhole to continue exploiting their customers.... (fp?)

Re:Comcast (5, Interesting)

Doctor_Jest (688315) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796662)

Well, this loophole they seem to crow about (which is horse feathers to me, since the FCC has regulatory authority when it comes to denial of services by a communications provider... phone or otherwise...) is most likely trumped by the recently passed Internet Security Fun and Excitement Act (I forgot the name off the top of my head) that makes this fakery they're doing, impersonating _you_ (your machine, specifically) illegal and possibly a felony. As I understand it from the other discussions on this subject... Comcast's guilty of "hacking".... ;) For lack of a better term, legal-wise.

So, no, the FCC may not have the power to stop Comcast (but I suspect they can levy a fine, but that's another discussion entirely), but I'd suspect the FBI does... and someone might do time for it. ;) ...I know... wishful thinking...

Re:Comcast (5, Interesting)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796792)

SUCH ARROGANCE BY COMCAST!

In a different age and under a different president (Jimmy Carter), the FCC chairman could simply pick up his phone & ask his buddy in the white house to apply Antitrust Legislation to the Comcast monopoly..... thereby breaking apart the cable tv and internet arms into competing forces..... as was done with AT&T.

Who knows. Perhaps the next president will do exactly that.

Re:Comcast (5, Insightful)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796914)

Correct me if I'm wrong but could this work? 1)Start new ISP that does not filter 2)Get help from the FCC because they are a bit pissed at Comcast for their "nah nah nah You cant get us!" crap 3)When Comcast tries to buy you out/stomp you in to oblivion use antitrust laws to stay alive. 4)Grow to a reasonable size because you have some idea of how the internet works and will not be a dick to your customers. 5)???? 6)profit

Re:Comcast (3, Insightful)

liquidpele (663430) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796974)

Right. If you get the $5+ Billion needed to run cable to homes all over Comcast's area nationwide, I'll get the backbone connection and the routers, and we'll be in business. AT&T and Comcast were regulated because they were monopolies due to their infrastructure. Now they compete in this one area, which is good, but more competition is still needed in my opinion.

Re:Comcast (1)

AmaDaden (794446) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797054)

Hey I never said it would be easy, just that it could work. With any luck Google will get the same idea and act on it.

Re:Comcast (2, Interesting)

Teflon_Jeff (1221290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797406)

We can only dream.

If I were Comcast, I'd be a little more careful, because the government tends to not give a crap what you, as a business, think. And I'd bet there are plenty of other laws out there that they broke.

Besides, if they admit they broke their own rules, wouldn't that open them up to a class action lawsuit?

Re:Comcast (5, Interesting)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797106)

This is exactly why all communications lines must be seized as property of the public. We have public roads, public water, public electricity, and it's time we have public ownership of data lines.

I'm glad my city decided it wouldn't wait for Comcast or Verizon, and instead went and laid their own fiber network. Guess who has the best internet, phone and cable TV prices and service now?

Re:Comcast (3, Insightful)

Toandeaf (1014715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797184)

I for one like private companies owning the lines as it is one more barrier to improper spying by the government. Well, in theory anyway. We should be seeing whether this is true or not next presidency.

Re:Comcast (2, Insightful)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797298)

The problem has nothing to do with who owns the lines. The problem is that the government grants the owner of the lines a monopoly to deliver content over them. This would not be an issue if Comcast owned and maintained the lines, and Earthlink/Covad/First Communications/AOL competed to provide ISP services over those lines.

Re:Comcast (1)

contrapunctus (907549) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797142)

You know what's going to happen though after step 6?
The new company will turn evil and become just as bad as the company it usurped.
The cycle of life continues...

Re:Comcast (1)

mandark1967 (630856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797268)

This reminds me of the old SNL (first cast) parody of a commercial from Texxon (read Texaco and Exxon) where Dan Ackroyd sums it up by saying, "Just buy our oil and no one gets hurt"

Is there a lawyer in the house? (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796582)

Anyone willing to act as a translator for the law-speak impaired?

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (4, Funny)

sconeu (64226) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796640)

IANAL, but...

Comcast: "The FCC can bite my shiny metal ass. Nyah, nyah, nyah!!!!"

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (4, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796902)

Hah. My favorite version of that line.

[someone slips and falls]

me: Is there a lawyer in the house?

lawyer: [stands up, raises hand] Here, good sir!

me: *BANG!*

lawyer: Gah! [drops dead]

me: Now do we have anyone from marketing?

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796672)

I think it went something like:

Dear FCC,

FU.

Sincerely,

Comcast

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (5, Funny)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796682)

Comcast: "Hey, FCC, I know that you're generally not wanting to regulate us cable companies, so why not just let us go?"

FCC: "Hmm, any chance of backing that up with a law somewhere?"

Comcast: "How about this one? Just say we're being regulated by 'market forces'."

FCC: "But you're a regulated monopoly! That'll never fly!"

Comcast: "Weren't you going to run for office? Here's a 'donation' to your 'exploratory committee'."

FCC: "Sounds good. The free market wins again!"

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22797116)

You don't even have to bribe congress anymore. They pretty much genuflect in the direction of whoever has money. Anything at all, no matter whether it's right, no matter if lives or the country's future is on the line, if it causes a corporation to not gain as much profit, is immediately Bad For The Economy, and not even to be considered whatsoever.

