How Much Are Your P2P Packets Worth? To Comcast, $16 or Less


Comcast (s CMCSA) yesterday settled a long-running class action lawsuit brought against it for throttling BitTorrent file transfers. The cable giant has agreed to pay a total of up to $16 million to users that claim to have been affected — which on a per-user basis, boils down to about $16.

Comcast got itself into hot water two years ago when it was found to actively interfere with P2P file transfers, which led to an FCC investigation into its network management practices and raised the ire of consumer watchdog groups. In the summer of 2008, the FCC ordered the cable company to cease its P2P throttling by the end of the year or face an immediate injunction. (Our full recap can be found here.)

While it does not admit wrongdoing, Comcast says it has revised its network management practices and has agreed to pay $16 million to settle the class-action suit, less settlement costs, to eligible class members. Users that submit valid claims will receive a share “not to exceed $16,” according to the settlement.

So who qualifies? Anyone that was a Comcast High-Speed Internet customer and attempted to use Ares, BitTorrent, eDonkey, FastTrack or Gnutella P2P protocols at any time from April 1, 2006 to Dec. 31, 2008. Subscribers that used Lotus Notes to send emails any time from March 26, 2007, to Oct. 3, 2007, can also submit claims as part of the settlement.

Current or former Comcast users that believe their P2P file-sharing apps were throttled are invited to submit claims at, either online or by printing out and mailing in a claim form. Claims need to be postmarked by Aug. 14, 2010 in order to qualify. If a claim is approved, Comcast has 120 days to send you a check or to credit your account if you’re still a current subscriber.

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