Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Internet Government News

P2P Fans Pound Comcast In FCC Comments 306

Posted by kdawson
from the do-not-fiddle-my-bits dept.
Not Comcastic writes "Two weeks after officially opening proceedings on Comcast's BitTorrent throttling, angry users are bombarding the FCC with comments critical of the cable provider's practices. 'On numerous occasions, my access to legal BitTorrent files was cut off by Comcast,' a systems administrator based in Indianapolis wrote to the FCC shortly after the proceeding began. 'During this period, I managed to troubleshoot all other possible causes of this issue, and it was my conclusion (speaking as a competent IT administrator) that this could only be occurring due to direct action at the ISP (Comcast) level.' Another commenter writes 'I have experienced this throttling of bandwidth in sharing open-source software, e.g. Knoppix and Open Office. Also I see considerable differences in speed ftp sessions vs. html. They are obviously limiting speed in ftp as well.'"
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

P2P Fans Pound Comcast In FCC Comments

Comments Filter:
  • In the end, it looks like it will take separate physical plants to stir up some real competition. These people should switch to FIOS when it gets rolled out.
    • by JCSoRocks (1142053) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:14PM (#22226776)
      FiOS is available in some areas now. It got put in my old neighborhood right before I moved, so sad. My friend has it though and he claims it's faster than cable. I don't have any numbers but, what the heck even if it's just a little slower, anything's better than comcast...
    • These people should switch to FIOS when it gets rolled out.

      Yeah, and if you're in California and aren't in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino or Ventura - which means most of California - you'll get it Real Soon Now.

      • by Bryansix (761547)

        Yeah, and if you're in California and aren't in the counties of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino or Ventura - which means most of California - you'll get it Real Soon Now.
        Have you looked at a population density map recently. Those five counties probably account for some 80% of California's population.
    • You it's really bad when you have to flee TO Verizon. Trust me, these people are horribly incompetent and have horrible customer service. Nevermind that their various departments just cannot talk to each other. If you have phone service and Internet through them good luck getting either taken care of even though they are on the same damn bill. Still moving to Verizon might actually be the only option left (shudders).
      • by fred911 (83970) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:35PM (#22227118)
        "these people are horribly incompetent and have horrible customer service"

        Say what you will, but they are the ONLY ISP who didn't roll over and provide their customers info to the RIAA. Theyd
        fought for their customers right of privacy to the Supreme court and PREVAILED.

          In this day and age... that means something.

         
        • by Nicholas Evans (731773) <OwlManAtt@gmail.com> on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:39PM (#22227180) Homepage
          They rolled over for the NSA. They fought when it was convenient for them. Being inconsistent means nothing.
          • They rolled over for the NSA.

            Is there anyone (sane) who wouldn't? That's not like Barney Fife's come a-callin'.

          • by meringuoid (568297) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @06:58PM (#22228268)
            They rolled over for the NSA. They fought when it was convenient for them. Being inconsistent means nothing.

            Oh, but it does. If you're worried about the NSA, you're... well, stuffed, really. Encrypt everything you can, and check for hardware keyloggers on the cable every morning before you log on.

            Most of us, in practice, aren't worried about the NSA other than in the abstract. We're not organising political protests or anything. We're doing nothing to attract their attention. But we are worried about the MAFIAA, because a lot of us are... well, we are doing things to attract their attention. Gigabytes of things. Daily. An ISP that will stand up for its customers against those guys is golden.

            • by Shakrai (717556) * on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @09:25PM (#22229756) Journal

              Most of us, in practice, aren't worried about the NSA other than in the abstract. We're not organising political protests or anything.

              The mere fact that you can state you "aren't worried about the NSA" and in the same paragraph say "we're not organizing political protests or anything" is pretty depressing. And I don't know which part is worse -- thinking that you might actually have a reason to fear the NSA because of political protects (First Amendment, what??) or me being cynical enough to understand why you would draw that conclusion.

              How far we have fallen.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Johnny5000 (451029)
        it's really bad when you have to flee TO Verizon.