Glad to help! It means . . . (1)

StefanJ (88986) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796684)

. . . "Stay out of our way and nobody gets hurt."

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (3, Informative)

explosivejared (1186049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796706)

I'm no lawyer, but here's the wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] on the act in question. Seems to me new ground is being tread here, so I'm not sure how a court would rule. However, such hubris can't make things easier on Comcast. They'd have to be pretty sure to call out the FCC like this. I personally hope Comcast is wrong, but that is another matter.

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (5, Interesting)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796736)

The FCC has no standing to police what comcast does or does not do to its customers because congress has not given the FCC that power.

Additionally, sometime during President Truman's last term, a statement was issued that essentially said 'We are not communists! See - we like the free market, and we will regulate as little as possible', which WAS approved by congress, and is currently active.

Comcast is essentially telling the FCC to not bother, as whatever finding they come to, Comcast will believe it illigit and not comply unless congress gets involved and changes the laws, or issues a new guidance.

Essentially - this is big political news, and if this goes forward we can expect to see a new set of good laws ( or bad) coming out of congress to address issues like this.

My bet? Be prepared for congress to give the go head to throttle down P2P as a public service.

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (3, Informative)

alexhard (778254) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797030)

But that's complete bullshit, Comcast has been granted monopolies in the cable market, so they HAVE meddled with the free market (damn communists!). Government meddling is the reason that this problem even exists.

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (4, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797402)

But that's complete bullshit, Comcast has been granted monopolies in the cable market, so they HAVE meddled with the free market

And the people to bitch to about that would be your state and/or local politicians, because that's who granted the monopolies in the first place. I've never heard of a Federal cable franchise agreement......

Re:Is there a lawyer in the house? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22797258)

Change a letter in the acronym and I bet you find an organization that does have authority to make a ruling against comcast in this matter. I can think of a few ways that their tricks would violate rules and laws that are traditionally administered by the FTC.

Call the *AA? (5, Interesting)

Lucan Varo (974578) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796594)

The Federal Communications Commission has made clear, Cohen writes, that cable service is not a common carrier and therefore is not subject to common carrier guidelines.

So that means they're responsible for what passes over their lines, right? Gonna be interesting.

thats the reason for the block (1)

ArchieBunker (132337) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796660)

to cover their ass because they are not a common carrier.

Re:thats the reason for the block (1)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796724)

So if the FCC says they're a common carrier, that'll remove their motivation for blocking in the first place? I doubt that's the main reason for their blocking, and I also think they're shooting themselves in the foot with this defense. "Common Carrier" is a title most internet companies should be striving for.

Re:thats the reason for the block (2, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797224)

common carrier is different than open access. Comcast can be a closed network to outside companies, but a common carrier to their customers. The FCC has said they don't have to share lines, but Common Carrier status is determined differently. Although port blocking VIOP and such probably disqualifies them.

The way to fix this is a lawsuit from somebody sued by the RIAA that Comcast should have blocked them from doing bad things (not a common carrier) and/or Comcast should be preventing Media Sentry from trolling Comcast IP addresses looking for infringers (not protecting privacy of it's private clients). After all, if what they manage customers to do is "private" then what other people can access about their network should be "private" too.

Re:Call the *AA? (4, Interesting)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796766)

The Federal Communications Commission has made clear, Cohen writes, that cable service is not a common carrier and therefore is not subject to common carrier guidelines.

So that means they're responsible for what passes over their lines, right? Gonna be interesting.
No, it doesn't. As has been discussed here on /. before there is a law that specifically exempts ISP's from being legally responsible for what passes over their lines. However, by choosing to block certain traffic, Comcast may be voluntarily giving up that exemption (the law in question exempts ISP's that do not regulate the content that they transmit, once they start regulating what content they transmit ,at some point they stop qualifying for the exemption. Exactly what constitutes losing the exemption has yet to be ruled by a court).

Re:Call the *AA? (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796968)

Incorrect.

The reason why ISPs and phone companies are "exempt" for illegal activities passing over their lines is because they are granted Common Carrier status. i.e. AOL and Bell are not liable for someone using their lines to hire a prostitute, arrange a hitman, traffic narcotics, or share stolen files. Their common carrier status makes them exempt.

If Comcast claims they are Not a common carrier,
then they are liable for illegal activity over
their lines and can be prosecuted for same.

In other words Comcast's denial of common carrier status is a big mistake, because they are opening themselves to many, many lawsuits because their lines were used (by the customers) to conduct illegal activities.

Re:Call the *AA? (5, Informative)

isaac (2852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797158)

Incorrect.

[snip]

In other words Comcast's denial of common carrier status is a big mistake, because they are opening themselves to many, many lawsuits because their lines were used (by the customers) to conduct illegal activities.


Christ, this is 100% wrong. ISPs in the USA ARE NOT COMMON CARRIERS!

Please stop propagating this myth!

ISP immunity for subscriber traffic/content comes from Section 230 CDA (yep, that CDA) and the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA. They don't need or want common carrier status.

