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back to article Comcast pays Americans to oppose net neutrality

Comcast is now paying Americans to believe in deceptive ISPs. On Monday, when the US Federal Communication Commission hosted a public hearing that examined Comcast's penchant for throttling BitTorrent traffic, the big-name internet service provider paid "dozens of people" to attend the meeting on its behalf. According to …

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Pirate

Easy sleazy

was a customer for a long time (not by choice), must say that this behavior is quite typical. Comcast is completely ethics-free, and they pay many people to astroturf online.

they wouldn't have to, if it wasn't for the constant price increases (with no capability upgrades), and the abysmal customer service.

they fought the a-la-carte channel selection, jacked up fees and invented new ones, and now this. perfectly consistent.

it is interesting to note that, in the US, it is not illegal to be a monopoly; but it is illegal to abuse that position, to distort the market environment to the detriment of competitors and customers. this is what Microsoft was convicted of; Intel is under investigation (though they are too smart to do that on an institutional level); and ARM is never even mentioned in this context, though they are an undisputed monopoly in their market.

Comcast is a geographical monopoly, which is why their prices are lower in markets where customers have alternative providers, and much higher (double, in some places) where there are no options and Comcast is the only available provider. as corporations go, they don't get much dirtier than these guys.

they make Verizon and the Death Star (at&t) look good.

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Paris Hilton

What can one say

What can one say , some Amerikans are born and raised to be mindless sheep with their heads stuck in their rear ends on a permanent basis !

Or as one fictional Star Fleet Admiral would say "Double Dumb Asses to you"

Let the fleecing continue not , Baa !

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Thumb Down

Why?

Is a campany with such strong crminal stands is still allowed to do business?

in fact who in is right mind will be a comcast customer?

Sony, comacast, MPAA, RIAA, Macrovision...

the US seem to be controlled by criminal elements,

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Flame

Comcast is a vastly more dangerous monopoly than Microsoft ever was

Comcast has not real competition in the US, and is abusive of its monopoly power. It keeps reducing consumer choices while jacking up prices. It the Justice Department was not as corrupt as it is, they'd have broken up Comcast long ago into units with overlapping geographical territories.

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Joke

career change

I can sleep through long, boring presentations! Never thought I could get paid to do it. Where do I sign up?

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Pirate

Because

@ Mectron

most Comcast customers are also enthusiastic Vista adopters (with the exception of a few who have a clue but no choice of provider - see monopoly discussions above), eat fast food, and respond extremely well to any and all marketing; so pretty much your average click-and-drool human ballast.

the US is controlled by money, huge amounts of it, used to bribe anyone who holds a position of authority...or to destroy them, if they refuse to cooperate. they call it "capitalism", though it's about as far from an undistorted free market as one can get.

how do you think we got George W. Bush (who managed to graduate from Yale with only the most tenuous grasp of his native language) as President? generally, one has to speak pretty good English before one can get that job...this guy can't get to the end of a sentence without breaking a leg, and he hates to read (by his own admission).

do you really think he got elected twice by accident? 45%+ of the American public voted for this guy (twice) because they think he is one of them (which tells you all you need to know about them), and the rest of us get to go along for the ride. it wasn't a mistake, it was a GRAVE ERROR IN JUDGMENT, so pretty much like any other day for Bush supporters.

if you try to point this out, they will turn on football, baseball, basketball, golf, bowling, NASCAR, the fishing channel, or whatever other sports program that will drown you out. try it. odds are, you'll see a Comcast logo on the screen.

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Truth, Justice and the American Way

What a crock-o-shite [TM]

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Flame

The issue at hand... sort of.

Cable internet is nice and all, but Comcast users have other alternatives if they are so upset about the throttling issues in regards to internet service. Personally I think comcast's decision to use such nasty means is uncalled for. It is a form of censorship that should not be tolerated. I find it sad that so many people have no clue as to what is happening, that they almost fill an auditorium. Blissful Ignorance at its best.

@b shubin's lack of reason

Let me guess, you live somewhere on this globe where everyone is an altruistic Marxist? You happily bash another culture, another race, another way of life with such glee. Perhaps it is the random strain of bigot that runs through the ENTIRE human race that leads to sh*t smears like yourself.

