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Wednesday, September 27, 2006

No need for Net Neutrality? Comcast blocking Google

From Bostonist:
It appears that there is a disconnect between Google and Comcast going on right now (breaking news?). We've gotten a number of field reports from users of Comcast's cable internet service across the state who are unable to connect to Gmail, Google, and Blogspot. One of our "internet outage spotters" chronicled a tech support conversation he had in which the Comcast operator told him it was a Firefox issue and he'd have to switch to IE. Apparently Comcast won't support Firefox as a browser, and if the user is requesting technical assistance it's only for IE browser questions. Another rep. indicated that the issue was with Google. Though it seems IE browsers can connect to Google, but not personalized pages or GMail, Firefox running on the same Comcast connected machine won't even connect to those.

We don't claim to have the technical knowledge to debunk either of these claims for sure – we do know that this post is going up using the Firefox connection we're using which does not rely on Comcast for anything. Connections are freely made to blogspot, google, and gmail using non-Comcast based internet connections, or IE on Comcast. While we'd like to blame the cable operator for the problems here, perhaps this could be a grudge held by Google. Is Google expressing a vendetta against Comcast for not supporting the opensource software?

There is no indication when this problem will clear up. Comcast might not have anyone working on the issue – they report they need a critical number of calls to classify the issue as a "problem." Totally Comcastic!

Update: YouTube is reportedly unavailable in the Comcast Firefox fiasco as well. No embedded videos on sites and no homepage connectivity.

Update #2: Everything seems to be working just fine in the world of Comcast Cable Internet Service. Google is working just fine, personalized GMail, Calendar, etc...are again accessible from Comcast connections - using Firefox and IE. We got the following from Comcast themselves:

There was a hardware problem with one of our servers in Massachusetts today, which prevented a small number of customers in the area from connecting to some Web sites for a brief period of time. This was an isolated and random issue which we quickly resolved as soon as we became aware of it.

Comcast apologizes for any inconvenience this problem may have caused. Our goal is to provide a superior Internet experience for our customers, which includes being able to access all of the Web sites of their choice.


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