Cable giant Comcast continues its practice of cutting off service -- often without warning -- when high-speed Internet customers exceed an unstated download limit. But while Comcast tries to stay mum about these terminations, its customers are making more and more noise to try to force the company to explain what its policies really are.
Earlier this year I wrote about a Comcast customer in Illinois (see "Comcast Has Its Limits") who was threatened with termination because of one month in which his main sin had been to download his MSDN subscription from Microsoft. Comcast never responded to that story, but ever since I've been hearing from others with similar experiences. But, in many cases, rather than being threatened they were simply cut off before they could even try to use less bandwidth.
"We've been a Comcast customer for many years and just learned my account has been disconnected for 'abuse' this morning," wrote a Utah man in January. "I am unaware of my wife or I doing anything that would cause this to happen. I've downloaded DVD's from Microsoft MSDN, I'm a heavy Internet gamer, get lots of e-mail and I regularly visit sites such as YouTube.com. But I don't run any servers nor violate Comcast's terms of service or acceptable use policy to my knowledge, and I've reviewed them many times. What's really shocking is in December my wife had received a call from a 'Comcast employee' telling us we were using too much bandwidth and providing a case number to reference. When I contacted their customer service, they said it wasn't Comcast calling me as the case number was not valid and that it was probably someone trying to get information in a phising scam. Now I'm disconnected. If there was a problem I should have received something in writing and someone I could talk to in figuring this out. It's amazing a successful company such as Comcast would make it this difficult for loyal customers."
The Utah reader turned out not to be one to suffer in silence, however, as he soon began a blog of his own at http://comcastissue.blogspot.com to bring more attention to what Comcast is doing. He has succeeded in getting several national publications to write about the topic, and he also did one other thing I always recommend when the cable company treats you unfairly: he complained to his city council. After all, the cable TV is a virtual monopoly granted by your community, so why not complain to city hall when the monopolist isn't treating you fairly?