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Comcast defends BitTorrent blocking in response to FCC

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 13 Feb 2008 23:22 User comments (22)

Comcast defends BitTorrent blocking in response to FCC In a 80 page filing with the FCC, Comcast attempted to explain why there's nothing wrong with the "network management" practices that spurred a number of complaints to agency regulators. The problem is they're not really offering new facts. While they're finally admitting what was proven several months ago - that they've been tampering with P2P uploads from subscriber computers - rather than offering an explanation that puts the practice in a new legal light the company's official position is still just that they haven't done anything wrong.
"The carefully Limited measures that Comcast takes to manage traffic on its broadband network -- including its very limited management of certain P2P protocols -- are a reasonable part of Comcast's strategy to ensure a high-quality, reliable Internet experience for all Comcast High-Speed Internet customers," read the company's statement. It added that the BitTorrent file-sharing protocol "utilize(s) immense amounts of Bandwidth in ways that are unpredictable and inconsistent and that can threaten to overwhelm network capacity and harm the online experience of other users."

The company's comments include some specifics on how BitTorrent traffic is handled. It explains that during certain peak hours they disrupt traffic from subscribers who are uploading using P2P applications, but not downloading at the same time. It also states that neither downloads, nor uploads taking place simultaneously with downloades, are affected.

The big problem with Comcast's claims is that they don't seem to match up with reality. For example, according to the company sending reset packets that claim to come from remote P2P clients is completely legitimate becuase of the potential for this traffic to affect other users. If, in fact, company executives believe that claim it begs the question of why they refused to even admit the practice until the issue was forced by the government.

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22 user comments

114.2.2008 0:07

How about boosting the overall bandwidth for USA users since, ya know, the United States has the slowest rating in the world. Instead Comcast wants to cap the already paltry bandwidth already available.

214.2.2008 2:53

Comcast can't do a thing to cap bandwidth. That is so backwards when you think about advancements in technology. Someone will go faster, and soon Comcast will be left in the dust. Keep up or get out.

314.2.2008 3:08

Comcast are selling a service that they are not providing and their interference is having the effect of blocking connections being established sue their asses. This happens in the UK and the isp's over here use the same lame lies as comcast, both Tiscali and Eclipse Internet use the same method of throttling that comcast has employed to save them money and block connections being made via p2p, by creating tracker errors, forced disconnections & spoofing packets. All get your MAC code and leave anti consumer as there are many good isp's out there.

Tiscali & Eclipse Internet are possibly the worst two isp's in existence & now Pipex since Tiscali purchased them.

Bad ISPs

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Feb 2008 @ 3:16

414.2.2008 3:18

It's called overtrading.. selling something you don't have.. Look it up, it's illegal!

514.2.2008 6:14

I have Comcast because it is the only hgh speed available here. Let me tell you, from top to bottom, the company is trash. Form their customer service to their service itself, they are garbage.

614.2.2008 11:46

My friend and his family switched from Comcast to a DSL provider when they received a letter in the mail telling them that they have been abusing their bandwidth. And from what he's told me, the customer service is extremely poor anyway, so he didn't feel bad about ditching them.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 14 Feb 2008 @ 12:30

715.2.2008 8:22

Comcast, like many ISP's, oversell their service.

Say a Comcast node can support 250 users. Comcast may put up to 500 users on it, using the logic (albeit flawed) that all 500 won't be online at the same time. The times where you can see the flaw in action is when people get off of work and the loop/node become overwhelmed with users, usually only for a brief period of time (say 4pm to 7pm).

I believe comcast and verizon already had a tiff over who was faster that was settled somehow (court? arbitration?). And I think thats why you no longer see the turtle ads and others saying comcast is faster, because they are not.

I might be wrong on the numbers but you will get the gist.. Cable is run over copper wire and has a maximum bandwidth capacity, say 300MBs. When DSL gets completely tweaked they can do 10x+ that speed with no notice of lag/slow down to the end user, because of fibers bandwidth capacity.

Comcasts infrastructure is also a weak point for them, it is aging. The is alot of signal loss through out their system. Although you will notice that wealthier neighborhoods are upgraded with new copper, better nodes, and usually serviced by actuall Comcast Techs, as opposed to subcontractors. Wire in the "other" neighborhoods is ancient, signal leakage like a mofo. Their HD bandwidth is a mess, doing an install for HD (at least the ones I did) would end probably 40% the time with homeowner rejecting the install (after I was 99% done) because the picture looked like shit, would pixelate, freeze.
You end up trying to track down why you only have +5dbmv @ the tap, and by the time you get into the house and the box, you are @ -7dbmv.. mostly because the tap has broken connectors on it, squirrels eat the lines and they don't repair sh!t. They will send a sub to patch a damaged trunk line and have em do it with RG11 between two taps, and not come out truley fix the problem for months.

Moral - Comcast is up to some shady shit. And in the end will be relegated to anus of history just like dial-up. Its why they smash / sue, and pull every other underhanded trick to stop cities from offering free wireless internet to its inhabitants. My guess is they will eventually roll out some sort of wifi, and overcharge for it.. and oversell it as well.

815.2.2008 8:35

I had Comcast for less than thirty days. How they've managed to wring the market is beyond my feeble comprehension.

"Network Management."


Take care of your customers instead of tampering.

