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jsbthree

join:2003-06-16
Nashville, TN
reply to j23s3afj

Re: My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspensio

I think my experience may be the most unusual. I have been paying roughly twice the normal amount for broadband from Comcast and still got a letter. I'm going to copy and past my post to Slashdot here rather than try to annotate. Bottom line is that I WAS AND AM PAYING FOR PROFESSIONAL GRADE WITH 5 IPS AND STILL GOT THE LETTER. My question is this: If Comcast is counting bandwidth that you pay extra for -- i.e. Software downloads that are not free or if they are free are tials that you will end up paying for -- in their total NOT allowed is this legal. They are restraining trade on the Internet no less which I think is s Federal jurisiction. Should their letters as in my case attempt to eat into the revenues of third parties is this not like the behavior of railroads during the waning years of the 19th Century which is why we have antitrust laws to begin with.
POST ONE
Im not sure if this can be called a policy or a lack of a clear policy but I got one of those vague acceptable use letters that stated I had exceeded their invisible bandwidth limit. I thought it was a mistake because I pay comercial rates and we don't use it to serve anything. We do download allot of isos trying to keep up with Red Hat (now Fedora) but I fail to see how that is any business of Comcast or how it can exceed their limit.

The chilling effect on potential business is obvious. I don't know if anyone has noticed but the major software distributors (Red Hat, Suse, Novell, IBM - especially IBM ) have moved to a nearly exclusive online distribution model. Very little incentive exists to go back to cds and FedEx and for good reason. A few years ago it cost more to download a three cd Linux distro than to ship it across the country on a truck. Not so anymore. Its far cheaper to upload to servers ride the prevailing bandwidth rates. Not to mention the turnaround speed is much faster if you don't have to print, labEL and ship. ETC..

But the real issue is Comcast's outright false advertising. Go to any paid add they've run in the last year and you will find the word "unlimited" applied to their service. Over and over they brag about unlimited downloading ETC...

There is a good discussion going on at Slashdot right now. I posted this today... my question to all is this:
Has anyone else gotten this letter in Tennessee or am I alone???

The following was an answer to someone who said he didn't mind paying more for Newsgroups and that Comcast should allow people to pay more. The fact is that Comcast counts ANY bandwidth including that which you already pay extra for. Strange that they can get away with this and still cry for protective legislation.

I know because I have a letter sitting here in which they say - direct quote follows:

Excessive bandwidth usage may be the result of many different activities. Activities that could contribute to exceeding bandwidth limitations may include, but are not limited to:

* Commercial or business applications,
* Peer to peer networking,
* Newsgroup downloading
* file sharing,
* Streaming music, video
* Voice and/or video services

Now.. After reading the above I can help Comcast save a more valuable and truly limited resource -- trees. They can cut down of the amount of paper needed to send their obnoxious letters by summing up the above as "broadband" for it pretty much defines what most people consider to be the reasons to actually shell out extra for internet service. So they can reword the whole thing and simply say that using broadband internet contributes to "excessive" usage and to be certain you are not being excessive you should use dialup.

POST TWO
I got Comcast on the phone today to clarify what my service is supposed to entail. I have the "Pro" which is exactly twice the prevailing consumer rate. For that I get 5 ip addresses and a download speed of (this part is bs but I'm telling you what it says) 4 mpbs with upload of approximately 300 kbps which is only about 25% more in each case than the consumer grade. Now here is what is interesting. Why am I paying for this at all? I was told it was for "professional use" and being that it is called "Pro" it sort of makes sense that it would be used for professional purposes. And again what is it one is supposed to do with 5 ips when of course you can put a router on the home version and have 5 or more (need a proxy server too) computers behind one nat. I didn't want to "steal" or "misrepresent" anything so I opted in good faith to pay the extra $$. This is why people are so mad about the RIAA. The deck is stacked against anyone for anything these corporate behemoths decide they don't like on a whim. Never mind that they made a deal. They have fine print that can change at a whim and it us up to us to check their web site every day and read the multipage legal garbage to see if we are in compliance with a vaguely written and irrelevant document.

What I believe is going on here is something even worse than just plain lying -- which is what this is. I suspect Comcast has been peering (no pun intended) into what people are doing with all the bandwidth. It’s probably the online version of racial profiling that goes like this: We've snooped on a random sampling of X people and among those who exceed Y (y is of course an arbitrary and invisible number they won't reveal) bandwidth Z percent of them are either engaging in "file trading" or downloading porn. Therefore we can send out the threatening letters and they will be scared to say anything lest we reveal what they've been doing."" Or something likes that anyway.. There is a term for this kind of thinking plus the peering part is probably illegal. What would people do if they thought Comcast was watching what they download???

