Dear Comcast, Here’s The Million Dollar Question: Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t Blocking My Torrents?

Dear Comcast, I like your commercials. They’re funny. You poke at DSL, and rightfully so – your service is significantly superior to anything but fiber to the home. Here’s the million dollar question: Is you is, or is you ain’t blocking my torrents? Prior to reading the article by TorrentFreak on Comcast BitTorrent filtering, I […]

Dear Comcast,

I like your commercials. They’re funny. You poke at DSL, and rightfully so – your service is significantly superior to anything but fiber to the home.

Here’s the million dollar question: Is you is, or is you ain’t blocking my torrents?

Prior to reading the article by TorrentFreak on Comcast BitTorrent filtering, I had noticed a significant decrease in my seeding ability. I thought it might have something to do with my Linux firewall that I had changed from IPCop to Smoothwall that same week, so I paid little attention.

Thankfully, downloading files worked fine, and uploading wasn’t a major problem since all of the torrents I download are Linux distros or otherwise Linux-related. And since I moved to Linux one significant change has happened: I haven’t felt any need to pirate software, so there’s no need for me to upload since I’m not using any trackers that require a positive ratio.

Not that I’m a leech, it’s just if I can’t upload because my ISP filters me, well what am I supposed to do?

This morning I got a wild hair up my ass and tried to download the Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon 7.10 torrent. I left all encryption off and made sure all my ports were forwarded properly. I opened up Azureus and the file downloaded without complaint in a whopping 15 minutes. Comcast is really fast here, something around 15x faster than DSL, no kidding.

After it downloaded, I went to work. When I came home about 8 hours later, my upload ratio was 0.04 to 1.

You read that right. Out of 2000+ leechers who wanted to download Ubuntu Gutsy Gibbon, I uploaded a grand total of 28 megabytes. I’m glad that I’m not using any private trackers anymore, because I would be royally screwed.

The problem is, I’m still upset. What more could I do? Switch ISPs? Almost out of the question. In my area there is no fiber to the home because … drum roll please … Comcast and Qwest have members on the city council.

You can’t compare 25Mbps to 1.5Mbps – that’s worlds apart. I figure Comcast will eventually cave in and fix the problem, but who knows for how long?

I decided to contact the devil themselves, Comcast, and see what the fuss is about filtering torrents. The green text is me, the blue text is Comcast, and my comments after the fact are indented.

Wayne> Are BitTorrent downloads blocked?

Harry > Hello Wayne, Thank you for contacting Comcast Live Chat Support. My name is Harry. Please give me one moment to review your information.

Wayne> Sure thing.

Harry > They are slow maybe depending on gerneral internet conditions

Wayne> I started a download this morning, it’s a Linux distribution torrent.

Harry > OK

Wayne> This torrent has over 2300 seeds, as well as over 2000 peers.

Harry > We do not directly support this issue here but may comment that the speeds for that are dependant on many facotrs on the general internet

Harry > There may be leaching issues and ratio issues with your program

Wayne> What I find strange is that after the file finished downloading, my upload speed went to basically zero.

Harry > There number of prabable causes are too nummerous to support here

Harry > I then advised a system reset as follows:

Harry > Unplug the power cord from the cable modem to the wall outlet and the cable modem lights should go out. Then shut down your computer there. Now let 2 minutes pass by , and then plug in your cable modem there again. When the modem lights are on steady then restart your computer there. This will re establish your network connection .

Nice canned answer… WRONG ANSWER!

Harry > This may be due to many many things

Wayne> Well I think we both know the cause of this Harry.

Wayne> Have you read the AP story on this?


Harry > Checking

Wayne> K.

Harry > I will notify the network of any response to that to include in a general network advisroy to see what the situation is

Harry > Please feel free to check back anytime News to me !

Really? This is news to you? Must not get out much.

Wayne> So is the Associated Press lying, or are you blocking torrent traffic?

Wayne> Because I have been seeding this Linux torrent for 8 hours. My ratio is 0.04 to 1.

Harry > I do not know As I say I have sent a notfication to get a response here on this so we may better inform the subscribers in the future

Harry > I have no additional comments on something I do not know

Wayne> There is not a problem with my computer. If I take it my laptop to the coffee shop, it works fine.

Wayne> When I come home to use Comcast, it doesn’t work.

Wayne> I’m wondering who can help me fix it.

Harry > Be sure to check that the computer settings are correct when attatched to the Comcast network once again at the link below:

Harry >

Wayne> I’ll take a look, hold on.

Wayne> There is a problem.

Wayne> I don’t use Windows. I run Linux on my PC.

The instructions he sent me are for Windows NT, 2000, XP and Vista. No ME love you long time?

Harry > You may however we do not support that here

Wayne> But I am highly familiar with internet configuration on any operating system… my computer is configured properly.

Harry > I apologize for the inconvenience that this is causing you

Wayne> If I said that this makes me want to quit using Comcast, what would you say?

Harry > Feel fre to check back to see if there are any postings here about the link you forwarded I have sent it for reply to the network

In english, please?

Harry > Is there anything else I may help you with today?

Wayne> I’ve got a choice to make, either I can keep using Comcast and not be able to use the internet the way I want, or I can switch to another provider.

Wayne> Yes.

Wayne> I’m not making this up.

Wayne> Would you agree that a 0.04 to 1 ratio after seeding for 8 hours is really bad?

Harry > Check back then to see if we may get a response on this question form you in the future as I have sent it to the network for a response

Wayne> I’m looking at an article that says that you don’t filter BitTorrent.


Minutes pass.

Harry > I have no comment as I use tis at home and have seen all kinds of results I will wait for a comcast psition on this matter They are the ones to inform us here on this and relay it to you

Wayne> Do you block access to peer-to-peer applications like BitTorrent?

No. We do not block access to any Web site or applications, including BitTorrent. Our customers use the Internet for downloading and uploading files, watching movies and videos, streaming music, sharing digital photos, accessing numerous peer-to-peer sites, VOIP applications like Vonage, and thousands of other applications online.

Wayne> I use it at home too!

