Comcast Is Starting The Tiered Internet.. Whether We Like It or Not

By | 2007/08/21

Update: Visit Save The Internet and let your voice be heard!

Sunday afternoon I finished setting up a dedicated rtorrent server for seeding Ubuntu .iso images. I do my best to hand out all the CDs I can, but I also figured I could make use of the bandwidth I have to do the same. Once I got on that idea I realized I had access to two Comcast connections (family) where I could drop in two more of these “rtorrent appliances”. So, I got to work setting a second one up and dropped it on the network at my Dad’s house.

Wasn’t I surprised to find that my seeds weren’t taking off. After some quick Google searching I found that Comcast is cutting torrent connections nearly across the board. All across the internet people are complaining about Comcast not letting them seed anymore–and many of these for completely legal material!

I know bittorrent is associated with a lot of pirating. Hell, so was ftp and whatever other protocol you want to drop in here. This doesn’t mean that it is *only* used for pirating. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t legit reasons to use the efficient protocol. Apparently Comcast doesn’t see it this way.

The way I see it this is the first step toward a Tiered Internet, whether or not any such thing is approved in Legislation or by the consumers. Comcast doesn’t care. They are simply cutting off access to part of the Internet, plain and simple.

I would not be surprised at all to soon hear that Comcast will allow bittorrent traffic, for an additional fee. If you *really* want to use that protocol you can pay us more, but otherwise we don’t deem it as part of “normal internet usage”. Once that starts what is to stop the avalanche that will happen next?

“You want access to YouTube? It really uses a lot of bandwidth and we weren’t expecting most people to use more than casual browsing and email. That’ll be $5/mo additional.”

If Comcast is able to start cutting off access to internet protocols they are already to the Tiered Internet that will only become grounds for corruption and extortion. Who will be next?

The telecoms like the idea of a Tiered Internet because they can then extort both sides of the product. Since they are the middle-man they can charge more to the consumers for access to “the whole internet” and charge more to large domain names and take pay-outs from big online powerhouses to provide “better or preferred” access to them.

What do I mean by that? We all know Google pwns the internet. We start getting into the Tiered Internet setup and Microsoft gives a big payout to Comcast, requiring them to limit access to Google, while preferring access to Windows Live Search (or whatever the hell its called). They’ll make up some reason why its more efficient for bandwidth or some BS and you’ll have to pay more to get to Google. They would be in the perfect position to rake in huge piles of money from both ends, with nothing to stop them.

The internet needs to stay open. The *whole* internet. Not the convenient internet. Not the bandwidth friendly internet. Not the bribed-into-becoming-the-new internet. The whole internet. All protocols. All sites. All networks.

If Comcast is allowed to continue cutting off even one protocol we’ve already lost. Voice your opinion. Contact your local office. Complain. Make some noise. Switch providers.

Until then I’ll be getting these two Comcast connections switched to a competitor. It may be a slower internet (in my area) on DSL, but at least its the whole internet.

Update: Visit Save The Internet and let your voice be heard!

101 thoughts on “Comcast Is Starting The Tiered Internet.. Whether We Like It or Not

  1. rusty

    In all honesty, if Comcast had been smart, they would have set up their filters to throttle download speeds, and left seeding alone.

    This would do two things. First if you prevent seeding and throttle downloads as they’ve been reported to be doing, people who are using bittorrent to download the content they object to will start looking at other protocols to use to get the same content. http and https come to mind. The problem with those protocols is that they are all ‘one way.’ This means that even more of their gateway bandwidth is going to be used exclusively for the content that could be all handled within the network.

    The second thing it would do is start filling up the outbound pipes of the users who are downloading the content, which is significantly smaller than the inbound pipe. That 8 meg down, doesn’t get much use if the 384K up is filled.

    As it stands, I suspect that we shall see two things happening.

    I think more people will be complaining about how they can’t get anything done through their gateways, because those gateways will have even more traffic than they did before.

    I also expect that there will be quite a few people jumping ship. I’m planning on dropping cable Internet for Comcast at the end of the month, and switching to dslextreme. For the same upstream bandwidth and about half the downstream bandwidth, it will cost me half as much. OK, about the same once I include the phone line charges.

    Reply
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  3. Zach Massia

    Here in Canada Rogers is doing the same thing. My mom just switched from Sympatico over to the Rogers Extreme (Their fastest connection, said to be for downloading large files easily) And I can’t get more then 2-5kb/s on it. Sure it’s lightning fast for an HTTP download (~1mb/s) but most large files are on bittorrent, not HTTP..

    Reply
  4. Loye Young

    One of the reasons I enjoy your blog is that you have a knack for identifying important issues. Once again, you have put your finger on a problem that is going to grow in significance going forward. The problem is actually bigger and more difficult to solve than might be assumed.