The FCC explicitly classified cable (in 2002) and DSL (in 2005) ISPs as "information services" rather than "telecommunications services" in order to remove any doubt that they were common carriers.

-Isaac

Re:Call the *AA? (3, Informative)

cube135 (1231528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797354)

True, but the safe harbor provision states that a provider is a safe harbor if:

the transmission, routing, provision of connections, or storage is carried out through an automatic technical process without selection of the material by the service provider;
Comcast is selectively blocking certain methods. IANAL, but I think this qualifies as breaking this provision of the act.

Re:Call the *AA? (1)

isaac (2852) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797218)

No. ISP immunity for subscriber traffic/content comes from Section 230 CDA (yep, that CDA) and the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA. ISPs don't need or want common carrier status.

-Isaac

Amazing. (-1, Flamebait)

gnutoo (1154137) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796596)

Just when you think US network freedom could not get any worse. If Comcast gets it's way in this they will be free to block anything and everything at the network level and the US internet will look like Communist China's.

Re:Amazing. (1)

Scaba (183684) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796694)

And they'll also lose their common carrier protections, which will open them to lawsuits for anything carried on their networks, like child porn or illegally shared MP3s.

Communist China != capitalist corporation (1)

jscob (1145305) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796728)

There's a big difference between a communist government and a capitalist corporation on many levels even if the communist government is using some of those corporations to assist in the blocking and filtering of the internet. What restrictions to your network freedom do you currently have on your Internet access from your own home in the US?

Re:Amazing. (2, Insightful)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796774)

the US internet will look like Communist China's
Except for the cable company not being the government, and therefore divorced from a lot of the other power bases. Oh, and that the blocking likely won't get too far because there's another choice. And that Comcast won't be investigating people and then making them "disappear" because they're dissidents.

Other than that, yeah, the internet will be just like China's. I'm glad someone's finally had the balls to stand up and make an erroneous, inflammatory and completely unique critique of the state of freedom in the US.

yea right (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796606)

First of all, Comcast doesn't decide how to interpret the laws. Judges do.

Second of all, the FCC has been using powers that they weren't directly given (given through court cases that interpreted the laws as giving them such authority) for years, what makes Comcast think this will change for them?

Re:yea right (5, Insightful)

rootofevil (188401) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796676)

if comcast can convince the FCC not to bring it before a judge, they most certainly get to interpret the law however they would like.

"nyah-nyah :P"? (2, Funny)

HeronBlademaster (1079477) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796650)

So Comcast is basically saying "Even if we're breaking rules you can't do anything about it"?

I can imagine a Comcast rep at an FCC meeting doing a Nelson-esque "HA-HA!"...

Re:"nyah-nyah :P"? (2, Insightful)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796964)

Let's see, according to the law, corporations are people, right? Do you think we could have comcast declared mentally incompetent?

Can't wait (1)

esocid (946821) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796652)

for the proverbial bitch-slap that will follow this from the FCC and customers. If this does in fact get a counter-suit from Comcast, the Supreme Court may end up deciding what to do on this matter, in another 5 years. In the meantime let's see if Congress can grow a pair and implement some net neutrality to topple this "network management."

Re:Can't wait (1)

PenguinGuy (307634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797084)

Grow a pair?!?! LOL...

Congress doesn't have the guts to even go to the bathroom with a lobbyist around to hold the paper for them...they probably won't do anything to Comcast or to help the consumer

Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (5, Insightful)

nweaver (113078) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796674)

Now, I sympathize with Comcast. Many ISPs, not just Comcast, are disrupting P2P sessions, and these sessions are in clear violation of most ISP's Terms of Service. And P2P is horribly disruptive, a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day.

Yet Comcast seems intent on making people WANT to regulate them. Its like they are deliberately behaving stupid?

They aren't agressive at pointing out all the other ISPs, to get the heat off.

They do stupid things like pack FCC hearing, say that the results won't matter, etc.

Who's running that place?

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796862)

And P2P is horribly disruptive, a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day.
So what? Look, if that many people really want to download my English conceptualizations of Vogon poetry, then why shouldn't I be permitted to transmit that much? If I'm paying for "unlimited service", I'm damn well going to use it.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (5, Insightful)

bitbiter (632065) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796918)

They aren't stupid. This is the Standard MO of most US companies. Screw the customer, till you get caught and then say opps and pay a little fine.

Don't you know by now that most companies in the US sit down and think this out. "Lets see, we can make this much money (A) while screwing the customer. It will take this long (B) to get caught. We will make this much (C = (A X B)). When we get caught it will cost us this much (D) in legal fees and fines. So if C > D then it's what they do."

This is not going to change anytime soon. When the punishments never add up even close to what they make.
Welcome to the Corporate United States Of America.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (4, Insightful)

Dutch Gun (899105) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797164)

This is the Standard MO of most US companies.
No, this is the standard MO of companies (or any entity) which grows to monopoly-size. Competition brings out the best in companies, because one can simply switch to a competitor if the service gets too bad. The capitalist approach typically falters when:

a) The government sticks its nose in and creates or sanctions a monopoly
b) The government doesn't stick its nose in to break up an illegal monopoly
c) It's the government itself that's providing the service.
d) The company gets too big to care about customers anymore, and implode under the weight of their own bureaucracy.

