Comcast Faces Another Peer-To-Peer Lawsuit


Comcast is the subject of another lawsuit, this time in Washington D.C., alleging the operator falsely advertises that consumers will get “unfettered access” to all Internet content.

The potential class-action suit, filed in Superior Court for the District of Columbia, was filed for Dr. Sanford Sidner on behalf of himself and other Comcast's D.C. Internet subscribers. 

The legal action is similar to one filed last November in Alameda County, Calif, Superior Court by a San Francisco Bay Comcast subscriber, Jon Hart. That suit also seeks class-action status. 

Sidner, according to his attorneys, Gilbert Randolph LLP, claims that his service frequently stops or slows to a crawl when he uses file-sharing applications.

“I've been a Comcast customer for several years, and I feel betrayed,” said Sidner, in a prepared statement.

Charlie Douglas, director of corporate communications for Comcast, confirmed the company had been served with the suit and offered this statement: “To be clear, Comcast does not, has not, and will not block any Web sites or online applications, including peer-to-peer services, and no one has demonstrated otherwise. 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.”

Comcast has been under attack from consumers and the Federal Communications Commission for allegedly blocking peer-to-peer transmissions. Comcast executives have stated in public testimony that the company delays some traffic at peak usage times to avoid performance degradation for all users due to a minority of “abusers.” The company, though, denies blocking content.

According to the D.C. complaint, filed Feb. 19, Comcast “surreptitiously impersonates the computers of users attempting to share files and sends forged reset packets that instruct the transmitting computers to stop sending data.” This denies full access to the Internet for those using peer-to-peer applications, the suit alleges.