Wednesday, February 7, 2007

February 7, 2007

I've been busy these last few days and have much material to post. So much that it's difficult to decide where to start :-)

I believe I'll begin with a couple of short links.

Ed Foster and I have discussed the problem of Comcast disconnecting it's customers from HSI. He wrote a nice article here.

And then there is the online magazine "The Deseret Spectacle". Seems Comcast disconnected one of their editors for downloading too much. The amusing thing is he was told to reduce his usage in half (which he did) and yet the Abuse department disconnected him anyway . Needless to say he's a little peeved Utopia isn't in the area thanks to Comcast's heavy lobbying. It's pathetic the company is this transparent. Building it's monopoly in the area, promising to take care of everyone, then kicking off the top 20% so they can get more bandwidth.

No I'm not 100% certain that's what they are doing. I've discussed the Comcast issue with a few people. I'm 90% certain this is what they are doing. Oh and here is one such person who also believes it.

Finally, did anyone know that Comcast was getting into providing movie downloads? I'm seeing a pattern here. But of course they want to compete with companies such as Amazon and Tivo. Especially since today's annoucement of Hollywood movies available for download.

I look forward for further comments. Let's try to keep the ad hominum comments to a minimum. I'd rather discuss the issue myself :-)

16 comments:

The Deseret Spectacle said...

I updated the information on the site to reflect a little more of my experience with the issue.

http://desspec.blogspot.com/2006/08/comcast-strikes-again-too-much-is.html

Keep the faith,
DS

u235sentinel said...

Thanks bud. Just had a chance to read it. I appreciate the note.

I'm fully prepared now to address my City Council again on the subject. I plan on getting as many out to it as I can. I intend to get Utopianet out here as DSL simply isn't available and Comcast needs the competition.

I intend to make this happen. Never been political before. Now I'm certainly learning a great deal on how the process works. It's been interesting.

hobgoblin said...

So you are saying that Comcast will terminate their top 20% so they can sell a few movie Downloads?

That does not make sense from a financial standpoint.

u235sentinel said...

So you are saying that Comcast will terminate their top 20% so they can sell a few movie Downloads?

That does not make sense from a financial standpoint.


I agree. I'm unclear why they choose to walk anything but the high road. My guess is they need more bandwidth for the newer services they are pushing. They probably figure if they can eliminate the top users they have more bandwidth for people who don't really use the internet which is probably a vast majority of their customers.

This means they have more movies sales and can increase their profits even further.

Speaking of which, I've learned most wireless providers such as Sprint for example provide wireless broadband with the intention people are using it for browsing and email. Generally speaking it's not for people who stream video or radio over their connection. Very interesting.

Ben said...

I just want to let you know, I completely agree with your theory that they are trying to clear up bandwidth for new services. Back in August 2003, Comcast first started sending out abuse letters for people downloading too much. I received one of those letters in September. Back then, they had just rolled out a speed upgrade and I was thinking (at the time) that they had started with the letters so they could free up bandwidth for it. I found the cause and throttled back some bandwidth I was using, never heard anything else from them. I periodically checked the dslreports.com forums through 2004 and 2005 and noticed nobody much mentioning anything about it -- only a few. I assumed comcast had stopped, or was only doing it so few people that nobody was posting. I guess comcast wasn't needing any more bandwidth.

Then, on Febuary 7th I got the call. And you mention them offering movie download services. It makes perfect sense to me.

In any case, I'm really happy to see someone fighting this. I wish you best of luck.

Game said...

I read all your stuff (thanks, Consumerist!) and I would think taking them to small claims court might work. Seems to work for other people!

Amusing Bunni said...

Wow, I read about you on consumerist! Those comcast jerks are awful! This is precisely the reason why I don't have, cable, broadband, dsl or any of that crap! My little dial-up may be antiquated, but at least it works (slowly, mind you) but it works!
Good Luck to you!

Carl said...

you definitely need to contact the attorney general in your state and provide him with copies of the cached description of unlimited service. The attorney general is the best resource, but will definitely not solve your problem in the near term. Although I'm sure DIGG is going to bring some publicity to this anyway which Comcast is not going to like.

Nikki said...

all the best with fighting this one :)

jay said...

I've been a comcast customer since they bought mediaone. This kind of activity scares me to death since I connect to work via vpn frequently. If they suddenly decided that I was using too much bandwidth I'd be screwed. I've been thinking of looking into alternatives due to the cost and the fairly frequent outages and this might push me to start looking a little harder. I wanted to switch to Direct TV so I caould get the NFL package anyway.

u235sentinel said...