From companies that have to compete fiercely for my business, I tend to get great service. Abusive and underhanded practices won't keep a company going long, because the negative PR will eventually drive other customers away. It's simple Darwinism - those that don't just don't survive long. Capitalism may not always be pretty, but it sure beats the living hell out of any other system the human race has tried thus far.
 

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (3, Insightful)

asterix404 (1240192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796922)

Comcast doesn't put an upload/download limit in their terms of service, you are paying for a service. What happens if you want to download 5 linux distros to try them out? They already cap bandwidth so that you don't ever get the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload, called them up and asked why and basically got the runaround with an answer eventually saying on because we can. The the FCC can't get them then the better business bureau may be able to for breaking a contract and/or not putting the basics of a contract (ie the fact that your packets may be dropped for network maintenance). I mean, if I had comcast, and read that, I would have told them to shove their contract up their ass and go to someone who wouldn't do that. They are targeting specific users, who use more of the service then others, which is EXACTLY the point of paying a monthly bill. It's exactly like paying 20$ a month for unlimited phone service, some people talk 6000 minutes, others talk 10, they both pay the same. Comcast doesn't have a leg to stand on.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (4, Informative)

j79zlr (930600) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797040)

the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload
750 kB/s == 6 mbps. So you are getting more than you promised, will you be sending Comcast a thank you card?

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (5, Informative)

GweeDo (127172) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797074)

"so that you don't ever get the 4mbps that you are "promised" I get 750KB/s download and 125KB/s upload"

You do know that 750KBps is 5.859375 Mbps right?

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (5, Funny)

InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796958)

"a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day."

Only if he is freely provided with the bandwidth promised by the ISP. Now are you saying he should not be able to use this bandwidth? There are plenty of legal uses for P2P so your sweeping statements just come across as ridiculous and ignorant.

The problem is simple: the company has made bandwidth promises to more people than it can handle on its lines. This is analogous to an airline promising everyone a seat on a plane in exchange for X dollars, but then when everyone who was promised a seat actually shows up for the flight (*gasp*), the airline kicks off the fat people, and tells everyone else to share seats. Now at this point any reasonable person would demand a refund and go to another airline. The problem in this situation is that there is no other airline. Your only option is to pick up and move to another location. Ask the government how this situation came about.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797052)

P2P wouldn't be disruptive if they didn't oversell the bandwidth available.

If I get a contract for an 8Mb downstream connection, I should be able to receive 8Mb/8(to MB) x 60(seconds) x 60(minutes) x 24(hours) = 86.4GB of data a day, if I want.

They're now fscking over the customer because they blatantly lied about the bandwidth availability, redefined the word "unlimited" to cover it up, and are now pissy because the way we use the internet has changed.

I've no sympathy whatsoever for corporate whores lining their own pockets at the expense of the consumer. The whole lot can go and die.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (3, Insightful)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797068)

What the hell are you talking about??? There's nothing disruptive or illegal about P2P software. How do you think Linux distributions get sent? Just last week, I downloaded the latest version of Firefox using P2P. (And the month before, Spybot, because the virus that had infected my system was blocking all browser downloads. P2P was the only way to get Spybot and fix the problem.)

Don't sit there and make false accusations that P2P Software does not have any legitimate use or is "disruptive".

P2P is a tool, just like any other tool (gopher, ftp, usenet, et cetera), ands Comcast has no fucking right to block its usage by its customers.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797398)

Wow, a whole 30GB?

Aren't they talking about way bigger numbers than that?

2 Linux Distros (9GB)
Firefox (negligible)
Spybot (negligible)

times 3 to keep your ratio (1 down 2 up)

The trouble is people doing WAY more than that.

I would recomend people running into trouble to pay a little money and get Usenet access. I pay $24 for a 100GB block of download (no time limit). This is about 100 hours + of good quality video (somewhere between DVD and HDTV). I usually get 500KB/s download (though sometimes it is down aroun 200).

For recent stuff it is easier to find a good NZB than a good torrent, and bandwidth usage is WAY lower (even when taking into account that checksumming overhead of PAR files).

Every now and again torrents are useful for older things, but most stuff is just way more convenient to get from the news servers.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (1)

WindowlessView (703773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797098)

Yet Comcast seems intent on making people WANT to regulate them. Its like they are deliberately behaving stupid?

I was thinking the same thing. It's almost as if they are unaware of what has been going on in the world of late. With the sub-prime market completely off the rails, major investment banks failing, etc., is this really the time to be spitting in the face of government? My sense is that you couldn't pick a worse time to be arguing against regulations and trotting out variations of the "free markets will take care of themselves" shibboleths.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (3, Informative)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797126)

And P2P is horribly disruptive, a single user can easily transmit 20 GB of data in a day.
Sure, if they max out 2Mbps of upload bandwidth for 24 hours straight.
What *Comcast/Verizon/AT&T connection do you have that does a steady 2Mbps up?

Last I checked, non-business connections were either 384 kbps or 768 kbps, which is about 4GB & 8GB per day respectively. I limit this discussion to Comcast/Verizon/AT&T because those are usually the only options for the vast majority of people in the USA.

