Monday, December 10, 2007

December 10, 2007

Happy Holidays!

To start off, I apologize to Steven from Pennsylvania for waiting soo long to post this. Apparently I somehow missed a bit of news about Verizon. Seems they used to advertise Unlimited Internet and were punished for their false advertising by the Attorney General of New York. The amount is a pittance. Only $1 million along with a couple other things like not marketing "unlimited" when it's obviously not unlimited. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I did send a letter to their AG asking if they were looking at also going after Comcast for violating the law. It should be interesting to see if any other AG's (maybe Utah's?) are interested in fraud. There are dozens of us here in my neighborhood who signed up. It should be interesting. And yes, I have filed with them.

I'm told that Qwest may be pushing their Internet Service to a whole new level here. 20 Megs and potentially up to 40 Megs to the home with fiber! With Salt Lake potentially seeing it in the near future. You heard me. It seems Comcast and Utopia are pushing soo hard that Qwest is beginning to wake up and talk about building the Infrastructure American's have already paid for. Yes, I'm talking about the 200 Billion in taxes shelled out to ... where? And don't forget, that's the conservative number here.

After all, without a proper foundation, how can we expect to thrive in the new tech future? I've heard it said many times that Internet Bandwidth is the new currency of the future. Those who have it will do well. I even ran across a new tech term. Internet Brownouts. I had no idea what people were talking about until I read this article. If I read this right, in a nutshell the Infrastructure here in America won't be able to handle our needs in the next 2 or 3 years. Now that's a frightening thought.

Here's another problem. People are using the Internet soo much that web sites were seeing problems on Cyber Monday. So the Internet might be important after all.

So how to solve the "last mile" problem. Seems a guy in Korea already did that. Well.. sorta. Basically instead of the traditional fiber he's worked out a plastic substitute. There are limits. 2.5 Gig bandwidth but that's far better than what copper can dish out if I am comparing the two correctly.

I've been watching a bill crawl around Congress these last few months called The Community Broadband Act. I'm hoping it's as good as it seems. So far I haven't seen anything that worries me. It basically would prevent (for example) the Utah State Legislature from messing with Utopia and giving companies such as Comcast an unfair advantage. I encourage everyone to contact their Congressmen and Representatives. Tell them what you think about this bill.

Found this while researching. Seems Comcast has quite the fan club and it's not the good kind. People want customer service as well as products from a company. It's been very insightful to see how many people are posting and complaining since the company doesn't seem to care.

So is Comcast going the way of the Dinosaur?

For a short time, Comcast will be able to sit on the customer base it has developed and sap money from customers that could receive better products at a more competitive price. But, just like AOL, once people get a taste of where technology is heading, that pile of money will deplete to nearly nothing…unless Comcast can step up, stop functioning like a monopoly, and start being competive.

It goes to show you, when you're a monopoly, you can make products that suit you, not your customers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

November 12, 2007

The last month or so there has been great debate about what Comcast is doing with Peer to Peer. As I don't use their service I haven't spent much time investigating them however other's have. It's been heavily discussed on Slashdot several times and the Consumerist. All very insightful.

There has even been talk about a lawsuit against the company. This should prove interesting. I'll be watching this with great interest. Especially since In my opinion the company is deceptive in what they are really doing. Yeah I know. Strong words there but I'm not an idiot. I know what an RST packet does. If Comcast wants to spin a story, they should hire a PR department that can spin a better story to those who understand tech. As I understand it, it breaks the RFC and is considered harmful.

In a TCP Packet, RST packets basically close a network connection. One gentleman emailed me the following during a conversation.

RST packets do not slow things down. RESET is an abrupt termination that can be done. This requests an immediate termination of the session and can be initiated by either of the hosts talking. Once a RESET has been received and acted on, there is no subsequent communication by either side either to acknowledge the
RESET or to close the other side of the connection.

I'm not a network engineer but I do have some exposure to how things work. Sounds about right. So rather than slow things down, it basically stops the communication by impersonating the other side.

So the company first denies it was doing anything goofy with torrents, then it said they are slowing things down, now they are defending it saying people who excessively use their network need to be managed. Great company you got there guys. I understand the need to manage network traffic however they need to define the terms of the contract far better before something like this will work. I'm not the only one who has this opinion btw. From the link I read comments such as this

imanogre... When choosing an ISP, most consumers can only base their choice on what the corporation tells you. I have no problem with comcast choosing how to run their network how they see fit, but to lie to their consumers about their product... that in my book is akin to fraudulent business practices.

or this

Simba7... It's my internet. If I pay $$$ for their fastest connection, I better get that speed no matter what I do with it.

Some people are even saying that Comcast is no longer an ISP as we currently define it. 92% of the readers who responded to his poll stated they don't believe Comcast is an ISP either. Very insightful.

Joe sent the following article which suggests this is a symptom of a far larger problem.

There’s an interesting situation that ISPs face — a lot of their consumers who have a broadband want to use their broadband connections in a variety of ways. People are also participating in media distribution in ways that they haven’t in the past … and most importantly they’re also sharing content — they’re acting as distributors. The way the networks have been implemented are in direct conflict with all of those trends and ISPs are going to face some scaling problems as applications evolve that tax those connections. So what you see between BitTorrent and Comcast is actually a symptom of a larger problem.

I've heard some argue that media distribution is the same thing as running a server so Comcast has the right to manage as they see fit. Granting Comcast a monopoly with rules that are poorly defined or not defined at all makes no sense. It's been months since I've looked at the Comcast TOS/AUP. At the time I didn't see anything that even hinted p2p would be a problem.

So now the FCC may be getting involved. Seems there are complaints being filed (yes, I filed one too) left and right over this. Speaking of which, I didn't realize that Comcast was blocking Lotus Notes traffic also. Why on earth would they do that??? So much for their PR statement about not blocking access to web sites or applications.

One more note. I simply had to share this with everyone. From Slashdot -- Enjoy!

When Google calls Comcast (Score:5, Funny)
by sherriw (794536) {snip}
*Comcast phone ringing at head office*

Comcast Secretary: Hello, thank you for calling Com-

Google Big Cheese: This is Google Inc. calling, I want to talk to whoever's in charge. Now.

Comcast Secretary: I don't know who you think you are but-

Google: Go visit right now.

*secretary visits, google recognizes the comcast head office IP range and serves up a pdf of a lawsuit document (Comcast as defendant) instead of the google homepage*

Secretary: Oh my, one moment please I'll transfer you.

Comcast Big Boss: What? I'm busy lining my socks with money and throwing darts at customer photos.

Google: This is Google Inc. You know why I'm calling.

Comcast: *stutters* y-yes, but we have the right to do whatever we need to, to ensure that our networks....

Google: Seriously?

Comcast: Seriously what?

Google: Seriously, you want to mess with us? Are you sure?

Comcast: *Long pause, and painful griding noises of "thinking"* Well... I think you overestimate how powerful you a-

Google: You have a lot to lose 'my friend'. You have 823 employees using Gmail. 138 office locations on Google Maps, 2,345 website pages indexed by the google search engine that recieve a collective 546 thousand search hits per day from Google Search. You currently rank first for the search term "cable internet" and nearly all your press releases are picked up by Google News. Do I need to go on?

Comcast: *speechless silence* ... Uh, um, I- I'll talk to our engineers about getting this straighted up right away... sir.

Google: That's right. And be quick about it. *snaps fingers*

Thursday, October 25, 2007

October 25, 2007

I had the opportunity to attend the meeting at the State Capital today discussing Utopia and it's future. Needless to say I left the meeting and was disappointed with what I was hearing. For blow by blow you can read about it in and comment here or there. Jesse did a great job in documenting it with a more complete summary I understand to come soon. I understand the minutes and audio will be available soon.

What I don't understand is why the same questions keep coming up over and over again. I mean after reading the minutes from prior meetings, why are the same questions asked? I was thinking perhaps Senator Stephenson was expecting a different answer to the questions. Sorry but I don't get it.

