Friday, October 19, 2007

A bit of a torrent - the Comcast lawyers never formally defined "excessive use"

We know that Comcast isn't popular with the BitTorrent crowd. Here's a bit of InfoWorld's coverage on Comcast's response:

Asked whether ISP Comcast was disrupting BitTorrent file-sharing traffic and peer-to-peer communications, a Comcast official at the Web 2.0 Summit on Friday said the company has a tiny percentage of customers who use its system excessively....

"To the extent that we identify that kind of excessive use, we call those customers up and talk to them about it and tell them what's going on and offer them additional services," akin to commercial services, [Amy Banse] said.

It doesn't appear that Comcast's user agreement puts a cap on how much a home user can upload/download a month. Here's what GameDaily reports:

Charlie Douglas, a spokesperson for Comcast Corporation, called back to clarify what "excessive usage" means and why the company's actions to end its relationship with these customers is good for gamers. First, Douglas defines Comcast's "excessive use" as any customer who downloads the equivalent of 30,000 songs, 250,000 pictures or 13 million emails in a month....

[UPDATE]: Regarding Friday's story about Comcast's "excessive use" policy, we reconnected with Comcast representative, Charlie Douglas who clarified his company's statement.

"We do not provide a limit, but do contact customers to explain their excessive usage patterns and work with them to curb their excessive use. The examples provided are illustrative of what a customer would have to do in a given month to receive a phone call regarding our Acceptable Use Policy. Again, this is extremely rare and applicable to less than one-tenth of one percent of our customers."

Presumably Comcast will formally define a limit in the near future. I'm surprised that they didn't do so in the past.

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