Harry > we do not block access to those peer to peer sites to my knowledge As I say I am getting a definitive reply from Comcast on this issue for any sunscribers

I’m glad I’m not one of those sunscribers using Nutscrape

Harry > The query was sent tonight by me on this chat

Harry > We will be waiting for a reply frm the network on this

Wayne> About how long can I expect a reply?

Harry > It ususally takes us two days of so for replies to specific issues not posted so far

Wayne> How will I be contacted?

Harry > You may check back anytime with reference to the following:

5 minutes pass.

Wayne> Nobody seems to want to help me with fixing this problem, or even say ANYTHING that could be taken as an acknowledgment that anything is wrong.

Harry > Found it..

Wayne> K

Harry > Your reference is CR105648994

Wayne> It’s like I’m talking to a brick wall… am I dreaming, or is there something going on between my computer and comcast?

Wayne> Is there anybody that I can escalate to and receive an answer on this faster?

Harry > No this is the quickest way Again I apologize for the inconvenience

Wayne> Can I cancel my account online?

Harry > Yo may do so at 1 800 COMCAST

Harry > Is there anything else I may help you with at this time?

Wayne> Previously in a chat I’ve been able to get Level 2 support engaged, I’d like to talk to someone who can acknowledge there is a problem.

Harry > It has been escalated

Harry > TYhey will do no more Just saving you time

I’ll just make a point here for anyone that works in customer service – if someone EVER asks to escalate, they don’t want to hear that line.

Wayne> So before I said something about this, you had never heard about it?

There’s the setup…

Harry > I have not

And we have a winner!

Wayne> Then perhaps level 2 support would be better equipped to handle my issue.


Harry > Let me check here for you OK?

Wayne> Alright, I’ll hold on.

Harry > I will be right back

Wayne> Please take your time.

He really takes his time – I can’t blame him – I asked him to, almost 5 minutes pass.

Harry > I am working on this

Another 5 minutes pass, so I decide to take a further look into the article he sent. It was almost as useful as him asking me to reboot my cable modem and PC.

Wayne> I’ve looked through your link you provided earlier, that FAQ on “How do I configure my Comcast High-Speed Internet Windows connection settings?” – I can confirm that computer is configured properly for DHCP, and my TCP/IP settings are correct.

Harry > OK

Harry > I am transferring you now OK?

Wayne> Alright, thanks Harry.

Harry > Please hold and Thank You for contacting Comcast

Harry > Please wait, while the problem is escalated to another analyst

Shaun > One moment while I look over the chat logs.

Wayne> Take your time Shaun… there’s a lot of info.

Shaun > Unfortunately there really isn’t much else to add from what has been mentioned in the chat. As per our website comcast does not block P2P usage, although delaying traffic could be possible if this has been admitted on other websites. Considering most P2P usage is for aquiring illegal material, there is no harm in any possible traffic delaying. Any legit files that might be available on P2P software is usually available for standard download on the appropriate websites also.

Wayne> Whether or not legal files are available by other means is irrelevant.

Wayne> As far as I can tell, when I run BitTorrent, the connections are being blocked.

Wayne> not delayed.

Wayne> When I seed a torrent for 8 hours, and I come home to see a 0.04 to 1 ratio – would that indicate to you that it is blocked? Or is it simply delayed infinitely?

Shaun > It might not be allowing connections due to router / firewall software settings. Unfortunately we provide no support for P2P issues since as I mentioned it is mainly used for illegal distribution of files & any legit file can normally be found from a related website anyways.

Wayne> So what you’re saying is your routers and firewalls are blocking BitTorrent traffic?

Shaun > Your router / firewall settings if you use such items.

This is where I almost slip. I typed in something to the effect of, “I have checked iptables and found no discrepancies.” Fortunately, I’ve learned that you NEVER EVER EVER mention that you have a router (heaven forbid one running Linux) on your network, or else when they can’t fix a problem, they will insist over and over again that it’s the router causing the problem.

Wayne> My computer is configured properly.

Shaun > Could be the primary port number you are running off of for the software

Wayne> Did Harry get me to level 2 support?

Shaun > You are speaking to the department supervisor.

Big shot supervisor, wasn’t expecting someone so experienced.

Wayne> Ah, ok.

Shaun > We only have 1 level of chat support.

Wayne> Excellent. Did you see the AP article?

Wayne> It details exactly what I see happening to my computer.

Shaun > P2P related issues are not supported or handled by comcast unfortunately. I looked over that article and it states in it that comcast does not block traffic.

I’m not quite sure he read the article, but I ignore it for now.

Wayne> On the surface this looks like a P2P issue that would be unsupported, but in reality it’s a Comcast issue.

Wayne> If Comcast filtered all p2p traffic, there would be a huge uproar.

Shaun > Not really since the comcast is owned & managed by comcast, and thus are able to re-allocate traffic in however means they wish.

And customers can unsubscribe in droves, if they wish.

By the way Shaun, even though you might not be in the company 401k plan, so I don’t expect you to know this, but Comcast is a publicly traded company. Everyone who owns a share of their stock owns the company.

Wayne> Since Comcast is only filtering BitTorrent seeding, it gets no attention.

Shaun > It even states on the article “Applications like BitTorrent and Gnutella are often used to illegally share copyrighted files”

Wayne> I agree Shaun, I can agree that illegal files are downloaded via BitTorrent and Gnutella.

Wayne> But in the same vein, binary newsgroups, email, ftp, etc… those can be used in a wrong manner also

Wayne> You might as well turn off http altogether if your argument is that often times it’s used for illegal content.

Shaun > If comcast is actually delaying P2P traffic to help deter illegal activities, I would think of that as a good thing. P2P was initially created for the sole purpose of illegal file distribution once napster was sued.

Wayne> That’s a bit incorrect, P2P was around way before Napster got sued.

Wayne> Here’s my point. I want to know if you can help me or tell me when I’ll get a call or email, or some sort of contact from someone who can help me fix this.

Wayne> Arguing about why most people use p2p is totally irrelevant. I use it to download Linux, which is 100% legit.

Wayne> A few months ago, before I started seeing this problem, there was never any slow downs when browsing the web that I could see – I’ve been getting terrific service for many years now.

