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Comcast's recent practices of throttling P2P traffic has finally attracted a class action lawsuit from a frustrated customer

Comcast's bandwidth limitting and peer-to-peer traffic sabatoging traffic finally caught up with the company. A class-action lawsuit has been filed (PDF) by residents in the state of California against Comcast.

Jon Hart, the plaintiff, claims Comcast Corporation committed a breach of contract by violating Covenant of Good Faith and Fair Dealing, the Business and Professions Code section 17200 and 17500 and the Consumer Legal Remedies Act by practicing the management of P2P-based traffic including throttling bandwidth and "transmitting unauthorized hidden messages to the computers of customers who utilize such applications."

The class-action includes "all persons in California who purchased the Service [Comcast broadband Internet] between November 13, 2003 and the present and used or attempted to use peer-to-peer or online file sharing applications and/or Lotus Notes."

The plaintiff represents all persons who have used P2P and file sharing applications, but there is no mention of exceptions where copyright infringement/piracy is involved.

Hart's submission seeks contract damages for compensation of the impeded service, but does not specify an amount.

Recently, many other ISPs such as Canadian-based Bell Sympatico confessed to using traffic management to restrict access to accounts based on the type of application or protocols they are using.  However, Comcast is still the first company to get hit with a lawsuit for such practices.


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RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/15/2007 4:28:38 PM , Rating: -1
Cable broadband connections share bandwidth within hubs. If someone is using over 20 GB of bandwidth / day on a residential line on a P2P program, they should be throttled back if their hub gets saturated. I personally don't care if they're using it for legal purposes or not, but let's get real - nobody in their right mind would have a legitimate use for that much traffic on a P2P program.


RE: I can't wait...
By geeg on 11/15/2007 4:52:15 PM , Rating: 5
then, Comcast must point out that the service they provide is not UNLIMITED but has xxGb limit monthly.


RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/15/2007 5:04:04 PM , Rating: 2
Fair enough.


RE: I can't wait...
By xsilver on 11/15/2007 5:32:32 PM , Rating: 2
This kind of lawsuit has already been done in australia.
Dodgy companies were advertising 10gb / month as "unlimited", this kind of stuff is not happening anymore.

I think comcast are implying that if 99.9% of the population deem it as unlimited, its good enough to advertise it as unlimited?!


RE: I can't wait...
By drivendriver on 11/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: I can't wait...
By room200 on 11/15/2007 7:28:53 PM , Rating: 5
I don't think Comcast guarantees a certain bandwidth. The advertised bandwidth numbers are peak bandwidth numbers. Notice the "up to" before the bandwidth numbers in the ads.

I have a proposal. My monthly bill is around $60.00. I propose that I should be able to pay them "up to" $60.00 per month.


RE: I can't wait...
By mindless1 on 11/15/2007 8:30:13 PM , Rating: 2
Notice they advertise "up to", not "throttled down from".

If a customer is not happy s/he should get money back in addition to having an option to switch but the fact is some people don't have but one viable broadband option and the issue is not just about Comcast doing it but that any ISP would.


RE: I can't wait...
By Grast on 11/16/2007 12:04:45 PM , Rating: 2
Mindless,

The service contract with Comcast is at will. As such, a consumer can cancel at anytime. However, no money is due to the consumer because Comcast met it requirements spelled out in the terms and agreements.

I know that pesky service contract ruins you idea. But that is living in the real world.

Later..


RE: I can't wait...
By mindless1 on 11/16/2007 10:53:46 PM , Rating: 2
Likewise with Comcast, they can cancel if they like but not take the money then actively prevent bandwidth advertised!

I know that must ruin your idea too.


RE: I can't wait...
By borowki on 11/15/2007 7:34:34 PM , Rating: 2
What next? Forbidding business from using the phrase "satisfaction guaranteed?"


RE: I can't wait...
By darkpaw on 11/15/2007 10:25:28 PM , Rating: 2
You must have missed the nut case administrative judge in DC that sued a dry cleaners for $54 million for losing his pants while posting a "satisfaction guaranteed" sign.

So glad he didn't get squat, but the family still got screwed going through that ordeal.


RE: I can't wait...
By poweruserx83 on 11/16/2007 6:35:08 AM , Rating: 2
I took a moment to think about this and I think I would support this..


RE: I can't wait...
By mindless1 on 11/15/2007 5:02:10 PM , Rating: 2
You've pulled that 20GB/day figure out of thin air I suppose, and it's non-applicable.


RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/15/07, Rating: 0
RE: I can't wait...
By Symmetriad on 11/15/2007 5:11:20 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't mind if Comcast set a (reasonable and generous) bandwidth allowance per use, where you're throttled if you go above [X]GB per day - hell, most colleges do that already. The issue is that Comcast is basically saying, "Hey look, we have awesome internet service with unlimited bandwidth*!