At this point its hard to overestimate what goes on in their minds. On the one hand they are STILL RUNNING THE ADDS SAYING "UNLIMITED" while sending out threatening letters to people because they have surpassed their limit. It is hard to believe but people have come to expect this kind of thing and the mentality is so pro business these days its okay to treat your customers like criminal because well they are all criminals right? Look this guy has been downloading huge files with names like Suse and Woody. Got to be porn .. Right??


tsu9

join:2001-08-17
Wheeling, IL
said by jsbthree:
I think my experience may be the most unusual. I have been paying roughly twice the normal amount for broadband from Comcast and still got a letter. I'm going to copy and past my post to Slashdot here rather than try to annotate. Bottom line is that I WAS AND AM PAYING FOR PROFESSIONAL GRADE WITH 5 IPS AND STILL GOT THE LETTER. My question is this: If Comcast is counting bandwidth that you pay extra for -- i.e. Software downloads that are not free or if they are free are tials that you will end up paying for -- in their total NOT allowed is this legal. They are restraining trade on the Internet no less which I think is s Federal jurisiction. Should their letters as in my case attempt to eat into the revenues of third parties is this not like the behavior of railroads during the waning years of the 19th Century which is why we have antitrust laws to begin with.

Now this sounds particularly wrong. You have the business classified service through Comcast, and you received a letter? Could you possibly scan a copy of it? I'd really love to see the verbiage on that one.

THIS sounds to me like Comcast basically straightly equates their Commercial accounts with "Pro" accounts. they really need to make the distinction, if this is the case.. maybe I misread and I'm jumping the gun, though. Either way, I don't see why Comcast would provide the differntiating bandwidth from their lower end service tier, and not provide similarly higher flexible (if that is the word, in this ace) caps to better suit the need of their power-user customers. I might advocate the soft limits, but this would just be plain silly to assume that a business would lease a line and not use it for possibly intensive work-related subject matter.


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD
jsbthree See Profile isn't the first pro subscriber who's reportedly received "the letter".


tsu9

join:2001-08-17
Wheeling, IL
said by JTRockville:
jsbthree See Profile isn't the first pro subscriber who's reportedly received "the letter".

I know we've been over this at some point, but does Comcast have a distinction between a commercial service and a pro service?

Regardless, I do feel that the limits shoudl be higher for such accounts due to the nature of usage which their very names imply.

sago5

join:2001-12-19
reply to jsbthree
said by jsbthree:

The chilling effect on potential business is obvious. I don't know if anyone has noticed but the major software distributors (Red Hat, Suse, Novell, IBM - especially IBM ) have moved to a nearly exclusive online distribution model. Very little incentive exists to go back to cds and FedEx and for good reason.

I installed a Debian Linux on my PC from a 30 megabyte install ISO and about 350 megabytes of software downloaded once the base system was up, rebooted and running. Updates happen whenever you want them to, but are rarely more than 50 megs. If you have more than one computer, you probably want to organize some way of not having to download every time, for every computer.

What broadband does is it allows you to approach an OS from a different point of view - it alleviates the neccesity of having to have all those CD's... all you need is a media (such as CD or floppy) to boot up and turn on your ethernet, then the rest can be downloaded. If you want another software program, you just download that software program. That's the nice thing about "always on". Downloading operating system ISO's SHOULD be a thing of the past, unless you are doing it for a friend with dial-up. It's a waste of bandwidth on both ends, it takes too long to download and burn everything, and it's a system that has been worked out to make life with dial-up easier.

A typical SuSE with what? 7 CD's - most of that data you won't use, and by the time you get those ISO's downloaded and burned to CD's, the software packages on there are already slightly dated anyway. "Tracking" an OS to keep current with the latest software updates uses up a trivial amount of data transfer. You could almost do it via dial-up, if you had the patience.

I installed a complete Linux OS in under 400 megs - there is nothing to worry about. You need to do the net install, not download ISO's that contain software packages you don't want and will never use. That's for dial-up people who can't download anything of any decent size.


J D McDorce
Premium
join:2001-12-29
Westland, MI
reply to tsu9
said by tsu9:
I know we've been over this at some point, but does Comcast have a distinction between a commercial service and a pro service?
Comcast Pro certainly becomes a gray area (although what in this thread isn't), specifically after the introduction of the Comcast Pro Addendum when the Pro service is (or was) installed in a business location. That addendum could certainly be used by Comcast to distinguish between a commercial and non-commercial application of the Pro service.