Shaun > There is nothing to help with unfortunately based on the fact that P2P is primarily used for illegal file distribution. If you are able to download your files but not upload them, I would be happy that you managed to get what you are looking for. Any “legit” files people try getting over P2P are obtainable through websites etc. Linux for sure is obtainable from a multitude of websites that host linux distributions such as if I recall correctly.

Wayne> I know of one Linux distribution that is only available via BitTorrent.

I realize this comment about isn’t entirely true. You can get it from a mirror that requires some crazy ass combination of clicking through 20 pages with adverts all over them, and dealing with about 40 popups and popunders… bleh.

Wayne> It’s called Gebuntu.

Wayne> It’s a smaller distribution that is not super popular, so it’s not on any mirrors.

Wayne> And lots of material on is only available through them.

Shaun > You might want to bring up that distro with these linux websites that state they most available distros so they can add it to their list. If someone decides to only use bit-torrent to distribute legit stuff they are probably only hurting themselves in regards to making that software widely known.

He makes a good point here, but …

Wayne> You keep steering this off into another direction… one that really doesn’t merit any discussion.

Wayne> It’s a problem that I can’t fix from my end.

Wayne> I need it fixed on yours.

Shaun > Unfortunately until the P2P software producers happen to find a way to block illegal content from being available through their product, I’m sure comcast and alot of other providers will continue to find ways to help deter such software from being used in the manner that the majority of people use it for.

Illegal, illegal, illegal, I’ve mentioned that I’m not downloading anything illegal already – I think this supervisor has some sort of Comcast brain filtering going on, because “delayed” would be a good adjective of how quickly he’s picking up on what I’m saying.

Wayne> Can you send a ticket somewhere to get me unblocked?

This question never gets answered, unfortunately.

Shaun > As you mentioned you were able to download what you wanted.

Wayne> Gebuntu?

Wayne> What I talked about first was an experiment to determine if there was a problem.

This is the good stuff, we finally get something useful, if you can decipher it.

Shaun > We will not be lifting any traffic allocation delays which might be setup on the network currently. You mentioned you were able to download from other sources without issues, so if you are having issues with seeding then those people wanting the files can get the items from the other seeds available on the P2P network. Even if you were having issues with getting stuff over P2P, unfortunately it’s nothing that we will probably be reversing in the near future.

What Shaun really meant to say was the following:

“We will continue to “delay” BitTorrent, that’s the way it is. You got your file, what do you care, unless you were downloading something illegal? Even if you are having a problem which we caused but wont ever acknowledge, you wont ever be a happy customer because we wont ever address it until we get too much bad press.”

Wayne> Like when I was talking to Harry, it’s like talking to someone with the personality of a pet rock. Would you agree with me that there is something funny going on that’s blocking me?

Shaun > Comcast is able to do whatever they wish on their network. If there is traffic allocations setup to deter people from seeding within our network, then that is something which we can do on our network. Those people who are looking for such files can get them from other seeders anyways outside out network, where available

Wayne> I worked for an ISP about 10 years ago, and when customers asked me a straight question, I gave them a straight answer.

Wayne> Is you is, or is you ain’t blocking my torrents?

I hope at least some of the readers get the reference.

Shaun > As stated on the article, comcast does not block any internet traffic.

Wayne> Maybe you read the PR dribble part… the interesting bit is a little later: “Characterizing that as delaying traffic I think is … a stretch. What they are doing is spoofing traffic or jamming traffic,” Eckersley said.

Wayne> “I think they are trying to create as much confusion about this story as they can because they’ve done something really scurrilous and out of line for an ISP, and I’m sure they’ve been burned by the community’s reaction to it,” he added.

The word of the day is scur·ril·ous. Definition: grossly or obscenely abusive.

Shaun > As you mentioned you are still able to download whatever files you wish without issues. If our traffic allocation is not setup for inbound P2P at this time then at least you can still get the files you want from the P2P network.

Shaun > Either way, it is not something we will be most likely changing anytime in the near future.

Wayne> When?

Shaun > What will most likely happen next is allocation / delayment of inbound P2P traffic depending on how well our network bandwidth levels are through the various regions.

Shaun > Considering the allocation hasn’t been setup on inbound yet, I would be happy to not have any downloading delays over the P2P network. If there are multitudes of seeds available across the internet for the items anyways, the other downloaders can get the items from those seeds if their connections to comcast seeders become delayed too much for them.

Wayne> I wish we could have a conference chat with an ISP here in Utah called XMission, they’re up front, honest, and most importantly they don’t lie, deceive, and argue around and around in circles about what is actually going on.

I walked away from the computer at this point… 1.5 hours of chat which isn’t very exciting and certainly not going anywhere, I’m done at this point.

Shaun > Having someone from another ISP in the chatroom wouldn’t make any difference to the comcast network or how it is ran by comcast.

Shaun > If corporate decides to re-do the network traffic allocation sometime in the future (for better or worse in regards to P2P) then at that time the allocation will be modified. Until then it will be left as is. We both know that the majority of P2P users do not use it for legit purposes and that is what comcast is probably helping to counteract.

Shaun > Is there something else non p2p related that we may be of assistance with?

Shaun > Again, since you are able to download from P2P that means you can at least get the items you want still. There really is no difference to the other users if they happen to use you as a seed or someone in another city. Either way those people will get their files still. If there is nothing else, then thank you for contacting Comcast.

Shaun > Analyst has closed chat and left the room

Sure enough, when I came back, chat was closed. I could have gone on further, but it is frustrating to argue in circles and accomplish absolutely NOTHING other than waste my time… So I figured I should probably post it up here for you folks to enjoy.

I can’t really write better content than the two blokes anyways, so why not… *publish*

Edit:  You may want to take a look at my other article detailing how to avoid the Comcast throttling here, and also you will probably want to read the follow up article with some interesting information directly from Comcast.

95 replies on “Dear Comcast, Here’s The Million Dollar Question: Is You Is, Or Is You Ain’t Blocking My Torrents?”

I have Comcast and I have no torrent blockage. Maybe it varies depending on the area. Their customer service, however, sucks regardless…

Yeah, Comcast is a pain…and if there were any other high-speed competition in our area, I’d switch immediately. For me, it’s either Comcast or dial-up v_v…Oh well, at least forcing encryption seems to solve the problem.

