Comcast P2P flap inspires false advertising lawsuit
A class action suit against Comcast has been filed, accusing the MSO of misrepresentation and false advertising with regard to its network management practices involving peer-to-peer (P2P) traffic.
Last October, Comcast was discovered to be interfering with some P2P traffic. Comcast subsequently acknowledged that it sometimes sends signals to temporarily cut off P2P sessions. During periods of high network usage, Comcast (and other operators) cuts off P2P sessions to keep that traffic from compromising the quality of other services. Under such circumstances, P2P clients automatically seek to restore the connection until a connection is re-established.
A suit was filed last November in California (story here), accusing Comcast of breach of contract, breach of implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, and violating the California Consumer Legal Remedies Act.
Public anger over the discovery has not abated; Comcast has been continuously attacked by consumer groups, and last week the MSO was hauled before Congress to account for its actions. Class action suits were inevitable.
The law firm of Gilbert Randolph LLP has filed a class action lawsuit against Comcast in the Superior Court for the District of Columbia. The suit can be joined by any D.C. citizen who has subscribed to Comcast's high-speed Internet service during the past three years.
Comcast advertises and represents that it provides the “fastest Internet connection” and “unfettered access to all the content, services and applications that the Internet has to offer.”
The complaint charges: “These representations allegedly are false because Comcast intentionally blocks or otherwise impedes its customers' access to peer-to-peer file-sharing applications.” The firm accused Comcast of being deceptive and underhanded.
The lead plaintiff is Sanford Sidner, who claims his service frequently stops or slows to a crawl when he uses file-sharing applications.
“I've been a Comcast customer for several years, and I feel betrayed,” Sidner said. “I'll bet most paying customers out there have no idea that Comcast is secretly blocking and slowing down their high-speed Internet service. It cuts at the heart of the service we all purchased. It's just outrageous behavior.”
Last week, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in regard to how cable operators manage Internet traffic on their systems (story here).
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