Comcast Critic Calls For Boycott Of P2P Settlement

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The Oregon resident credited with initially sounding the alarm about Comcast throttling bandwidth to peer-to-peer file-sharing applications is urging the cable operator's customers to reject the $16 they are entitled to receive under the settlement terms of a class-action lawsuit.

"There are huge problems with the deal, but it only takes you a minute to reject it," Robb Topolski wrote in a blog post Thursday. "If we want a meaningful settlement in this case and open Internet in our future, it's important to spread the word and send a strong message to Comcast and the industry."

Comcast declined to comment on Topolski's post.

Last year Comcast agreed to settle class-action litigation alleging it impaired the use of P2P applications under which it will pay up to $16 million -- minus $3 million in attorneys' fees and other costs -- to customers who believe they were affected. Individual Comcast subscribers are eligible to receive a payment of up to $16 by applying at P2PCongestionSettlement.com.

Comcast was sued by several customers, including Topolski, who variously claimed breach of contract or that the operator violated consumer-protection laws by misrepresenting its broadband service as "unfettered" and that it provided "the fastest Internet connection." Those complaints were consolidated into multidistrict class-action litigation in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania.

Meanwhile, the Federal Communications Commission launched an investigation into Comcast's P2P network management practices and subsequently ordered the MSO to discontinue to practice. Comcast challenged the FCC order, and earlier this month the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit agreed that the commission did not have the proper authority to issue the ruling.

The appeals court decision spurred Topolski to call for a boycott of the P2P lawsuit settlement. "Turns out that there is no cop on the beat to prevent Comcast, or any other ISP, from again blocking you from the content, applications, or services of your choice!" he wrote.

Comcast users should decline the $16 payment, Topolski said, because it "doesn't begin to compensate for the value of the service that Comcast secretly took back."

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