Thanks for the article!

I hate ISP’s and their bullshit. When my ISP (COX) told me to reboot my sytem, I told them “Oh, I don’t have to do that, I’m running a real operating system, Linux” They didn’t know how to react. So far I haven’t seen filtering going on with COX, but uploads are always slower than downloads.


Great post. I am loving your site more and more with each post.

One point you could bring up in future dealings:

People make pirate blocks and ppv filters, are they going to start blocking cable tv and ppv soon too?



Great post. I am loving your site more and more with each post.

One point you could bring up in future dealings:

People make pirate boxes and ppv filters, are they going to start blocking cable tv and ppv soon too?


LivingInX: That might cut into their revenue, doubtful. 😛

Also, quick update – I called Comcast and requested cancellations, they offered me a month of free service, so I’ll stick it out for now.

My theory is that it will be fixed soon enough – as long as the negative PR keeps up and causes a sag in their stock price.

Wayne: Comcast is pretty f’n huge. I’m not sure if a few people getting upset about P2P seeding will worry them. It is a very technical issue and they prefer to serve non-technical people. Could be (and really hope that) I’m wrong. I guess the issue would most likely come to a boil when users cannot download because their ratio has been f’d by Comcast’s policies. But, if tech support is telling them that p2p is only for illegal activity, the non-tech will believe them. Who knows, Comcast Tech Support may start telling people that Linux is illegal as well….

Useless Support Rep> “Don’t you know that LunX got sued by Microsoft?”

| You know the facts will get completely mangled.

Well, as you guys can see by the current state of things, the Baby Boomers are on their way out the door and Generations X and Y are now influencing policy daily.

The drug war is getting harder to fight, IP is changing, technology cannot sit at a stand still forever.

As our generation moves and keeps adding technology, the rate of computer literacy amongst our age group drops because WE have our hand in technology.

Soon, all these big businesses will be hurting because their antiquated business models are not able to support the future of it’s clients.

For any major change to ever be made throughout history, there has to be a revolution, and the one that is upon us shall be coined “Revolution X.”

A lot of people use torrents for illegal files,that’s what they’re for any way. We should just download and purchase files that people worked hard to program!

they block all kinds of crap. in SF they are dropping my connection after a few hours of file trading. i eventually had to give up and go to DSL, which despite the slower speed has been 100% reliable. Ultimately it’s not slower because it stays running.

Comcast customer support is by far the worst I’ve ever experienced. If you can at all avoid them, do so.

lol .. as soon as you said mentioned comcast and qwest in teh same sentence, I knew you must be from utah .. A week ago, before all this really came to light, I could happily reseed at 50k .. solid speeds .. as of today when I was downloading 1 of the 4 animes I dl a week, I suddenly saw the same fluctuations .. I hardly get any connections, when I do, they might spike up for a minute, but then drop back down to bytes/sec

I pay for an 8mbit connection, not for the download speeds .. I got it for the faster uploads.

Bypassed by Utopia (Sandy), best qwest can dish up to me is 1mbit .. what really rubs salt into the wounds though is that Verizon just released a 20/20mbit package to 3 states on teh east coast for $65/month .. that’s what I pay comcast to throttle things .. 🙁

From here

It says

“Publicly Announced Customers Include:

# Adelphia Communications”

Remember Comcast/Time Warner bought up Adelphia. It would be interesting to see if the areas that are seeing the bandwidth throttling are in Former Adelphia service areas.

I’m quite certain that is exactly the device they are using.

Also its normal to pilot these kinds of programs in various areas.

uploading costs ISPs more money than downloading. Thats what this is about. It has nothing to do with ” illegal content “.

A person who uploads constantly can cost them more in bandwidth cost than they bill them for. Also with cable being a shared medium you can also impact others in your node. This wouldn’t be a problem if they didn’t oversubscribed areas.

From a business point of view I don’t think they want heavy uploaders. They want the other 97% of the people who check email, news, and play games.

Honestly I bet they could care less if these people jump ship. They are looking at bandwidth costs. Plain and simple.

LivingInX, you had me up until “Revolution X”. Did you not play that game? I, for one, do not want to be associated with Aerosmith and Toxic monsters that can only be defeated using burning CD’s.

It doesn’t very due to area. Unfortunately Comcast IS actively sending RST flags with packets.

Please contact me. Unfortunately, I am at work.

CSR in trust,
John J. Righteous-Hypocrite

Here’s a scary happening on my comcast account. I get a request reset for Only, Not, not gmail, nor any othersite.
It even responds to ping, and curiously, works in lynx. But in any other browser, the google search page is mysteriously “reset”. I’ve confirmed this on several computers, and without a router. Whoo for net neutrality, and #1 customer service.

Someone should build a chat bot program that accesses the Comcast chat rooms and repeatedly asks a bunch of nonsense questions just to tie up their support and also piss of their own employees at their own company. I want to see comcast sink and die in a pile of crapastic shit.

Internet is meant to grow, not to be put limits onto.

I really enjoyed the article (I got to it from Digg, so yay to Comcast getting as much bad press about this as possible.)

I just wanted to say, I really hope that something works out for you guys that have Comcast. I’ve been forced to use this local company, CMS, for the better part of three years because it comes with the townhouses here in my college town. They outright block all P2P traffic and aren’t afraid to say so.

My conversation with the tech went something like this:

Me: So what ports do you block.

Tech: We block all incoming ports.

Me: So…do you block port 80.

Tech: Yes sir, we block all incoming ports.

Me: So you’re telling me you block http and I can’t access any websites whatsoever?

Tech: Uh…

Now, don’t get me wrong, I work in a tech support job too, but at least I don’t flat out lie to the people I support.

Again, good luck in your Comcast crusade.


Reboot your PC, LOL. Here is my uptime:

00:21:57 up 417 days, 11:05, 5 users, load average: 0.24, 0.11, 0.09

I called Verizon about a DSL problem and the first thing out the techs mouth was did you reboot? I laughed and I run Linux, he said “So?”, I laughed some more and asked for tier 2. Got escalated and solved the problem without me rebooting my server. Hey, it’s all about uptime right?

