Comcast: Your New Overlord

New bandwidth caps, net neutrality foes, not much to love here

Today, the US 9th Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Comcast: Net Neutrality is outside of the jurisdiction of the US Federal Communications Commission. There are, therefore, no current laws that mandate Comcast follow any kind of net neutrality at all. Their customers are doomed, as a result.

It gets worse. As a Comcast Customer, I received a little notice regarding new 250GB monthly caps. They kindly sent along a new app to show us how much bandwidth we use. The viability of this cap under Indiana State legal codes is dubious.

Overall, it's Comcast behaving like a Telco, when we all wanted them to be champions of the free market.

Yes, Comcast has individuals that through the use of file-sharing applications, hog bandwidth at a far higher rate than others do. File-sharing applications are legal, although some of the media they share may be stolen. I have no quarrel with shutting down pirates, and pirating in general. But what's happened is that Comcast has placed a limit on the amount of data that one can upload and download to my account. If I want lots of ISO images, movies from Hulu, videos from YouTube, MP3s from iTunes-- whatever-- I now have a ceiling, a cap. Comcast swears this has been their policy on their website. I never agreed to it. The cap isn't mentioned in any contract I signed.

So I'm saddened, perhaps angry at what Comcast has become. When I convinced my housemate to convert from AT&T to Comcast, this isn't what I had in mind. The triple play in use there took four different truck rolls to get the bandwidth up to snuff, each time with a new technician that didn't really understand data. But it works. And now it's capped. And Comcast gets to throttle whatever they want, to their direct benefit.

This isn't how the Internet was supposed to work, and how the web was supposed to be deployed. The egalitarian nature of it is gone now, at least from Comcast. The 9th Circuit smashed it. Now it's up to the US Congress to do something. We consumers don't have the lobbying money that the telcos give to them, the campaign contributions. Money talks; fairness is out the window.

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