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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: Let's hope.
By Parhel on 11/15/2007 9:19:36 PM , Rating: 0
It takes me 30 minutes to load Google when I'm using BitTorrent. Maybe I'm doing something wrong.


RE: Let's hope.
By BeastieBoy on 11/16/2007 5:46:47 AM , Rating: 3
Yeah. Dial-up sucks.


RE: Let's hope.
By GreenEnvt on 11/16/2007 8:36:45 AM , Rating: 1
Right..
Last weekend I was downloading 3 Linux ISO's, getting about 300KB/s, and was still getting a sub 20ms ping while playing Team Fortess 2.

This is on a Cogeco (Canadian cable company in southern Ontario) cable connection, 10mbit down.

I do cap my upload rate to 15KB/s though.


RE: Let's hope.
By Parhel on 11/16/2007 9:56:54 AM , Rating: 3
I was exaggerating, but I'll bet it takes me over a minute to just load Google if I have BT running. I'm using Comcast, so maybe that's the issue, but I have the 6Mbps second service. I never reach over 100KBps on BT either.


RE: Let's hope.
By schwinn8 on 11/16/2007 1:53:41 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe your router can't handle the load? Most consumer-level routers really have problems with P2P. You need a pretty high end one to keep up with BT. I know my older SMC router wouldn't take it, and would simply lose its mind after a while on BT, requiring a power cycle on the router.

Even my new Netgear WPNT834 router, which was rated pretty well for P2P (see http://www.smallnetbuilder.com/content/view/25840/... ) and still will choke if I overdo it. The key is, you need to throttle your own connection down a bit, so that you don't piss off your router.

Besides which, YOUR BT usage should not have this much of an effect on the internet service in your area... unless they are simply under-serving you, in which case, we are back to the same original problem - it's not that P2P is "bad"... but that the cablecos are just not upgrading their service fast enough.

If they want to sell me 3Mbps service, I should be able to get that, whenever I want. That's how DSL works - they throttle your connection at the DSL Modem. There's no real reason they can't do this on cablemodems too... but they don't do it because the hardware doesn't support it, and they are oversubscribing for the regions. Either way, this does not mean they have the right to throttle my programs, just because they can't provide quality service.

For that matter, tell me how much I can throttle down to.. or what my limit is... they don't even want to do that.


RE: Let's hope.
By Parhel on 11/16/2007 2:58:35 PM , Rating: 2
Until I brought it up, I just thought everyone had similar performance under BitTorrent. I'm glad I asked, even if it got me a negative rating on my post (which I don't understand.) I hadn't considered that my routing might be a factor in determining my speeds. Thanks for the tip! I'll see if I can't borrow my dad's router to test how it affects the speed.


RE: Let's hope.
By smitty3268 on 11/16/2007 8:56:38 PM , Rating: 2
What I found was that the upload speed you give BT really affects your browsing performance, much more than the download speed. When you try to go to google, every time you receive a packet you have to respond that it's been received, and if BT is maxing out your upload bandwidth it gets into a vicious loop or retransmitting the page over and over again.

If you set that to some really low value and you're still having problems, looking at the router is a good next step.


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