Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Comcast Police

You're internet seems to be down, but it looks like you'll have no problem getting to our sponsors!

Over the past few years comcast has been involved in many a lawsuit, from class actions regarding traffic blocking, and their man in the middle attacks on their own customers, to individual lawsuits from illegal disclosure of customer's bank & bill information.

All throughout this, i've had only the choice of Comcast or Qwest in my area. Qwest's internet speeds aren't really even comparable to Comcast (yet), but their uptime is much more reliable. Because of comcast's poor uptime, and random blocking of protocols, we have both Comcast and Qwest at my home. When comcast is up, we're using comcast. When it goes down, which is quite often, we hop on our Qwest internet. It's a pretty nice system, except the bandwidth throughput is much smaller for Qwest so we would prefer our Comcast to be more reliable. It's not like we're paying customer's or anything...oh wait we are!

The reason for the "backup" internet wasn't only for convenience, but also because of what a waste of time it is trying to get in touch with their technical support for help. So when my internet went down 2 weeks ago, my first reaction wasn't to call their technical support because i had a backup. When my internet stayed down for almost 6 days, i finally made the call. After spending over an hour going through their phone system, getting hung up on multiple times by it, and waiting in queue for the remainder of that time, i finally got to a person. For the first time i had someone who was actually willing to help me, and we got an appointment setup to have them come out and look at my router.

The guy arrived on time, bonus points, but immediately started telling me about how he plays Horde in World of Warcraft, and my family plays on the wrong side (Alliance), there went the bonus points. He does his tests and decides that my router needs to be replaced, and makes some insulting remarks about the tech who previously installed my router saying that the splitter installed was the wrong kind and is the reason the router was fried.

He then says to me:

"You shouldn't host a Ventrilo Server from here."

Now, i don't host a ventrilo server from home...but i used to. So the fact that he knows that just from the small visit he made to my house means that my router not only monitors my traffic and protocols, but it stores that information either on the router, or on their own servers somewhere.

"Hey, so i was looking through your dresser...can i borrow some socks?"

He then proceeds to tell me he thinks comcast has a right to restrict what you run from your home, and he can't wait until they pass legislation to will make it legal for them to do so. So i'm allowed to pay for the service and bandwidth they advertised, but i'm not allowed to utilize that bandwidth? Bandwidth is bandwidth, plain and simple. A certain protocol isn't more harmful to hardware than another, it's the amount of bandwidth that goes through. However, wear and tear is expected as a business.

If you owned a gym, you wouldn't advertise "New 15 speed treadmill!" then only allow people to go up to speed 8 because if you go higher it wears out the gears quicker. Wear and tear of your hardware is expected and why you charge the prices you do, to make sure you have enough money to maintain the hardware that your business runs on.

Comcast will overextend itself, and won't bother with installing more lines or upgrading their equipment because that means less money in the corporate pocket. So instead, they throttle "certain protocols" (any protocol that allows the the user to utilize the full amount of bandwidth they pay for). And when they're worried that the program has extra logic to use multiple ports, they'll start doing man-in-the-middle attacks (against their own customers) and sending stop packets for whatever program they think is being used.

If i had to describe Comcast in 3 words, it'd be Illegal, Immoral, Irresponsible.


Adiel | Rose Gold Lining said...

Boo Comcast! I'm about ready to find a new service for my internet and cable.

CloudyOne said...

A friend of mine just made me aware of Qwests new service that is available in some areas that is much faster than Comcast! If it's in my area, i'm getting off this sleigh and going with Qwest!