915.2.2008 13:27

yes I have been very disappointed since comcast took over for adelphia all they did is charge me more and give me less service.
they promised 2 meg up and droped me from one meg up to 768kb up
but they raised the price some 20 dollars more a month...
its called less for more, and i have had it also with them..
maybe it is time to go dsl I wish I could get verizon ficos
well lets see what happens...............WrecK

1015.2.2008 13:30

The problem is that Comcast is too big of a company. They have bought out 85 - 90 % of the competition so they can rise prices and cut services with out losing the bulk of their customers. I had them for 9 years and i had some of the worst experiences with them. They royally. Again if your the only big boy on the block people will suck it up when they dont have no other options. If Verizon stop being fools and put in more area's that Comcast is in then you would see a change from Comcast. They need serious competition that wont sell out.

1115.2.2008 13:38

the only problem with that is verizon uses bellsouth lines
and like verizon told me if your in a bellsouth area forget about it
so you know comcast is kicking back some thing to bell south!

1215.2.2008 22:06

They just put in verizon bios in our nighborhood, I have been with comcast for years cause its all we had, my nieghbor just got verizon with its HD, I dont have HD yet but my other neighbor has comcast HD, I checked out both, of course both have same lcd tv's so saying one set might be better than the other doesnt play here, I didnt see any difference, but in a way I hope verizon kicks comcasts ass, they have been kicking ours for years with bad service, over pricing, etc.

1322.2.2008 8:40

Comcast sucks! However, you may not know you can reduce your fee if you can play hard ball with them. That means you must cancle your service several times. I started with them on the 6 month at 19.99/month. I cancled after 6 months. After 3 months of being cancled they offered me 12 month @19.99. After the 12 months I called to cancle and they offered me 12 more month at $30. I took it. I am probably on the list that will not pay full price. In my area the cheapest BB is $28/month of a slower DSL. That would require an new modem. For $2/month I get double the speed as long as I don't down load P2P.

I am sure they will not get into trouble for throttling P2P traffic. Anyone using P2P must realse they are bending over for a big kick or worse and no one will come to your aid. Remember, the Media Mafia claims you are a threat to the Ameriac dream. I am sure all our elected officials have received donations for their campains from the slime. I bet you could get an exception for the throttling process if you could prove you were legal.

1426.2.2008 7:59

For those that are having problems with Comcast do u not have Plusnet there as that is what I use and it's really good. I've had it for 3years and when I moved house I had no problems and am still with them. I would recommend them to anyone. I live in the uk. In Scotland which is a difficult place to get signals at the best of times but I do not have any problems.I don't know if you can get it in the USA but if you can then give it a try.

1526.2.2008 20:36

I just dont like comcast because there liars!

163.3.2008 16:40

empulse is not very smart...

cable is only ran over coaxial cable from the poll to your house.. the rest of the node is fiber optic lines as well..

and dsl has much less potential then docsis (cable).

soon you will see very fast internet from cable, since docsis 2.0 is going to be used widely with channel bonding along with docsis 3.0. with 8 channels and docsis 3.0 (data over cable), the new downstream limit will go from 38mbit (docsis 1.0/2.0) to 304mbit+ (docsis 3.0) with upstreams of also 108mbit+

Comcast is by means not a slow ISP, they have configs that can reach speeds up to 38mbit right now. These of course are not residential speeds, and nodes have far more then 250 users, most of your larger city areas, have 1,000+ on a node.

Sign up for forums at and learn more about your isp.

174.3.2008 7:33

I have Comcast, I have seen sustained 800kb/sec down loads on a good day. That is fast in my book. If you want good performance you need to buy your own modem. The ones you rent are not nearly as fast.

Thanks for the tip Tom!

189.4.2008 1:17

I am soo glad we still dont have to deal with this kinda crap in OZ.

192.6.2008 21:34

my deal with comcast was for their fastest (5Mb/s) it cost a whopping $57 or $59 per month for the six month intro then jumped up to $78/mo

remember, this was the fastest they can handle here

my fastest DL was around 600kB up load max was about a tenth of it and was clearely stated so when I started the service (AFTER I asked all the right questions)

along comes RCN. "Up to 20M" (assume bps)

I want to use my modem but I'm told it only goes up to 2.5M so I need to rent their modem..... despite their website saying I can use my Moterola modem from Comcast... "WHAT, Comcast gave me 5Mbps using that modem" "oh, sure we can use it to give you 5M" "OK" "(after more whispering on phone) Would you like double for just half more?" OK, sounds good" "OK, them we will rent you the modem to use... " "the modem specks say it is good for 10Mbps" "oh, well if you want 10M you will need to rent our modem" "never mind then, I'll call AT&T" "Well, I'll ask... " "good, tell them it is a deal beraker.... MY MODEM or none!" (surprise, surprise) "OH, WE CAN GIVE YOU 10M, that will be $36(for first year)" "OK, write it up" he writes up the order an d as I go to sign he calls on his cell phone again "Sir, we just found out that for another $10 you can get 20Mbps using your modem" I declined got 10M for a year at 36, $55 there after

the reason there are so many closed USED CAR LOTS is there is more money in selling internet access!

now back to comcast, comcast's bargain rate was half as long on half as much speed and Concast's bargain price is still more than the full price at RCN

202.6.2008 21:38


forgot to say my DL is just under double and upload is about 150% of comcast so I see 1.12MB down and 100KB up

2112.8.2008 5:47


comcast's true speeds:

and yes, those are permanent speeds, not a temporary "boost"

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 12 Aug 2008 @ 5:50

2213.8.2008 7:27

I may note those are unthrottled speeds.

You can always buy Comcast at a bargan if you hunt. In my area you can buy the cheapest broadband you can find sold by a company you never heard of. When you sign up you discover it is a front for Comcast. You can buy the service for half the going rate.

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