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
    SpacemanSpiff, 23 Oct 2007 @ 6:22am

    Re: Comcast Still Dancing Around Its Content Jammi

    "What's wrong with admitting it?" is that Comcast is not unlike all Cable Providers in North America right now, i.e. they are cable companies (broadcast networks) running high-speed data and VoIP networks (push-pull networks) they don't understand nor manage well.

    Comcast doesn't know how to manage a push-pull network and therefore is struggling to manage the bandwidth (and associated costs). Their attempts to date are baby-steps technologically, so they don't tell you what they are blocking, because they only know how they are blocking. Therefore releasing "what they know" is going to release to the masses how to get around it.

    I'm not saying it's proper thinking by Comcast in this case, as has been demonstrated recently ... the folks running on the network are more sophisticated then the folks running the network. This is a bandwidth cost issue with a bad technological solution by Comcast. They should drop this failed attempt and get on with a proper bandwidth management through open mitigation of per customer bandwidth limits at the extreme and proper budgeted buildout of the network bandwidth. All paying customers should be able to view their daily usage stats, especially in the case of "soft" caps and any mitigation of high-bandwidth protocols.

    Driven by the greed of high speed data/VoIP $$-per-month from customers not being able to offset the bandwidth costs (and the cable-side costs associated with programming) Comcast has blundered into a bad technology choice.

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