Now here is the amusing part. You WANT to be sitting before reading this. Oh and don't drink a beverage... You'll be sorry if you do :-)

Through the entire 5 hours sitting there, the Chairman (Senator Stephenson) in going through the agenda would bring up the agenda item, there would be a discussion then he would ask for committee comment then ask if there was public comment. Over and over through all 5 agenda items.

Utopia was item number five, just after lunch. So he brings the meeting to order with his gavel, calls Mr. Shaw and Roger Tew of Utopia, talks at length about the same items from last month's discussion, asks for comment then closes the meeting after a brief discussion among the committee members when they can meet again. I was stunned. I missed my opportunity to speak in committee?

Yeah, I thought you might find that amusing. Oh and no, I didn't just leave. Are you kidding? I had the chance to speak with Senator Goodfellow and Senator Niederhauser. I also spoke for nearly an hour with Representative Craig A. Frank.

While we didn't see eye to eye on the issue of Utopia, I believe he understood Comcast terminating Internet accounts without ANY way to either resolve the issue or any guidelines on what is acceptable use was inappropriate and unprofessional. No, he didn't say that and yes, I'm stating what I understood from the conversation.

He did say he was very concerned about Utopia folding in the future and the cities getting stuck with running a socialized internet service. He used the term "socialized" often here but before anyone get's upset just think about it. He's right! Under that scenario that's exactly what would happen. iProvo, remember that? If not google it. We've talked about it ad nausem so no need to rehash it.

He also mentioned that many of these countries installing fiber infrastructures are also socialistic countries. Again, I can't fault him here. Japan I didn't realize was not a democracy. Yeah, I had presumed forever they were but I was wrong. Very wrong (Yeah, I admit it when that happens). Japan is a Constitutional Monarchy. So not a Democracy. Most European countries are also not Democracies. Yeah I know, some are close but there are differences how they work.

I've talked about Australia and learned they are close. They are a Parliamentary democracy. Like the United Kingdom. Very insightful. I really appreciated speaking with him and realize he has important business to be about. Still, this is an issue I've dug deeply into and he was a great help in giving me some additional food for thought.

Do I think Utopia is a bad idea now? No, it's not the "gold vein" going under our houses but I never believed it was perfect either. I did speak with the Mayors of Midvale and Murray (Utopia cities). They were very enthusiastic and were kind enough to give me their insights.. but more on that later.

I still believe Utopia makes sense. I believe there are questions to be answered, just not the same questions answered month after month (I've been reading previous meeting minutes). I also believe we can't ignore what other countries are doing with their Internet Infrastructure. Ok, so they are socialistic and we're not. We also invented the thing and we're finding ourselves more and more unable to compete in the world market with this old copper infrastructure. So what do we do?

A document with several legislative proposals were entertained. Items 1 and 2 were bad. There was a discussion about Utopia having an unfair advantage over private companies but I believe these items basically give these private companies a strong advantage (remember, they are already monopolies or duopolies if you are lucky).

#1 Prohibits new non pledging members from joining Utopia. This means if you don't put any money up (such as a bond) then you can't join. A non pledging city basically says Utopia has to put up the cash as the city won't. Not unusual since that's exactly what private companies do... right? Of course I'm not taking about the tax incentives private companies like this normally receive from Government. It's how municipalities encourage companies to come in... I've been reading about it a lot lately online in AP Press.

#2 prohibits adding a new member until the "build out" is complete. HUH??? So basically if I'm reading this right, when all 14 cities are fully built out, then other's can join? How is any of this better than SB.66? Unless I misunderstood which is entirely possible. Are any other companies under such prohibitions? I doubt it.

So that leaves #3 which says (and I prefer this one), Require vote by registered voters to add a new member. There are details to this of course. But it seems if several cities wanted to join Utopia then each city would have to vote on it. I'm under the impression that Representative Frank was in favor of this and I agree. It solves In my opinion two problems.

One, I've had lunch with a few people working for Utopia cities and they have frequently mentioned residents simply didn't know they had Utopia already available. There is a lack of advertising. The city doesn't tell people about it (is this right?), Utopia is admittedly weak with advertising where they are. From personal experience, I've had trouble getting in touch with Utopia reps calling their main number. Only by being a pain in the butt and calling over and over was I able to get in touch with someone which led me to Roger Black and a couple others. This was over a two month period btw. Yeah, like I said, they aren't perfect :-)

Because of a lack of advertising, people were unaware so the lines sit unused. Representative Frank made an excellent point regarding City Council's committing great sums of money to something that could go broke. No I don't believe that's the case. We're running a home business and there are costs to starting up. Don't I know it!

But when there are only a couple people making policy on something that could adversely impact the city, it's something that should go up to a vote. Representative Frank I felt was making it clear he wasn't in favor of socialistic ventures. I believe this makes the most sense. It get's the word out about Utopia, hopefully people will ask questions, get educated so we can make decisions whether this is something wanted or not. If the city doesn't use it, why install the fiber lines? This I can agree with. At least with a vote we'll have a better idea if it will at least have the minimum needed in signing up and eventually achieve profitability.

So it's not pretty but I'm rooting for number 3. After all, we're a Democracy :-)

As a side note, I was sent this article regarding a Congressman telling Comcast to stop messing with Bittorrent. I've suspected this may be why Comcast terminated my Internet as I've used it along with many other services (IPTV, Internet radio, etc...) in the past.

Here is an interesting quote from the article... and yes, I do agree with it. After all, isn't that what other companies do? You use more you pay more? To Comcast I can only say DUH!

Unfortunately for fans of Net neutrality, the congressman said he was not ready to go down this path and instead stressed market-based methods of fixing the problems. Instead of tinkering with packets, the congressman said that in the short term, Comcast should "simply tier their offerings and engage in a pricing structure that allocates more bandwidth to those who pay more, and less to those who pay less."

I would never have started the blog and this would be a non issue.

I also found this comment amusing

Comcast's name is surely to come up in any future discussion of Net neutrality - which has gone from a theoretical "what if companies did this kind of thing" debate to something more akin to "do you want every Internet company to start acting like Comcast?"

And finally one more quote

However, he said "the long-term answer is to deploy more capacity. That is what municipal broadband and other telecom companies are doing. Ultimately, the cable companies will have to deploy fiber to the house."

One way or another it has to happen. Just imagine a world without public roads? Yeah, I know it's hard but think about it. Who built that infrastructure and why?

Then I believe we will come to agree upon why fiber to the home and business is important. It's the economy of the 21st Century that will be affected by our actions, or inaction.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Oct 11, 2007

Well, seems Japan is leading the way when it comes to Internet speeds and price these days. Either the Internet is important or it's not. And since our visitors are reading this over some Internet provider, it must be important.

Seems John Kerry is spending some time talking to people about this issue. While I personally have not supported him in the past, I'm curious what he plans on doing about it. I've sent him a letter along with other's to encourage our Politicians to pay attention. We're already in 16th place and falling behind awfully fast. I encourage everyone to contact John Kerry and let him know how important the Internet is to you.

So, is Comcast disrupting Bittorrents? Seems the Jury believes so. Personally I had NO problems with the company over four years as a customer. Now they seem to be purposefully causing havok with torrents. That's sad.

I occasionally had the outage which nobody in my neighborhood had complained about (according to Comcast's CSR's). Two years ago I even had to show the Customer Service Rep how to diagnose a problem I noticed with one of their switches. It took him over an hour just to figure out how to submit a ticket to Comcast Internal! I guess I should have charged them for my time after I spotted the problem :-)

BTW, as I suspected, 200 Gigs is the unofficial Comcast bandwidth limit. Personally I don't see how I could have used even half that. has RRDtool running and my reports have been WAY lower. I haven't broken even half of my monthly allotment (100 Gigs a month). I think they simply don't know how to use the new tools they have in place. But that's my guess why they are stepping up terminations.