    The reason that the ISPs are limiting seeding is NOT that they are trying to protech copyright. The real reason is that the internet infrastructure is built around asynchronous bandwidth and they are running out of upload bandwidth.

    The physical media that transports bandwidth has a fixed total capacity for all transfers, up and down. Until recently the overwhelming demand on the Internet was for download capacity, so the engineers built into the switching gear (and the prices) asynchronous bandwidths to deliver lopsided down-vs-up ratios.

    Enter YouTube, BitTorrent, and other peer-to-peer data sharing. Increasingly, the Internet is becoming a two-way street, with uploads becoming a bigger percentage of total traffic.

    Unfortunately, the infrastructure wasn’t built for synchronous bandwidth, so the ISPs are scrambling for low-cost methods to limit upload speed. The ISPs are limiting torrents because torrents are heavy users of upload bandwidth. They figure that consumers will complain about torrent limits much less than they will complain about the higher prices that would be necessary to deliver synchronous bandwidths.

    I don’t have a good solution for the problem, because in the end, it’s going to require that the infrastructure be re-worked, and that will likely cost money (at least under current technology). In the end, the solution may rest with consumers paying for relatively more upload bandwidth and relatively less download bandwidth.

    Happy Trails,

    Loye Young
    Isaac & Young Computer Company
    Laredo, Texas

    Reply
  5. Clint Savage

    I just posted this to every one of my mailing lists. I’ll be posting it to the fedora lists too, they’ll be affected as well.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the way that companies like Comcast
    and Dell work is by us making a stink. Recently, a post caught my
    attention and I want to do my part to stop the tiered internet before
    it starts.

    My friend Christer Edwards posted an article about how he is getting
    the shaft when it comes to torrent traffic. He’s just sharing his
    torrents for Ubuntu. I disagree with Comcast charging him for his
    bittorent traffic as if its not appropriate. There are a lot of
    reasons we need to keep them from doing this, but I think Christer’s
    article says it best.

    Enjoy the read:

    http://digg.com/tech_news/Comcast_Is_Starting_The_Tiered_Internet_Whether_We_Like_It_or_Not

    Cheers,

    Clint

    Reply
  6. Tristan Rhodes

    Christer,

    Thanks for pointing out this issue with Comcast. I have personally been very happy with my Comcast connection, but if they are blocking bittorrent and start heading to a “tiered” internet model then I will change my ISP.

    Keep up the good posting.

    Tristan

    Reply
  7. Lonnie Olson

    Just because Comcast is throttling bittorrent traffic doesn’t mean they are moving to a tiered internet system. This is just a sensationalist jump to a conclusion. And quite a jump it is.

    I do agree that throttling bittorrent traffic is a problem, but this kind of sensationalism is irresponsible.

    A tiered internet is unlikely to happen. No matter what people are saying these days, customers have options, and as long as they have options there will always be ISPs that listen to customer complaints.

    The early days of dialup are a specific example. Originally dialup was charged by the hour. Customers complained, new ISPs started giving unlimited options, and the rest is history.

    ————

    About your jab at DSL… I will always choose DSL over Cable whenever possible for two reasons.
    1. I have a choice of ISP with DSL, Cable does not.
    2. Upload speeds are better.

    Reply
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  9. Matt Jones

    This happens a lot in the uk, most isp’s implement a ‘fair use’provision, including my isp, which unfortunatly I signed up with before I even knew what net neutrality was. I will be moving in september though.

    Reply
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  11. Jaja

    Comcast has always been unfriendly towards power users and geeks. What’s new? If you want your MTV, switch. Not convenient? Sorry. Life’s not fair.

    Some people see a conspiracy in every shadow.

    Reply
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  14. Feremc Attila

    Unfortunately, the same thing happens in Romania (east europe). Our local isp market is mostly divided between 3 major players, two with cable and fiber optics and the third with adsl. All of them started implementing torrent filters and such. Complaints and lawsuits followed soon by customers, but to no result. The smaller isp’s are getting a good increase in market share, since they implement no such restrictions 🙂

    Reply
  15. insane

    IMO, Comcast has every reason to ban/block you. Has anyone ever read the TOS?

    http://www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber.jsp

    “Prohibited Uses of HSI. You agree not to use HSI for operation as an Internet service provider, a server site for ftp, telnet, rlogin, e-mail hosting, “Web hosting” or other similar applications, for any business enterprise, or as an end-point on a non-Comcast local area network or wide area network.”

    Bitorrent, illegal or not you have turned you box into a server. Maybe they didnt enforce it before, so what, you agreed to the TOS and not they are cracking down. Stop whining.

    Reply
  16. Solo

    For the longest time “users” of the Internet trusted their ISPs to respect their traffic. No snooping, no throttling, no intervention, just moving packets from point A to point B, efficinetly and in the fastest way possible.

