Comcast Service Agreement – BEWARE

I received an updated version of the Comcast Service Agreement for end-users. This is for our residential cable broadband service. This currently costs $67.00 per month, which includes the rental of a modem, and the applicable taxes. Speeds are 6 megs down and either 384 or 768 up…depending on who you are talking to. Comcast makes it clear that this is residential, i.e. consumer service as opposed to business service. So, you are really expected to consume.

Prohibited Users of HSI. You agree not to use HSI for operation as an Internet service provider, a server site for ftp, telnet, rlogin, e-mail hosting, “Web hosting” or other similar applications for any business enterprise, or as an end-point on a non-Comcast local area network or wide area network.
You agree to indemnify, defend and hold harmless Comcast and its affiliates, supplies, and agents against all claims and expenses (including reasonable attorney fees) arising out of any breach of this Section including, but not limited to, any claims based on or arising out of any material violation of any applicable law.

Ports are blocked for the above-named services. But now at the end, it gets more interesting…

Comcast will provide you with dynamic Internet protocol (“IP”) address(es) as a component of HSI, and these IP address(es) can and do change over time. You will not alter, modify or tamper with dynamic IP address(es) assigned to you or any other customer. You agree not to use a dynamic domain name server or DNS to associate a host name with the dynamic IP address(es) for any commercial purpose.

So, this would seem to preclude business or commercial use of applications for typical home-based businesses, i.e. VoIP telephone, Videoconferencing applications, and Virtual Private Network connections.

This sucks. Imagine if you had a telephone system that not only changed your phone number on a random basis, but prohibited you from discovering the changed number and letting people know what the changes are. This is essentially the service provided by DYNDns and similar services. Even though there is no technical reason that Comcast couldn’t provide permanent fixed public IP addresses in the first place, Comcast specifically states that they won’t provide them, and they specifically prevent you from applying any technological means to compensate.

For my own home office, I’ve decided to try the Comcast commercial offering. For another ten dollars or so per month, I’m supposed to get 6 megs/768kb, 4 Exchange accounts on their servers, web server account, and of course a fixed IP address. I’m assuming this comes with an improved service level agreement.

When I asked about what was available for bandwidth, they mentioned that in towns where they are competing with Verizon FIOS (fiber to the home), they offer 16 megabits down. But only when they are competing. 🙂

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