Comcast is Evil*

We all know it. I've seen dozens of stories over the years indicating it. In fact, I think almost every bit of news I've ever heard about Comcast has been about it being evil, or perhaps lukewarm. I just wish I'd bookmarked those stories for reference later. Well that's what I'm trying to do here.

Have a juicy event I've somehow forgotten? Please, leave a comment below!

Comcast: SOPA/PIPA supporter
Naturally, they checked this box on the "evil" list.

Comcast exempts itself from bandwidth caps
This goes in the anti-competitive, anti-net-neutrality file. It's Comcast again trying to use its market position to squelch the rise of a competitor (Netflix) with a much superior, more popular product.

Comcast tries to charge Netflix-carrier Level 3 extra for access to its network
Another net neutrality threat. Netflix signs a huge deal with Internet backbone provider Level 3 to carry a large portion of Netflix's traffic. Comcast and Level 3 previously had a no-charge peering agreement common among ISPs whose traffic offers each other similar value. In this case, Comcast complained that Level 3 would end up increasing its traffic usage to five times that of Comcast's. But that traffic that Level 3 supplies is the very product that Comcast sells to its customers. It seems Comcast really just wants to charge a competitor a higher price for using its lines.

Comcast doesn't raise bandwidth cap for 4 years; coincidentally, this hurts its competitors
This is definitely in the speculative area. But it's interesting to note that the main reason customers might exceed Comcast's 250GB monthly limit these days is services like Netflix and Hulu. Back in 2008 when it set this limit, 250GB was far above what the average user might consume in a month. But as Nielsen's Law tells us, bandwidth increases exponentially over time. In 4 years, users' connections have theoretically gotten 500% faster, and what's more, there are now huge demands on bandwidth from video streaming sites. Netfilx, Hulu, and HD Youtube videos all mean that average users actually have reasons to consume huge amounts of bandwidth. So why hasn't Comcast increased the bandwidth cap? Could be it's not a high priority. Could be that they don't mind much if you're forced to forgo Netflix and Hulu and watch more cable TV. Who knows? Interesting idea anyway.

Comcast pulls shows from Hulu after acquiring NBC?
Citation needed! This is just an observation of mine that recently, fewer and episodes have been available on Hulu due to rightsholder restrictions. Entire series have gone missing. Hulu obviously competes with Comcast's cable offerings, and though the FCC put some weak "play nice" stipulations on the merger, I wouldn't bet on that standing up against Comcast's overwhelming market incentives. But has anyone seen any official reports on this?

Comcast hijacks DNS results
By default, when a Comcast customer tries to go to a domain name that doesn't exist (resulting form a misspelling, for instance), instead of returning the error message specified in the internet standard, it redirects you to its own page with a crappy "search" bar and tons of ads. This breaks the function of lots of non-browser programs that expect the right error message. And originally the opt out mechanism was ridiculously complicated, obviously intended to keep people from ever succeeding. Yes, many other ISP's have done this, but it's always bad and only serves to take advantage of customers.

Unorganized
http://arstechnica.com/old/content/2007/10/evidence-mounts-that-comcast-is-targeting-bittorrent-traffic.ars
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/05/nonprofit-sees-comcast-funding-yanked-restored-after-critical-tweet.ars
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2009/09/no-more-mac-address-comcast-streamlines-dns-helper-opt-out.ars

http://arstechnica.com/business/2013/08/comcast-working-on-new-anti-piracy-scheme-moving-beyond-six-strikes/
http://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2014/02/comcast-customer-surprised-to-learn-new-router-is-also-public-hotspot/
http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2014/09/why-comcasts-javascript-ad-injections-threaten-security-net-neutrality/
(can you tell where I get my news from yet?)


*Finally, the disclaimer. As uncontroversial as it is at this point to call Comcast evil, I do have to say that it's a bit of a sensationalist and inaccurate term. I know they're not meddling Dr. Evils, sitting in big chairs thinking of ways to ruin America. They're just mild mannered individuals running a business, trying to earn some money by locking in their customers, invading their privacy in insidious, disturbing ways, selling their personal data, killing off alternative choices, and invading the flourishing ecosystem of the Internet and strangling the plethora of companies creating better products than their own. Seriously though, I understand they're not trying to screw over their customers and the entire Internet. It just seems they don't give two shits if they do.

3 comments:

  1. I hate Comcast with a passion. They are most definitely evil. A prime example of a corporation that cares only about profits at the expense of its customers. I pray that Google Fiber goes nationwide and puts them out of business.

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  2. Down With Comcast Cant wait til google fiber

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    Replies
    1. Google sold out.
      by selling your privacy (gmail, yT, comp, etc.)

      The Establishment has them now.

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