Back in 2007 and 2008, internet service provider Comcast was accused of throttling packet data traveling over its network; more specifically, packet data that was deemed to be P2P traffic, a la BitTorrent. The story goes: Comcast denies the whole thing, the Associated Press, smelling blood, launches an investigation, and customers’ suspicions are confirmed. After the AP published its report — stating Comcast was indeed throttling, or in some instances outright blocking, data flowing over ports commonly used by P2P sites and programs – Comcast suddenly remembered that it was, perhaps, doing a little “network management.” Class action lawsuits suits ensued (pun intended). Today it looks like Comcast has settled one of the suits, filed out of the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, for a cool $16 million. The ISP maintains the settlement is to “avoid a potentially lengthy and distracting legal dispute that would serve no useful purpose”…right. Now, those who enter into the class action settlement aren’t going to be on easy street as they are guaranteed no more than $16 for their troubles, but can you really put a price on damning the man? More →
Stateside ISP Comcast is ready to jump on the 3G/4G wireless data bandwagon — and how. The Comcast site is boasting 4G services for residents of Bellingham, WA, Portland, OR, and Atlanta, GA, — with more to come — and 3G coverage throughout most of the continental US. Comcast doesn’t make note of what cell provider(s) they’ve sold their soul to, but the coverage map is pretty impressive and it’s most likely using Sprint’s network. Combine that with a $69.99 monthly price tag for high speed cable interwebs for your home (15Mbps) plus unlimited 3G/4G cellular data (3 – 6 Mbps) while on the road, and we think Comcast may have something cooking here. How many of you are paying $69+ just for home internet as it is?
We’ve been getting a bunch of comments and emails looking for an update on the Comcast Town design giveaway and since there’s $30,000 worth of prizes up for grabs, we thought we’d drop a little update on you. First and foremost, a couple finalists have been chosen from among thousands of designs. The judges have done their part and now its up to you guys — voting is live on the site and open to the public. You can vote once each day so if your design was chosen, it’s definitely time to rally the troops. Voting is open through 11:59PM PDT on June 15th and the winners will be announced shortly thereafter. Good luck to all the finalists and may the best design win!
While Verizon maintains its FiOS service is way too cool to be bothered with things like speed upgrades, Comcast is apparently just about ready to step up to the plate. According to an Inquirer report from this morning, Comcast is prepping an Optimum Ultra competitor that could launch any day now. Comcast’s offering will allegedly provide users with a 100Mbps downlink on par with Cablevision’s 101Mbps Ultra speed, and the uplink could be as fast as 40Mbps. Cablevision’s Optimum Ultra service only provides upload speeds up to 15Mbps. Pricing for Comcast’s new offering is still unknown; it’s current portfolio tops out at 50Mbps/20Mbps for $190 per month. As such, it would be very surprising if its upgraded service competes with Optimum Ultra’s $100 price tag.
You judge us every day in the comments section and now it’s our turn to return the favor! Last month we told you about a big promotion Comcast is currently running and now that things are coming down to the wire, we wanted to remind you guys to enter. In short, contestants use Comcast’s virtual room designer to build their own virtual pads in Comcast Town. The judges, your pals at BGR included, will then judge each room and the top ten finalists will go on display for a community vote. One lucky winner will be selected to win up to $30,000 in prizes including a brand-new 40-inch Sony BRAVIA HDTV, a Sony VAIO AW laptop and a Philips digital phone. Are you independently wealthy and already living in the lap of luxury? Move along, nothing to see here. If you’re like the rest of us though and the recession’s got you down, there’s no better way to get your hands on a truckload of free gear than Comcast’s contest. Entries must be submitted by 11:59PM PT for a chance to win so get a move on…
Here’s the deal… Comcast just launched this big marketing initiative called ComcastTown (you’ve probably seen the ads on BGR by now) and we’ve agreed to be judges. We wouldn’t participate in a campaign that we didn’t like ourselves and the ComcastTown.com concept is actually pretty cool. Here’s how it works: Using an interactive design interface, you can set up your own apartment using a whole boat load of available stuff — furniture, electronics and even some BGR-specific items, too. We and other people judge it and if you win, Comcast will redecorate your apartment with whatever you created. Stuff like Sony BRAVIA HDTVs, Sony VAIO laptops, phones, and more all worth up to $30,000 are up for grabs for your apartment. Comcast didn’t tell us if they’d include Comcast service but if you win, we’re pretty sure we could con them into it. You can see our apartment up above, but maybe you can do better? Hit the read link if you’d like to participate!
