What Else Is Comcast Jamming? Gnutella? Lotus Notes?

from the might-help-to-be-a-little-transparent dept

After the AP confirmed that Comcast was clearly blocking some aspects of Bittorrent, Comcast continued to issue its oddly worded denial statement about how it doesn't specifically block access to any application or content. Of course, that can mean different things to different people, and as the EFF is discovering, perhaps Comcast is being half-truthful in saying it doesn't specifically pick on BitTorrent trafffic. However, that's only because it's doing similar kinds of blocking on other types of traffic, such as content using Gnutella or even Lotus Notes. The EFF has been running a variety of tests and has found that Comcast appears to send forged reset packets for Gnutella, and it points to someone else who found the same thing for Lotus Notes.

Of course, Comcast can do what it wants on its network, but to deny it and not be even remotely transparent about it is pretty questionable (and potentially a violation of FTC rules). Once again, this is the type of thing that wouldn't happen if there were true competition in the broadband market. If people knew that Comcast was arbitrarily cutting off what they could do on their network with no indication (and, actually, actively hiding the fact that they were doing so) many people would look for alternatives. The only problem is that there often aren't any alternatives. Even in the cases where there are, the alternatives often include one other player: a telco like AT&T who seems to be gearing up to do the same thing as Comcast in blocking certain types of content online. It really is a simple question, though: why won't Comcast tell its own customers what it's blocking? When you find out that the company is blocking completely legitimate applications and services with no recourse (or even information admitting it), it's really quite troublesome.

Filed Under: bittorrent, cable, gnutella, lotus notes, network neutrality, traffic shaping, transparency
Companies: comcast, eff


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  1. identicon
    xxl3w, 22 Oct 2007 @ 10:53am

    Also...

    Whatever happened to notifying customers WTF they're doing? I always get an e-mail when I can see Justin Timberlake on Comcast's (god I had to be immature, but this is the only word that fits here) lame news site. I also receive e-mails when they "REVAMP" their site (which usually means they moved a letter to the right 1px) or changed the way they report news about Britney Spears' baldness.

    I've never received an e-mail about "planned downtimes", "planned maintenance", or changes in their services. It'd be great if ISPs would actually tell you what they're doing.

    When broadband was first introduced, I was with a company known as Knology. They always kept me up-to-date with maintenance and issues. They even let me test different modems to better their service. I'm guessing Comcast just buys the cheapest equipment possible and says "good luck". Their customer/technical service is a joke. The only word they know is "reboot". "Reboot your modem." "Reboot your computer". They're not open on weekends, so it's impossible for a working family to get a technician out to your house. They won't replace your modem or any hardware unless they can come out and look at your settings.

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