    It’s been shown that ISPs can’t be trusted in that way. Spying for our nice governments, censorship, “tiering”, etc…

    The solution is certainly to move to point to point encryption, either protocol specific (bittorrent supports that I think) or through ssh/vpn tunnel.

    I believe we have way too much exposure to our ISPs. Time to protect ourselves.

    Reply
  17. Josh

    In the Comcast TOS on their web site, it states that no comcast connection can be used to host or provide services to the public. Maybe that’s why they’re blocking seeding.

    Reply
  18. Robbi M

    Guess what folks this may have to do with the fact that Comcast sneakily altered their policy to make it so that you can’t sue them. They gave everybody an unspecified time to go to an obscure website and sign out of the arbitration if you happened to realized what they were doing. I just happened to on July 28 but it ended August 6 I believe. This time may correspond with them beginning to screw everyone… good night and good luck to you all.

    Reply
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  20. Steve Topletz

    Bypass torrent filtering by getting a VPN account. Your ISP never gets the chance to filter any of your traffic. You can get them from XeroBank.com, Stunnel, and Metropipe.

    Reply
  21. Brad Johnson

    This isn’t Tiered Internet. Not even close. This is simply an ISP blocking a protocol they don’t support for at least residential plans. MANY ISPs restrict (at least on paper) the use of servers on residential plans for similar reasons. The fact that customers get away with it, doesn’t make it an unalienable right.

    Hell, some Pizza joints don’t have Canadian Bacon. It isn’t a conspiracy. I just get Pizza elsewhere.

    Reply
  22. bigb

    This is bullshit, if they can cut off the bittorrent protocol then they can cut off any protocol they want. There any many legit torrents out there and even companies use the bittorrent protocol to transfer files. I say we sue.

    Reply
  23. jabelli

    Yes, but in this case, the “pizza joint” has a contract with the city that nobody else can sell pizza there. Also they advertised that they had the Canadian Bacon (“unlimited Internet”) but then it’s mysteriously out of stock when you try to order some (“You’re using too much of your unlimited Internet”).

    Kind of like how my parents’ ISP redefined “unlimited” to mean “you can dial in whenever you want.” Like other ISPs assigned timeslots to their customers….

    Reply
  24. TS

    Thanks for a good article.
    You should see what companies are doing with satellite access in Africa (and probably elsewhere). These are pretty cheap (maybe 100$/mo), small satellite VSATs (tx/rx). They typically limit you to ONLY http and mail. only. no ftp, no torrents, no nothing. just ports 80,25,110.
    In short, they suck!
    Most people only find out after they just paid $1500 for the equipment, (not I), and it’s not like there’s alot of consumer-protection here.

    Reply
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  26. Kualla

    “Bitorrent, illegal or not you have turned you box into a server. Maybe they didnt enforce it before, so what, you agreed to the TOS and not they are cracking down. Stop whining.”

    Uploading a file attachment to an email server would fit that as well then. A friend sending you a text message in a chat room saying /yourname send fileXYZ and then the file arriving in your email, that is serving someone, but really its just simply sending data thru your ISP that someone wants.

    ISP’s need to wake up and understand that the internet(web2.0) is no longer just html,email, and text chat rooms.

    Technology has evolved, hardware prices have dropped; no reason other than corporate greed for service to stop growing.

    Reply
  27. Dan

    This is a silly move by these companies, as the market will balance out:
    Comcast blocks torrents
    Torrents make up 60% of some users purpose for the internet
    Comcast wonders why they are losing sales.
    Comcast realises their mistake and resumes torrent traffic.

    Swings and roundabouts, if comcast are only blocking torrent uploads, the torrent sites will soon catch on:
    http://blogs.allofmp3.com/music_news/2006/12/14/piratebay-blocks-an-isp-which-had-blocked-allofmp3/

    I see it as just a bit of “testing the water” by these big giants. They will soon realise they are in hot water.

    Reply
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  30. Casey

    Do you like spam? Many ISPs block port 25 so that spammers and viruses don’t send millions of spam messages every day. The ones that do this require you to use their SMTP servers. Do you have a problem with this? This is one service/port that is blocked in a lot of places. No, I didn’t think you minded that one. But that is because blocking this port is self serving to you and everyone.

    When is comes right down to it, torrents and P2P consume a lot of bandwidth on the Internet and ISP’s networks. Every ISP oversells their bandwidth. When many novice users are able to consume massive amounts of bandwidth over a long period of time, this can drastically change how much an ISP can oversell. The less ISPs can over sell, the more expensive it is to run the network/business model.

    You are using a cable service and upload bandwidth is always a premium. From the dawn of cable television everything has been customer centric. That is why it is hard for cable companies to hand out upload bandwidth. And here you are trying to max out your 500K upload for days or weeks. How does this help you or your father? TCP is a bidirectional communication. Saturating the upload of any Internet connection will slow down the download too.