Bandwidth is becoming such an issue these days. Received this via email and just had to share. iPlayer is going to be a BIG problem in the coming year. Seems ISP's are complaining it's using too much bandwidth. Based on IPTV tech. I see this as a real killer unless we have an Infrastructure that can handle it. Oh and copper was developed in the 1800's. I don't believe it can handle anything close to what fiber can do. Look around the world. Does anyone see countries really investing in copper?

One last note. I noticed they canceled the subcommitte meeting for next monday. The next meeting on October 25th (and possibly the last) falls on another day I'll potentially be out of state... again. I swear somebody has been leaking my schedule out ;-) Yeah that was a joke.

I took this week off to catch up on pulling house wiring and putting up sheet rock (yeah, I have many skills beyond computers ::grinz::). I'm making calls and sending letters out today to keep S.B. 66 dead. I'm sorry but some technologies must die. I'm sure the buggy whip manufacturers were upset when companies started to sell cars in their region. But that's the way it must go.

Friday, September 21, 2007

September 21, 2007

My time is short and so much to do. I'm preparing for a business trip so I won't be easily available for the next week. I'll have limited email access though. Don't know how my wife is going to handle it with 6 kids by herself. I'll have to make it up to her when I get back :-)

As much as I need to go, I wish I could stay. I just learned there is a meeting next Wednesday to discuss Utopia in the State Capital. I understand Comcast and other's will have reps there. I certainly have something that needs saying. So I'm writing letters and contacting as many people as I can to get there if possible and sign up for the Citizen Comment period at the end of the meeting. Speaking of writing, I'm finishing up a few letters to several people including Senator Howard A. Stephenson and Representative Frank, Craig A.

Sen. Howard A. Stephenson is the Senate Chair and Rep. Craig A. Frank is the House Chair.

Here is their contact information.

Utah Howard A. Stephenson (R)
Email 1038 East 13590 South
Draper, Utah 84020 Office (801) 972-8814
Home (801) 576-1022

Write to the following address to make sure he gets any correspondence.

W115 Capitol Complex
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

Frank, Craig A.
825 E 1300 N

But write to this address for Frank

W030 State Capital Complex
Salt Lake City, Utah 84114

I heard a rumor that SB 66 may be revived. Bad Idea. Why on earth would we want to push a technology invented in the 1800's is beyond me. Especially when fiber's limits are simply not known and we certainly know the limits of copper wires.

Please tell everyone you know to attend or write. I'll be there in spirit. If someone could take notes and let me know how it turned out I'd really appreciate it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Sept 16, 2007

Before I dive into the latest, I'd like to ask if anyone from the New York Metro area has been disconnected by Comcast "for using the Internet too much", to please contact me as soon as possible. Or if you know of someone, I would count it a personal favor to contact me. There is a reporter who is interested in speaking to someone locally.

I have several people in the East coast interested with interviewing but they are a little further than the reporter would like. Simply post a comment on the blog with your email or phone number. I will NOT post it and spread your information beyond what you allow. Thanks!

Ok, so what does the Government say Broadband is?

I was stunned to learn the FCC considers anything above 200K to be Broadband. Most countries these days are looking at a minimum of 2 Megs before something can be called that. My guess is they don't understand this was Broadband when everyone had 2400 baud modems or slower.

Several people I've spoken with the last couple weeks suggested Broadband isn't important. That the US has all it needs and then some. I don't agree. In fact other states (such as Ohio) have signed initiatives to build a fiber infrastructure and countries are getting the jump on us. Australia for instance is looking to build an Infrastructure which 99% will have Broadband within two years! From the Australia article:

The joint venture, known as OPEL, would contribute a further 900 million US dollars to provide broadband of at least 12 megabits per second by June 2009.

"What we have announced today is a plan that will deliver to 99 percent of the Australian population very fast and affordable broadband in just two years' time," Howard said.

An expert group will also develop a bidding process for the building of a fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) broadband network, funded solely by private companies, in major cities.

And in Ohio, they seek to save money and build an affordable system available to everyone:

The order directs state agencies to use the Broadband Ohio Network rather than the patchwork of public and private networks agencies presently use, allowing the state to realize cost savings and efficiencies.

“By fully utilizing our state broadband network we will be making efficient, responsible use of our public dollars,” Strickland said.

I wish them well.

One more note, looks like Farmington City Council may not be moving forward soon with Utopia. At least those are the rumblings I'm hearing. I hope in their September 18th meeting they will at least investigate it before making any decisions.

The decision to move from pledging to non-pledging was motivated by risk tolerance; the council just doesn't feel comfortable with being on the hook in the rare instance that UTOPIA can't make the bond payments.

I haven't heard of any cities complaining about money being an issue. Only iProvo is cited as an example of what not to do. Fortunately, iProvo is not Utopia. I've been told they sublease Utopia lines and it's a service the city provides to residents. Utopia doesn't provide services, only the lines. A big difference there.

Personally, I've thought about my future home purchases. It's very unlikely I would consider a second purchase here in West Jordan unless a change in the climate occurs. In purchasing a second home, I'm looking only in cities in which Utopia is available or will be. West Jordan is a great city however the same services can be found in other cities as well. Either the Internet is important or it isn't. Can't have it both ways.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Sept 11, 2007

I just had to share this with everyone. As I was driving home from work today, I heard a most awesome Clark Howard minute on KSL 102.7 FM. He basically went through the whole issue with Comcast terminating customer accounts for violating their "Invisible Bandwidth" limit. What really amused me was how he reported it, calling the company "Arrogant" and a Monopoly. It felt good to hear his comments. We basically brought this upon ourselves. He then quoted what Japan has for Internet services. Generally about 9 times faster than what we have here in America at a fraction of the cost.

As I understand it, they interviewed people from Atlanta Georgia area several months ago. I don't know who they are but I'm very pleased they came forward with their story.

If anyone was able to record it please let me know. I'd love a copy of it. If only I wasn't driving :-)

I'm getting contacted by reporters in Europe now. I apologize for not keeping up with my email. Articles are popping up in Germany, Italy and other countries and I've interviewed with several of them. There may be an article from France soon. Thank goodness for the Internet. I know a fair amount of Portuguese, a little Italian (still learning it) and no German, there are free tools available. Simply put your Internet address or text, select how you want it translated, then press the translate button. It's simple and does a fair job of translating.

I hear we're in the Washington Post! Several have posted here or emailed me the link (Thank You!) I unfortunately don't know of anyone in Washington DC who was terminated. If you or someone you know in the area has been terminated by Comcast please let me know. I'd love to send your contact information to them with your permission of course.

I've asked several people in recent conversations to come forward and speak with reporters. More and more are telling me they are afraid of retribution. Don't be afraid. YOU are the customer. The more who come forward and complain of this ill treatment the more power we all have to make a change. Whether it's Comcast to give up it's outrageous abuse policies or replace them with a national infrastructure as was pushed in the 90's by Clinton and Gore (NII). Comcast has already terminated services. They can't legally do anything more. It's done. Many have already come forward and even posted here.

Speaking of HighSpeed Internet, I recently came across this article about Japan. At least now I understand part of the reason why they've been able to leap frog America... again. Nothing wrong with competition. But when we deliberately hold ourselves back? Something certainly needs to be done. This is why I'm telling people to contact local Representatives and every Politician until they get a move on.

Another article of interest. Internet pipes in the YouTube Age. Very insightful.

"Unless we ensure an adequate supply of quality bandwidth at reasonable prices, many current and future business models will be stranded, which will have serious implications for economic growth and national competitiveness in the Internet sector," Kleeman writes.

Someone recently posted stating they like to be social and go out, talk with people. I'm fine with that. I do it all the time. However the article very clearly mentions we'll have problems with economic growth without the proper infrastructure. Time to get rid of the buggy whip :-)

One more note. Is Comcast violating the law by filtering P2P?