Image via ItsOurNet.org
Democratic Senator Byron Dorgan of North Dakota and Republican Senator Olympia Snowe of Maine have announced plans to introduce a bipartisan bill addressing the controversial topic of net neutrality. The Internet Freedom Preservation Act, expected to be introduced in January 2009, will make it illegal for ISPs to block or slow down specific types of Internet traffic. Remember Comcast and their BitTorrent blocking debacle? Under this new law, their packet hijacking would be illegal, not just subject to some lame slap on the wrist by the FCC. This whole issue of Net neutrality will be rearing its ugly head again, pitting the ISP’s like AT&T and Verizon who claim they need to control content as part of their network management procedures against the content companies like Google and Microsoft who want their content delivered equally to everyone. We won’t even get into the whole issue of the ISPs double dipping by charging subscribers a monthly fee for their Internet connection and then charging content providers to have their content provided “faster” than those who don’t pay these extortion fees. The issue also divides the tech world with some saying “we can’t trust ISPs to deliver content freely so we need to enact legislation proactively” while others argue that “existing provisions already adequately handle the issue of net neutrality. If we enact a law too early, there may be unexpected negative consequences.” We will reserve judgment on this issue for now and turn it over to our readers. So what do you think, is net neutrality legislation a necessity at this point or is it better to wait until a clear threat to Internet freedom is present?
Before you get uppity about having us call Klausner Technologies a patent troll, consider what they’ve been doing since their invention of the PDA: Suing everyone under the sun who has used visual voicemail. What else can you do when you’re no more than a one-hit wonder and your cheap Flash website offers nothing more than visual voicemail licensing information (which does nothing but give you their email address for inquiries)? After being successful with their suits against AT&T, Apple, and Comcast in the past, it seems they’re out for a little more cash and have targeted Verizon. With the prior success (read settlements) of past lawsuits, their action against Verizon was pretty much guaranteed $$$. While financial details of the settlement haven’t been disclosed, it’s pretty clear that Klausner is going to get a pretty penny looking at their history. We really don’t have a problem when people get sued over using someone else’s product without proper licensing (Nokia + Qualcomm) but we take major issue with patent trolls; they do nothing but act as a large speed bump to companies who are putting out technologies and services we like.
In a bid to compete with Verizon’s FIOS service, Comcast has just announced that it will begin the roll out of their DOCSIS 3.0 network starting with residential homes and businesses in parts of New England, including the Boston Metropolitan region and Southern New Hampshire. Also included in the roll out are areas of Philadelphia, New Jersey, and the Twin Cities where the wide-band service was launched earlier this year. Hey New Englanders, stop crying about the Bosox and go check your modem logs as it has reportedly gone live in some locations! Comcast has also introduced two new speed tiers for their high-speed service and doubled the speeds for current customers at no extra charge. The speeds and pricing of Comcast’s residential plans are now as follows:
- Extreme 50 : offering up to 50 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 10 Mbps of upstream speed at $139.95/month. (new)
- Ultra : offering up to 22 Mbps of downstream speed and up to 5 Mbps of upstream speed at $62.95/month. (new)
- Performance Plus : offering download speeds to up to 16 Mbps and up to 2 Mbps of upload speed at $52.95/month. (existing plan that was upgraded)
- Performance : offering download speeds to up to 12 Mbps and up to 2 Mbps of upload speed at $42.95/month. (existing plan that was upgraded)
As part of the sanction by the FCC for its package hijacking of BitTorrent traffic, Comcast was ordered to file a new network management plan with the FCC by midnight Friday. Comcast complied with the order and announced that it would use bandwidth throttling a new congestion management technique as its new network management plan:
It will identify which customer accounts are using the greatest amounts of bandwidth and their Internet traffic will be temporarily managed until the period of congestion passes. Customers will still be able to do anything they want to online, and many activities will be unaffected, but managed customers could experience things like: longer times to download or upload files, surfing the Web may seem somewhat slower, or playing games online may seem somewhat sluggish.
This protocol-agnostic bandwidth throttling plan is expected to be deployed nationwide by the end of December 2008. With its 250GB cap set to go live in October and now bandwidth throttling on tap for December, it looks like we will not be having a Comcastic Day.
Directly inline with rumors that made their way around the web a few months ago, Comcast has confirmed that it will employ a residential consumer bandwidth cap beginning October 1st of this year. Now before you start going too crazy, it should be noted that the cap will stand at 250 GB. 250 GB is most definitely more than enough for the typical to highly-active range of internet users. Once you pass over 250 GB per month of bandwidth you would definitely be best served by getting out more. In fact, Comcast states that the median monthly data usage amongst its customers is between 2 and 3 GB. The site puts 250 GB into perspective as such:
* Send 50 million emails (at 0.05 KB/email)
* Download 62,500 songs (at 4 MB/song)
* Download 125 standard-definition movies (at 2 GB/movie)
* Upload 25,000 hi-resolution digital photos (at 10 MB/photo)
50 million 0.05 KB emails. What kind of measurement is that? Anyway, while there is no mention of overage fees in Comcast’s new terms it is rumored that subscribers who surpass the cap a certain number of times may be subject to service suspensions or termination. Hey, at least Comcast customers can be thankful they’re not stuck with one of the other ISPs employing caps as low as 5 GB…