Skip to content

Conflict of Interest at Comcast

The Boston Globe has an article about cable companies cutting off access to users who have large data transfer statistics. I’ve also been following the Comcast Broadband dispute blog for a while from a guy who has been cut off.

My focus has primarily been on Comcast’s unfair practices here, setting a limit that’s undisclosed and the implications of a contract with hidden terms and relating it to a road where there’s no posted speed limit but you’ll get a ticket if you’re speeding.

I just realized it’s bigger than that, though. Odds are those high-traffic users are downloading video. Some are just getting ISO’s, I’m sure, but most probably are getting video. This is directly in competition with Comcast’s other, main, business, providing video services. The amount of traffic they’re killing at (~250GB/mo) is probably just about what you need to replace a Comcast video service.

So, I don’t believe this is simply about cherry-picking the low-rent users, it’s about ensuring there’s not a viable means to compete with Comcast using Comcast. I see this as being like the recent FCC ruling where it was clarified that broadband providers must pass VOIP traffic.

Is this legal? Are there common-carrier or local monopoly implications?
Comments welcome.