Many states make it illegal for an individual to impersonate another individual. New York, a state notorious for its aggressive pro-consumer office of the Attorney General, makes it a crime for someone to "[impersonate] another and [do] an act in such assumed character with intent to obtain a benefit or to injure or defraud another." (See: NY Sec. 190.25: Criminal impersonation in the second degree).

Also from the article

Comcast is perfectly within its right to filter the Internet traffic that flows over its network. What it is not entitled to do is to impersonate its customers and other users, in order to make that filtering happen. Dropping packets is perfectly OK, while falsifying sender information in packet headers is not.

I completely agree with this. While I believe they need to manage traffic(QOS: Quality of Services), I'm curious where this would go and if the AG's are looking at investigating the company. I'm curious where the FTC is with investigating the company. It's been many months since I filed a complaint citing unfair business practices. Time for me to follow up.

Monday, August 27, 2007

August 27, 2007

Just a quick note during my lunch hour...

Breaking News!

We've been Slashdotted!

I was wondering why our traffic was up so sharply. Thank goodness we're running this under blogspot otherwise we'd suffer the usual Slashdot effect. Google Rocks! (Yes, I know they aren't perfect but...). I also appreciate the high interest in the story. It's a problem that nobody in my neighborhood knew existed. My neighbors thought they still had "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee". At least that's what the advertisement said when we signed up.

My mail box is pulverized however. So many responses to read through. Please don't take it personally if I don't respond. Believe it or not, I do have my time away from the keyboard despite some opinions to the contrary :-)

Oh and it seems West Jordan will not be joining Utopia. Just received an email from our Mayor. I'm being told there are no plans as the City Council isn't convinced they should join. Citing iProvo's screw ups. Of course there are other cities doing well (Murry, Midvale, West Valley and so on). I'm curious, any ideas on what would convince a City Council we should investigate Fiber to the home?

Please post your thoughts. I'm curious what other's would do short of trying to replace them (It might come to that unfortunately). I really do believe a Fiber Infrastructure would have kept an abusive company such as Comcast from terminating people's account with next to no warning. A single phone call then your gone is poor customer service at best.

Newsflash to Comcast. There will always be a .001% top users list. There will never be a time where they no longer have a .001% top user list. Ever. If it's only .001% then why are there neighbors down the street terminated for heavy usage? One lady with 9 kids around the block received "The Call" and canceled on the spot. She didn't want to deal with the company after hearing of my experience the month before.

I have some new info that's come in about the $200 Billion American's have paid for Fiber to the home. I haven't reviewed it yet but if any of it's verifiable then I'll post it here in the next few days.

Thanks again for your interest and keep spreading the word! Several calls from reporters have come to me and other's unsolicited because of word of mouth!


Wednesday, August 22, 2007

August 22, 2007

Before I begin. I want to say I really appreciate the high interest and all the comments posted over the last few months. Both Pro and Con. I don't mind a dissenting voice. What a terrible place it would be if we all thought and spoke the same. I would like to say that lately I've received a number of dissenting posts with Adult language in it.

I'm uncomfortable with accepting those posts and haven't figure out how to edit them here (I've looked). If you have an opposing opinion please post but without the vulgarity (FU this and so on). I will reject those posts every time and would like to accept it. Even if I don't agree with it. Thanks!

Now on to our program...

I don't know what to make of it. Comcast says nay, and future ex-Comcast subscribers say yea.

Are they messing with bittorrent? I did find this so I'm willing to bet they are doing something as others have also noticed something going on.

Oh and in response to Comcast's cut/paste bandwidth response, I posted my analysis of their numbers in the February 20th post In an attempt to translate their response into English :-)

Their response makes no sense but I digress. I've already kicked that one around so enjoy!

From the Fedora article

If Comcast is allowed to continue cutting off even one protocol we’ve already lost. Voice your opinion. Contact your local office. Complain. Make some noise. Switch providers.

Until then I’ll be getting these two Comcast connections switched to a competitor. It may be a slower internet (in my area) on DSL, but at least its the whole internet.

I'm afraid it won't matter. I believe we've already shown how the company doesn't address consumer issues. It's bizarre but that's reality.

Comcast has been treating its customers so badly that even Clark can’t believe it. Customers are receiving letters from the company, warning them that if they use their high-speed Internet too much the service will be cut off. But Comcast doesn’t tell people what “too much” means.

It seems change only comes with running it through the courts as in this example. Yes, there are many other's but this one I found particularly interesting. I've wondered why our Attorney General doesn't investigate. Maybe someday (or elect a new one).

For those of you without alternatives I strongly encourage you to speak to your local Government. City Council, the Mayor, your Governor. Everybody. And keep speaking until something is done about it. It's your right and privilege as an American.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

August 19, 2007

Looks like Comcast is making friends today. A reader sent this to me today. While I understand why they are doing it, I don't believe this is the right answer. Bit-torrent relies on upload and download bandwidth being available. Sending RST to terminate the upload (while creative) is only alienating their customers even further. Personally I don't believe they really care. They simply want you to send them their money and read 130,000 email's every month. Or better yet, just send them the money and don't use the service. It's better for everyone that way :-)

Services such as Zudeo would be affected by this stunt. BTW, if you are a Star Wars fan, download "Dark Resurrection" from them(it's in Italian with English subs). It's awesome!

If Bit-Torrent is such a problem, here's another protocol which could finish the job of trashing the Internet. Internet Television is becoming VERY popular especially in my house (along with Internet Radio).

A recent report urges restraint to nurture growth of the Internet. I thought this part of their report was very interesting

The think tank, the New Millennium Research Council, released an 18-page report that called on Internet policymakers to avoid new regulations that could restrict Internet investment by the private sector and to find ways to encourage investment to handle the coming Internet onslaught.

How well has this "Hands Off" approach worked? Any guesses? Just read the above article on P2P for the answer. Oh, and for those who think fiber to the home isn't possible because of all the fiber we'd have to run across the country, check this out

The report said investment in network capacity by ISPs typically involves activating fiber optic cables that are already constructed but still dark; connecting the fiber to higher speed routers; dedicating circuits to Internet traffic; and expanding end user access lines where needed. Notably, 75 percent growth in the average traffic on the world's Internet backbones in 2006 outpaced the 47 percent growth of capacity, the report said, citing TeleGeography Research. That trend had continued for the third straight year.

Dark Fiber in other words. I believe we have the infrastructure already in place for the long runs people frequently bring up. It's the last mile which is the problem. This is why I support Utopia's efforts.

Finally I leave you with this thought.

The average IPTV user will likely consume about 224 gigabytes per month, he added, at a monthly cost to carriers of $112, a giant leap from the less than $5 attributed to Internet use. If that content were high-definition video, the average user would be consuming more than 1 terabyte per month at a cost to carriers of $560 per month. "Clearly that's not what the average user is going to pay per month for their video service," Kafka said. "That's why we need help."

Now I think I understand the knee jerk reaction and the fear companies such as Comcast display. The future doesn't look very bright without a fundamental change in either the habits of their customers or investment in the infrastructure.

Starting in the early 1990's, the Clinton-Gore Administration had aggressive plans to create the "National Infrastructure Initiative" to rewire ALL of America with fiber optic wiring, replacing the 100 year old copper wire. The Bell companies - SBC, Verizon, BellSouth and Qwest, claimed that they would step up to the plate and rewire homes, schools, libraries, government agencies, businesses and hospitals, etc. if they received financial incentives.

• By 2006, 86 million households should have already been wired with a fiber (and coax), wire, capable of at least 45 Mbps in both directions, and could handle 500+ channels.
• Universal Broadband: This wiring was to be done in rich and poor neighborhoods, in rural, urban and suburban areas equally.
• Open to ALL Competition: These networks were to be open to ALL competitors, not a closed-in network or deployed only where the phone company desired.
• This is not Verizon's FIOS or SBC's Lightspeed fiber optics, which are slower, can't handle 500 channels, are not open to competition, and are not being deployed equitably.
• This was NOT fiber somewhere in the network ether, but directly to homes.