    Comcast is trying to preserve their business model and profit margin. Imagine that, they are a for profit company. I don’t work for Comcast! My damn cable modem won’t stay on their network. But I did use to be a network engineer for a small wireless ISP.

    Reply
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  32. dave

    You do realize that you were abusing these two internet connections by setting up seeds for such popular isos on them? Think about it:

    You’re paying for residential internet from a cable company. That means it’s shared bandwidth with the rest of all the people in your neighborhood. That means that when you soak the upload channel with torrent traffic (legit or not) you’re ruining the connection of everyone in your neighborhood (and your father’s neighborhood).

    Residential connections aren’t guaranteed bandwidth. They’re shared. Use of bandwidth like this is the reason that companies like Comcast are filtering bittorrent. It’s not that what you’re doing is illegal because of the content you’re seeding, it’s that it’s antisocial. Further, your cable agreements likely state that you’re not allowed to run servers from your connection, something that a torrent seed definitely is.

    In other words, much as I hate to admit it, I side with Comcast here. They’re just enforcing their terms of use, and making the internet useable for those around you. You’re trying to serve your community upload bandwidth to the rest of the world for spreading ubuntu CDs.

    Reply
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  35. robr

    Are dave and casey automated corporate bot responses? It seems like it. It’s kind of sad that a company will pose as a legit consumer to protect company interests. Just sad.

    You guys- comcast subscribers – are screwed…

    Reply
  36. Red Frog

    Dave’s response is precisely the reason I buy DSL. I am antisocial and I want what I pay for, no more and certainly no less. It’s maximum bandwidth isn’t as great as the Comcast “theoretical” maximum, but I am satisfied knowing I’m not sharing my slice of the pie with a communist like Dave.

    Reply
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  39. Daniel

    Loye Young, made a good point, but it’s worth pointing out that YouTube isn’t peer-to-peer. All video files from YouTube are served directly over HTTP from their servers. Users do not upload anything.

    YouTube uses significant amounts of traffic, but it’s all downstream. (You could argue that users’ searches, comments, and requests to load videos are upstream but this is negligible compared to the downstream bandwidth used).

    Still, it’s an important point that P2P is changing the way the internet works by making every client a server, and therefore requiring them to have a much bigger upstream line capacity.

    Reply
  40. Sandiera

    They’re going to get a lot of heat from this from a corner they never considered, I bet. The World of Warcraft patch system utilizes the bit torrent protocol to distribute new patches. It’s next to impossible to download the patch from Blizzard’s actual servers. Out of the millions of people who subscribe, I wonder how many use Comcast?

    Reply
  41. Gage

    Companies like that are in violation of constitutional law…and can kiss my buttox

    Reply
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  43. joe

    Nothing about this suggests that comcast is starting a tiered internet. Its just you speculating that they might be. It is more likely that they are throttling bittorrent connections to save bandwidth or you just fucked up somewhere. Jumping to conclusions just makes you look like an ass.

    Reply
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  45. Tom

    I do hope someone gets Comcast’s fiber-optic cables and shove it up their CEO’s ass.

    Reply
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  47. MeanEYE

    Heh, there is a simple walkaround… Configure your torrents to use incomming port 8080. In most of you providers you will be able to avoid firewall rules and stuff like that 🙂

    Works for mee 😉 tho I work @ ISP 🙂 heheh…

    Reply
  48. Tomten

    This is what i’ve been thinking the last year, hoping it will be avoided 🙁

    Youtube, google and bittorrent is killing the internet, soon its gonna have an, whut ya called it when your heart fucks with you and stops ? 🙂

    As we all know, the more ethernet is needed the less it will perform, and nobody is willing to take the cost to build out the infrastuctre, some say google/youtube should pay cuz they use 60+% of the bandwith, but the problem is if google funds it with google money, it wont be open in that sense, and in the end google might select what the end user should see, in form of ads, angled information, history etc etc…

    The darkages of computer technology is coming 🙁

    Ahh, most bitorrent clients supports encrypted traffic to stop isp from blocking torrent traffic, works in 9/10 cases 🙂

    I’d suggest utorrent 🙂

    Happy weekend all

    Reply
  49. Tomten

    I read some more, and to the idiots on comcast side (im from sweden couldnt care less) he did try to setup and server and make it somewhat public, but they are stopping all bittorrent traffic, before I used to set up an ftp, nowadays I upload to a private tracker or my own, to seed to friends and family, all very legal non copyright material…

    And its also alot of whining, neigherhood here and there, the fact is, im pretty certain that when you buy a service from an isp, you get a bandwith, rather buying one, wheater it is 100/100 mbit or 1/1mbit, arent I supposed to be able to use my share ?
    And sayin its up to the neigerhood to “use fair” sense when using the internet is bullshit, for an isp to put a cap on speeds, thats really hard right ?? LOOOOOL
    They damn sure aint giving me any higher speeds…

    Its about the freedom of internet, its public, for anyone, not for isp to censor, to watch what we’re doing in the privacy of ones home.

