Comcast disconnects Dave Winer

Superblogger and RSS pioneer Dave Winer got his internet cut off by Comcast. Why? Because he uses too much of his unlimited service. The story is good and deserves to be read, so there's no reason to abridge it here. A few points, however, demand a short-form recap: • Comcast's robot menu choices at its legal department make you agree that you're at fault before you can continue the call. • Comcast refused to put its service termination threat in writing. • Comcast refused to disclose its bandwidth limits. • It disconnected his service to get his attention after being unable to reach him on an old phone number. There's no point 'fessing up if you can't fix it, Comcast. And let's be frank, here: you can't fix it. A new reason to hate Comcast []

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8 Responses to Comcast disconnects Dave Winer

  1. Brian Carnell says:

    Translation — Comcast customer “service” is almost as bad as Userland’s.

    @2 … much like when Winer ranted and raved that Google was censoring him because EditThisPage.Com pages were no longer being indexed by the search engine…until it turned out that EditThisPage.Com’s server had been set up to return a “stop indexing us” message to Googlebot requests.

  2. Rob Beschizza says:

    Cube, I think you’re right there about the specifics. The problem, perhaps, is that Comcast’s approach to disclosing these facts (and to support in general) encourages a cynical interpretation.

    There’s no excuse at all for refusing to put business communication in writing. Nothing says “we know what we’re doing is questionable” quite like a refusal to go on record about something as straightforward and simple as a TOS violation.

  3. jitrobug says:

    After reading the blog posts, and comments there and at consumerist, and then the Comcast AUP, I realized that the most amazing part is that the majority of comcast’s customers are paying $60/month for only 2GB of data.

    If one believed that 450GB person is taking advantage of comcast, wouldn’t it also follow that the 2GB people are getting royally screwed?

  4. Doomstalk says:

    cube: I think the big thing here is that Comcast is selling service that they are, in actuality, unwilling or unable to deliver as advertised. They oversell, and then play the victim when someone actually takes them up on what they’re supposedly offering.

  5. exhilaration says:

    Thank God for Verizon FiOS. They quietly upgraded something a few weeks back and I was able to download a 391 MB television episode from Usenet in a little over 4 minutes.

  6. dculberson says:

    Yeah, nothing says honest like a company selling an unlimited connection that has limits.

    Limits they won’t disclose until you exceed them.


  7. jitrobug says:

    Oh, I know it’s the always on, but it’s amazing that the average person pays $60 a month to have always on web & email access. It’s not much for the money.

    …on the other hand, I suspect that 2GB number is at least a year or two old, and that it’s going up fast.

  8. WeightedCompanionCube says:

    jitrobug – most people don’t have a need to make heavy use of it. They have Comcast for the “always on” more than the bandwidth.

    Winer makes some interesting points, even if he didn’t intend to :)

    – Comcast disconnected him after being unable to contact him at the number they had, which had been disconnected for months. Ever hear of keeping your contact info valid?

    – The so called “making you agree you’re at fault” was exaggerated, and the menu is actually to direct you based on the most common reasons people get disconnected. “using too much bandwidth” was one of them, and that’s not admitting to anything illegal like piracy.

    – There’s no set bandwidth cap because bandwidth abuse IS based on people sharing your HFC node complaining. Cable bandwidth is a shared resource and is oversold. The first thing to go when it gets saturated is that so called PowerBoost. After that, if your neighborhood is slow, and you’re the reason why, they’ll take action. If you use so much water the mains lose pressure, expect a visit from your DPW.

    – He mentions he pays $180 a month to Comcast as the backup for his AT&T DSL. $180 a month to Comcast isn’t a lot, considering most of that is probably premium TV. If you want buiness bandwidth, you’ll pay a lot more than that. On that note, I wonder if his DSL is business class, considering thy guy is a hardcore RSS geek? That would explain why he didn’t hit a BW cap on it.

    On that hardcore geek note: This was what I like to call pulling a Gutmann. Much like how Peter Gutmann went off on MS and Vista without bothering to fact check what the DRM components really did or didn’t affect, this seems like the classic geek malady: assuming something works the way you expect it to work, and never considering your assumptions are what is flawed.

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