Seriously man, if this pisses you off that much, just fucking drop the service. People like me need to take your calls and listen to your bullshit. YOU ALREADY KNEW THE FUCKING ANSWER, WHY DID YOU ASK? Are you trying to be a jackass? Maybe you just wanted to be a fucking attention whore. Reguardless you’re a God damned prick and I for one would not hesitate to dropping the call or chat and blaming it on a “technical difficulty” only to have the next 17 agents you speak with do the same thing. Why do you make things difficult for us?

Everyone should just drop them. I had Comcast years ago, and I was decently happy with them, until I kept having cable outages twice a week. I moved to Kansas about a year ago, and was luckily enough to be in a Cox Cable district, and I have to say, I love them. The loop I’m on doesn’t have too many users, and I have kick ass up and down links at any time of the day. If you can, dump Comcast and got with someone else, if need be, DSL, though I’d hate to give Ma Bell any more clout than they already have.

okay.. heres the deal, I happen to work for comcast… to by pass sandvine… force the client to use encryption its an option in azerus… the reason the packets are being shaped.. is because of pressure from riaa and other bullshit companies its ment to detur u from useing torrents… if u use encrypted traffic… no one can see it or the names… and for all u linux users… u should be slapping yourself because the soultion is so simple :)FORCE ENCRYPTION FUCK TARDS! and u have your pressious bandwidth back. that and it prevents certain hardware from naming the files u are downloading 🙂 I recommen Azerus torrent client for comcast network. If you don’t have the brains to use encryption fuck off and leave us techs alone.

Here in Canada, I used to have Rogers until they decided to do the exact same thing and deny it. I thought for a while that I was stuck but fortunately, I found a company called Acanac that offers pretty much the same speed at a third of the price. I’ve been downloading torrents for the past month almost 24/7 and I’ve yet to see any bandwidth blocking.

I know that for some of you, Comcast is the only option there is but hopefully, with time, more small ISPs will be become available and increase the competition.

Until then, I hope you find a way of getting around it all.

@The Comcast tech:

We’ll leave your service when we can access your lines via another ISP. The internet is rather a very necessary service to many (myself included), and as long as you’re blocking my access to needed services, I WILL complain. I don’t care how hard it makes your job. If your job is hard, voice it to your superiors, and make the source of complaints go away.

Do yourself a favor and don’t waste your breath on tech support from any ISP. They’re just trying to make a living helping old people set up email. For most call centers that you reach, they’re rated on a script/scoresheet and their talktimes. For a few places, Linux is automatically an unsupported OS and the tech will try to hit his marks that will count and get you off the line as quickly (and politely) as possible.
While we’re alllll impressed by your ability to read digg, create a title relating to pop-culture and express your love for the latest and greatest Linux distro’s, you were probably that guys last call of the night and you ruined the his evening. His midterm marks just suffered…

Cancellation’s are truly your best method

@ Dan Sheadel

Seriously man, bitch all you want. All I do is drop your calls and chats anyway. I don’t like Linux users because their OS is crap and I don’t like people who ask questions that they know the answers to. What you do not realize is that I would LOVE to tell you we block torrents VIA sandvine but if I do I will lose my job. My manager will lose his job if he tells you and so on and so forth. I love using torrents as much as anyone but I use them for illegal stuff. What Comcast is trying to prevent. You can go ahead and use them, just stop bitching about it to me. I honestly can’t do anything about it and my supervisors are all fucking dipshits that got their jobs by sucking the cocks of their bosses. What you fail to realize is that encryption CIRCUMVENTS THE FUCKING PROCESS and those of us working at Comcast who have are actually specialized in the network (unlike the self proclaimed Linux user who thinks they know everything) realize this is bullshit and are trying to fight it. Yet again, if I told you I would lose my job. And telling you the truth to a question you already know the answer too only to lose my job and source of income isn’t quite worth the risk.

hey did anyone else notice that this guy doesn’t know green from blue…is this guy wayne or not?
the first thing he said is in blue and everything ELSE he says is in green and before that he says “…fuss is about filtering torrents. The blue text is me, the green text is Comcast, and my comments after the fact are indented.” no actually YOU ARE green text and comcast is blue!! why the fuck did I read as far as I did…just lose the fuckin colors if you can’t get em right

btw my text is in black!
you text is in tan…so I must not see it

I work at a call center for Comcast. Ever since the news of the P2P traffic shaping, they’ve needed extra people working on canceling accounts. Sure sign that people are switching over.

Great article btw.

Did any one not miss: “What will most likely happen next is allocation / delayment of inbound P2P traffic depending on how well our network bandwidth levels are through the various regions.”

I guess downloading speeds might be ‘delayed’ indefinitely in the near future as well. Also this supervisor mentioned that he believes other providers will use similar tactics on their networks.

I jumped ship for XMission and am waiting for my subdivision of Layton to be covered since it is not in the initial build phase. I do have to deal with the slower, although highly reliable, Quest/XMission DSL. I’ve been so much happier even if I never do hit over 170Kb/s DL. At least everytime I request a download, IT WORKS and seeds if I leave it running.

What you should have stated as your problem was the inability to seed files. You should have made up a story about a family reunion multimedia pack that you were attempting to distribute via bittorrent, and why you should be disalowed that option. It is sad that the person you were chatting with was giving you the run around, but with due respect you ran around along with him. When dealing with customer service you have to stick to your guns and try to hit them where it hurts. Ask them if you’ll be getting compensation for their inconvienionces, if not why not?

You need to realize that technical support is not a good way to get Comcast to fix the issue. As your conversation shows, you didn’t accomplish anything but waste your time and annoy the techs.

Switch your ISP if P2P matters so much. This makes your complaint look legit and shows up on Comcast’s sales charts. If you seriously do not have another ISP and can not live without a home internet connection, then Comcast has little incentive to right it’s wrongs.