    Bittorrent is created, so you “always” seed while downloading and after, you give what you take…

    Luckily, im in sweden, we have fast cheap internet with several providers and techs, from cable to dsl to fiber.

    I for one pay 61usd/month for 20mbit down and 3mbit up.

    Anyone not seeing where this is headed, i feel sorry for, how can you hate and love a country so much as america, sick sick sick….

    Reply
  50. John

    I’m doing the same switch to DSL. It’ll be slower, but at least I’ll be getting what I paid for.

    Reply
  51. James

    I’m not into pirating programs, but I used Bittorrent and various other P2P programs to link to my own developed software when my regular webhost reached the bandwidth limit.

    Big boo. I hope this doesn’t come to Britain.

    Reply
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  53. UncleMonkey

    This whole circle-jerk is useless.

    I’m on Comcast, I torrent everyday…. I’m torrenting right now, and I’ve got NO upload problems!

    Just use Azureus, and load all the core plugins. (especially SafePeer!) It will automatically adjust itself and is encryption capable so no netcopping.

    My average DL speed is 165~1200K a second.

    My average UL speed is 40~700K a second.

    My OS is OpenSuse linux 10.2

    (Go on google in Azureus, it works in XP too!)

    It’s not Comcast, it’s your sh*tty Bit Torrent Client!

    -UncleMonkey

    Reply
  54. Jak Spalding

    “insane wrote:

    IMO, Comcast has every reason to ban/block you. Has anyone ever read the TOS?

    http://www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber.jsp

    “Prohibited Uses of HSI. You agree not to use HSI for operation as an Internet service provider, a server site for ftp, telnet, rlogin, e-mail hosting, “Web hosting” or other similar applications, for any business enterprise, or as an end-point on a non-Comcast local area network or wide area network.”

    Bitorrent, illegal or not you have turned you box into a server. Maybe they didnt enforce it before, so what, you agreed to the TOS and not they are cracking down. Stop whining.”

    insane, and anyone else who believes this to be the case has failed to read that bit-torrent is a PEER-TO-PEER (Now I’m sure you’ve heard of P2P?) protocol and thus there are no servers anywhere.

    Reply
  55. fgbfx

    There’s one problem with this. Game companies primarily transfer data via bit torrent protocol. Especially Blizzard. If you get Vivindi games pissed off because it’s users under your internet service cannot get their game data they will, along with every other game corporation in the world, sue you all at once if it becomes a problem. They simply cannot do it, it will cause far too much of a ruckess and will be put to a stop, either by users dropping them, or by companies, who rely on their customers for money, suing comcast for all it’s worth until they let the users have a free internet again.

    Comcast is on the road to screwing themselves over, HARD.

    Reply
  56. Matt

    Im guessing you would be glad to know that a comcast advertisement is on the side of this. I love adSENSE irony aka failure.

    Reply
  57. Reinmar

    There are smart ISP’s out there. Unceremoniously dump Comcast and move on to an ISP that understands what the Internet is.

    Reply
  58. Tony PC Guy

    Hey everyone, You know what you need to do if you want to torrent thru comcast? Install uTorrent and encrypt your protocol. Not only will you be able to seed, but your less likey to get an e-mail from comcast saying “We know what you’re doing, stop it now.” Change up your port forwarding every once and a while, don’t use the default port, use something like 22420. I’ve been bittorrenting for a looooooong time, in fact I downloaded 2 gig from it this morning, have comcast, was seeding at 35k a second and downloading at 800k/s. Encrypt, Encrypt, Encrypt people! Don’t give up so easy there’s always a way to “stick it to the man.” Oh and if your connection is getting dropped all the time you might just have a lame router that can’t handle the connection load, play with your max up/down rates until you stop seeing your connection drop. I’ve used a few different BT programs but uTorrent is by far my favorite, check it out, you won’t be disappointed. F**K COMCAST! F**K THEM RIGHT IN THE EAR.

    Reply
  59. FullofIt

    You are totally full of it. I am a Comcast user and work for the engineering group. I am currently using Bit Torrent as I am typing this and have no trouble seeding or downloading. There is a possibility of throttling but it exceeds my 1 meg upload speed I have.

    Reply
  60. SLA

    When you sign up for Comcast service you agree to NOT host a server on your connect. Plain and simple folks.

    Reply
  61. Holy Guy

    No residential internet connection allows servers to be run, not a web server, not a email server, not a ftp server, none! Even ICQ homepage server isn’t allowed!

    Maybe if you get the business package, maybe then you can do this? There should be no restrictions then, but if there is, sue their butts off in a joint action law suit as they are not providing you a full internet connection!