I'm still not convinced that the Workplace and Teleworker offerings are exempt from enforcement of bandwidth usage limitations, as they share the same local networks as residential cable internet service. To exempt these services would also be inconsistent with the basic point (underlined for emphasis) of
said by »My experience with Comcast bandwidth suspension :
Q: Instead of enforcing the excessive bandwidth use provision of the Acceptable Use Policy, why wouldn’t Comcast just charge these customers more?

A: These users are a very small fraction of our overall user base and are consuming an excessive amount of bandwidth. Designing a network to serve these customers would require capital investment beyond the normal scope of building and maintaining a residential Internet network. Charging these users more would not compensate for the overall company investment. Comcast High-Speed Internet is a residential service and is not suited for commercial service or other uses that may place an unusual burden on the network. Comcast has a variety of plans available for all types of users from entry-level residential users to commercial services.

ajax25

join:2003-12-10
Colonia, NJ
I was told by a sales person from the business side that
the bandwidth usage limitation was not an issue for
the commerical services.

jsbthree

join:2003-06-16
Nashville, TN
reply to JTRockville
That's what I thought. I couldn't have been the first. I flat out asked them (by the way their phone person was very courteous and I have zero problems with her) what I am paying for and she rattled off the 5 ips and increased bandwidth plus other items that all equate to a business type account including the name. I really never bothered to scan the fine print of their agreement and am sort of shocked to see that it is basically the same one as the consumer agreement which is subject to change on a daily or hourly basis at their sole discretion etc etc. blah blah...

But my question still stands. Is this legal? The restraint of trade implications are very real given the business reliance more and more on direct downloads of relatively big files. Is there some enterprising lawyer out there who might agree that by restraining business use (forget the false advertising or the corporate double talk which is mere childs play compared to the posible damages from lost business. I am not even slightly exaggeration when I say that the big software distributors are pushing huge dowonloads of their trials and full versions. A business who tried to cap its downloads against an invisible number (I have no idea what it is actually but I know its way under 60 gigs which has been mentioned) could actually do itself serious harm. Losing the only viable intenet connctions for even a small period could put some out of business which is not the reality we faced a few years ago. If you doubt what I am saying please go to the IBM developers web page. I believe there is about a terra-byte of trials and betas which are usually important to various software related businesses. (wonder what would happen if one downloaded a tribute off comcast... other than taking about a year it would be funny to read the letter)

Small business has just as much right a large corporate customers to the ever more vital online access etc... Can you hear the inspirational music in the background..?? Okay I'll be quiet..

If there is an enterprising lawyer out there who thinks there is something here I will be glad to take up a collection.

Also lets be real here. 2 , 3 or 4 mbps is like not going to break the bank on band with. The technology in the NEAR future coming from DSL and wireless and Fiber to the neighborhood will make theses speeds seem like caffeinated dialup. At one office I work with they are regularly downloading ISOs at gigabit speed and think nothing of it. 8 minutes for a cd is not unusual.

Last and I will stop I promise is this: It does seem sort of opportunistic that Comcast just started all this concurrent to the RIAA stuff. My point is that it is okay now to invade peoples privacy and assume INCORRECTLY OR NOT that they are doing "wrong" things and ride the current fear wave by bullying users into increasing their profit margin.

joebear29

join:2003-07-20
Alabaster, AL
said by jsbthree:
Small business has just as much right a large corporate customers to the ever more vital online access etc... Can you hear the inspirational music in the background..?? Okay I'll be quiet..

If it's a business and it is critical* to have reliability on downloads, I'd advise a T-1 or fractured T-1. Cable Internet is a roll of the dice on reliability for a heavy business user.

*I mean really critical, not just convienent

jsbthree

join:2003-06-16
Nashville, TN
Ha, on that you are correct. But still it should be clear one way or another. The old maxium about business being able to deal with everything but uncertainty holds true here. By the way I've had some very bad expeeriences with T1s.


tsu9

join:2001-08-17
Wheeling, IL
reply to jsbthree
said by jsbthree:
But my question still stands. Is this legal? The restraint of trade implications are very real given the business reliance more and more on direct downloads of relatively big files.
Sadly, I don't see how this is illegal. Ethical? Assuredly not. Deceptive? Perhaps, though it was listed in the TOS/AUP... doens't mean it isn't slimy. Technically, they provided you with everything you needed to see, in order to determine if their service met your business standards (keyword: technically), so I can't say its illegal, per se.

Just because the standard for business class service is higher than Comcast's offerings doens't mean its wrong. They're wrong FOR offering it as a corporate solution, though, if they are deluded enough to believe that a business won't use their service to the fullest.