We already paid for it in taxes. So why don't we have it? Does anyone else feel like fraud occurred somewhere?

• Costs to Customers - We estimate that $206 billion dollars in excess profits and tax deductions were collected - over $2000 per household. (This is the low estimate.)

• Cost to the Country - About $5 trillion dollars to the economy. America lost a decade of technological innovation and economic growth, about $500 billion annually.

• Cost to the Country - America is now 16th in the world in broadband. While Korea and Japan have 40-100 Mbps at cheap prices, America is still at kilobyte speeds.

• The New Digital Divide - The phone companies current plans are to pick and choose where and when they want to deploy fiber services, if at all.

• Competitor Close Out - SBC, BellSouth and Verizon now claim that they can control who uses the networks and at what price, impacting everything from VOIP and municipality roll outs to new services from Ebay and Google.

Next time you are told you didn't pay for it, remind them they already grabbed over 200 Billion from Americans under Clinton. It's time to cough up the benefits of our investment.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

August 15, 2007

Apparently companies such as Comcast terminating their customers accounts is a bigger issue than I had realized. This last month I've had a couple of unsolicited interviews with reporters for a couple of magazines about my experience. They were also very interested in speaking with anyone who had similar experiences. I gladly passed along contact information I had permission to give out. Hopefully those worked out for everyone. I'll admit, I felt kinda silly when asked for a photo shoot by one magazine. I guess I asked for it when I began speaking out. It's not me as I've never been comfortable with public speaking.

When the articles pop up I'll post the links here if they are available online. Speaking of which, I received this from Google Alerts just a while ago. No I didn't interview with them... I think :-) Basically the article talks about more and more cable companies running into the lack of bandwidth issue. It's a good article. I highly recommend reading it.

The last section of the article had a link to IPTV. I'm wondering if this is part of the reason Comcast selected me for their ex-customer club. I was getting into this a little before they cut me off. IPTV is sweet and IMO something Cable companies need to fear if bandwidth is an issue.. More products are coming out which use IPTV. It's only getting worse not better. In fact with my VERY high interest in MythTV, I can see fun products such as Myth causing some to panic and over react (Note to Brian Roberts: Get your people Customer Service training. They could use some).

One more note. I've had some people say America's Internet is totally awesome compared to the rest of the world. That may be true in some very isolated parts of the country. In general however we've a lot of catching up to do. Countries such as Japan and Korea beat us when it comes to average Internet speeds. An average of 4.8 vs. 61 Mps is pretty sad IMHO.

The last paragraph says it all.

The sad truth is that broadband connections of any speed can still be hard to come by in some parts of the country. The US consistently ranks relatively low in comparison with the rest of the world in both broadband availability and speeds. We also consistently pay more for our slower connections than those in other countries. As long as the government continues to make decisions that seem to work against consumers in this area—for example, not requiring cable and DSL providers to share their lines—Americans will continue to be stuck with subpar broadband speeds and prices.

I think it's time for me to speak before our City Council again. They might want to learn how far behind we are. Only projects such as FioS or Utopia will catch us up in a timely fashion.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

August 2, 2007

The White City Council meeting went well. The level of interest in Utopia is very high. It seems they will be joining Utopia far in advance of West Jordan if things continue. Both my wife and I attended and had the chance to chat with people. Since White City is a Township, they had a Council member assigned to them by Salt Lake County. We had a wonderful conversation with the Councilmen about Utopia and it's many benefits. They were very surprised to learn of our Comcast termination story and had many questions which I was pleased to answer.

Another gentleman I spoke with made a comment before the meeting if perhaps Comcast or Qwest would be a better choice for the area. He and others were stunned when I mentioned that Comcast is terminating Internet accounts in such a bizzare manner with inadequate notification for violating an undocumented bandwidth limit. Needless to say, it's unlikely Comcast will find much sympathy here.

Jesse (who presented the Utopia idea) mentioned Comcast was plastering the area with an advertisement he said they were loosing money on big time. I found it amusing the ad came only days after S.B. 66 died.

In the meeting I mentioned the one thing the Township needed to remember is once Utopia comes, they must advertise! When I spoke to a tech for the City of Murray I was told people had Utopia fiber and didn't know about it! They were looking to sign up with another service costing far more than Utopia. I'm hoping they will keep that in mind when it comes to the area.

Next we're on to Draper Utah. There has been a great deal of discussion in bringing Utopia there. Also I'm speaking with my City Council again about bringing Utopia here to West Jordan. It's ironic. Roger Black, COO of Utopianet lives in West Jordan and can't get the awesome service his company provides. Go figure.

Just received this notice. I strongly suggest everyone who doesn't wish to give up their legal right to sue Comcast to opt out here. You simply need your name, address and Comcast account number. As far as I can tell it's legitimate.

One more note. Looks like the State of Ohio has decided they want the ability to compete in the 21st Century and more importantly, save money. Now who doesn't want to save more money :-)

From the article

“This is the first step in bridging the digital divide in Ohio, and I look forward to working with industry providers, businesses and our local communities to take additional steps to provide superior broadband access to all of Ohio’s 88 counties,” Strickland said.

Please encourage your local and state Government to bring broadband which will allow American's to compete. America is already in 24th place in broadband penetration and in 7th place with technology and science. We're no longer number 1. I don't know about you guys but I find that disturbing.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

July 11, 2007

Today I'll be attending a Community Council meeting to discuss plans to bring Utopia to the masses. No, not here in West Jordan (though I'm still talking to people about it). I'm visiting White City today (they are just south of Sandy). It should be interesting to hear the arguments, pro and con. I'll update the blog if anything of interest. You never know. Basically I'm there to lend my support for expanding Utopia (now that the legislation has expired).

I never would have done something like this a year ago. It's amazing how poor customer service can get someone really motivated. Speaking of which, a recent post from autoguy mentioned Comcast is working with customers when bandwidth issues arise.

Comcast has issued an official response claiming they will try and work with their customers regarding this very issue. Not so in my case, regardless of the extensive effort I made to work with them. They threatened me with a 12 month suspension of services.

If anyone has seen such a response could you please email the link to me? I'd like to examine whether it's an improvement or just CYA. Also, I strongly recommend that anyone receiving "The Call" begin moving email's and your address book over to something like gmail. So far people are usually terminated regardless of what they do within 30 days. At least that's what I've gathered in speaking with former Comcast HSI customers.

I recently came across Very well kept and up to date site discussing Utopia, Internet and other items along that route. Might be something of interest to check out.

One more note. There are only 4 more days left to comment to the FCC regarding Net Neutrality. Take a few minutes and let them know your thoughts. Also check out this cool YouTube video about the internet and Net Neutrality.

Monday, June 25, 2007

June 25, 2007

I received a number of letters from various Politicians the last few weeks. It's interesting as many say the same thing. Politicians are aware of a growing concern by their constituents that the Internet is in trouble. Yet they seem to move rather slow in fixing the problem. If we had our roads privately held and problems were cropping up every week, we would see decisive and immediate action. I'm not talking about the infrequent pot hole here.

People in and out of Utah are contacting me stating they received "The Call" and asking what can they do. I'm asking everyone whether a resident of Utah or not to contact Senator Hatch, Senator Bennett and Representative Chris Cannon. Tell them how you feel about the problems with monopolies (in some cases duopolies). Don't forget to remind them it's important for our future as a country to have high speed Internet everywhere.

Finding your Senators and Representatives is easy. Tell him how you feel. In many cases you can easily send them a letter quickly online from their web site (the web sites are usually linked to their name, try it). It's your right and privilege to tell them what is on your mind. After all, America just dropped in broadband penetration from 12th place to 24th place. We're losing ground fast. Countries such as Australia understand how important the Internet is.

I think Orrin Hatch is closer to understanding that people are being harmed and discriminated by some private companies.

So, without further comment.