    Reply
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  63. philstuf

    To all the these people talking about a server and how it violates the Terms of service: You do not know how TCP/IP works. ANY traffic that is uploaded from your machine technically makes it a “server.”

    When you request a web page, the HTTP GET request is uploaded from your machine, and you are a server. When you send an email, your text is uploaded, and your machine functions as a server. When you submit a file to an anti-virus vendor for testing, your machine turns into an FTP server. When you play Xbox Live and you are running around a map in Halo 2 your Xbox is uploading GOBS of data and is technically a server. Technically speaking anytime your machine responds to a request that causes packets to go out its network port could be interpreted as a “server.”

    Comcast’s terminology in the TOS is old and tired, and needs to be changed to become relevant. It is so broad that just looking at a web page puts your machine in direct violation of the policy.

    Reminds me a lot of the broad range of the DMCA and how Dell could technically be sued since they manufacture hardware that MIGHT be used to circumvent copy protection on CDs or DVDs.

    Reply
  64. CPTMRGN

    I moved away from Comcast the second they bought my little local ISP because the agreement they wanted me to sign looked like it was leading in this direction. I love Zoomtown. 768 up 5mb down bittorrent is as fast as i need.

    Reply
  65. d1

    Why doesn;t ConCast increase their servers to handle the current trend in internet technology!

    Reply
  66. anon

    changing ports to non-default ones and turning on encryption in your bittorrent client is usually enough to work around such ISP limitations. as simple as checking a checkbox in utorrent…

    Reply
  67. j-d

    All of you stating that “every computer is a server” are picking at loopholes. Be it a server or a node in a peer-to-peer network, what the author was doing was what Comcast wanted him not to do, and if he’d read the TOS and put up the “servers” anyway he’d have known that. Besides, there’s got to be another clause in the TOS that allows Comcast to block his traffic for whatever reason Comcast feels like.

    Secondly, I’m an opponent of a tiered internet, but I’ll have to get on the “you’re-jumping-to-conclusions” bandwagon. In the “I would not be surprised at all to soon hear that Comcast will allow bittorrent traffic, for an additional fee” bit, the author gets himself all riled up about something that hasn’t even happened.

    Now Comcast may well go ahead and instate a tiered internet system, but it would be completely unrelated to cutting off Bittorrent. Bittorrent is a huge bandwidth eater. Bittorrent users, who are in the minority of Comcast customers (and I mean all customers, not just the people you know), slow down internet service for everyone else and possibly use the bandwidth to download illegal material. Comcast figures that for the speed it gains by blocking Bittorrent, it can attract enough customers to more than make up for the bandwidth-eating Bittorrent users. Simple business proposition, then.

    Those of you convinced that it’s all a massive government conspiracy to assault your free speech need to take a reality check. This isn’t about your rights. It’s about a privately-owned business choosing not to accept you as a customer because you make a heavy hit on their profits. Oh yeah, that’s definitely oppressive. Dude, be careful–THE CAPITALIST CANNON IS AIMED DIRECTLY AT YOUR FREEDOMS.

    Oops, I forgot. Common-sense market theory doesn’t always apply in the free-software world. Never mind, guys, I’m just a slave to the corporate machine!

    Reply
  68. Griffin

    Having worked for Cocmast (mispelled intentionally)
    I can say I am completely unsurprised by this. They want to cap your bandwidth, they want to monitor your usage, they want to catalog your bloodtype, and they will ALWAYS want to charge you more for their services while offering you LESS in return.

    Reply
  69. Daniel

    The solution is simple: encrypt the p2p connections. utorrent and azureus support this – as easy as a small checkbox – and comcast will never know what you’re doing. In fact, this would defeat even the tiered internet, unless they considered peer to peer non-priority.

    Reply
  70. Duh

    Jak Spalding wrote:

    “insane wrote:

    IMO, Comcast has every reason to ban/block you. Has anyone ever read the TOS?

    http://www.comcast.net/terms/subscriber.jsp

    “Prohibited Uses of HSI. You agree not to use HSI for operation as an Internet service provider, a server site for ftp, telnet, rlogin, e-mail hosting, “Web hosting” or other similar applications, for any business enterprise, or as an end-point on a non-Comcast local area network or wide area network.”

    Bitorrent, illegal or not you have turned you box into a server. Maybe they didnt enforce it before, so what, you agreed to the TOS and not they are cracking down. Stop whining.”

    insane, and anyone else who believes this to be the case has failed to read that bit-torrent is a PEER-TO-PEER (Now I’m sure you’ve heard of P2P?) protocol and thus there are no servers anywhere.
    —————————————-

    On top of this, you’ll notice it says ” for any business enterprise…” Guess what…. torrents aren’t usually used for a business enterprise. As well as he himself saying he was uploading ubunto (as I recall?) which is obviously not a business enterprise…If you’re going to quote something, actually read it first, hmm?