I'm certainly no lawyer, but I don't think that you're approaching this from the right angle. It was all there in the contracts, figuratively speaking. Its how they present it that has the real issue. It certainly IS a solution for SOME businesses... just not ones that use the internet, it would seem =)

Matisaro

join:2003-11-20
Troutdale, OR
reply to tsu9
quote:
Now this sounds particularly wrong. You have the business classified service through Comcast, and you received a letter? Could you possibly scan a copy of it? I'd really love to see the verbiage on that one.
Pro is a residential grade service FWIW.

It recently moved to the buisness tier but 99% of users on the "pro" service are residential grade.

Matisaro

join:2003-11-20
Troutdale, OR
reply to jsbthree
quote:
(I have no idea what it is actually but I know its way under 60 gigs which has been mentioned)
A: how do you know this and

B: no it is not


tsu9

join:2001-08-17
Wheeling, IL
reply to Matisaro
said by Matisaro:
quote:
Now this sounds particularly wrong. You have the business classified service through Comcast, and you received a letter? Could you possibly scan a copy of it? I'd really love to see the verbiage on that one.
Pro is a residential grade service FWIW.

It recently moved to the buisness tier but 99% of users on the "pro" service are residential grade.

Then what is the distinction between business tier and "pro" residential grade? Are the same soft limits in place? Will a business receive a letter if they exceed these limits?

Matisaro

join:2003-11-20
Troutdale, OR
quote:
Then what is the distinction between business tier and "pro" residential grade? Are the same soft limits in place? Will a business receive a letter if they exceed these limits?
I dont know if the same limits apply, logic dictates they would be higher but im not in abuse.

For pro you pay for the following.

4/384
5 IP addresses
Faster tech support queueing.

Thats all, it has always been a residential service(although some small buisness's do subscribe to it).

I would also like to note none of the 3 pro users who got a letter provided usage statistics so we have no idea what the high end cap would be yet, if any of them would share their usage that would be appreciated.


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD
said by Matisaro:
I would also like to note none of the 3 pro users who got a letter provided usage statistics so we have no idea what the high end cap would be yet, if any of them would share their usage that would be appreciated.
There have been many more than 3 pro customers who've reported receiving the letter. And no, I'm not going to hunt them all down for you.

Matisaro

join:2003-11-20
Troutdale, OR
quote:
There have been many more than 3 pro customers who've reported receiving the letter. And no, I'm not going to hunt them all down for you.
In this thread, and none of the others I have seen(and I dont read everythread) have posted usage, or their letter, or anything but one forum post.


Sickened Tech

@dmu.ac.uk
reply to jsbthree
Regaurdless of Pro or Regular Service... They are both considered residential to comcast and fall under the same Terms of Service... The Bastards...
The only account u can get from comcast is a "Commercial Account" which is designed for High Data Transferes..
1-888-205-5000
Bring Some Lubrication...


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD
reply to Matisaro
It's true, very few letters have been posted. Nonetheless, the notion that only 3 pro subscribers have received letters is quite an understatement.


anonemployee

@dmu.ac.uk
Pro is subject to the same TOS as a standard residential account... In order to not be subject to this rule u must obtain a "Commercial Account".

Matisaro

join:2003-11-20
Troutdale, OR
reply to JTRockville
quote:
It's true, very few letters have been posted. Nonetheless, the notion that only 3 pro subscribers have received letters is quite an understatement.
I only counted 3 in this thread, where are the others?

(dont find them, which thread)


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD
reply to anonemployee
Are there assurances that prevent the bait-n-switch tactic on "Commercial Accounts".

Note: These "Commercial Accounts" are not widely available (geographically), and are therefore not an option for most customers.


jansm38
Vn800-B
Premium
join:2003-05-19
Blackwood, NJ
Is Comcast sending warnings to those that do not have the option to upgrade to commercial service?
--
Dialup? They still make that? Yes they do! »www.snip.net DSL Too!


JTRockville
Data Ho
Premium,MVM
join:2002-01-28
Rockville, MD
Yes, see this topic. (don't fret, it's only 2 pages)
»High Bandwidth Usage Workaround

AKSkinz

join:2003-12-12
Tewksbury, MA
reply to jansm38
I got the warning and was told Commercial service is "not" available in my area.


jansm38
Vn800-B
Premium
join:2003-05-19
Blackwood, NJ
said by AKSkinz:
I got the warning and was told Commercial service is "not" available in my area.

Ok. So much that theory, eh?
--
Dialup? They still make that? Yes they do! »www.snip.net DSL Too!