Besides, ISPs have good reason to filter P2P traffic. Regardless of the legality of one’s P2P usage, it’s no secret that peer file sharing is a grossly inefficient bandwidth hog:

The person you were speaking with does not work for Comcast. They work for a company called Convergys, which Comcast outsources all their tech support to. You’d be hard pressed to get a legit answer, since all they care about is the phone queue, average chat times, and making sure they hit the criteria required for every customer interaction. I worked for this company last spring, and can vouch for the low level of training and inadquate information provided to the service representatives, let alone the customers.

well, I’ve been seeding opensuse 10.3 24/7 since its release on october 4th. My ratio is now 0.426

I can’t seed either. I’m in Miami.

This is somehow illegal, I’m sure of it. I’m going to have to actually read my contract.

The free market doesn’t work unless consumers and citizens organize and actively combat inappropriate business practices. Voting with one’s wallet isn’t always an option and isn’t always the best option. At the very least, contacting the company and speaking out against the practice and trying… however futilely… to get a resolution is certainly reasonable. Yes, it probably bites to be the support or tech person on the other end, but that is a JOB they are PAID to do and the calls are in essence a consumer duty. The calls costs the company money and should create buzz and annoyance in the support department which to some degree should flow uphill. Those that handle the calls should understand this and a) not get too frustrated, b) instead of bitching to consumers who are trying to make things better, bitch to your supervisors and keep the crap flowing uphill.
The calls themselves… the time wasted on them… as well as the sentiment… are ammunition you can use to try to change things from within.


I came across your post via DIGG, coincidentally, immediately after I looked at Xmission’s website for fibre service.

I too enjoyed Comcast service in SLC for many years, but then things went wonky. Unfortunately I found out on the Xmission website that there is still no fibre in SLC-proper, leaving me with a DSL option with Xmission ISP, but it is via Qwest copper, a company that drove me to drop my landline/DSL 5 years ago because of their crappy service (and subsequently triple-billing me for 4 additional months after stopping service!).

Now I am driven to drop my Comcast service and utilize a combination of my employer’s T1, an Xmisison free hotspot at a close library, and piggyback off a neighbour’s open router.

Please save me Utopia, you are my only hope.

forgot, alleviate some of the problem

iptables -A INPUT -p tcp –dport –tcp-flags RST RST -j DROP

This should help.

Up until this week, I was not a internet neutrality advocate. Now I am. Thanks to Comcast.

I actually have little problem with ISPs doing some traffic shaping on their networks. However, it needs to be done in an open and responsible way and Comcast is proving that they have no interest in doing so.

Update: for Salt Lake City Comcast users

After playing around with some of the encryption settings in Azureus (as hinted by the above ‘Comcast tech’), the following settings currently allow me to seed (legally) on both a public and private tracker.

Java 1.5.0_07
Apple Computer, Inc.
SWT v3406, carbon
Mac OS X v10.4.10, ppc

Transport Encryption:
Check “Require encrypted transport”
Minimum encryption level RC4
Check “Allow non-encrypted outgoing connections if encrypted connection attempt fails”
Check “Allow non-encrypted incoming connections”

Restart Azureus

Good luck!


Chill out. You already knew what to expect for a response. Put yourself in the ISP shoes — you’d do
the same thing too. Doubt it? Set up your own ISP and
let’s see how YOU deal with all the bandwidth being
used up by a couple hoggers (legal traffic or not).

If you’re gonna vent, try watching a movie or something. Don’t persecute the poor CSRs. They’re just doing their job.

I don’t know why you’re wasting your time contacting them about this. if you want to cancel with them then go ahead and switch already and stop whining. One customer cannot make a difference sadly and comcast is doing this clearly to save bandwidth. I don’t see why you got so upset at the reps trying to help you either, they don’t get paid to piss people off they get paid to help people with their problems and fix their shit. Especially a decision like BT traffic throttling was made high up and no low level rep is going to have control over the network and be able to make such a change on an individual basis nor could such a thing be requested. If you don’t like it switch otherwise suck it up and deal with it. Theres a reason you’re still with comcast after all this crap so I’d stop hating on them and enjoy the service while you can or as I’ve stated several times now switch to a different ISP. Stop demonizing these people who tried to help you in your futile complaint for a stupid share ratio for some linux distro that no one cares about.

Oh I wish I saved my log of the chat I had with them about my internet connection being down. I was unable to connect to my home from work, and when they asked what I was connecting to, I made the mistake of saying that I have a personal ssh server running.

The rep freaked and lanbasted me with comments about how running a server is against the EULA. Since he basically told me he won’t help me any more, I pointed out that the EULA then doesn’t allow people to host games.

His reponse. “I play WoW with out breaking the EULA. That is a internet game.”

I spent the next 10 minutes explaining the difference between MMOs and Standard Multiplayer games. After I did that, I explained that Comcast ADVERTISES the ability to play online games faster.

He closed the chat.

Aka, two issues.

1. The “techs” are id10ts.
2. One can not be the host of ANYTHING with out breaking the EULA in it’s current form. This includes all those people who host a webcam/voice chat. (Another thing they advertise being able to do.)

Is you is or is you ain’t …

Is the reason why I clicked this article.
A fabulous ‘Tom and Jerry’ episode.
I’m with you Wayne.

So Comcast.? Is you is or is you ain’t?

I think all you were doing here Wayne is wasting the time of Comcast support. What did you REALLY expect to happen here? Do you think either one of these guys would have had a definitive answer, or would have just clicked a few buttons and voila your bit torrent works?

Like was said before, these guys are just doing their jobs, and have no control on how the networks are set up to handle these sort of things.

Get yourself a personal VPN from
I use BitTorrent on a PowerBook and my seeding is always in the neighborhood of 100 kb/s
I love my VPN and it cost only $40/year, well worth every penny
Go get one to enjoy your BitTorrent experience and privacy

I’m in utah as well (murray) and am under the thumb of REALLY crappy torrent upload. unfortunatly of the 77% of the city of murray that’s set up for utopia fiber optic, I’m in the 23% that isn’t. crap.

Comcast will eat itself.

Oh, and nice Specials Shirt.

To all the CSRs and the people whining about us wasting the CSRs time, THAT IS THE GODDAMNED POINT!!!

It isn’t exactly wasting their time as their job is to deal with CUSTOMER SERVICE. Customers are unhappy about this and the company needs to be made aware of it at anytime.

