FCC expected to rule
Last modified on Tuesday, 29 July 2008 07:37
According to a post in The Wall Street Journal, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will announce by the end of this week that Comcast Corporation acted improperly when it slowed down and impeded some of its customers’ Internet traffic.
If the FCC issues this ruling, it means a decision by the FCC that Comcast violated Federal policy by interfering with file sharing services such as BitTorrent, by preventing some of its Internet customers from sharing online videos. While Comcast has admitted slowing traffic, it has not admitted that it did so to intentionally interfere with its customers’ Internet file sharing.
An FCC ruling against Comcast spells a victory for consumer groups and high-tech companies that have fought to keep Internet Web traffic free from interference by ISPs and anyone else that is not a Web user. Cable and telephone providers have been experimenting with ways to limit bandwidth use by some customers in the form of “Internet metering,” which means they plan to charge those customers a premium for and/or to limit for the amount of bandwidth customers can use.
Consumer and file sharing groups have long argued that the real issue is not the amount of bandwidth, but rather the content that the ISPs and cable providers are attempting to control, and consumers are incensed about this, particularly when they are paying for that access.
If the FCC rules against Comcast, it is likely that Comcast will drag its feet by appealing in court. However, the wheels of justice do move, albeit slowly. FCC Chairman Kevin Martin has already issued a statement that he believes all consumers should have "unfettered access to the Internet."
The expected FCC ruling will mandate that Comcast cease blocking or slowing Internet traffic and that it must disclose its practices to its customers. While Comcast may appeal and delay, the expected pending FCC ruling will also force other Internet providers to keep their practices in line, as well.
The FCC ruled in 2005 that customers have the right to use the content, lawful applications, and devices they wish on the networks they use, known as Net Neutrality. We welcome enforcement of Net Neutrality. It’s overdue from Comcast.