Capitalism is not the cause of hatred and vice. It is the human predilection towards vicious and greedy behavior, something that can be found across all lines of religion, nationality, culture, economy, and race, is the root causation for all of the pain in this world. Think next time before you choose to vent your hazy understanding of the world to others.

As for the puppet known as Bush, Public speaking isn't a required college course. You are not required to love to read before attending a higher institute of learning. Any dumb@ss can graduate from a college as long as they complete the work assigned to them. The only reason he was in Yale was his pedigree.

Which might I remind you descends from Prescott Bush, a man who was flirting with the idea to stage a coup in the states during the tail end of the depression, with the ultimate goal being a military dictatorship not much dissimilar from the Nazi regime in Germany at the time. The Bushes have been real winners (please note sarcasm) and how they continually gain the backing of influential families around the world cannot just be related to money in the right pockets (although this helps as bribery is a tool that is used regardless of what sort of socio-economic climate you occupy).

On another wonderful glaring error in your tinfoil wrapped little world, Americans do NOT vote their president into office. The president of the United States is appointed by the electoral college. Read your f*cking Constitution and your local state laws to see who exactly is screwing you over before blaming the rest of us. Popular vote is a sham and anyone who bases their opinions on other based on an ill calibrated measure needs to pull their head out of their @ss.

Mines the one with the ammo bandoleer...

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Bronze badge

NPR did a spot on seat-fillers

These guys are normally paid to stand in line for lobbyists and other special interests. Looks like in this case Comcast tried to fill up the hall with people who wouldn't make a peep to keep out others who would complain about Comcast.

If you have enough money, you can do plenty to screw with good process.

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Boffin

The Whole Truth

Comcast has definitely taken the brunt of FCC actions as of late. Money is definitely flowing from AT&T and Verizon to the Republican Party and the FCC faster than Comcast can pay. If you look at the last few months of FCC rulings - allowing telcos to skip local community control (no public access, no local taxes, etc) - not build out (serve only the most profitable customers shutting out others in the same community) - in addition to being able to sign exclusive agreements (Telcos are allowed to sign exclusive agreements with large apartment buildings, HOAs, etc - while cable is barred.

The truth of the matter is that Comcast has made some serious missteps and needs to fire some people making these decisions:

1. Traffic shaping without clearly explaining what they are doing, why, and providing a full explanation to the customers.

2. Paying however many people to sit in a public hearing - that must have been a very embarrassing mistake - you have to assume that who ever is running PR, government relations, customer relations - these people have to be replaced or given more authority - whatever the problem is - who knows.

There is no monopoly in the industry - in fact there has never been so much competitions - telcos, satellite, cable, and IPTV providers - the whole industry is under rapid change - even Apple competes in this space. Yet prices still go up - Verizon charges more than Comcast - AT&T U-Verse charges the same price as Comcast when delivering the same broadband speeds - satellite does not have broadband (except Dish with their AT&T relationship - but that is telco and sat).

So providers charge more - because the market has moved that way - and you have to imagine with the NFL and Comcast battling over price that all the studios are raising their prices - so everything is just going up.

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Stop

@Tiger re Competition

--Quote -- @Tiger--

There is no monopoly in the industry - in fact there has never been so much competitions - telcos, satellite, cable, and IPTV providers - the whole industry is under rapid change - even Apple competes in this space. Yet prices still go up.

--EndQuote--

And you just disproved your own assertion. Competition does not drive prices upward.

At my address, I have these wireline "Broadband" choices:

1. Comcast 6000/384 with an unknown bandwidth cap;

2. Verizon DSL 768/128 with no cap, at about half the price as Comcast

After that is Wireless:

3. VerizonWireless EDVO 384/384 with 5 GB monthly cap;

4. Satellite starting at 2x the price than any of the above.

That's not a healthy market where competition will level the playing field -- and I'm lucky to have the two wireline choices that I have.

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Re: The issue at hand... sort of.

"Capitalism is not the cause of hatred and vice. It is the human predilection towards vicious and greedy behavior, something that can be found across all lines of religion, nationality, culture, economy, and race, is the root causation for all of the pain in this world."