        I saw some billboards around here (put up by Comcast) that said
        "Three words: We're Not Verizon"

        Which I thought was a funny ad campaign, since in my experience, they're so much worse than Verizon.

        I mean, Verizon sucks too, but at least they're not Comcast.
    • I heard that when you switch to FIOS they remove your POTS lines.

      Also, from what I'm guessing, it you don't like your ISP providing the FIOS connection, you cannot get another ISP that can use that FIOS connection.

      IOW: you are just locking yourself into another monopoly.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by cdrudge (68377)
        They typically convert your copper POTS line to a fiber based one. From the point of view of your telephone service, there is no difference. You can't have DSL over it though. You can however request that they leave your copper phone line alone if you desire DSL from an CLEC. There is no sunset date for existing Verizon copper but one day eventually Verizon wants will turn off all copper and at that point you will be SOL.
      • by SkyDude (919251)

        I heard that when you switch to FIOS they remove your POTS lines.

        Your phone service travels over fiber instead of copper. Isn't that better? The FIOS line can carry multiple phone lines so say good-bye to the old copper lines.

        Also, from what I'm guessing, it you don't like your ISP providing the FIOS connection, you cannot get another ISP that can use that FIOS connection.
        IOW: you are just locking yourself into another monopoly.

        And, that's they way all ISPs want it. Verizon is trying to have Massachusetts remove the need to get permission from each city and town and instead, go through one state agency for authorization to carry television signals. What do ya think - will the citizens of MA have any leverage once that goes through?

      • by Spokehedz (599285)
        Yeah, but who uses a POTS line anyway?

        My cellphone acts like a modem--I've used it like one in the past where I needed to fax something for some reason or another. That is the only time I could have used a POTS line. But now I hear that you can fax through your VOIP if they have it set up correctly.

        If there is a power outage, I just light some candles and sit tight.

        Please enlighten me on what other uses a POTS line has, if I have a cellphone and the Internet.
      • I know someone with FiOS, and the equipment they installed in his basement is impressive, as in, looks so expensive I'm impressed they don't charge for it. They installed a huge switchboard cabinet, with a backup battery and some sort of conversion electronics to feed into standard coax TV cables and Ethernet.
      • I heard that when you switch to FIOS they remove your POTS lines.

        Also, from what I'm guessing, it you don't like your ISP providing the FIOS connection, you cannot get another ISP that can use that FIOS connection.

        IOW: you are just locking yourself into another monopoly.

        One of my friends use to work for Cox Cable, and they'd get calls after Verizon would turn on FIOS at a site due to Verizon cutting all of the copper cables - including Cox's coax - when they installed it. Not sure if they did it also when they ran FIOS past a house or not, but they were not being ethical in their practices on its roll-out at least at one stage.

    • I think the only real escape from our land-line monopolists might be for wide-area high-speed wireless routers with automatic meshing capabilities in the consumer's cost range to be developed. There are problems with this of course, and a 100% switchover is unlikely, but if it can make competition then it might help everyone.
    • by dabraun (626287)
      I want to - if only for the bandwidth improvements both up and down.

      Unfortunately where I am it seems that Verizon FiOS is filtering out port 80 - Comcast (my current provider) is not. This is something of a deal-breaker - and leaves me baffled ... why is Verizon offering me 15up/15down service and then telling me "absolutely no servers"? What on earth is that upstream bandwidth for? No commercial servers, ok. No unreasonable use of the upstream pipe at full capacity 24/7, ok. Telling me I can't run my
  • by croddy (659025) * on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:13PM (#22226762)
    Well, whatever. It's not like their throttling has affec@G#TG%2yv24*SA$FNO CARRIER
  • fortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

    by syrinx (106469) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:16PM (#22226810) Homepage
    Fortunately, after reading the scathing criticism, Comcast executives were able to comfort themselves with their huge sacks of money.

    As for myself, I plan to dump Comcast right away and switch to... oh wait, Comcast is my only option for Internet access. Well.

