I just figured out the problem. I was sending the GET request without "Accept: text/plain; q=0.5\r\n" and "Accept-Encoding: identity; q=0.5\r\n" fields. This means that the web site was allowed to gzip the content because the encoding was not specified. The response contained "Content-Encoding: gzip" and the payload was not ASCII. Now that the encoding is set to "identity", the response is plain ASCII. This was built on the ntpc_demo. I still don't know if there is a way to handle compressed data but this meets my current needs.