True, but capitalism does take that viscousness and greed and use it as the basis of an economic and social system.

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Re: Steve

Greed is a pejorative, emotional term whose definition has got mixed up with that of "megalomania" and "gluttony", so while it can be used it to describe rational self-interest, which is the basis of capitalism, it's like describing alcohol as "poison". Technically true but missing the point.

Viciousness is bad for business and doesn't come into it anywhere.

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Gates Horns

RE:Symrstar

I think that it can fairly be said that Americans have the "gold star" in looks the murder, rape and poverty statistics, then tell me I'm wrong.

Look at American military/covert and open actions across the globe.

Study American history, and the role of native and African Americans.

Looks at the status of women in their media, workplace and home.

Take violent crime rates, pollution rates, financial scandal.

Sure, every nation in the world plays a part, but the good ol US of A are grand masters of the3 art of the lowest common denominator.

Mines in the on with the Mohawk design and the name label that reads Handsome Lake.

Horned Gates, as I'm playing devils advocate today...

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Gates Horns

WTF?

I seem to have dyslexic hands today, sorry folks...

Handsome Lake

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Pirate

Network traffic management - Democratic process management

Expected to see a well-reasoned and sensible argument for this latest effort to better serve the customer, rather as we have seen before from the Comcast apologists. Don't disappoint, now, boys!

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Stop

Two comments.

Where is Apologist Bennet with his comment about Comcast's current behavior?

@AC 12:17GMT - While the U.S. has much to answer for, to claim it is the best at being the worse, or the "Gold Star" as you say, is quite off the mark. The history of humanity has never been a clean affair. Or if we want to rake up all the evils of our respective nation (and you want to not be a coward and divulge yours), we can do that. If anything the U.S. merely continues the legacy that the British originally started.

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DR

i'm confused

firstly... why did they wear yellow tags? is this some kind of mark of the devil or something?

Secondly, why didn't their competetors pay to fill the seats with people who would make a lot of noise and complaints?

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ian
Bronze badge
Coat

Where is the rant about the liberal agenda?

Think of the (lightly-armed) children!

Mine's the one with the .38 special in the pocket.

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IT Angle

Free Press was trying to pack the auditorium, too.

They sent inflammatory, deceptive fiyers out far and wide, preaching gloom and doom. The Comcast employees who attended the hearing were at least orderly; the Free Press puppets jeered and hissed and booed and were generally obnoxious. And the FCC staffers who arranged the hearing biased the agenda and "lost" the slides of the most effective speaker because his presentation would have disproved the claims made by a misinformed Congressman. (The FCC quakes in fear of Congresscritters, and so tailored the agenda to reinforce Markey's views.) The whole thing was a pointless, misleading circus. What a waste.

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Re: Comcast is a vastly more dangerous monopoly than Microsoft ever was

And the telecoms industry were broken up (microsoft has not). Now that the telecoms industry is coalescing into a few big players again, they are a danger again and they are slowing down the innovation that occurred when the Baby Bells were created.

So what does that tell you? Any monopoly that gets too big and abuses their position should be split up. And that split will

a) cause more innovation (Hear that, microsoft?)

b) create more money (though it cannot be pooled)

c) allow competition to drive down prices (due to (a) and despite (b)).

So how about a split?

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@Robb Topolski

Hell, for the US you're lucky you have a choice between cable and DSL!

Now where did that 40Trillion go....

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Obvious business opportunity

GOOG or somebody who can get the bandwidth should start up a Free Speech Internet service where, for a few bucks a month, they offer you an encrypted SSH-style tunnel to their random (non-US) peering connections ("multi-Sagan bandwidth" to you non-telecom types), decrypt the packets and put them out on the backbone. Of course it's more complicated than that, but as some of my other geek friends would say, that's what makes it interesting.Your local ISP would just see a lot of encrypted traffic on a port they're unlikely to shape (because their business customers would scream bloody murder), and hey presto! No more (local) corporate sniffing of your underdrawers.

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FCC hearing first hand account

I was one of the people initially turned away from the FCC hearing, although I did get in after waiting for 2.5 hours. My account of the 3 hours that I did witness is here:

http://www.wetmachine.com/item/1084

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