    Reply
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  72. Nick the Greek

    How come they haven’t banend HTTP first? It may lead to terrorist sites, child porn, drug promotion, you name it.

    Fucking hypocrites.

    Reply
  73. Phil Michaels

    I personally contacted my ISP in regards to throttles I could see being set on my file sharing activities. Their response was to review their policy page.

    I really don’t like where this is headed and I had a friend who had the same problems, but when he connected to his works VPN account there was no problems.

    So I got a VPN account at the same place 🙂 http://www.strongvpn.com

    They say its Gigabit speed but I don’t know how I can tell, I’m not that fast on my home connection. But when I’m on it.. it’s no problem for my P2P activities.

    Reply
  74. iamlibertarian

    —Jaja wrote:
    “Comcast has always been unfriendly towards power users and geeks. What’s new? If you want your MTV, switch. Not convenient? Sorry. Life’s not fair.”—

    Absolutely correct, and absolutely short-sighted at the same time.

    Life isn’t fair. I don’t ‘deserve’, as an automatic right, better than what I get.

    On the other hand, ‘Life’s not fair’ applies to businesses as well. Get enough consumers pissed off and working in the same direction, and we can say, ‘Ph*ck You Comcast’ and force them to give us what we want – so sorry Comcast, “Life’s Not Fair!”

    —Some people see a conspiracy in every shadow.”—

    Life *is* a conspiracy in every shadow. Every individual and every group has goals they wish to see accomplished. Comcast wants more money and more control. Consumers was more for their money and more control. So what’s your point?

    Reply
  75. Free the world

    Soon shall be the day that ISP’s are no longer needed. When we the people in order to form a more perfect internet, decide to become free from those ISP’s, to engage in a new form of internet, where anyone with a computer can access the internet without paying a dime “except for energy to power the computer, which may soon become free as well”, shall we truely stop this maddness, and decide to make the internet free like it should be.

    Anyone up for the challenge?
    How do you make computers talk to each other without ISP’s?
    Stop bitching! Start a new kind of internet that does need ISP’s and I’ll show you how to get free energy to run it.

    Reply
  76. John Nevard

    “To all the these people talking about a server and how it violates the Terms of service: You do not know how TCP/IP works. ANY traffic that is uploaded from your machine technically makes it a “server.””

    No, you do not know how TCP/IP works. If your computer requests a connection to another computer, which is providing a service, then it is acting as a client. If the opposite is true, and another computer connects to your computer, which is providing a service to computers which request connections to it, then it is acting as a server. Which direction internet traffic travels down those connections once they have been made is irrelevant.

    Reply
  77. EN

    One word – TOR! Download the JanusVM appliance and use it!

    Reply
  78. JoJo

    Like it or not, the courts have already decided that file sharing clients are legal therefore Comcast doesn’t have a legal leg to stand on if they are actively blocking ptp clients on their network. Someone needs to sue them and set them straight on the fact that ptp is LEGAL regardless of the actions of some bad apples who use it for illegal purposes.

    Reply
  79. Dave

    Radical Action MUST Take Place! I pay through the nose for my Comcast connection! And they call it comcastic? I’m starting to think that having your own direct connection to the net would be better.

    Reply
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  81. [email protected]

    The companies shaping or dropping torrent traffic are almost all cable Internet services. They do this because the cable line is being shared amongst users and in order compete with actual high speed Internet services like DSL and fiber connections that are dedicated they would have to shape traffic or be truthful in advertising. Cable Internet services can’t actually compete with DSL or fiber. People think it is faster because of the maximum speed that is possible given no other users are using the shared connection can be faster than DSL and fiber. With fiber and DSL the companies are truthfully advertising the speeds they provide. Most DSL and fiber Internet services could actually provide connections as fast as cable if they decided to shape bandwidth like cable Internet services. The way cable Internet services sell access is fraudulent. Even though they have a TOS users can not be expected to read this for every little sale. The law does often recognize consumers have certain rights regardless of what they may have agreed to in the TOS. If something is blatantly different than what one would expect regardless of the TOS users can potentially win a court settlement. Earthlink was sued years ago for providing newsgroup traffic speeds at less than what Earthlink advertised Internet service speeds. Who won? The consumers.

    Reply
  82. comcast user

    the majority of you all are uninformed and uneducated. if comcast’s technology can stop you from using your upload bandwith how you see fit, than use your technology to get around it. :] TUNNEL!!

    or u can simply use rapidshare and megaupload like 100 million other people

    Reply
  83. John

    To the reply about ISP overselling bandwidth. We know this, same with server co’s. BUT is it OUT obligation to allow them to oversell. IE sell a service THEY FULL WELL KNOW they can not provide. This is OUR fault> id like to see how. Fact is they got caught with britches down. Fact is hardware and bandwidth cost is dropping imensly not just for us but them aswell. Diff is they are pocketing the diff in costs, still overselling and now are stuffed cause we want to do SOMETHING with the net that takes mroe kb/sec then email. Cry me a river.