So who are these non-business/non-FIOS users transmitting 20 GB per day?

http://www.google.com/search?q=20+GB+per+day+in+Kbps [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?q=384+kbps+in+GB+per+day [google.com]
http://www.google.com/search?q=768+kbps+in+GB+per+day [google.com]

*non-business & non-fiber since comcast can't exactly blame fiber users for running up their bandwidth bill.

Re:Just how STUPID IS Comcast? (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797280)

because they WANT regulation.. the kind they can write themselves, like all good monopolies. They'll write the regulations that they have to do lots of tracking and logging and preventing people from services... in exchange they'll get explicit permission to block WHATEVER they want to "new emerging threats" to copyright... or their business model. Everything out side of port 80 will be blocked unless you pay for a Game plan or a VPN plan or a iTunes Plan... wait for it!

Actually (1)

vandit2k6 (848077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796700)

This is quiet interesting and, in fact, it seems like Comcast is right. Look at Verizon. They're essentially saying that they will HELP the P2P traffic. Not block it but 'gasp' HELP the P2P traffic. It seems like Comcast is taking the same direction. Anyway correct me I am wrong please.

We'll play along... (1)

KookyMan (850095) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796702)

... with all these hearings and whatnot, not because we feel we have to, but because you can't do anything to us even if we're wrong.

What a totally screwed up system we have now, if this is all true. (No, I've not RTFA.)

A cable company in favor of 'the market'? (4, Insightful)

mgkimsal2 (200677) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796716)

Isn't this the same Comcast which runs cable service in markets which usually has a local government-granted monopoly for cable service in those regions? Funny that now they want to say "let the market decide" when cable companies generally won't invest in the infrastructure unless granted a monopoly on providing cable service. I'm remembering back a long time - perhaps this isn't the case any more. If broadband options were available everywhere, I'd certainly say "let the market decide" - many people (myself included) only have one option for broadband, and it's often cable.

mod parent up! (2, Funny)

xmuskrat (613243) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796860)

If I had mod points, you'd get them.

In other news... (3, Insightful)

sweatyboatman (457800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796720)

...Car thieves have declared the police have no legal authority to prevent them from stealing cars.

Good luck with that.

I don't really understand what Comcast hopes to get out of such an "above the law" argument. It's just bound to piss off the FCC regulators even more and make them more committed to enforcing whatever decision they make against Comcast. Just to show all the other cable companies and telcos that they aren't to be messed with.

Re:In other news... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22797100)

Is an FCC victory in everyone's best interest, though? It's unlikely that Comcast will say "eh, so be it" and eat the cost of P2P bandwidth. My best guess is that they would then create tiered service levels -- the normal, p2p crippled service will be $50, the really, no-kidding-this-time unlimited account will be $120 (insert your own prices here, this is just for illustration). Will people be willing to pay double for unlimited, unfiltered bandwidth?

Tin foil hat time? (1)

zappepcs (820751) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797362)

Tin foil hat time? Perhaps Comcast needs to be above the law/FCC in this case in order to take the money from the **AA next year when they begin implementing the **AA's recommended network practices for ISPs. If it is against the law, the **AA won't pay them, well at least not honestly.

What bullshit (5, Insightful)

Coopjust (872796) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796738)

I honestly can't believe the amount of crap coming from Comcast.

The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful,"


Yeah, right. Which is why US broadband penetration continues to rank lower and lower worldwide despite $200 Billion from the government. And people are protesting traffic filtering. And your company is so afraid of actual people sitting at an FCC public hearing that they pay people to hold seats for employees, busing the employees in, and locking the public out from the meeting.

What Comcast is doing with the sandvine filtering is forging packets. That's fraud.

Re:What bullshit (1)

nuzak (959558) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797174)

> Which is why US broadband penetration continues to rank lower and lower worldwide despite $200 Billion from the government.

200 billion is a massive chunk of change, higher than the infrastructure investment of any other industrialized country. What's the law that authorized it, and where's it actually going? I'd like to follow that money and see if there's perhaps a few people who belong in the clink for misappropriating it.

Re:What bullshit (1)

electrictroy (912290) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797194)

Ya know, "U.S. has one of the worst broadband speeds" is a myth. If you take all the European Union states and compare them to the United States (as a whole region), you will discover that they are essentially equal. U.S. = 5.1 and E.U. = 4.9 megabit/s per home. Furthermore, if you take highly-populated states such as New Jersey or Connecticut, you will find that they provide average speeds (11 mbps) almost as good as the #1 country, Japan.

"U.S. is slow" is a myth that is not sustained by the available data.

In fact, U.S. is the 2nd fastest region in the world (behind Japan, and just above the E.U.).



Challenge (5, Interesting)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796754)

That sounds like a challenge to me. I'll be interested to see if the FCC accepts the challenge and shows Comcast that it's the government, not corporations that run things, despite what many (including Comcast, obviously) may think.

Re:Challenge (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796976)

it's the government, not corporations that run things

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

thats a good one

Re:Challenge (1)

Timinithis (14891) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797082)

Since the FCC can pull broadcast licenses from TV/Radio stations, can't they just yank Comcast's license? I know it would leave many people in the dark -- me included, but I'd love to see them shut down for this crap.