    Perhaps I'll go dig out the ol' 2400 baud modem, maybe I can find a BBS to call.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by KublaiKhan (522918)
      I vaguely recall reading something a while back about using 802.11 routers in order to create a wireless internet, and routing traffic wirelessly from one to another to go from places where no broadband is available to places where it was.

      Perhaps it's about time to get some real ethernet going over a large area.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MBCook (132727)

        Thanks to the 100M cable limit, Ethernet can't be used easily for that without going to fiber optic or something else... so much for the easy cost.

        I'm trapped with Comcast too. AT&T says they are deploying U-Verse near me (they've been doing the digging) but I expect it will be at least 1 year or two late. I can't wait to move off.

        There are a few options. You can use WiFi links over long distances with better antennas and a good line of sight... but this requires the other person to be able to get som

        • Thanks to the 100M cable limit, Ethernet can't be used easily for that without going to fiber optic or something else... so much for the easy cost.

          A couple points:

          1. The 100 meter cable distance limitation is for 10/100/1000Base-T, not Ethernet. For example, 10GBASE-LR is capable of transmitting Ethernet at distances of up to 10 kilometers over single mode fiber.

          2. Metro wireless networks don't need to use a wired network for back haul, and typically don't. For example, endpoints could connect to the access points using 802.11b/g, and then the access points could mesh with one another using 802.11a/n. At some point there would be wired connections, b

        • by stormguard2099 (1177733) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @09:13PM (#22229666)

          So if you are stuck on Cable, like me,
          On behalf of everyone who is stuck on dialup without the option of dsl or cable I would just like to say I hope your cable wraps around your throat and chokes the life out of you. have a nice day :)
          disclaimer: this post was made out of jest. Any offense taken from it will be ignored.
      • by rpillala (583965)
        Maybe you're thinking of this old Cringely article: Bank Shot [pbs.org].
    • Re:fortunately (Score:5, Insightful)

      by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:25PM (#22226944)
      there is a solution - have the government force comcast to give 3rd parties access to their lines, for a rental fee. this will no doubt have in the same position we in australia have though, a company desperately trying to hang onto it's monopoly, though it has had limited success after many court battles.

      old monopolies don't die, they just find new ways to rip you off.

      • MOD PARENT UP (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Actually, I do RTFA (1058596) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:33PM (#22227074)

        there is a solution - have the government force comcast to give 3rd parties access to their lines, for a rental fee

        In the US, this is how AT&T got broken, and POTS is now better and cheaper than before. (Yes, VOIP may be even better and cheaper, but the telephone benefits predated that.)

        • by DCTooTall (870500)
          Unfortunately don't think that will happen. The attempt to get cable to open their lines was already made a few years ago http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=05/03/24/166228 [slashdot.org]. The loss and ruling in that case was ultimately the decision the bells used to be able to lock 3rd parties out of their next-gen technologies such as FiOS by getting them classified as Information Services as well instead of the traditional Telecommunications Service.


          If Nothing more, I could see AT&T and Verizon working
    • I'm not calling you a liar, just asking if you've actually made sure that they are your only high speed option. I've had people here tell me that the cable company is the only option, and I know for a fact that is false, it is just that they haven't done any research.

      The alternative would likely be some kind of DSL, but there are lots of different people to deliver that. First check to see if you local phone company does it. If they do, you can probably get another local ISP. Our local telco offers DSL, but
  • by verbalcontract (909922) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:17PM (#22226826)

    Go to this page [fcc.gov] and put "07-52" into the "Proceeding" field.

    Comments are in PDF form, so turn off "View in Browser" in Acrobat.

    • Goodness, 28355 unsorted comments, each of which opens into a separate PDF! Someone needs to show them how to use Slashcode.
    • It seems that a TORRENT of complaints to the FCC is the result
    • Comcast's forgery of packets, which was applied without regard to system utilization,was targeted to specific applications, wasn't disclosed, and altered customer communications, isn't acceptable under any circumstance.

