Comcast: We’ll slow down your internet if we want to and other news outlets are reporting today that Comcast has modified its user agreement to allow discretionary traffic throttling to and from its customers.

As a Comcast customer I’m already peeved at the company, which signed me up for a year at $99 a month, and has increased my bill every month nonetheless. I’m up to $130 for my $99 service already, and the year isn’t half over yet. I’m not alone. And yes, I am also experiencing the speed obstacles imposed by Comcast. It’s so bad that my computers become slow and unresponsive because all internet traffic is squeezed through and often deleted by their artificial bottleneck, and so blogging, emailing, and browsing the web become frustratingly futile.

This latest maneuver is especially galling for three reasons:

First, they are on record in the last few weeks promising the FCC they “do not block access to any applications, including BitTorrent,” though the Associated Press and the Electronic Frontier Foundation have proof to the contrary. In particular, AP reporters tried to download a free, uncopyrighted version of the Bible, and detected malignant data sent by Comcast pretending to be a remote computer, and stopping the transfer. The FCC is currently investigating.

Second, while they hide behind the “reasonable network management” excuse, Comcast CEO Brian Roberts announced at 2008 CES that they are rolling out new service to “millions” of customers later this year which will offer speeds of up to 100Mbs, twenty times faster than my current 5Mbs. So, why is Comcast playing the “we’re running out of bandwidth” card when they will soon have it in abundance?

So far, Comcast’s protestations of innocence sound like complete fabrications. Worse, their policy and their use of Sandvine traffic-blocking software is tantamount to eavesdropping, selective censorship, and fraudulent electronic communications (namely, the bogus messages they create and pass off as coming from third-party computers).

Finally, today’s Electronista article quotes a Comcast spokesperson as saying, “this [traffic shaping] is being done to protect users from “spam, viruses, security attacks, network congestion, and other risks and degradations of service.” (The emphasis is mine.) There’s a lot of disinformation in that one sentence. The main point is, Comcast’s invasive measures do not and can not protect me from any of those things except network congestion. And that’s a specious argument—Comcast isn’t protecting me from those things, Comcast itself is intentionally causing those problems, congesting my network and degrading my paid-for service.

Verizon FIOS, here I come.

Update- The news is spreading fast. I found this blog post by a legit, Linux-sharing Comcast customer great reading. He tried to get a straight answer from Comcast whether they were actively slowing his legal uploads. Hilarity did not ensue.

This news item on Ars Technica has a wealth of background information, including the news that Comcast customers are flooding the FCC with complaints.

The opinions expressed in Steve’s Peeves are intended to enlighten, entertain and, in some cases, uplift. They may not be appropriate for young readers or the satirically challenged. Parental supervision is advised.

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10 Comments on “Comcast: We’ll slow down your internet if we want to”

  1. […] this bandwidth issue is such a problem, why haven’t they had a similar issue with downloads? As I wrote, doesn’t their recent announcement offering a 20x speed boost to “millions of […]

  2. […] computers and reduce bandwidth use, all the while insisting it did no such thing. That is, until proven otherwise by third parties. When the FCC tries to look into the matter, Big Company tries to derail a fair […]

  3. […] correct mate, have a read of this LINK __________________ To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 10 or greater. […]

  4. Joe Says:

    I say we throttle the payments every month for the service! My reasoning is that I need to make sure that my hard earned money is paying for what they promised before they get it!

  5. Ryan Bradl Says:

    This is why i dont like comcast. I had problems with them in the past with just basic cable. Ill never use them again.

  6. […] swears are the only ones being affected by their internet restrictions for "big" users.​ur-internet-if-we-want-… more links at bottom of blog postRelated […]

  7. JCL52271 Says:

    A comcast tech verified for me that they slowdown your service if you are within 2 days of your payment date and your check has not arrived yet for deposit to their account…. note my payment does not need to be late, they start throttling you back my speed if i am within 2 days of my due date. I think there should be a class action suit on this…

    • Colleen Griffin Says:

      Definitely, such a devious scam, didn’t catch on till I tried twice this year to vigorously try to figure out why 3 devices kept slowing down. (right after due date of bill, then when paid were back to normal)

  8. Steve Says:

    JCL: Considering that we pay our Comcast bill for the *upcoming* month, rather that the *previous* month (like wireless phone, landline, oil, gas, electricity, water, and every other consumption-oriented bill I can think of) that just seems incredibly wrong.

  9. Mike Johnson Says:

    By the way, for me, Comcast does this EVERY single month:
    If I am even one day late on paying my monthly bill,
    my service starts to degrade.
    Audio gets choppy on Youtube. All kinds of little nagging things happen, like Email starts asking for multiple refreshes of my password on my account. Sometimes email even stops.
    In the “old” days, Comcast would not do this, and my internet would be ok even if I was about a month late on a bill. I always caught up, so they didn’t lose any money.
    And the minute I pay the bill, my internet service clears up- all little errors go away.
    They shape the internet and email traffic of people if they are overdue on their bill. It seems like random nagging errors, but it is on purpose.

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