If anyone knew how to stop the RST bulls417 from reaching the other party, I might be able to enjoy my Netflix on demand more...

Radio Free... (1)

Alastor187 (593341) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797200)

Word...send out the FCC Search and Destroy vessel to "drop the ****ing hammer"!

Re:Challenge (1)

Shark (78448) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797326)

I was under the impression that in a constitutional republic, it was the people who ran things.

In other words... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796780)

The FCC is saying you have the right to use another ISP. If comcast changes their policy and it violates the original contract you signed with them, you have an out to leave the ISP and get another one.

Comcast is not the only game in town. It's just one of the fastest. Even for gaming and youtube, DSL is more than adequate.

If you have a problem with comcast's policies get another ISP. There's nothing more policy changing than losing half your subscribers. It's not the FCC's problem. Comcast is not legally required to make you happy, they are economically required.

-AC

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796900)

The FCC is saying you have the right to use another ISP. If comcast changes their policy and it violates the original contract you signed with them, you have an out to leave the ISP and get another one.

Except the contract you have with them says they can change the contract at any time for any reason without notifying you.

Re:In other words... (1)

cube135 (1231528) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797234)

And have they changed the contract? It's a given that they're allowed to(you agreed to it to use their service), but if the updated one is not available, is it still valid?

failzor5. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796822)

Now I may be a mutated hyper chicken (2, Informative)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796830)

Comcast argues that Congress has not given the FCC the authority to act...
Then who gave the FCC authority in the first place to do anything?

Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is a United States government agency, created, directed, and empowered by Congressional statute (see 47 U.S.C. 151 and 47 U.S.C. 154), and with the majority of its commissioners appointed by the current president.
The FCC was established by the Communications Act of 1934 as the successor to the Federal Radio Commission and is charged with regulating all non-Federal Government use of the radio spectrum (including radio and television broadcasting), and all interstate telecommunications (wire, satellite and cable) as well as all international communications that originate or terminate in the United States.
So it was congress who gave them the authority to act and then took it away with another act?

Jail time sounds good to me.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796836)

If I was doing this to their users I'd be in jail for hacking, etc. Sounds like a good thing to do to those assholes in comcast. I would think are have violated the contract with their users.

captcha: congress aka useless

here let me... (1)

Some_Llama (763766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796838)

"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful for the corporations (including Comcast), but for the consumer, not so much."

There, fixed that for you, i appreciate the generous act of telling it like it is but you forgot that last part. :)

Competition (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796850)

"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful,"

Comcast's "marketplace" justification doesn't work. Their implication is that having a market means you have competition. But Comcast has a licensed monopoly on the cable network, and some telephone company has a monopoly on the telephone network. That's a market with, at the very most, one competitor.

creators say corepirate nazis powerless to prevent (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796876)

the wwwildly popular, newclear powered, planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. the lights are coming up all over now. see you there? let yOUR conscience be yOUR guide. you can be more helpful than you might have imagined. there are still some choices. if they do not suit you, consider the likely results of continuing to follow the corepirate nazi hypenosys story LIEn, whereas anything of relevance is replaced almost instantly with pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking propaganda or 'celebrity' trivia 'foam'. meanwhile; don't forget to get a little more oxygen on yOUR brain, & look up in the sky from time to time, starting early in the day. there's lots going on up there.

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071229/ap_on_sc/ye_climate_records;_ylt=A0WTcVgednZHP2gB9wms0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20080108/ts_alt_afp/ushealthfrancemortality;_ylt=A9G_RngbRIVHsYAAfCas0NUE [yahoo.com]
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/31/opinion/31mon1.html?em&ex=1199336400&en=c4b5414371631707&ei=5087%0A [nytimes.com]

is it time to get real yet? A LOT of energy is being squandered in attempts to keep US in the dark. in the end (give or take a few 1000 years), the creators will prevail (world without end, etc...), as it has always been. the process of gaining yOUR release from the current hostage situation may not be what you might think it is. butt of course, most of US don't know, or care what a precarious/fatal situation we're in. for example; the insidious attempts by the felonious corepirate nazi execrable to block the suns' light, interfering with a requirement (sunlight) for us to stay healthy/alive. it's likely not good for yOUR health/memories 'else they'd be bragging about it? we're intending for the whoreabully deceptive (they'll do ANYTHING for a bit more monIE/power) felons to give up/fail even further, in attempting to control the 'weather', as well as a # of other things/events.

http://video.google.com/videosearch?hl=en&q=video+cloud+spraying [google.com]

dictator style micro management has never worked (for very long). it's an illness. tie that with life0cidal aggression & softwar gangster style bullying, & what do we have? a greed/fear/ego based recipe for disaster. meanwhile, you can help to stop the bleeding (loss of life & limb);

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/28/vermont.banning.bush.ap/index.html [cnn.com]

the bleeding must be stopped before any healing can begin. jailing a couple of corepirate nazi hired goons would send a clear message to the rest of the world from US. any truthful look at the 'scorecard' would reveal that we are a society in decline/deep doo-doo, despite all of the scriptdead pr ?firm? generated drum beating & flag waving propaganda that we are constantly bombarded with. is it time to get real yet? please consider carefully ALL of yOUR other 'options'. the creators will prevail. as it has always been.