      If an internet service provider restricts bandwidth, even during peak usage, to specific applications or even to usage in general, in such a way that a consumer's bandwidth falls below FCC's definition of broadband, then the provider's service offering can no longer be considered broadband.

    • The quality of these comments is horrendous. Every once in a while you find a reasonably-professional one, but in general it's ungrammatical, poorly-reasoned crap.

      It's disheartening to think that Americans are really this dumb.

      At least the crap, along with the good stuff, is on our side. I've yet to find a comment supporting Comcast.

  • by sdjc (1038542) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:24PM (#22226932)
    For example, my local cable ISP has marked ALL encrypted traffic as having a lower priority over non-encrypted content in their "war on P2P filesharing" (this means, amongst other obvious drawbacks, downgraded performance using ssh and sftp) reference [michaelgeist.ca]. I am not sure on the specifics or legality of this kind of "filtering" but it would seem that nobody has made such a big fuss yet up here. Their practice is grey-zone at best I would think and it will be interesting to see what happens with the issue.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ashridah (72567)
      That's curious. How are they defining 'encrypted'? Particular known ports? Content that clearly isn't to a "known port that isn't encrypted"? I can imagine that the former is relatively easy to bypass (nonstandard ports, port redirectors, etc), and the latter being a major issue for gaming of any description...

      Does this apply to HTTP over SSL connections?
      Of course, they simply cannot tell the difference between HTTP over SSL and... well, anything else over "SSL"...
      And, of course, one could just run, say, bi
      • My understanding is that they have a signature for the SSL handshake and use that. They could actually do quite well with that strategy if they make the first 50-100kb go fast and then drop the priority after that -- it makes most HTTPS transfers have no noticeable change in speed, but would dramatically slow down anything trying to do bulk data transfer.
    • Now they want to have a war on filesharing! A WAR ON FILESHARING! We ought to have a war on war, suckers! We ought to have a war on this senseless...

    • Hmm if they're giving encrypted traffic a lower priority, that means that they are encouraging people to use http over https to connect to their bank, webmail and other online accounts that are usually encrypted to protect personal information. I can see a LOT of companies being upset with this (including Royal Bank, ScotiaBank, CIBC, HSBC, TD, etc.).
  • Also I see considerable differences in speed ftp sessions vs. html. They are obviously limiting speed in ftp as well.

    No, they aren't. Sandvine's technology is only used based on deep packet inspection of BitTorrent traffic. It certainly opens the doors to anything and everything being blamed on it, as shown.
  • Make it Public (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobBebop (947356) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:29PM (#22227006) Homepage Journal

    This might be a little off-topic, but the common wisdom is that Comcast and other cable companies have monopolies on providing high-speed internet access in many areas. I realize they have competition from DirectTV (Satellite TV) and Broadcast Television for providing varying quality in Cable/TV entertainment, and that there is up-and-coming competition from Verizon to provide high-speed internet.

    Is there any way to extend the "Public Broadcast TV" metaphor into the internet space? I could live with whatever downstream connection is required to watch YouTube videos... and upload streams that would pale in comparison to anybody running P2P services. Seriously, though, "light" internet users like me to subsidizing it for everybody else.

    As for as throttling, Comcast is behaving unethically by stopping legitimate uses of P2P networks (sharing F/OSS distributions) and they should be heavily fined (I'm going to pull a RIAA-style gross sum of money from my ass), how about $500,000 per unethical P2P blockage? So divide the number of FCC complains in half, and then add the words "Millions" after it, and hand Comcast the bill.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ClamIAm (926466)
      Is there any way to extend the "Public Broadcast TV" metaphor into the internet space?

      Well, there is a way to extend the "public infrastructure" metaphor into Internet service. UTOPIA [utopianet.org] is (what looks to be) an awesome project that's been rolled out in Utah. It's a fiber-to-the-premises network. The fiber is publicly owned, over which providers then sell services (Internet, phone, etc).

