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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 teckytech9 on 11/15/2007 11:29:46 PM , Rating: 3
Comcast has no right in instantiating, impersonating, masquerading any user on its network, by injecting TCP reset packets on its behalf for traffic shaping purposes. This is akin to giving a telephone user a false busy signal, when in actuality, the phone is on-hook and working just fine. The phone network PSTN is a public utility and so is the Internet.

Comcast knows that p2p is a real threat to their cable delivery channel business model and is trying to limit its usage and acceptance under the guise of traffic shaping techniques to hamper p2p’s superior file sharing capabilities.

Lets say that content could be delivered more efficiently via p2p than FTP server methods. Also the large influx of new ipTV companies are now flourishing on the net. This means that more bandwidth usage will occur, regardless of which way the traffic flows. Comcast needs to increase their bandwidth capacity or else risk losing the majority of their subscribers to its competitors.

RE: I can't wait...
By Grast on 11/16/2007 12:24:51 PM , Rating: 2
the Internet is NOT a public utility. The phone companies have this status due to public safety issues. As too your assersion of impersonating and masquerading, that is very subjective. Who owns your identity on the internet from the network stacks point of view. Who owns the IP address which end computer is using. Is that IP address even consider real since every moden network use NAT to more efficiently use a providers allocated IP subnet. The awnser is Comcast.

Since the Internet is NOT a public utility, your example of a busy signal is illrelavent.

As to how Comcast manages their bandwidth, that is function of profitability for the Comcast and out of scope for this discussion. Comcast has already disclosed to the consumer their abilty and right to manage their network as they see fit.


RE: I can't wait...
By teckytech9 on 11/16/2007 2:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
As too your assertion of impersonating and masquerading, that is very subjective.

Subjective to lawful interpretation, hence the validity of the Class Action Suit brought forward.

Since the Internet is NOT a public utility, your example of a busy signal is irrelevant.

True, since it is not subject to State/Federal regulation and oversight. However, since VoIP requires 911 services to be fully operational, public safety is riding on the net. The example outlines in simple terms how Comcast is using forgery and spoofing techniques in their traffic shaping methodologies.

Customers pay their ISP to transport and receive their data based on the advertised data rates. If the ISP cannot deliver these rates, then it is the duty of the ISP to inform their customer in writing of their failure to do so. The ISP is also responsible to provide a refund on services that have been paid for, but cannot be delivered. Comcast may be synonymous with Concast.

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