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.