      To me this looks like an absolutely genius plan. Service providers get free infrastructure (i.e. a bigger market to sell
  • FCC vs. CSR (Score:5, Interesting)

    by G4from128k (686170) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:31PM (#22227030)
    Although FCC comments are all well and good, talking to Comcast's CSR (customer service reps) will have more impact. If every balky P2P connection results in a $5-$10 in call-center time, then Comcast will think differently about it's filtering policy.

    The key to solving this is to make unfettered P2P connections the least cost option for Comcast. That means increasing the costs of not providing those connections. FCC fines might do it (assuming the FCC acts), but high customer service cost certainly will.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by sdjc (1038542)
      Yes, but the personal trauma caused by having to be put on hold until you take up their valuable time on the line is beyond my threshold for pain!
    • by Bryansix (761547)
      You are making a silly assumption here. You seem to think that customer support costs are variable. Instead for a slimy company like Comcast they are fixed. As more calls come in they will not hire any more workers or add any more hours to CSR's schedules. The hold times will just go up which will result in crappy customer service for everybody. People can't actually leave Comcast because most people don't have another option. Therefore Comcast has no incentive to provide good customer service.
      • I wouldn't call it silly. Calling Comcast and complaining can have effects, both for you as an individual, and for everyone in the long run. You need to come back out of the conspiracy cave, and realize that the bandwidth limiting decisions are probably being made higher up the management chain, while the day-to-day call center work is being made at the supervisor or maybe manager level at best. If you keep calling in every day complaining, eventually some call center manager is going to get annoyed that yo
  • by Duncan Blackthorne (1095849) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:33PM (#22227080)
    Can't stop the signal, Mal. ;-)
  • by SplatMan_DK (1035528) * on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:34PM (#22227096) Homepage Journal
    Throttling is IMHO only a problem when the customer doesn't know about it.

    I have specifically chosen an ISP who promise they don't use any kind of throttling. On the other hand I did'nt go with the cheapest ISP I could find. My ISP has a "true flatrate" policy. No maximum usage and no throttling. The price is accordingly a little higher.

    Most of my family does not use P2P in any way, and rarely download anything at all. For them, a low price is more important. And lets face it: this kind of bandwidth throttling was only invented because 5% of the customers consume 90% of the ISPs backbone resources. If this wasn't an issue, nobody would have invented the damn thing.

    I don't think throttling should be illegal. It should only be illegal to use throttling and not tell customers about it. Throttling keeps the price down for ISPs, and they should be perfectly allowed to implemented - as long as all their customers are aware of it. In that way, if you don't want an ISP/product with throttling you can simply choose another ISP/product.

    Bandwidth costs money. Free competition dictates that all ISPs will be seeking ways to lower their costs and in that way offer the consumers lower prices. This is a good thing, as long as customers know what they are buying.

    Therefore: Allow throttling, but force ISPs to clearly state which products are subject to throttling. In that way, customers can buy the product they find suitable for their needs, and the "heavy users" can pay a higher price for their actual usage.

    It is no different than your (cell)phone bill: if you call people 24/7, of if you buy a true flatrate product, it will cost more than just calling your mom for 5 minutes twice a month. Just as it should.

    - Jesper
    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      Also, the way in which it is done makes a big difference.

      If Comcast were dropping the priority of packets suspected to be BitTorrent so that BT sessions slowed down during peak periods in favor of more "interactive" traffic, it wouldn't be so bad.

      The problem is that they're not really throttling - they are actively killing connections by injecting bogus RST packets, regardless of time of day. (Despite their claims that traffic is only "delayed" at "peak times", which would be understandable and fine with m
    • I live in the city, but I'm pretty sure not everyone does.
    • by garcia (6573)
      I have specifically chosen an ISP who promise they don't use any kind of throttling. On the other hand I did'nt go with the cheapest ISP I could find. My ISP has a "true flatrate" policy. No maximum usage and no throttling. The price is accordingly a little higher.

