Comcast's "seat-warming" execs can't be trusted

Comcast's "seat-warming" execs can't be trusted

Summary: Comcast hired dozens of "seat-warmers" that kept others from attending a Monday FCC hearing held at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society meeting room for an FCC hearing. God forbid that the public be seen at a hearing intended to solicit public comment.


Comcast hired dozens of "seat-warmers" that kept others from attending a Monday FCC hearing held at Harvard's Berkman Center for Internet and Society meeting room for an FCC hearing. God forbid that the public be seen at a hearing intended to solicit public comment.

Then they lied about it.

According to an article in the Washington Post,

Comcast acknowledged that it hired an unspecified number of people to fill seats, but said those people gave up their spots when Comcast employees arrived to take their places.

Catherine Bracy, administrative manager of Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society, disputed that assertion, saying most of the three dozen seat-warmers . . . remained during the event's opening hours, as many other people were turned away.

"No employees came in to take those seats when the event started," Bracy said.

"Put the crack pipe down and take 2 steps back!" Nothing says confidence like hiring people to stack the audience.

Comcast justified its actions, saying

Comcast said it hired seat-holders only after the advocacy group Free Press urged its backers to attend. "For the past week, the Free Press has engaged in a much more extensive campaign to lobby people to attend the hearing on its behalf," the company said in a written statement.

You haven't heard of the powerful lobbying group Free Press? Me neither. But they have Comcast shaking in fear. And taking stupid pills by the fistful.

Trust Comcast to regulate the Internet? They can't manage the PR for a public hearing let alone the Internet.


The Storage Bits take Net neutrality means the telcos are common carriers who are not allowed to discriminate against some users. The principle goes back over 150 years to the early days of telegraphy.

That this principle is even being debated is a tribute to the power of the telcos and their "seat-warmers" in Congress and the FCC. Comcast can't be trusted and neither should any other telco.

Comments welcome, of course.

Topics: Government US, Browser, Government, Telcos

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  • comcast

    I?m holding this position until someone with an appropriate comment arrives.

    Thanks Comcast for showing us how to protect free speech.
  • Message has been deleted.

  • As much as I side with Comcast overall

    This behavior is really unbecoming of the corporation. Do they not think that their lobbyist will fail to get the job done when it comes to convincing the courts that they are doing what is needed so that the majority of customers are handled?

    This is very frustrating. I think Comcast deserves a slap on the wrist for good measure.
  • That is just plain pathetic (and desperate)...

    I dislike most anything that Comcast does. This stunt is no different. However, I'm on the fringe of feeling sorry for them. Not because I care about Comcast (they definitely don't give a crap about me), but because they are now pathetic and sad.

    Their actions wreak of desperation (and stupidity). Comcast needs to get a grip.
  • The FCC better listen to the people on this one.

    Net Neutrality needs to remain DEAD and buried.

    Why do people name things the opposite of its actual function? Because they are desparate for support... lets not support this stupidity.

    Remember, power corrupts..
  • RE: Comcast's

    Geez, what did Comcast do -- shoot your dog and call your mama ugly? As I get out my Adrian Monk handiwipes and remove the foam and spittle from your raging lips, please explain just one thing to me, Mr. Net Neutrality (preferably in words of one syllable to reduce the overspray):

    How is it neutral or fair for you to hog all the bandwidth and me to get none?
    • Changing the subject, eh?

      No, Comcast is simply using its money to choke off public discussion and then lying
      about it. I have a problem with that and you should too.

      File sharing is Comcast's excuse - not a reason. There are many legitimate uses of
      file sharing, and given the growth in multimedia and the telco's continued
      underinvestment in infrastructure, file sharing will only grow.

      The telcos want out from common carrier status so they can charge extortionate
      rates for certain traffic. The public good is best served by keeping telcos common
      carriers rather than toll takers.

      R Harris
      • No.

        You're conflating two different issues: You're using Comcast's *alleged* behavior at the FCC meeting as evidence that they're wrong about net neutrality. Remember how Bill Clinton and Move On, among others, taught us that character doesn't matter, only the issues?

        Beyond that, your reaction seems all out of proportion. You seem to have a personal vendetta against Comcast, as many here do. But I haven't had to deal with Comcast, so maybe vendettas are valid reactions.
        • Re: No.

