Comcast Pays $16M USD to Settle P2P Throttling Suit, But Won't Admit Wrongdoing
December 24, 2009 10:00 AM
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You may be entitled to $16 if you are a Comcast customer whose traffic was throttled
Over two years ago, in October 2007, Comcast was
caught slowing down the connections
of customers who were using popular P2P programs like Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols. Comcast didn't admit, at first, that it was doing this, but when it finally acknowledged the practice it argued that filesharers put an unequal strain on its network and it had every right to throttle their connections.
It wasn't long before the company was slapped with several
class action lawsuits
. The U.S. Federal Communications Commission also
opened an investigation
into the internet service provider's "data discrimination". Comcast continued to defend its practices both in court and
to the FCC
Now Comcast has at last given up one of those court battle and
agreed to settle
to the tune of $16M USD payout. Unsurprisingly, despite essentially losing the suit, Comcast won't say it did anything wrong -- it says it has every right to "manage" its traffic and says the settlement was because it wanted to "avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose."
Nonetheless, the good news is that Comcast subscribers who "live in the United States or its Territories, have a current or former Comcast High-Speed Internet account, and either used or attempted to use Comcast service to use the Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols at any time from April 1, 2006 to December 31, 2008; and/or Lotus Notes to send emails any time from March 26, 2007 to October 3, 2007" are entitled to a $16 piece of the settlement pie. The settlement should cover about a bit less than a million customers, the estimated size of the class. While that may be a pittance, consumers who feel they were wronged should relish the chance to nickel and dime Comcast.
There are several other class action lawsuits that are still ongoing, surrounding the data discrimination. They accuse Comcast of violating its own Terms of Service and breaking consumer protection laws by advertising its network as fast.
The settlement site can be found
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No more regional monopolies please.
12/24/2009 12:44:38 PM
...this kind of typical Comcastic behavior is encouraged by the fact that a given geographic area generally is served by only one cable provider. If you want such providers to behave in a civil manner, there has to be local competition in every market...i.e. more than one cable provider. Then you can take your business elsewhere.
When you have no other option for a product or service, the provider in question has no incentive to treat you well.
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