I've been a comcast customer since they bought mediaone. This kind of activity scares me to death since I connect to work via vpn frequently. If they suddenly decided that I was using too much bandwidth I'd be screwed. {snip} I wanted to switch to Direct TV so I caould get the NFL package anyway.

Yeah. I frequently vpn to work and this has totally screwed it up. When I'm on call I have to drive in to SLC from West Jordan regardless of the time (I've had calls at 2am and drove in). Like I told the Abuse rep, I wouldn't do anything to jeopardize my internet connection. He didn't care (Geovanny). The guy was amazingly rude.

If this isn't resolved VERY soon we're planning on switching to Direct TV or Dish and firing Comcast permanently.

u235sentinel said...

you definitely need to contact the attorney general in your state and provide him with copies of the cached description of unlimited service. The attorney general is the best resource, but will definitely not solve your problem in the near term. Although I'm sure DIGG is going to bring some publicity to this anyway which Comcast is not going to like.

I'm in this for the long haul now which is why I'm pushing to get utopianet out here. I didn't know what it was until this started. Now I intend to make everyone aware of what's going on and move as many to utopianet I can. It's not in my city but I hope to fix that. No wonder Comcast heavily lobbied against it. They can't compete!

I spoke with the Attorney Generals office. They said they couldn't do anything about it unless it was a case of fraud. I'm hoping to convince them this is such a case. We'll see if they think it's worthwile.

I really appreciate The Consumerist and Digg for all they have done. I certainly couldn't have gotten the word out without their help and people like you. Thanks a bunch!

6am said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Certainly said...

Dear Internet Users.

Let me explain something to you.

A 300 GB a month customer can consume the same bandwidth as 10 30 GB a month customers (obviously) or 300 1 GB a month customers.

Selling you last mile access is an economics game. More and more pipe to your homes are needed if more and more of you continue to watch YouTube and other 2.0 applications constantly, p2p constantly, always-on streams, xml, feeds that don't shut off, etc.

No provider can stay in business with over subscribed lines.

People who are non technical who came onto the web in the free dialip days are used to thinking they get unlimited access. Dumb marketing departments, or early when new networks were deployed, said things like "unlimited access," unaware of what that would mean, or didn't check with their technical people first.

No provider can give you unlimited access and stay in business, and you the consumer are not willing to pay what this unlimited access actually costs the provider.

These networks were built up expecting to get 500, 1000, 2000, some larger number of subscribers per Central Office/CO box, or per 'next hop' or however you want to describe it.

It was probably costed out at something around 5GB a week per customer as plenty of headroom. With typical adults and pre web 2.0 teens, this was plenty.

However, it only requires one customer of the 'never turns off the p2p / never stops downloading 24/7' to blow these economics out of the water. Instead of 30 gb a week, we now have 300 and climbing per person.

No company stays in business like this.

Oops. There's that 5 years ago marketing claim, unlimited. 5 years ago, p2p was in its infancy and there was no YouTube. Further, only one person out of 3000 probably even did download at much as 30 GB a week, if anyone touched 300 they were fat and happy on an under utilized circuit cause half his neighbors still had dialup or still were only browsing static web sites.

Blaming comcast is fun happy sport for a while, but any provider with similar consumers leeching 10x what they were a couple of years ago with more and more people doing it is going to be in Comcasts situation pretty soon.

These are private companies, they have to make a living, even the "last mile" ILEC has a right not to sell you broadband if it so chooses.

If you make the company's economics untenable by using 10x more than is considered feasable, they'll terminate your contract and their network will be happier for it. The 99 other people whose service was sucking because of you will be happier for it. Sorry but the problem is unlimited downloaders. Its sort of like a bunch of SUV's just got unleashed on the highway at once, now they're complaining about the road being not as fast as they were promised.

keebler said...

I have received "the call" warning me of my excessive usage. I asked for a number time and time again and was told time and again that there is no "limit" but I was downloading too much. I asked how much should I cut back, 10%, 20%.. Still no concrete solid answer. I think this is going to become a bigger and bigger problem for more people since sites such as YouTube etc. keep popping up. How does Comcast expect us to be "responsible" internet users if they will not define the term? This makes absolutely no sense to any logical person. Only a lawyer could call this policy remotely defensable. If I had an alternative I would have told them where to stick their service during that call. Now I am severely limiting my usage out of fear of being terminated. I am wondering if there is a pattern where COMCAST is doing this in markets mostly void of competition. Does anyone know??

Cameron said...

If anyone is interested, I am being interviewed by a reporter in Atlanta, GA about this issue and I am also considering filing a class action lawsuit against Comcast for it's business practices. If anyone is interested, e-mail me with as much information as you are willing to share and I will be back in touch with you ASAP.