corepirate nazi execrable costs outweigh benefits
(Score:-)mynuts won, the king is a fink)
by ourselves on everyday 24/7

as there are no benefits, just more&more death/debt & disruption. fortunately there's an 'army' of light bringers, coming yOUR way. the little ones/innocents must/will be protected. after the big flash, ALL of yOUR imaginary 'borders' may blur a bit? for each of the creators' innocents harmed in any way, there is a debt that must/will be repaid by you/us, as the perpetrators/minions of unprecedented evile, will not be available. 'vote' with (what's left in) yOUR wallet, & by your behaviors. help bring an end to unprecedented evile's manifestation through yOUR owned felonious corepirate nazi glowbull warmongering execrable. some of US should consider ourselves somewhat fortunate to be among those scheduled to survive after the big flash/implementation of the creators' wwwildly popular planet/population rescue initiative/mandate. it's right in the manual, 'world without end', etc.... as we all ?know?, change is inevitable, & denying/ignoring gravity, logic, morality, etc..., is only possible, on a temporary basis. concern about the course of events that will occur should the life0cidal execrable fail to be intervened upon is in order. 'do not be dismayed' (also from the manual). however, it's ok/recommended, to not attempt to live under/accept, fauxking nazi felon greed/fear/ego based pr ?firm? scriptdead mindphuking hypenosys.

consult with/trust in yOUR creators. providing more than enough of everything for everyone (without any distracting/spiritdead personal gain motives), whilst badtolling unprecedented evile, using an unlimited supply of newclear power, since/until forever. see you there?

"If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land."

meanwhile, the life0cidal philistines continue on their path of death, debt, & disruption for most of US. gov. bush denies health care for the little ones;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/10/03/bush.veto/index.html [cnn.com]

whilst demanding/extorting billions to paint more targets on the bigger kids;

http://www.cnn.com/2007/POLITICS/12/12/bush.war.funding/index.html [cnn.com]

& pretending that it isn't happening here;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article3086937.ece [timesonline.co.uk]
all is not lost/forgotten/forgiven

(yOUR elected) president al gore (deciding not to wait for the much anticipated 'lonesome al answers yOUR questions' interview here on /.) continues to attempt to shed some light on yOUR foibles. talk about reverse polarity;

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article3046116.ece [timesonline.co.uk]

I'd like to test something (0, Troll)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796880)

I'd like to test the outcome of shoving my foot up David L. Cohen's ass.

I Agree With Comcast (4, Informative)

superid (46543) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796904)

"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," - Cohen

I agree completely and will move my "customer experience" from Comcast to Verizon FioS ASAP.

Re:I Agree With Comcast (3, Insightful)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22796944)

Now if only FiOS was available in my area.

Re:I Agree With Comcast (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22797006)

And watch them cut your POTS lines so that you cannot away move from Verizon FioS later.

Re:I Agree With Comcast (1)

Bryansix (761547) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797066)

Who needs POTS? Don't forget about wireless or the cable these people came from. Moving away from FiOS will be as easy as convincing yourself that you don't want a 15 megabit symetrical connection.

Re:I Agree With Comcast (4, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797336)

I would note that it is up to the FCC to determine if Internet service over Cable is a mature technology to the point that it should be opened to providers other than the company that owns the cable plant. If the FCC decides that it is, then Comcast, Time Warner, and other cable companies will be required to open their plant to third party internet service providers, just as Qwest, Verizon and AT&T do for DSL service.

Comcast's monopoly techniques and customer complaints to the FCC are likely to result in a review of their decision a few years back that allowed them to get to the position they are in at this time. I tend to suspect that there is a significant percentage of the Comcast subscriber base who would consider an ISP connection cost of $20 a month across their cable plant to be a significant improvement over the current $100+ a month fees. (Sure Internet service is only a $50 part of that bill, unless you decide not to have cable TV service in which case it becomes a $75 a month charge.)

I.e. there's a 250% mark up compared to DSL with possibly double the bandwidth potentially available, and the opportunity to have your P2P sessions interfered with.

A reminder, the reason Comcast has been interfering with P2P sessions is that they have not built the capacity in their plant to handle the volume of customer traffic. They may be really happy to announce that they are now looking at rolling out DOCIS 3 with it's 100 meg to the customer bandwidth, but it appears they have not built the backbone to allow customers to make use of it. Lots of luck there.

oh, you americans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22796984)

...relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare...
Ha ha ha, you americans, you're so funny.

Comcast User Experince (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797026)

'"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Comcast VP David L. Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11. "Bearing these facts in mind should obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority."'
1) How does the Comcast user experience relate to marketplace control when Comcast is lobbies for and relies on government support to drive build local monopolies? 2) How does the Comcast user experience say anything positive about the status quo, considering that Comcast is notorious for faking speed test results (with accelerated transfers for the first 10-20 seconds, sufficient to trick a speed test but not very useful for most meaningful transfers), blacklisting customers with no warning, and of course breaking customers' p2p transfers, as is the case in the FCC issue that prompted this response from Comcast. The FCC knows these things and Comcast knows that they know, so I'm not sure who the target of this statement might be. This might be an attempt to divide congress and the FCC on this issue and encourage them to fight each other.

