Print 120 comment(s) - last by FoSTeX.. on Nov 18 at 3:24 AM

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 Screwballl on 11/15/2007 8:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
This is a double edged sword.
Many that join this class action lawsuit actively will be subject to having their internet traffic analyzed to determine if any of it was illegal file sharing or legitimate business usage. The smart money says only a few that illegally shared files will join and may or may not get caught.
In the end I believe that this will be bad for Comcast as I think it may set a precedent for others to sue their ISP if they believe they are or were throttled at some time. I truly believe Cox is doing the same thing as any torrent type of connection seems to take forever when it never used to.

RE: I can't wait...
By opterondo on 11/15/2007 8:51:58 PM , Rating: 2
Wrong .. your making stuff up-

It is simply about a law being broken ".. ommitted 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.. "

The legitimatacy of the traffic is not relative; the throttling of supposed "unlimited" bandwidth is.

RE: I can't wait...
By Screwballl on 11/16/2007 9:29:03 AM , Rating: 2
no the point I am making is that if Comcast has been up to shady practices then they may find a way to get back at these people by secretly checking internet usage history and if any P2P or filesharing was used on the accounts filed in this class action lawsuit, they may target some by turning information over to RIAA in exchange for some cash. RIAA is happy because they have a harpy singing for them and RIAA goes in it usual sue-happy ways.

RE: I can't wait...
By clovell on 11/16/2007 11:08:38 AM , Rating: 1
I sure hope that doesn't happen - I know it has in the past with other companies, and I wasn't too happy about it.

RE: I can't wait...
By Grast on 11/16/2007 1:07:50 PM , Rating: 2
The legitimatacy of the traffic is not relative; the throttling of supposed "unlimited" bandwidth is.

I have read through all of Comcasts online terms and agreements as well as their advertisements. I have found no reference to Unlimited Bandwidth. Additionally, what does throttling have to do with overall bandwidth. The first disclaimer in the terms and agreements is that bandwith is NOT guaranteed. I see not difference if Comcast is limiting bandwidth or if it is a slow host. You have no right to maxium bandwidth.

I would say that consumers which are using P2P client have violated the contract. These users are stealing bandwidth away from other customers. Comcast is simple trying to level the playing field so that all users get the same level of service.


RE: I can't wait...
By mars777 on 11/16/2007 10:19:15 PM , Rating: 2
I would say that consumers which are using P2P client have violated the contract. These users are stealing bandwidth away from other customers


You pay for 10Mb down and 2Mb up.

Why isn't downloading an 8GB ISO over HTTP and uploading an 2GB file to FTP (at full speed) breach of contract,


Downloading the same ISO over P2P and uploading the same file over P2P (at the same full speed) IS?

You are using your full bandwidth in both ways so you basically breach the contract in both protocols?

Then why are they packet filtering only P2P?

This is plain discrimination based on the amount of traffic the protocol uses.

P2P is known to be mostly illegal so they chose to filter that contents BECAUSE THEY HAVE CRAPPY SERVERS and can't deliver the UNLIMITED traffic per month they advertise (not unlimited bandwith - but traffic).

If I'm able to download 10Mbit per second i expect to be able to do it using whatever protocol i want.

If using all my bandwidth interferes with other users on the network they should content filter whatever protocol i use NOT ONLY P2P.

But here we have another problem. Even if I don't use all my bandwidth all the time, and thus not interfere with other users service, I'm still limited on the P2P traffic. Even if i download 10GIGS per month - not 100.

It's like limiting me on how much i can eat per day because I mostly eat Japanese food, while Japanese food is mostly imported and thus interferes with some other guys price of the the PS3 that gets imported from Japan - because my food congests the supply chain of both.

I don't care what i eat, be it HTTP or P2P. If both is in the same amount, neither or both intereferes with others.

RE: I can't wait...
By FoSTeX on 11/18/2007 3:24:35 AM , Rating: 2
Optimum Online in New York and Cox Communications in Phoenix do this as well. Freely admitted by technical support personnel on several occasions to me as well as friends who worked for them. They have software/firmware that auto triggers when your traffic persists for a certain amount of time so on and so forth depending on whatever measures they decide fit. They keep absolute track of your bandwidth usage on all ports and they can tell pretty much what you are doing with those transfers.

I used to transfer backups of my graphics work consisting of several GB's of high resolution image and artwork files from home to my server at my office via FTP. When one day my bandwidth dropped to a 5kbps upload (that's no typo) I contacted my ISP at the time, Optimum Online and the tech person actually warned me a few times stating that if my bandwidth usage continues they will be terminating my service! LOL. They gave me this advice... they said to download or upload for a few hours then stop for a few then repeat this until my files were transferred. I couldn't believe it! After the warning they told me they would release the cap and within minutes my upload speed return to normal.

Years later I moved to Phoenix, AZ and the same exact thing happened with Cox Communications BUT thess guys did not provide me that good wholesome advice that Opt Online did...LOL my upload speed has been a rockin' 15KBps ever since. :P I have given up trying to convince them of my legitimate transfers and realized long ago that it's terribly unfair however what can one person do about it? Hopefully a class action suit will send a message to other ISP's

I agree completely with those raising a voice claiming false advertising. This so called "network shaping" is nothing new and most if not all ISP's who provide cable internet services have deployed it. If they are going to throttle bandwidth then set a speed that is realistic and can be provided consistently 24/7/365 and advertise that, or don't advertise speeds at all.

What the commercials should state is something more like "for $29.99 a month you get unlimited 6MB download speed so long as you don't use it that much!"

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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