Thank you for contacting me to express your concerns about network neutrality legislation. I appreciate hearing from you and welcome the opportunity to respond.

As you are aware, S. 215, the Internet Freedom Preservation Act, was introduced by Senator Byron Dorgan on January 9, 2007, and referred to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. S. 215 would amend the Communications Act of 1934 to establish certain Internet neutrality duties for broadband service providers, including not interfering with, or discriminating against, the ability of any person to use broadband service in a lawful manner. This law is intended to promote competition and ensure consumers are not harmed by the actions of large telecommunications companies.

As a longtime advocate for competition and fairness to consumers, I believe competition yields several important advantages to consumers, including lower prices, higher quality services, and more responsive customer service. Our nation has always placed a premium on the many benefits made possible when companies compete on a fair playing field.

I believe it is important for telecommunications providers to ensure they do not and will not discriminate against consumers. I am hopeful the Federal government will not be forced to take too active a role in prescribing what can and can't be done on private networks around the country as I believe in fostering competitive integrity in the offering of broadband and video services. However, telecommunications companies are deregulated and are therefore subject to antitrust laws which regulate anti-competitive behavior in the U.S. Should these laws prove to be ineffective at protecting consumers, I will not hesitate to take action, especially if market imbalances begin to manifest themselves. Again, thank you for writing.


Orrin G. Hatch.
United States Senator.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

May 31, 2007

In the middle of my push for Utopia Fiber in West Jordan, I came across this tidbit on the Save the Internet web site. Apparently companies like Comcast want to be the "gatekeepers of the Internet". Personally that worries me greatly. We already can't trust them to be fair with their customers. Every week I'm hearing from somebody in the U.S. who has been disconnected for violating their fuzzy Abuse policy. NOW they want to discriminate against web sites who don't pay more for service they are already paying for?

It's been argued that companies such as Google (for example) are not paying their fair share of the bandwidth they are using. I beg to differ. I've spoken with a few buddies working at Google and it's certainly not a free lunch (unless you mean lunch at their wonderful cafeteria). Companies and customers are paying for the services offered. This is basically another excuse to hike the rates without calling it a rate hike.

Do you want to "trust" an abusive company with the Internet? Contact the FCC and let them know what you think by June 15th (end of the public comment period). It's important they understand that a common carrier shouldn't be allowed to restrict what web pages you visit or how fast they might load compared to a competitor who paid extra.

One more note. I've received an interesting email from my Representative Chris Cannon about his views regarding the Internet. It's basically the opposite of what I've been hearing from him these last few years. Here is part of the letter I received.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the important issue of Net Neutrality. I appreciate your letter, and it is a pleasure to respond.

Currently in Congress there is a heated debate as to whether or not legislation should be enacted to prevent phone and cable companies from charging for preferential network access. As you may know, "Net Neutrality" refers to the idea that access to the Internet should be on a free and open basis for all.

The Internet continues to be a vital source of economic growth. The idea of a free and open Internet is what has allowed it to prosper and flourish into the fertile breeding ground of innovation it is today. It is my belief that Congress should stay out of the way of innovation and allow the Internet to continue to grow without the restrictive hands of over-regulation and control. For this reason I voted in favor of HR 5417, the Internet Freedom and Non-Discrimination Act, and for an amendment on the House floor that strengthens the anti-trust laws against those who attempt to degrade or impede legitimate Internet content.

In my time in Congress, I have led the way in keeping the Internet free of taxes and have always been a proponent of its ability to launch and sustain businesses of all sizes, but mainly small businesses. In addition, I am a cosponsor of HR 1684, the Internet Tax Nondiscrimination Act of 2005, a bill that would make permanent the ban on state taxation of Internet access, to make sure your email is never taxed, and that you will not be taxed on your connection to your Internet service provider.

I am proud of the fact that Utah is one of the nation's technological leaders, and I assure you I will vote to protect Utahns in their freedom of choice in their Internet access and that I will fight for the founding principles that have made the Internet the success it is today.

BTW, HR 5417 can be viewed here.

Seems we have more in common than I thought :-)

Friday, May 11, 2007

May 11, 2007

Just received an amusing email from the BBB today. I couldn't resist sharing. Basically Comcast sent them another response and mailed a copy to our house now. I'll bet nobody could guess what the company said. Any takers??

No, don't hold your breath. Comcast apparently isn't able to do much more than cut and past their reply over and over again (and over and over and over....). It's quite funny actually. You would think a company able to push 150 Mps across a copper wire would be capable of something a little more ... original?

Before I get into that, here is their response

And here is mine.

So now I have a list of compromises. The middle ground is NOT getting the answer and resolving the issue. We'll see what the company does. Any guesses??? :-)

I'm curious if the company will improve as a result of this. The Abuse department I hope has some understanding of how dangerous Social Engineering can be. Ever hear of a guy named Kevin Mitnick? Yeah, it's a bigger problem than people realize.

People get a phone call and wonder if it really is Comcast calling. I've heard some say this could potentially turn into some way to scam people. Call around and ask for personal information. Hey, don't look at me that way. Comcast is the one who said Unlimited doesn't mean unlimited anymore. None of this has made sense from the beginning.

Ok. So I've received a bunch of email's about Comcast's latest test over copper wire. They did accomplished something very impressive. I doubt anyone will see 150 Mps but at least they are starting to catch up with the fiber. I hope nobody is really kidding themselves. Copper is 19th century tech and we're talking about moving into the 21st Century with fiber. They are basically investing in technology which really doesn't have a future. Fiber is the future. The potential is much higher. When a gig connection is made over a cable modem then I'll change my opinion :-D

Saturday, May 5, 2007

May 5th, 2007

We're at 25,000 visitors! Thank You all for your interest in this issue and getting the word out. According to Sitemeter, we have visitors from Australia, Germany, the UK, Brazil, Thailand, Japan and Israel to name just a few countries. I've received links to articles around the world. This is quite the accomplishment after nearly 4 months of operation. With people such as you spreading the word, we may make a positive change yet.

So here we are. The next 30 days with DSL. This month I needed to pull down more iso's than usual. I'm developing some code and needed to pull down RedHat AS3, AS4, and AS5. Binaries and source. That's on top of our normal usage. So here are the screen shots.

Here is the usage chart.

And here are the numbers.

Why do I show these? Because I was very suspicious when the Abuse department stated we were using 250-300 gigs a month. I simply couldn't believe we were hitting those numbers. I only wish I was monitoring it at this level back then. I have spoken with a couple dozen people who have captured their usage. In every case so far, the Abuse department's quoted numbers do not match what terminated customers monitoring software reported. Since Comcast doesn't provide any way of monitoring usage, you simply have to take their word for it. This reflects poorly on the company. With as much money as the company made last year, they can spend a few bucks and figure this problem out.

BTW, If I don't respond to an email or post please don't take it personally. I do have 6 kids and a wife to spend time with. Not to mention my employment and after hour activities keep me busy. I'll do the best I can to respond.


There are also a few other things of interest I've been working on. I'm trying to get together with the City Council's and especially the Mayor's of cities with Utopia. At least a couple of them to discuss how things are going. I'd like to copy what they did in the City of West Jordan. I've heard plenty of scary stories about iProvo. With 14 cities adopting Utopia, I figure somebody had to do it properly. Once I have something to report I'll post it here.

A little over a month ago I had a pleasant chat with Jason Porter and Pete Ashdown, CEO of That conversation I felt was very helpful. Pete is very excited with Utopia and we walked away with a laundry list of things to do. More on this in upcoming posts.

I really appreciate Jason's help these last few months. In researching why we are not allowed to join Utopia at this time, Jason discovered the following legislation which spells it out. Fortunately part of it goes away after July 2007 (yes, this year). I've been sending letters to the legislature and my representative. I strongly recommend everyone to do the same. Make them aware of what they could be getting themselves into and encourage competition.

Here are a few other links Jason provided. Very insightful.

