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Comcast Accused of Blocking VoIP 325

Posted by Zonk
from the comcastic-is-not-a-word dept.
kamikaze-Tech writes "Comcast, the largest USA Broadband provider is being accused of VoIP blocking, just days before they release their own VoIP offering. According to a long standing thread on the Vonage Forums, many Comcast ISP users are unable to use Vonage. Tempers are flaring: 'Although you will see all manner of opinions on this thread, there seems to be a sentiment that - politely put - Comcast could really be doing a better job of carrying Vonage bits.' Looks as though this could be the beginning of the broadband quality wars, with Comcast taking the first step."
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Comcast Accused of Blocking VoIP

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  • by afternoon_nap (640340) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:07AM (#14834593)
    You believe BPL will be less expensive? I doubt it. Modulated frequencies on medium voltage, unshielded lines act as huge antennas and will cause all kinds of grief to licensed radio services (ham radio, public safety, SWL, etc.) If BPL is to succeed, I'd rather see fiber on the power lines connected to 802.11 devices which you'd interface with.

    I doubt BPL will work effectively. Many US companies have sworn off it for technical and financial reasons. I just don't want BPL to fill the airwaves with noise.

    BPL is just crap, really.
  • by bigpat (158134) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @11:50AM (#14834963)
    All these ideas are entirely possible but it could simply be that Comcast doesn't provide the kind of broadband consistently necessary to use VoIP.

    Well, there is an easy test. If their VOIP works fine and other people's don't then they are probably gumming up the lines with QoS. ISPs have been working on different levels of service for differently labeled packet s of data for a while now and I think it should be clear to everyone that QoS really stands for "pick your pocket", not "quality of service". Quality of Service is fine when companies like Comcast don't have local monopolies or don't collude with their only other competitor... potentially that would be Verizon in my area, in order to fix service offerings.

    I am libertarian, but QoS (or whatever they want to relabel it as) is an area which needs regulation. Make them simple regulations, make them so that they promote competition. Unfortunately maybe the only way to do this is to prevent ISPs from offering any add on services at all, other than basic bandwidth, addressibility and letting them charge flat published and competitive rates for QoS which get charged directly to the customer and aren't a part of secret deals. Otherwise it will be nearly impossible to prevent them from deciding which services succeed and which ones fail if they control the playing field, the referees and have their players in the game all at the same time. If gone unchecked, they could prevent other companies and other services from being provided to their customers, literally, at the flip of a switch.

  • by BVis (267028) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @12:23PM (#14835264)
    The people who are (semi)early VOIP adopters are smart enough to suspect shenanigans
    VOIP users = very small minority of the population. Smart people = also a very small minority of the population. The intersection of these groups is another order of magnitude smaller than the population of either group alone. Small enough, to where that group doesn't present any kind of real threat to Comcast.
    - and change ISPs -
    To who, exactly? If you think Comcast is bad, try dealing with Verizon or SBC. At least Comcast owns their own network and doesn't bounce the blame for a problem from one place to another; they'll tell you flat out it's your fault. At least they don't waste your time.
    and tell all their friends to avoid Comcast.
    See above.
    And hte last thing for cable broadband providers: If you filter VOIP, you can't be considered a common carrier. I mean you are actively looking at packets that pass through your network now. you could be sued for not filtering P2P, and tons of other shit.
    Do you honestly think Comcast gives a flying turd about getting sued by its customers? The amount of money they can make by destroying the competition is much larger than anything they'd have to pay to settle a lawsuit, and the risk of a finding against them in a court of law is remote (as most people will bankrupt themselves long before a suit sees a courtroom, and a class action could take years, and will eventually be settled for an amount far less than the profit they will have realized by then.) As far as Comcast is concerned, their network, their rules; they'll continue to filter their network as they see fit (restricting general bandwidth for power users, filtering torrent traffic, fucking up VoIP etc.) until someone forces them to act otherwise. AFAIK the only entity that could do that would be the federal government, and Comcast and its executives donate far more to politicians' campaigns than you or I do.

    Not saying it's right, but that's the way it is.
  • That's Comcastic! (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Spamicles (731847) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @01:03PM (#14835639)
    Who would have thought that Comcast would use such evil and underhanded tactics. What do they think they have, a monopoly?... Oh wait, in most areas, they do.
  • by foxwizard (667609) on Thursday March 02, 2006 @02:49PM (#14836597) Homepage
    I've been on Comcast broadband for a few months, having dumped BellSouth because of their restrictions on my access - I couldn't even reach my own webserver, which is housed at a commercial site in another state. I also dumped their phone service because, even after a year, they wouldn't give me access to my long distance carrier without my paying BellSouth a deposit! So, when I got Comcast, I got Vonage, and haven't had any problems with it . Needless to say, if I do, I'll just dump Vonage and stick with my cell phones. Comcast will get nothing out of blocking my VOIP, except a disgruntled customer who will be looking for ways to get to the internet without them. What these old line companies like BellSouth and Comcast don't seem to realize is that there are plenty of alternatives, and if they keep pissing their customer base off, folks will leave.

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