Also, to those who work for the ISP and would just end the call/chat and blame it on tech issues, you are a worthless piece of dung. Your job is to try and make the customer satisfied. If you can’t do your job w/o bitching about it, I think it is time to find a new line of work!

If somebody is paying for a service, but are not receiving said service, hell yeah their gonne be pissed.

It sounds like you just contacted Comcast to rattle off p2p terminology that some idiot at tech support would not understand in an effort to make yourself seem smarter. I use Comcast and the shit they are doing hasn’t hampered my torrent speeds at all.

I have comcast.. but it was adelphia less than a ear ago and comcast hasn’t even managed to get their (ALL CISCO) equipment in place on the local loop yet. so far no seeding issues OR customers getting dropped for bandwidth usage. Also no powerbooster or HD tv either. But at least I don’t have to deal with the retardedness yet.

@James: filtering out RST packets on your end will not solve the problem, the RST packets go both ways. So unless you and your peer are dropping RST packets, the problem will still occur.

Overall, if you look at it in two perspectives, Comcast has every right to do what they want to do. If they want to create a China like state of internet, go ahead. Marketing won’t increase, customers will cancel, and their name will soon fade to black. On the other side, it sucks, even for distributors trying to distribute files legally (ie: *nix, artists, etc.). What’s the point of BT? To download and share for others, that’s how the system works. No seeds, no peers = dead torrent.

Hopefully Comcast will get the point in the near future and either add improved way of differentiating legal from illegal, or just drop the idea altogether.

I’m in Provo and I’m SO glad I went with Qwest this year. Torrents have been working great. Comcast can suck it.

Waynem I hear what your legitimate complaint is, I have the same problem with Verizon services (but we both know is a laugh anyways). My question I had for you reading after the first 10 lines of this was, “Did you think you were going to get a non-scripted response from a Tier-1 Helpdesk employee”?! You don’t strike me as a naive person, so were you looking for a fight? My point in these small comments probably overlooked is to not bother the puppet, write to some that could actually inflict change or that gets paid respectively to ignore your questions properly.

i have noticed blocking on entry level service, occasionally, but when i upgraded to top speed, there is no problem seeding.

bandwidth appears throttled, “speed boost” or something. when you first use it, upstream can be as high as 180 or 200 KB/s, but it settles eventually to 80 KB/s.

i get the impression that they control / limit upstream torrent traffic a little, if only to save the bandwidth for other services / customers.

another option is to use a secure proxy service like relakks in the Scandinavian countries. i’m thinking about using it, but peer guardian 2 helps with anonymity.

ummm….. all this talk about Comcast and such, it really is nasty what they are doing, limiting the P2P traffic and then 1/2 lying 1/2 blocking you.

But what about Qwest and others?
I pay for a 3.0mb/s up and down enhanced T1 line (I live out in the country) and I pay 100s a month for this line. so I download Gutsy Gibbon as well, and I come back hours after the torrent is finished downloading and I have uploaded LESS THAN 1 MB!

I have tried all the solutions for Comcast users and none work. anyone have any ideas on how a Qwest user can get their P2P upload bandwidth back?

I would have thought that Qwest would take off the limiters at least for my type of service, seeing that I pay 100s of dollars a month for it…


Does your AIM, Yahoo, MySpace IM sign off and back on all of the time???? Mine does that… and also I am constantly blocked from uploading tv torrents…which… IS LEGAL… The torrent blocking… is crap and Comcast will ultimately pay dear for this act… It is very annoying whenever your IM clients sign of and on every 15 mins or so…

I’m In Utah too, came across this from Digg. Soo funny, I live in downtown SLC and use azureus and comcast. I don’t have problems with uploads at all. The azureus wiki is really amazing at giving detailed instructions on how to fine tune it to get the best downloads possible. They recommend doing all the stuff the comcast guy stated.

I still hate comcast tech support. My signal is always failing and I have learned never to call them because they don’t know shit and if I ever reveal that I have a router or a server they insist that they have to send someone out to my house on a service call for a fee.

man, he’s just a guy on a friggin’ phone.. you’re not going to get anywhere hassling someone who’s just trying to pay their rent at some call centre. chill out!@

hey… one more thing… if you don’t like the support… there is a way to check you signals on your modem to confirm its an issue with us shhh.. its a secret… (you can also get this info from your cable modem manufature) try or this will not work if your behind a router you can find your signal levels there … if its too high or too low u want it to be around 37dbmv for the upstream transmit power and u want signal to noise ratio around 37 and the other one which i can’t remember should be around 7dbmv we can check your modem signal, just tell the nice agent to check service visability portal and make sure your not lit up like a christmas tree, its color coded for the really retarded agents. were not all dumb 🙂

Oh and we do not block torrents.. packet shape maybe but all isps do that, im pretty sure they didnt intentionally fuck up your torrents. force your client to use encryption.. it fixes it.

CSR-HSI Comcast:

Wow, did you even read the article? Either you didn’t and just went off the bulletin I posted earlier today, or maybe you all are mentally handicapped after all.

Signal strength has absolutely NOTHING to do with torrent seeding being blocked.

What exactly did you accomplish other than to show to the world what an asshole you are?

Are you really so stupid as to think that tech support made the decision to deploy sandvine?

Has it dawned on your brilliant self that the company might have instructed their employees not to address this topic?

Do you think that he should have gotten himself fired by talking bad about his employer in a recorded conversation?

Here’s an idea. Go work for Comcast. You can get all the information that you seem to think the executives share with their lowest level employees. Hell, you can deal with other “intellectuals” such as yourself over the phone.

You think your attempts get the rep to explain the board members decisions were frustrating? Try it from his side. He didn’t get to go sulk and then write in a blog about how much this large corporation sucks. He had to immediately jump into the next whiner and get shit on for decisions and malfunctions that weren’t his doing.

Then again, its all his fault for working there so its your right to be a douche.

