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Gary Thornock's Weblog » Comcast and the Tiered Internet
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21st Aug, 2007

Comcast and the Tiered Internet


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Christer Edwards is a local member of the Open Source community who's rather heavily involved with the popular Ubuntu Linux distribution. It's no surprise, therefore, that he'd be seeding (entirely legitimate) torrents for the latest Ubuntu CD images. I do the same when FreeBSD has a new release, and usually when SimplyMEPIS does.

He ran into a nasty surprise this time, though, and he's written a fairly unhappy post about it. Apparently Comcast, his ISP, is doing some fairly extensive cutting of BitTorrent connections, without regard for whether the material is legal or not. (Remember, this is Linux, it is legal.)

This doesn't particularly surprise me, coming from Comcast, and that's one of the reasons why I'm glad I'm emphatically not a Comcast customer anymore, and I'm not likely ever to be one again. (Another local Linux user, who unfortunately can't get the better services at his house, has been writing about problems with Comcast for several months now. None of that is particularly surprising either, unfortunately.)

Thanks to Clint Savage for mentioning this on the Provo Linux User Group mailing list.

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I'm going to see what can be done to push more consumer choice. I don't think its right that there are basically two providers here (and only one in many places), and they get to decide the rules.

The Utopia limitation recently expired. It's time to talk to your local city council about approving that project if you can!


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My city already has iProvo — that's why I was able to leave Comcast in the first place. But for any readers who aren't in Provo or one of the cities that already have UTOPIA, by all means do talk to your city council.


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First of all, I love Ubuntu. I'm still using an old version of Mandrake, but, I loaded Ubuntu up on an old laptop and can't wait until I have time to get to know it better.

As to Comcast: What's my alternative in Salt Lake? Do I even have one? I'd love nothing more than to be able to drop Comcrap and move onto something more reliable and, I'd hope, with better response time to the bigger issues (like my 13 year old dis-wiring the house when he ran over the cable line with the tiller. It took two weeks for them to come out to "fix it" and they were pissed that I had patched the cable back into the house)


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It depends on where in Salt Lake you live. As I recall, Salt Lake isn't one of the UTOPIA cities, so that's out. Naturally, Salt Lake isn't Provo, so iProvo isn't an option either.

For residential broadband, that pretty much leaves DSL and Comcast. I'm not about to hazard a guess as to whether DSL is available at your address; you'd have to check with Qwest or with one of the ISPs that provide DSL service (I'd try XMission, myself).

I suppose it's also possible that you could get a wireless service. Is Digis available in your area?


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I've been seriously evaluating switching to DSL for the first time in my life over this one (Xmission, not Qwest). I've been fighting to bring UTOPIA to White City Township, but it requires getting the legislature to change the law (not to mention the Township is currently fighting for the survival of HB40, the bill that established the township designation.)


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Pretty much any DSL you get will have Qwest providing the line, although you can pick your ISP to provide the actual service. In my experience, XMission is a good choice — one I wish I could get for myself, in fact, but they're not on iProvo and I've never been able to get DSL at my house. I was an XMission customer for several years at a previous address, though, and I miss the quality of service I had with them.

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