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Comcast Still Dancing Around Its Content Jamming Operations; What's Wrong With Admitting It?

from the shhhh,-it's-a-secret-that-everyone-knows dept

With the news coming out that Comcast's broadband jamming operations actually interfere with other apps as well, Comcast is now trying to respond to the complaints in every way other than telling people what it is that they're doing, which at this point really does appear to be the only sensible response. Comcast went to Reuters (since it was AP who confirmed the original story) and repeated the carefully worded claim that Comcast is not blocking any kind of traffic. Of course, people aren't saying that it's completely blocking any traffic -- just that it's quietly pulling some background tricks to slow down certain types of traffic without letting its customers know. That's the key part, and it's the same complaint that people have had for years with Comcast concerning its fuzzy bandwidth caps. The company advertises unlimited service, but if it's not unlimited, why not come out and explain what the limitations are? It seems only fair.

Perhaps an answer comes from Tim Lee, who was invited to a conference call today with Comcast to help "clear up" the misperceptions Comcast feels are being spread in the media about its actions. The only problem is that Comcast doesn't clear up anything. It basically admits to the traffic shaping but says it can't tell people that it's doing that, as it could help them get around the shaping. Well, sorry, too late for that. Besides, what's wrong with simply telling people what the limitations are and then going after the violators for terms of service breaches? In being so secretive and misleading about it, all it's doing is causing many more people to get upset with Comcast and think that they're being targeted (even if they're not). It's a ridiculous PR situation for Comcast to be in -- and it could be solved easily enough if Comcast stopped beating around the bush, stopped giving gobbledy-gook doublespeak responses that don't actually answer the questions people are asking and simply told people what they're doing and why. It really is that simple. If the company has a legitimate reason for doing what it's doing (and some people say there is) then why not explain that?

Filed Under: bittorrent, cable, network neutrality, traffic shaping, transparency
Companies: comcast


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  1. identicon
    Cypher, 23 Oct 2007 @ 8:50am

    Re: bit torrent

    Fact of the matter is, what an end user does with the bandwidth they are paying for is not the business of the ISP. If you pay $55 bucks a month for Comcast as I do because of my lack of options I reserve the right to do whatever legal or illegal activity I decide to do. At that point it is not up to Comcast to sensor what I'm doing, its up to the people whose copy write I'm breaking to deal with me. Comcast has no right to interfere at that level. Now moving on to point two about bittorent networks. The second point being that more and more content being moved over bittorent is LEGAL. Many Linux distros use torrent networks as do many online movie download sites ( as you would notice if you check the original www.bittorent.com ) many schools use bittorent protocols to transfer data to students for class lecture notes and recordings of the lectures. Fact of the matter is that while bittorent protocol is used for illegal activity so is EVERY OTHER file sharing protocol and saying that its ok to target bittorent because of the content is not a real argument. Point 2 of the matter is this, if Comcast did declare war on bittorent so be it they need to say so and make sure their efforts are correctly targeted and don't interfere with legit traffic like LOTUS NOTES, if the efforts of Comcast to shape traffic are causing problems with legitimate traffic then there are larger issues to look at than whether or not they are stopping the illegal spread of copywrited content. In fact if it is interfering with legitimate traffic it completely invalidates the argument of illegal content.

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