I have comcast here in Utah as well, I think the more ridiculous thing here is the fiber to home bs they pulled. Fiber would obviously be a great service and should be legalized on a free market. Way to go beurocracy. In any event, boo on comcast for so many reasons.

don’t complain about getting this kind of call, it’s your job. people want comcast to just admit that it’s traffic shaping, that’s the point, and lots of people are making these calls to try to call them on their bullshit. If you don’t like the position you are in don’t be in tech support, because that’s the only place people can lodge complaints, they can’t talk to the actual people who make company policy.

Wow, I read that whole chat dialogue… it really pulled me in. I thought you were very diplomatic about the whole thing but apparently some of the users took an entirely different spin on it. That IS one of the purposes for the chatroom–to express complaints. If it’s not; it definitely should be since they are a large corporation and there’s bound to be people out there with grievances. The conversation had the potential to be over in no time if he would have just been straight with you from the beginning, but instead he had to take the deceptive approach; which makes perfect sense; this being Comcast and all. I’ve been extremely frustrated with Comcast for the last couple of months because of this whole messed-up state of affairs.

Your discussion with these reps probably won’t make a bit of difference in the grand scheme of things (they’ll continue in the same fashion until they eventually get sued) but at least you voiced you dissatisfaction and that’s worth something.

I’m a customer with ATT, and I’ve run into the exact same issues you have, all while running Windows with Azureus. I can download four torrents in the time it takes me upload half of one. I’ve also found that they randomly switch my (and others’) connection speeds around, lowering the upload speeds on a whim, along with throttling of non-centralized uploads.

Ah, again customer support proving they know 0% about computers, along with a few posters. P2P wasn’t set up as a way to illegally share files, it was set up as a way to locally share files and network computers, but then people got the idea they could do naughty stuff with it and then your done.

Same thing happened with Viruses and worms, both were created with the idea of having an automated updating or file fixing system, but then some people abused the idea.

This can also relate to torrents. An easier way for people to share files. Quick and simple. However any type of way of sharing files is going to result in Piracy. Quite simply put, if software wasn’t so bloody over-priced, then nobody would download. We aren’t all made of money…

You rock man! you rock! Death to tyranny!
US is right now becoming commies…or even worse (China block sites that attacks them but didn’t block torrent :/)

blocking Torrent first, then all articles that attacks it, then everything bad about them, then everything other then

I live in New Jersey. It’s VERY obvious that comcast is blocking seeding or at the least slowing connections down to a point that they never go through.

If there was a serious alternative to comcast… I’d have switched yesterday!

The Verizon FIOS isn’t available yet and Verizon won’t bond muliple dsl to a residence…

So… I’m screwed as far as sharing via p2p.

This posting and the associated article are complete wastes of time – I can’t even believe I am wasting the time to write this. Cable modems use shared bandwidth technology and DSL and fiber modems use non-shared bandwidth technology, except for my new FiOS service in NJ which uses cable modem technology (FTTC) – which is completely different from my old FiOS service in TX (FTTH).

Bottom line – Cable modem service sucks if you actually want to use the service. The listed bandwidths you are paying for (notice I said “paying for” – I did not say “getting”) are meaningless except for webpage downloads (i.e. plain vanilla HTTP – I don’t think they even like FTP…) So to say Comcast’s speeds of whatever Mbps (say 15Mbps for example) are meaningless if you can‘t actually use it. In these cases, a dedicated DSL line at 1.5Mbps would be faster since it actually works for you! The problem is in the technology of the Comcast network. Let me explain.

The problem with shared bandwidth technologies, e.g. cable modems, is that each and every use of the bandwidth affects ALL users on that portion of the network. So your P2P downloading is lowering the total available bandwidth for all of your neighbors – who are trying to pull HTTP webpages, SMTP or POP3 email and FTP downloading.

Hey, I didn’t make the rules and I don’t agree with them. But Comcast is just trying to keep their network moving for the majority of unaffected customers, i.e., the customers who are not heavy users but just pull webpages, check their email and download files now and then – not heavy data users or those users who are actually trying to use the Mbps that their payments are supposed to be for. And, unfortunately, those users who are outside of this bracket are in the minority. If you are one of these users, and are affected by this “traffic shaping” then the answer is simple – change ISP’s or move.

I am a former Comcast employee. I am also a former Comcast user. And I was also in the minority too. I even got one of the famous letters warning me to not use my service so much or I might be shut off permanently. So I went to Verizon for a 1.5Mbps ADSL line. It wasn’t as fast as my supposed 3Mbps cable modem (at the time), but hey – at least I could use it! So my advise is, if you are one of these users, change ISP’s and go for whatever ADSL line you can get. If you can only get dial up – MOVE, GET SATTELITE INTERNET OR SHUT UP.

Now for the good part – if you are actually using P2P then you are a lamer. Only idiots use P2P. Whatever your reason, I don’t care – you are a complete idiot. You are a moron. You are obtaining data, either © or not © I don’t care – you are obtaining data from and giving data to complete strangers. Get a premium news service, a SSL enabled newsreader and download your shit from the Usenet. Although nothing is totally secure (you don’t have a TACLANE now do you) at least it is from one source, and not from many – of which only one has to be the RIAA, MPAA, FBI, etc.

Oh yeah, Comcast SUX.

Just one thing. Comcast makes a big stink about torrents using up bandwidth. What no one seems to consider is, why not just make a network that CAN handle all the bandwidth??? They can’t or won’t spend the capital on building a DECENT network, and then when customers who PAY to receive the benefit of internet access, they blame them for their bandwidth woes. I say bullshit, build a better network.

waveform609: 56,000 people have viewed this article. I’m pretty sure this article wasn’t a waste of my time – I actually had fun with it.

rosc: Binaries from Usenet is actually a good way around this if you have no other option. Unlimited accounts start at around $20 USD.

Jim: Well said.

Seen it first hand myself. And tested.

Browsing around. workin fine. all speedy.

Startup torrent client on a finished torrent, with a limit of ONE unencrypted connection total. attempting to upload at a max set speed of ONE kb/sec.

Browsing no longer so speedy. Actually i can hardly get a page to load without hitting refresh a dozen times.

I do trust all of the ideas you’ve presented to your post. They’re really convincing and will certainly work. Still, the posts are too quick for starters. Could you please extend them a bit from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

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