    Its not fair for us to uplaod, however its fair for them to sell bandwidth we dont have? Even a child knows two wrongs dont make a right! They been overselling all along and raking the $ in. So now its time for THEM to pony up and pay the fees to actually provide that unlimited net they promised me!

    If this keeps up at this rate…..well need a few rich folks to start a “real isp” and show these loosers how to make $ and server the entire internet unlimited as it should be. Its that or just let it die altogether. See how the gov likes it if we all ban the net for a while hahahaha. Major cash flow stopped. Boycott the net if this catches on, thats what I think we should do. within two months they would see things differently.

    Reply
  84. Kyran

    There’s a lot of argument over consumer rights vs corporate rights with no agreement and no way to definitively win.

    There’s also a lot of argument over simple definitions (the most common argument over what a “server” is). Again..nobody can really win that. You give me a dictionary that defines it one way and I’ll pull out a handbook that defines it another.

    “A” way to look at this…certainly not the only way and perhaps not the most correct way, but it’s ‘an’ optional view…
    Someone or other made the argument about cable companies overselling their bandwidth because they don’t expect users to actually USE all of it.
    The same thing happens on airlines with seats…not everyone who books a flight actually shows up for it..business people are commonly known to book themselves on 3 or 4 different flights “just in case.” Because of this, airlines overbook flights in anticipation of people not showing up. Who here has ever bought a ticket only to have no seat waiting for them on the plane from where it was overbooked though? For those arguing in defense of the cable companies trying to turn a profit by overselling their bandwidth, how do YOU like being left behind when the plane has no room? You have equal right to be angry at the people who triple-book themselves and make the airlines HAVE to overbook a flight in order to turn a profit as you have to be mad at the airline for leaving you stranded. Who’s in the wrong? Either or perhaps both, but there’s no way ANYONE can really pin it down.

    With advancements in software models to predict traffic flow based on a number of different things, the airlines have accounted for such problems and done a wonderful job in correcting it…they’ve adjusted their prices and schedules accordingly, made advancements in various respects, and mostly solved the problem. It still happens, but it’s rare compared to back in the day.
    Why can’t an ISP do the same? Adjust its business model and prices and services and plans and infrastructure in such a way that more bandwidth is put where it is needed when it is needed and such on and so forth?
    This argument supports both sides..it supports the consumer’s right to expect certain services and it supports an ISP’s right to adapt to a changing world.

    It’s a vastly dynamic market with lots of possibilities..change is the only way anything can move forward (I know…’duh’ right?).
    Perhaps some decisions are being made in the name of greed and profit. Perhaps some decisions are being made for self preservation. Perhaps some decisions are selflessly being made for the benefit of everyone (though the one in debate here today probably doesn’t fall into that last category). EVERYONE has the ability to decide. If Comcast decides to block bittorrent, you can decide to change providers or find a loop-around as has been suggested.
    The curse and blessing of living in a capitalistic society is that you’re often at the mercy of powerful corporations..but no matter how big the corporation, there’s always an alternative.
    *shrug*
    I realize I made no real point…I just wanted to summarize everything in a food-for-thought kind of format.

    Reply
  85. Susan

    I see this as a big problem with a VERY simple solution.

    DON’T USE COMCAST. Do not reward this behavior with your hard earned money. Go with another provider.

    And if they try to pull that “you signed a contract for X-many months”, tell them they’ve violated the contract themselves by changing the terms of service.

    The market will soon learn that so-called “tiered internet” doesn’t sell, and it starts hitting their bottom line, they WILL change their policies.

    Unfortunately, for the lesson to work, people need to leave Comcast and leave them quickly and leave them in droves while there’s still competition to go to. If the industry as a whole decides to screw the consumer with “tiered internet” everywhere, so that there are no more choices, then we’re all screwed. It’s best to punish one offender now than to let the rest get ideas…

    STOP PAYING FOR COMCAST! SWITCH TO ANOTHER PROVIDER! DO IT NOW!

    Reply
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  88. Koz

    Get a server, get a T1, and then bam you all set.

    Reply
  89. George

    Yeah, one more step towards censorship. I just renewed my subscription with http://www.sunvpn.com/, I usually use it when I travel, but it seems that I also need back home.

    BTW, has anyone ever received a DCMA complaint from Comcast for bittorrent downloads?

    Reply
  90. Ed Franhill

    They cant stop the Vortex

    “..Comcast I speaking of my ISP…………”

    ZETONMAN
    Uploaded: 234.38 GB
    Downloaded: 1.66 TB
    Ratio: 0.14 (Updated once a day)

    Reply

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