Customer experience (1)

Dan Posluns (794424) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797070)

The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful

Thanks for vouching on behalf of my customer experience, Comcast. As if I would be your customer if there were any reasonable marketplace alternatives.

Dan.

Enforced monopoly should answer to a reg. body (4, Insightful)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797072)

They gave up their rights to rely on the marketplace when they signed on to government-endorsed monopoly status.

I would have absolutely NO qualms about allowing the marketplace to sort this out - unfortunately, the marketplace is artificially sparse.

If a power company with government-mandated monopoly was blocking power to your electric oven because it sucked down too much juice and you ran it all the time, the government would get involved.

If an internet company with government-mandated monopoly blocks bits to a piece of software because it uses too much bandwidth, the regluatory body (FCC) should get involved.

That's how it should work. If you want the government to keep you in power, you gotta make sure your services don't fuck people over. If you don't like it, have fun competing and - well - making consumers happy by striving to have the best and least expensive service. Common fucking sense. Unfortunately there's nothing common about it..

(For those of you who don't think this is an enforced monopoly - Right now I only have one choice for broadband - optimum. Time warner services buildings two blocks from me, but I'm in a different district in brooklyn and TW is legally restricted from servicing the area -- because it's optimum's area.)

Comcast is in Big Trouble (3, Insightful)

HermMunster (972336) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797076)

Comcast may think they have the right to do what they are doing but this is all bad publicity. That though is the normalized side of things. They'll loose lots of business.

What Comcast may not be understanding is that shitting on the FCC now means the FCC will shit on them later. Guaranteed. Comcast is burning bridges.

They need to disassociate their activities completely with any blocking and open the network and become neutral. What the FCC will probably do is give everyone the right to sue Comcast over what the consumer does on line. Essentially they are removing their own neutrality.

Comcast is far to simplistic in their thinking and dangerous in their actions.

Consumer Welfare or Comcast Welfare? (0, Redundant)

outofoptions (199169) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797136)

'"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Comcast VP David L. Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11.

I must be reading this wrong. ;) Disrupting consumer's internet usage is the customer's welfare?

What marketplace? (2, Interesting)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797138)

When at least 50% of households in the US have more than one cable company to choose from, then maybe we can let the marketplace decide. Because then there will BE a marketplace.

You can't have your cake and eat it too, Comcast. Either you get a government-sanctioned monopoly OR you get to "let the market decide" whether you're doing things that hurt consumers.

ftc? (2, Interesting)

f1055man (951955) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797230)

They've been forging packets. If the FCC can't do anything can the Federal Trade Commission step in? If I was Comcast I'd definitely prefer the FCC to the FTC.

No wait, that doesn't look right... (1)

Omnedon (701049) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797260)

1) Offer unlimited service

2) Surreptitiously choke your customers

3) Deny

4) Nyah! Nyah! You can't stop us!

5) Profit...?

(6 has the potential to be quite entertaining.)

Great marketing opportunity for DSL companies (2, Interesting)

the saltydog (450856) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797290)

I can see/hear it now...

"Comcast claims they have the fastest broadband speeds in the country. What good is that, when *THEY* decide what they will let you connect it to?"

"Want to grab the latest official game patch on BitTorrent? Sorry, Comcast is blocking it."

"There's a new Linux distro that just got released - but Comcast says you're not allowed to download it via P2P."

"What's next? No, you can't go to YouTube, but you can get the same content at comcastcrappyonlinevideos.com?"

"Try cutting the cable, and go with Qwest. You pay for the connection, and we'll get you connected - but YOU can decide what to connect to."

One loophole begets another (1)

TBone (5692) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797316)

"The congressional policy and agency practice of relying on the marketplace instead of regulation to maximize consumer welfare has been proven by experience (including the Comcast customer experience) to be enormously successful," concludes Cohen's thinly-veiled warning to the FCC, filed on March 11. "Bearing these facts in mind should obviate the need for the Commission to test its legal authority."
Then the FCC should test it's other legal authority, that by which it can remove Comcast's Common Carrier status for refusing to allow equal passage of datatypes on its network.

The next thing you know... (4, Funny)

MikeURL (890801) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797318)

...Comcast will be arguing that the IRS has no power to promulgate regulations regarding taxation.

That will put digg users on the side of Comcast and the world will promptly explode.

Common Carrier. Solved. (2, Insightful)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 6 years ago | (#22797384)

True, false, whatever. The market is entirely capable of fixing this problem.

Here's the solution: Common carrier. There, problem solved.

All you have to do is say, "If you route every packet on your network the same regardless of origin, destination, or content, you are a common carrier, and you are not liable for what those packets constitute. If you treat anything flowing over your network preferentially, you are not a common carrier, and you are liable for the content of ever packet that travels on your network." Simple. Nobody is going to put their company in the path of child pornography enforcement. All this talk of extra legislation for net neutrality is completely unnecessary. The common carrier laws are already in place, the only remaining step is to clarify that they apply to data as well as voice.

I love the idea of net neutrality, but I am convinced we don't need an extra law to make it happen. Just enforce common carrier.

Am I missing something here?
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>