*Unless you do that.
**Or that.
***Or that."

Which is a matter of false advertising and misleading claims. Things like bandwidth usage and limits need to be put in bold and prominently displayed in the TOS, not buried seventeen paragraphs deep and expressed in inscrutable lawyer-speak typed in five-point font. Whether P2P services are being used for illegal purposes is irrelevant in this case.


RE: I can't wait...
By Souka on 11/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/15/2007 5:25:57 PM , Rating: 1
Over P2P?


RE: I can't wait...
By Souka on 11/15/07, Rating: -1
RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/16/07, Rating: 0
RE: I can't wait...
By mindless1 on 11/15/2007 9:44:46 PM , Rating: 2
People using P2P or Lotus Notes are throttled regardless of whether their bandwidth was excessive. Bandwidth is a non-applicable factor and not what this discussion, news, suit is about.


RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/16/2007 11:02:38 AM , Rating: 1
That seems to be rather arbitrary, then. I'm sure the courts will work it out. I'm not familar with all the particulars as the link to the lawsuit wasn't working when I first posted.


RE: I can't wait...
By Grast on 11/16/2007 12:01:58 PM , Rating: 2
mindless,

That is an assumption which you can not back-up. Please post your proof or it is just hearsay.

Everyone is missing the point. A consumer is signing a service contract with Comcast. The specifics of the service contact are layed out in the terms and agreements. These items are available to the cusomer prior to requesting service. The consumer is NOT being misled by the provider (Comcast). The level of service being provided by Comcast is as such:

1. X bandwidth for X dollars.
2. Service Expectations - bandwidth is not guaranteed.
3. Service Reliability - provider has the right to manupulate your traffic as they see fit.

It is cut and dry. I just do not see everyone's point. You are paying 40-60 dollars per month for a 6/8 meg pipe to the Internet. At this price level, service restrictions exist.

If you do not like those restrictions, upgrade to business class service type. Of course, you will pay 500 - 1000 dollars a month for 1.5 megs of bandwidth. You will probably be required to buy 2500 - 5000 dollars worth of equipment. However, you will have a service contract which states the provider is REQUIERED to deliver your traffic to the Internet with NO restrictions. You will even probably get a static IP address. Bonus.

I believe this issue boils down to on issue. Consumers believe the 40-60 per month SHOULD guarantee them unstricted access to the Internet. I am sorry but that is just not the level of service being offered.

Later..


RE: I can't wait...
By mindless1 on 11/16/2007 10:49:02 PM , Rating: 1
You're kidding right? That's what prompted all these news articles, independent tests that show it. Do the readings already instead of trying to place the burden on others.

I should clarify that I am using the term throttling to also mean traffic shaping because to me "traffic shaping" is a bullshit term, a sugar coating on reality, it's still throttling when you are being prevented from having full bandwidth paid for regardless of how they try to excuse it.


RE: I can't wait...
By Christopher1 on 11/15/2007 6:20:41 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong. I uploaded 10GB of the latest Naruto Shippuuden episode (which was only 170MB), so there are legitimate uses for Bittorrent and p2p.


RE: I can't wait...
By Hacp on 11/15/2007 6:51:24 PM , Rating: 2
I use p2p for anime exclusively too, and I hate to break it to you but its not legit. The good thing is that no one is going to sue you. I never really got into downloading music or movies because I didn't have broadband until 2002-2003 and thats when the RIAA started suing people.


RE: I can't wait...
By opterondo on 11/15/07, Rating: 0
RE: I can't wait...
By borowki on 11/15/2007 9:44:38 PM , Rating: 4
Like most P2P pirates, you're deluding yourself thinking the law is on your side.

Article 5 of the Berne Convention reads:

quote:

(1) Authors shall enjoy, in respect of works for which they are protected under this Convention, in countries of the Union other than the country of origin , the rights which their respective laws do now or may hereafter grant to their nationals, as well as the rights specially granted by this Convention.

(2) The enjoyment and the exercise of these rights shall not be subject to any formality ; such enjoyment and such exercise shall be independent of the existence of protection in the country of origin of the work. Consequently, apart from the provisions of this Convention, the extent of protection, as well as the means of redress afforded to the author to protect his rights, shall be governed exclusively by the laws of the country where protection is claimed.


RE: I can't wait...
By dare2savefreedom on 11/15/07, Rating: 0
RE: I can't wait...
By Parhel on 11/15/2007 9:14:42 PM , Rating: 2
W
T
F

does that have to do with anything else anyone said?


RE: I can't wait...
By opterondo on 11/15/2007 8:35:41 PM , Rating: 2
6 Mbit connection = 2.7 GiB per hour < [Unlimited]


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