If you have a story, please feel free to post it here or email me.

Keep up the great job of getting the word out!!

Friday, April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007

Happy Friday the 13th!

I wasn't planning on updating the blog for several days as I have a lot going on these days. I received an alert from google which I simply could not ignore. Just noticed we're now in the New York Times

I really appreciate The New York Times in helping get the word out. The Internet has become very important over the years and simply terminating Internet access after a single phone call isn't reasonable. One correction to the article. Comcast didn't send me a letter warning we were violating their "Acceptable Use Policy".

Had we received such a letter it would have been proof enough we were in contact with Comcast and it wasn't a prank. Degrading Comcasts systems isn't something reasonable people would want to do especially when Comcast (at the time) was the only provider of High Speed Internet (HSI) in my area.

The last part of the article I thought was great.

But Russell Shaw, a blogger at ZDNet, writes that while suspending service might be an overreaction, “these bandwidth hogs are abusing the system.” His idea is to “hit ’em with a surcharge” (

Most HSI providers actually do this and/or provide some system in warning their customers so an informed choice can be made. Heck, my ISP Xmission provides multiple tiers of service. Service up to 500 Gigs consumption for about $250 a month I believe. Sounds reasonable to me. I can't help but wonder why Comcast doesn't go this route. After all, their Abuse department tell's people to reduce usage or upgrade to a Business account which we did try in January 2007.

Here is page 1 and page 2 of our contract with Comcast for a business account.

I did press Comcast's Business CSR however they were unable to give me any additional details. He simply said there is more bandwidth for business accounts but couldn't say how much we were purchasing. Sounds like a broken record huh?

Related articles in the New York Times had a very insightful poll on their page. 55% of the respondents (as of today) said Comcast should either let bandwidth hogs through as everything balances or a surcharge should be added (after 268 responses).

Occasionally I read An article I read by a fellow poster said he was tired of this subject coming up over and over again. His comments were not flattering to people who fully use the HSI purchased. I've never heard of this problem before with an "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee" residential account, I figured somebody needed to raise the issue.

Update - April 15, 2007

Fox has picked up the story for a quick update here in Utah. Here is the link regarding tonights broadcast. Click to watch tonights video. I really appreciate FOX 13 with being so accommodating and helping get the word out.

The internet is discussed these days as if everyone has High Speed Internet (HSI) available everywhere. Almost like it's a public utility. Everyone has water or roads accessible to their home. It's not often where it's not available. Perhaps the Internet should become a public utility. At least the infrastructure.

Thursday, April 5, 2007

April 5, 2007

It's been a Comcastic month! No really. We've been Comcast free for over a month and have been using DSL for 30 days. Several people have challenged me to keep doing what we've been doing when we had Comcast then post our usage.

Well, my ISP ( provides a stats section where I can see exactly what I'm consuming. The numbers are shocking. I've learned we are actually using much less than Comcast told us. I could post what my firewall is telling me but hey, I might have faked it right? After all, I'm a bandwidth hog. Or am I?

Ok. So downloading 4 movies, a few iso's(I had to pull down fedora 5, Ubuntu and OpenSuse) a couple different versions of each for a variety of projects I'm working on. I'm messing with 0.20 of mythtv, some gaming, this blog and so on... here it is.

The chart.

The totals.

A reminder. Since I now can run servers, we have a LAMP server I've been experimenting with providing a forum for my family across the US (and some in Europe) to share photos. I'm even experimenting with video publication. Kinda a youtube or spikedhumor thing.

So what do you guys think? 300 Gigs a month a posibility?

Sure, I could be toning it down. But then let's see what the next 30 days bring :-)

BTW, came across this poll asking should ISP's advertise the terms of use they wish us to stay within while on their services?. Rather interesting. It's not just a few people who believe Comcast should disclose their limits. That small unscientific poll clearly shows it. People are demanding to be told what they are purchasing.

I wonder who the 14 people who said no are and if their employer resides in Philly. Nah, couldn't be :-)

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

April 4, 2007

I was recently contacted by Chloe Albanesius at PC Magazine. Here is the article online for your viewing pleasure. I really appreciate the opportunity to clarify a few points and explain my view on this issue. People have the right to know what they really purchased and silence will only encourage the company to continue abusing it's customers.

I'm concerned that Comcast is disconnecting people with next to no notification. One phone call should not be considered sufficient. If you had an issue with a company, who would you call? Most people I've asked that question say, you guessed it, Customer Service :-) With Comcast who should you call? The Abuse Department. Don't ask Comcast Customer Service if you get one of those calls. They don't know a thing about problems with your account until after you are terminated. Your Comcast bill only has Customer Service listed btw.

At least that was my experience. I've uploaded my phone records from T-Mobile as proof that my wife and I called them multiple times on December 12 and 13 (I have been keeping detailed records of this experience just in case). They even called me back on December 13th to tell me it wasn't Comcast calling that it must be a prank!! You will also find my online chat with Comcast which I took screen shots for your review. They said the same thing. When asked if there were bandwidth limits their online CSR said "No.". I believe this can't be any clearer.

That being the case, Comcast really needs to resolve a few internal problems. I don't care really how they do it but it's obvious to the dozens of disconnected ex-Comcast consumers I've spoken with that they have a problem which needs fixing.

I've finally received a response from Comcast through the BBB regarding my complaint. They said (you guessed it) "abusers using 100 times the norm", "13 Billion email's a month" (ok, they really said million...), "256,000 photos, 30,000 songs", blah blah blah. Ugg. Microsoft Cut and paste to the rescue.

Comcast needs to speak to their technical people and ask THEM what on earth their response means in english. I've provided my analysis of this in February. Comcast's response translates to 1.3 - 2.7 Gigs consumption a month. This means if you download 2 movies from's Unbox then you could be the next lucky customer to switch to DSL (or Verizon FiOS or Utopianet). Each HD-DVD is around 2 Gigs and costs about $10 for a 2 hour Hollywood video. Cheaper than paying $30 for the same thing.

Here is my response to Comcast through the BBB

I'm sorry to sound so harsh as that's not my style. I thought it was interesting to see Sara provide a number to call. No thanks. I don't need another quote for a commercial account (I received a second verbal quote of $10,000 to connect and up to $2000 a month). I did find it interesting they didn't send me a written quote. Pity. I'd love to post it here.

Sara did mentioned something I thought rather interesting. They "Proactively contact customers violating acceptable use" (one call is proactive???), they "value the business of all high speed internet customers" (Huh? You mean before you disconnect them right?), and they "work with customers to find a more appropriate Comcast product". Hmmm.... Comcast Business had us back on for about 10 minutes on January 23rd until the Abuse department noticed we were back online.

Ryan and Larry in Comcast's Sandy office clearly stated we could upgrade to a business account and despite the issues with the Abuse department, we will be ok as they are seperate from the residential side of the business. For the record, Ryan and Larry went to bat for us. These guys were awesome. Somebody please contact them and give them a job. Their Customer Service is second to none!

So, here is a scanned copy of the business contract Comcast violated

It was signed and faxed to them. In essense breach of contract is what I'm seeing here. Yes I've spoken with a couple of lawyers. Is it worth the trouble? Not really. At this point I'm saving $30 a month going with DSL and Dish Network. My Counter Strike / Team Fortress game has seriously improved now that my uplink is 896k instead of only 384k :-)

What do I want?

I want the truth. Define Acceptable Use and be done with it.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

March 20, 2007

It seems the issue of Comcast disconnecting it's Internet customers is popping up nearly every week. The latest in a post from JT Rockville, The Register has picked up the story. JT Rockville also found a very amusing commercial from Southwestern Bell which had me in stitches.