          [i]You're using Comcast's *alleged* behavior at the FCC meeting as evidence that they're wrong about net neutrality. [/i]

          There's nothing alleged about it. Comcast admitted it hired people to fill seats at the FCC meeting.

          This is Comcast's stance on net neutrality: trust us. we haven't done anything bad yet so net neutrality is a solution in search of a problem.

          What is it about us that makes us willing to trust a corporation? Not one corporation I deal with trusts me one iota. This website doesn't trust me, binding me to contract terms so in case I harm ZDNet in some way by being here it may have an actionable claim against me.

          Any relationship you have with a corporation, even as tenuous as visiting its website, is intermediated by a gaggle of lawyers looking out for the corporation's best interests. And not yours.

          The only sane response is not to trust, but to regulate and rule the corporations.

          none none
          • Were you at the FCC meeting?

            Unless you were there, you don't *really* know what happened. And even if you were there, I seriously doubt that you could read the minds of the other people. So you are most likely getting your info from newspapers and blogs.

            If you're depending on newspapers and blogs to be 100% accurate and unbiased, I have some swamp in Florida and a bridge in Brooklyn that you'll certainly be interested in.
      • Oh, by the way --

        I notice you've evaded my question about how "net neutrality" can be considered anything like. I tend to believe that's because there isn't any such explanation. Bandwidth bogarting is just wrong, and you all know it.
        • Huh?

          "Bandwidth bogarting"?

          Excuse me but we are talking about bandwidth which has been bought and paid for. Comcast had better be investing in the infrastructure necessary to provide what they have already sold.
          Tim Patterson
          • Nope

            Check the Comcast license -- I'll bet they have a no-server clause in there, and disclaimers about throughput. (Go ahead and tell me that BitTorrent seeders aren't servers.) As has been pointed out before, unless you buy something like a commercial T-1 line, you aren't buying guaranteed maxed-out 24/7/365 bit rates or QOS.
          • BitTorrent is not a server ...

            {i}A server is a program that awaits and fulfills requests from client programs in the same or other computers.[/i]


            To be deemed a server the primary purpose is the server "awaits and fulfils requests from client programs". BitTorrent does not fit this distinction since it's primary purpose is to transfer and receive files in increments to various peers.
          • Updated link for glossary

            The correct link for the glossary is

            Thank You
  • You are kidding, right?

    Net Neutrality needs to be dead?

    Do you work for the Bush Administration? The only thing good for consumers IS net neutrality. Otherwise those with all the money make the decisions. Again...
    • I don't share your concern

      I still say the majority of the power is with the consumer.

      Granted with HD format war, the Customer stalemated and the decision to go with BluRay was chosen for them. Does this mean they have to buy into it, or can they go without?

      Broadband can be a similar venture. Even owning a computer can be a similar venture. Microsoft may be selling millions of seats of Vista, but Apple is showing double digit growth which shows that some people are in fact telling Microsoft to go to hell.

      As far as Broadband is concerned, if I don't like the service, I will probably do the same thing as I did with Cable TV. I decided that I didn't like the service and I did without.


      I am amazed at the complacency of the Modern American because obviously they choose to whine verses act when they are inconvenienced.

      High gas prices? Trade your tank in for a more fuel efficient car. Need the tank for other things? Don't drive it as much.
  • RE: Comcast's

    I have been watching comcast's (they no longer deserve a capital C!) activities for some time, having been a subscriber for about six years. I really feel for the great techs who have come out to service my hardware, but I am canceling my account TODAY. That means about one thousand two hundred dollars per year of mine that they will not be getting any more. Period. How you spend your hard earned cash is the best way to exert change in this capitalist country, in my opinion.
  • RE: Comcast's

    [i]You haven???t heard of the powerful lobbying group Free Press? Me neither. But they have Comcast shaking in fear. And taking stupid pills by the fistful.[/i]

    LOL! Just so!

    none none
  • Ou...

    And we hear so many say that consumer protections such as net neutrality are unnecessary because we can trust these companies to act ethically and respect their customers in the free market.

    As damaging as regulation can be these companies bring it on themselves. Without regulation companies like Comcast will continue to do what they do and hire PR firms to create the desired (if completely inaccurate) perceptions.
    Tim Patterson