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Cable Technology Feature Article

December 23, 2009

Comcast Settles Class-Action Lawsuit, to Pay $16 Million to Affected Customers

By Kelly McGuire, TMCnet Editor

In 2007, when Philadelphia Comcast subscribers noticed that there was a block on packets, particularly those being sent through BitTorrent (News - Alert), something was more than just a little fishy. And, when the complaints amounted, the Associated Press started digging for answers. 

What followed was a class-action lawsuit from Comcast (News - Alert) that spurred many debates on whether or not the broadband provider’s supposed actions were deplorable or acceptable. 

And now, Philadelphia residents affected by Comcast’s 2007 P2P connections lawsuit can rest their heavy heads after the cable provider agreed to pay $16 million to patrons who dealt with the issue two years back.

But, despite settling the class-action lawsuit, Comcast still stands strong behind the controversial issue of using reset packets to decrease BitTorrent traffic, throttling P2P connections in 2007. 

While the company seems firm in its methods for managing network traffic, the settling of the lawsuit seems evident of the company’s efforts to try and minimize the legal backlash that could potentially occur from a longer legal process.

Angry customers argued that Comcast had violated its own Terms of Service as well as various consumer protection laws by representing itself as offering the fastest Internet connection—P2P or not. 

By coming to a settlement, $16 million will be distributed to Philadelphia residents. And, while that number seems like a large one – don’t get too excited.  

According to the proposed settlement page – currently awaiting judge approval – said that each resident affected will receive no more than $16.00 per customer.
One thing is for certain, oligopoly or not, Comcast has a lot of reprisal on their hands – worth a bit more than $16.00.  

Kelly McGuire is a TMCnet Web editor, covering CRM and workforce technologies, and anchor of its daily TMC Newsroom video broadcast. Kelly also writes about eco-friendly "green" technologies and smart grids, compiling TMCnet's weekly e-Newsletters on those topics, as well as the cable industry. To read more of Kelly's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Kelly McGuire