Sounds like there are some who are getting the message. I do wonder though. The Register article mentioned they wonder why DSL providers aren't working hard to capitalize on this problem with Comcast. I'm guessing they may be. I find it very interesting that DSL is available in my area about 6 weeks after Comcast disconnected us. Quite the coincidence wouldn't you say :-)

One more thing. I'm encouraging everyone to check out this web site for Net Neutrality. It won't help people with being disconnected by Comcast however in my research I've seen this pop up frequently. Net Neutrality as I understand it will prevent a company (such as Comcast) from picking who they want over their pipes and who they don't want. Choosing Google over MSN Search vs. altavista and so on.

Common carriers shouldn't be able to pick who get's service over their lines. It ensures that the public can view the smallest blog just as easily as the largest Web site. I encourage everybody to check it out. You should have a choice over which web sites you wish to visit.

Monday, March 12, 2007

March 12, 2007

Today the Boston Globe published an article on Comcast terminating HSI services. It was good to see other's are coming forward about this. I guess the company has changed their policy of not terminating customers who exceed their undisclosed limits. FYI, Comcast will always have a top .01% :-)

BTW, this issue isn't going away anytime soon. As much as I don't care for Bill Gates, he does make some insightful comments about the Internet and what we can expect from the future. From the article:

The Internet is set to revolutionize television within five years, due to an explosion of online video content and the merging of PCs and TV sets, Microsoft chairman Bill Gates said recently;


At the 2007 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, Bill Gates said, "I'm stunned how people aren't seeing that with TV, in five years from now, people will laugh at what we've had," he told business leaders and politicians The rise of high-speed Internet and the popularity of video sites has already led to a worldwide decline in the number hours spent by young people in front of a TV set.

I've recently learned another resident just a few doors down has been disconnected by Comcast for "using the internet too much". She received the call from Comcast's abuse department threatening to disconnect her broadband service if usage wasn't drastically reduced. Comcast however was (again) unwilling to say exactly what acceptable use is.

Rather than guess what was acceptable, she decided that if it was such a problem that Comcast needed to threaten termination, she decided to cancel her broadband on the spot. She mentioned that her kids did use the Internet heavily. The funny thing about this is the abuse rep began to backpeddle saying they didn't need to terminate HSI, only use it less. So now they are without HSI however she began asking for details about DSL. Personally after a week I'm surprised to see very little difference in performance. I'm making a point of telling everyone about Qwest DSL.

Came across this article recently. A fellow blogger determined if you use only 7% of your connection you can be terminated.

Here is a very interesting article on public ownership of a fiber infrastructure. A pdf copy of their report is available.

This is where we are going as a society. Public Libraries are getting into these services and companies are bringing TV from all over the world steaming to your home.

Finally, from the Boston Globe article:

"Legitimately, everybody's going to be a bandwidth hog sooner or later, because that's what the Internet is, going forward," said Linda Sherry of Consumer Action.

Seems this is how .01% got into trouble with Comcast. We simply got there first :D

Seems slashdot is now running with the Boston Globe story . I'm pleased to see the word is seriously getting out as people have the right to know they didn't purchase "Unlimited Use for a flat monthly fee".

Thursday, March 8, 2007

March 8, 2007

It looks like Comcast came over this past weekend and disconnected the Cable TV. A flyer was left on my door to notify us. Oh and it was dated 3/1/2007. I guess they got the hint that I was serious. Still no word if they will charge us till March 13th and give us a credit. The way these guys have treated us I wouldn't be surprised to see a bill. I'll post a scan of the flyer soon and any future bills I receive (I said I keep everything didn't I ::grinz::).

Here's something else of amusement. This last week I've received 3 phone calls from Comcast Customer Service asking if I'd like to take a survey of my satisfaction with Comcast after our last phone call. I said sure. They asked how I would rate them, blah blah blah.

Got to a question about how do I like my Comcast service. I said "Great, we disconnected you guys a week ago and it's awesome to be a Comcast free house!". She asked what we are doing for service now. I said "We went to one of your competitors and are much happier thanks". She said "oh, well have a good day" then hung up after that :-)

The last call was around 6:30 last night and lasted a few minutes. At least they are calling me less these days. We've received several calls already but at least they are slowing down now.

I've asked Comcast several times over the last two months to be put on a DNC list but I guess they don't honor it. I think I'll start recording my conversations with them and post them here for fun. We've been thinking about creating several YouTube videos. We'll see. I've learned Utah has no notification requirement. So I'm kinda hoping they call again. I could really have fun with this.

When I picked up the Comcast flyer on my door I noticed something else. A flyer from Qwest advertising DSL is now available in our area and a number to call. I'm encouraging everyone in my neighborhood to "Hang up on Comcast" and go DSL. Already many have asked about my experience with Comcast and have stated they are switching. Customer Service means more to people than the fake "unlimited use for a flat monthly fee" advertisement.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

March 5, 2007

Still no word regarding Comcast charging us for services we don't want and haven't used for the last week. Last I heard, we'll get a credit for the next two weeks however they won't say that in writing. I guess they are careful with doing that these days. Might explain why they no longer send letters for customers using the Internet too much. I received a screen shot of the order from the Comcast rep. It's interesting to see the Business account mentioned as a "downgrade". It does show we tried. I received this screen shot from Sue at Comcast. Instead of showing the credit and 0 balance we received this. We'll see what happens. I'm amazed at the games this company plays.

The business account was on for about 10 minutes. I'm also surprised the replacement of our Cable Modem in November wasn't in the history. We had an outage in September which is reflected in the history then nothing until January 19th. What's really interesting is multiple calls to Comcast in December are not in the history. Fortunately I keep records. Notice the call from (801) 485-0500 on December 13th in my phone records below. That's an incoming call from a Comcast CSR I spoke to 30 minutes earlier (8:13am). According to the CSR, all calls to Utah are trunked through this number. This is why he told us to ignore the call. Apparently he didn't know the Abuse Department doesn't go through this trunk. You see an 856 number when they call. Somebody should teach what unlimited means. If they tell you to ignore it, don't believe them as they are clueless. So here is part of my phone record:

DSL will be installed March 5th. I'm looking forward to it. Oh and yes I've modified my firewall to include monitoring among other things now. I've decided to go with MRTS and some perl scripts I wrote for some detailed reporting and am working on a PHP tool to provide me with some pretty graphs. Not like I'll really need it since Xmission provides every DSL and Utopia customer with a web page displaying their usage. Still, it will be nice to have my own records even though I trust Xmission. I had them for years over ISDN before Comcast.

Friday we dropped off the Cable Modem. I was somewhat surprised to see how many people were there returning equipment. Despite my opinion of the company, I didn't expect to see the lobby full of people lining up (we went to the Murray building). Most were cable modems, some DVR's and a few VoiP phones. Of course there were people paying bills or doing other things. I couldn't resist asking why people were leaving Comcast.

There were a variety of reasons. Most were simply tired of Comcast's poor customer service and have switched to either DirectTV or Dish. A few received "The Call" and were very upset with Comcast's new "Customer Service" (Abuse Department). It was amusing how frequently this is happening here in Utah. When I spoke with an Xmission Sales rep about upgrading to DSL, we briefly spoke about Comcast. Seems sales is hearing more and more people are being dropped.

While chatting with other satisfied ex-Comcast customers, I learned many had heard of Utopia however they "thought" Utopia provided the services or that cities had to maintain the infrastructure. I straightened them out of course. Utopia is a lot like DSL. You can snap in different providers through DSL lines. Also, the infrastructure is maintained by Utopia and can be used by other companies to provide services. Heck, even Comcast or Qwest could join Utopia and provide services through Utopia's superior infrastructure if desired.

The last week at work I can't go anywhere without someone saying they saw me on FOX or Gephardt. Most are amazed. Many are switching now to DSL or Utopia citing they want to know what they purchased. A few even said they were afraid to use their Internet for fear of being disconnected. I've been recommending dumeter or RRDtool lately. Even sent a note to dumeter with my story. I figure they might want to know how much their tool would have helped had I heard of it just a month earlier.

A final note. Just received a link to check out from a blog poster. Very insightful . The title is "Comcast -- The Worst Company in America". Go figure.