      I did too, this time, because I had the ability to do so (I live in an area where we have a choice between Frontier DSL lines and Charter cable) and was pretty much forced because Charter blocks ports here so I couldn't run my website, host DNS an
    • by Sloppy (14984) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @06:37PM (#22227994) Homepage Journal

      Strawman, but not your fault: I just realized the article summary makes the same mistake.

      This isn't about throttling. Some people bitch about throttling, but what Comcast has been doing goes far beyond that. It's the RST packet forgery that has people super-pissed.

      I see that you support throttling (if done openly and exposed to market forces), and your arguments seem reasonable. But what do you think of packet forgery?

  • The process will work wonderfully and it goes something like this:

    1. ALL kinds of complaints come in and someone who has no expertise in the matter sifts through them and draw up some kind of summary.

    2. Some kind of complaint summary report is generated. Who knows what, if any basis in fact it will have other than "lots of complaints."

    3. Report is vetted and voided of all possible meaningful content.

    4. Report is distributed to low-level types who summarize the summary to their rep/congress-critter.

    5. Comca
  • Not only comcast (Score:2, Interesting)

    by warrior_s (881715) *
    I am not serviced by comcast but by NTC communications in blacksburg, va. the worst thing here is that if I try to use bit torrent or some other p2p application, all my web traffic is stopped (yes STOPPED) as long as I let p2p application run. Then, when I close bit torrent, it take few minutes for normal web access to resume. this is really frustrating. I usually VPN to my school and access every thing from there then.
    • I am not serviced by comcast
      I heard people were serviced by Comcast before and thought nothing of it. Then I was out in the country with a friend who owns a farm. He was waiting for a new bull to come to his farm. I asked what he would do with the bull and he said that the bull was coming to service his cows. I hope you're as enlightened as I am.
    • by Andy Dodd (701)
      Actually, that's more likely you simply saturating your upstream without any QoS. If ACKs for downstream data can't get out in a timely fashion, downstream TCP sessions (web pages) will slow to a crawl. Cable modems are notorious for having very large buffers, so that if the upstream bandwidth gets saturated, latency shoots through the roof.

      Either:
      1) Set up QoS on your router so outgoing ACKs always have priority, and possibly BT has lower priority than all other traffic (Note, this is what Comcast SHOU
  • by DigitalJer (1132981) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @05:53PM (#22227392)
    I occasionally consult for a wireless ISP, and we've become friends. In order for him to avoid ppl saturating his network, he's implemented a burst feature. Shaw (here in Alberta, anyway) has something similar. So a constant stream might yield15 kb/s, whereas web surfing seems fast. That's because the network will burst (in Shaw's case) up to 25 MB/s. Let that baby stream though, regardless if it's FTP, .torrent, HTTP, and it'll slow down to 50 kb/s or so. I seriously doubt Comcast (although I don't know anything about them) is identifying and throttling any particular protocol or P2P stream...they've just done what Shaw, and my friend has; I'd bet.
  • In a lot of areas they are the only cable provider, so they have a virtual lock on the local market. ( yes, i can go DSL for network and dish for TV, but its a different medium so it doesn't count )

    I was one of lucky ones, but it seems they recently flexed their muscles and bought ( forced ) out my local cable company. So now i get to share in the pain of trying to use the service that i paid for with legal uses.
  • by maillemaker (924053) on Tuesday January 29, 2008 @06:40PM (#22228026)
    I recently tried to FTP upload a home movie to my web site so my family could download it. I noticed my FTP speeds were incredibly slow - slower than dial-up speeds and I have a 6MB/384K cable connection.

    I've noticed that my P2P traffic seems to upload OK but downloads very slowly.

    And I don't know where the problem is.

    Knology, my ISP, claims they don't throttle. But how do I know someone somewhere along the way isn't throttling?

    Even if I bothered to dig into the problem, I'm sure all I would get for my troubles would be a lot of finger pointing.

    The bottom line is, if the internet quits working the way I want to use it, I'll quit paying for it, because it will have become useless to me.

The test of intelligent tinkering is to save all the parts. -- Aldo Leopold

Working...